Archives > 2017 Legislative Updates > Jan. 27, 2017 (Vol. 6, Issue 3)

Jan. 27, 2017 (Vol. 6, Issue 3)

The Texas Senate has picked up the pace in the 85th legislative session. As noted last week, both chambers have released their 2018-2019 budgets. The Senate Finance committee, chaired by Sen. Jane Nelson, met throughout the week; on Thursday, members invited the Texas Association of Community Colleges to testify. (See more on TACC below.) 

In terms of budget, the Senate version (SB1) essentially has eliminated “special items.” Special item funding is appropriated separately; for community colleges, special items are not included in college core funding or formula funding. These items can run the gamut from museum funding to research. 

We believe special item funding can be important because it funds the Texas Small Business Development Centers. For every $1 invested in TX SBDC, $5.85 in tax revenue is generated. Statewide, four SBDC lead offices are housed at Dallas County Community College District, the University of Houston, Texas Tech University and the University of Texas at San Antonio. During the Senate Finance committee hearing, Chancellor Joe May testified how 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 keeping SBDC funding. A summary of the Senate budget can be found on the Legislative Budget Board’s website.


DCCCD Chancellor Joe May testifies before the Senate Finance Committee.

As the Senate Finance committee continues to meet, we believe it is important for committee members to understand how SBDC intersects with the Texas economy, with small businesses and in our communities. 

Members on the Senate Finance committee are Chairwoman Jane Nelson, vice-chair Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, Paul Bettencourt, Brian Birdwell, Kelly Hancock, Joan Huffman, Lois Kolkhorst, Robert Nichols, Charles Schwertner, Kel Seliger, Larry Taylor, Carlos Uresti, Kirk Watson, Royce West and John Whitmire

TACC Visits

During the Senate Finance committee meeting on Thursday, members of the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) were invited to testify. TACC represented the interests of DCCCD and the state’s other 49 community colleges/systems. TACC Executive Director Jacob Fraire testified before the committee and highlighted the importance of properly funding community colleges. 

TACC Executive Director Jacob Fraire testifies before the Senate Finance Committee.

Action at the Capitol 

On Wednesday, Chancellor May attended organizational meetings at TACC, along with other community college leaders. On Thursday, he also attended the Senate Finance committee meeting. 

During a recent visit, the chancellor bumped into Jose Carreon, a former DCCCD student. Jose is a graduate of El Centro College (2015) and currently is enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is studying radio, television and film. While he is attending UT, Jose also is interning at the Capitol for Rep. Victoria Neave


DCCCD Chancellor Joe May with former El Centro student Jose Carreon.

Important Issues

Here is a brief list of important bills we shared in our first newsletter; we will track these and other bills during the legislative session. Information about other bills that are important to DCCCD will be listed here.

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

The Feds

President Trump’s Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos had a hearing last week, but a select number of senators asked for a second hearing. The request was denied by Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander. You can read Ms. DeVos’ full testimony online

It’s been a busy first full week for President Donald Trump. Please visit one of the links below to read about his Executive Orders and other items of interest. 

We all have heard about the State of the Union. In Texas, we have the State of the State. Gov. Greg Abbott will speak before a joint session of the Texas Legislature next week on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 11 a.m. The address will provide an insight into what Gov. Abbott will prioritize for this legislative session.