March 10, 2017 (Volume 6, Issue 9)

This Edition

  • Under the Dome
  • Open House
  • The Bills

Under the Dome

Patterns and routines for the Texas Legislature during the session are now in place. Both the House Higher Education and the Senate Higher Education committees held hearings. As a result, now we can watch and track bills that have been voted out and bills that have been left pending. The committee process is the first step that occurs before a bill becomes a law. A member who files the bill must request a hearing; the committee’s chairman then decides on whether to allow a hearing; and then the chairman decides whether the bill will come up for a vote after it has been heard in committee. The committee process is the legislative graveyard for many bills, based on this process.

This week, Chancellor Joe May met with Marian Wallace, education policy advisor for the Lieutenant Governor; Kel Seliger, chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee; and Royce West, vice chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee. Dr. May also was invited to testify before the House Economic and Small Business Development Committee.

DCCCD Chancellor Joe May testifies before the House Economic and Small Business Development Committee.

The chancellor discussed the importance of studying labor market information and using data to meet workforce demands. He added, “While community colleges are viewed as essential to meeting the needs of the local communities they serve, increasingly state economic development and workforce needs have become important.” He also explained how Small Business Development Centers assist local business grow and how SBDCs have an impact on the Texas economy. Dr. May also discussed the importance of educating our students to succeed in a 21st-century economy.

This week, the capitol attracted many passionate individuals to Austin, who shared their thoughts about a variety of issues with legislators. The Senate State Affairs Committee debated SB 6, which relates to regulations and policies for entering or using a bathroom or changing facility. Related articles in the Texas Tribune, Business Insider, and KUT-NPR cover that issue. (Some of these websites may require a subscription.)

Finally, today is the last day to file any bills and joint resolutions in both chambers, with the exception of local bills, emergency appropriations, and bills that have been declared an emergency by the governor. This deadline occurs on the 60th calendar day after the legislature convenes for its regular session. Here is the latest list, based on our capitol update deadline.

Bills From the 85th Regular Session

  • House Bills - 3830 Introduced
  • House Concurrent Resolutions - 81 Introduced
  • House Joint Resolutions - 100 Introduced
  • Senate Bills - 1830 Introduced
  • Senate Concurrent Resolutions - 39 Introduced
  • Senate Joint Resolutions - 399 Introduced
  • Total House and Senate Bills - 5660
  • Total Bills and Resolutions - 7122

The Senate and House both are adjourned until 2 p.m. on Monday, March 13.

Open House

This week the White House re-opened its doors to tour groups; ordinarily, tours are not allowed immediately after a presidential inauguration. The new administration needs time to staff and prepare before the doors are opened to visitors. On that first day, President Donald Trump surprised a group of visitors with an appearance. Are you interested in taking a tour? If so, you can contact your Congressional representative to schedule one. (Hint: Plan to submit your request at least three months in advance.) Go to the White House website for details.

The Bills

Listed below are bills of importance to DCCCD. We will track these and other bills that may have an impact on our district during the legislative session. You can view those House and Senate bills by visiting our site.

  • 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
    • SB 534 has been referred to Higher Education Committee.
    • 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
    • HB 108 has been referred to the Economic and Small Business Development Meeting.
    • 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.

Are you ready for a break? We are! Spring break is here. It’s time to recharge and refresh – and maybe catch up on household chores. Either way – whether you choose work, play or both – have fun and be safe. Also know that your DCCCD team in Austin will continue to advocate for you, our students, and our colleges. The funding fight is just getting started, and we will be there through the final round.