Feb. 3, 2017 (Volume 6, Issue 4)

State of the State

On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott delivered the State of the State address. In his remarks, the governor shared his vision for Texas and expectations for the 85th legislative session. He declared that he has four emergency issues that legislators should address: 

  • Banning "sanctuary cities”
  • Overhauling the state's child welfare system
  • Implementing ethics reform
  • Approving a resolution to support a convention of states 

In addition to the four emergency items, Gov. Abbott released his proposed budget. The governor can attempt to influence the budget but, according to the Texas Constitution, the budget is the responsibility of Texas legislators. On Wednesday, the authors of Senate Bill 4, which addresses “sanctuary cities,” amended the proposed legislation to include college campuses. We will have more information in next week’s update. 

Who is in the House (Committee)?

As we previously mentioned, the Texas Senate has assigned its members to their respective committees; however, when this issue of Capitol Update was posted, the Texas House has not made any committee appointments. We have been informed that House committees maybe announced today or early next week. 

The Senate Finance committee moved forward on business this week as Sen. Jane Nelson, who chairs that committee, held meetings to discuss the Senate’s budget (SB1). A summary of the Senate budget can be found on the Legislative Budget Board’s website.

Action at the Capitol

During the recent Senate Finance meeting, Sen. Nelson asked Sen. Royce West to lead a group of education leaders to address transfer issues. Chancellor Joe May was asked to represent not only the Dallas County Community College District but also the 49 other community colleges/system members of the Texas Association of Community Colleges. 

Dr. Joe Seabrooks, president of Cedar Valley College, and Anna Mays, DCCCD’s associate vice chancellor for educational policy and student success, participated in a meeting on Wednesday with Rep. Helen Giddings and Dr. Raymund Paredes, commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss developmental education – specifically, how to better coordinate efforts in order to improve outcomes. 

Dr. Joe Seabrooks (left), president of Cedar Valley College, and Anna Mays (right), DCCCD associate vice chancellor for educational policy and student success, with Rep. Helen Giddings.

Important Issues

Listed below are bills of importance to DCCCD. We will track these and other bills during the legislative session. In upcoming issues, we also will share a link you can use to find out more about other bills that have an impact on DCCCD. 

  • Funding for community colleges
    • We are seeking $1.834 billion in general revenue for core operations, student success and instruction for community colleges.
    • Our community colleges have grown 62 percent since 2000.
  • Early childhood education: Sen. West, SB 534; Rep. Giddings, HB 971
    • The Dallas County job market is experiencing a shortage of more than 4,000 early childhood educators.
    • The bill will offer the choice of a quality, affordable bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.
    • It supports the governor’s mission of a quality pre-kindergarten.
    • This goal can be achieved without adding a fiscal cost for the state.
  • Workforce development: “Recruit Texas” Rep. Alvarado, HB 108
    • We want to ensure that Texas remains competitive and is the #1 place for economic development and workforce training.
    • “Recruit Texas” redirects current funds within the Texas Workforce Commission.
    • The program can include assessment, employee recruitment, safety training and leadership development.
  • Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)
    • For every $1 invested in TX SBDC, $5.85 in tax revenue is generated.
    • Statewide there are four SBDC lead offices, one is housed at the Dallas County Community College District.
    • SBDC conducts research, counsels and trains business people in managing, financing and operating small businesses.
    • SBDC plays a pivotal role in driving the Texas economy by creating jobs and generating revenue for the state. We believe in keeping the Texas economy strong by funding SBDC. 

As always, please feel free to contact our office with any questions. 

The Feds

On Tuesday, the Senate HELP Committee voted in favor of President Trump’s Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos. Her nomination now goes to the Senate floor for a full vote. As of today, when this newsletter was completed, the date of the Senate vote is unknown, although it could occur late next Monday afternoon. The pending action is creating quite a buzz in the Senate chamber as the vote approaches. Read more on Politico

Did you know that the most recent Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan (2009-2015), once tried out for the Boston Celtics? He didn’t make the cut, but he did play basketball in Australia for four years. The Education Writers Association has created a document with facts about previous Secretaries of Education. Before you shoot a three-pointer, read more fun facts

In other news, U.S. Congressman Jared Polis from Colorado was selected on Wednesday to serve as the lead Democrat on the Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee and also as a member of the Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee. The Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee considers legislation that affects post-secondary education, including advanced degree and short-term certificate programs. 

Also on Wednesday, the new Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, received final confirmation from the Senate chamber. Sec. Tillerson becomes the 69th Secretary of State. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s nomination was approved by the Senate Energy Committee. We currently do not know when his nomination will be discussed on the Senate floor. 


We are excited to announce that four students have been selected from an elite list of 11 individuals to represent their colleges and DCCCD during the Association of Community College Trustees “Community College National Legislative Summit.”  The students will take a road trip (buckle up!) to our nation’s capitol to share their experiences and stories. Our student representatives are Susana Rodriguez, Mountain View; Chelsea Garcia, El Centro; Ka’Von Lee, Cedar Valley; and Javier Perez, Brookhaven. Next time you see them on campus, please offer your congratulations.