March, 3, 2017 (Vol. 6, Issue 8)

Action at the Capitol

The pace of activity in Austin really picked up this week for legislators and the Dallas County Community College District! On Tuesday, Chancellor Joe May met with JM Lozano, chairman of the House Higher Education Committee. That evening, Dr. May visited with members of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce. On Wednesday, he testified before the House Higher Education Committee, where he discussed transferability and the critical need to properly fund community colleges so that higher education is affordable. 

Chancellor Joe May testifies before the House Higher Education Committee.

Dr. Joe May, DCCCD’s chancellor (right); state Rep. Angie Chen Button (center), chair of the House Economic and Small Business Development Committee; and Bill Sproull, CEO of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce, exchanged greetings in Austin.

Chancellor Joe May visits with Richland College administrators Debbi Richards and Rose Galloway. DCCCD and Richland representatives were on hand to support the Richardson Chamber of Commerce Legislative Day in Austin.

Also this week, the House and Senate debated better ways in which the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services will protect the state’s children. Both chambers passed bills HB 4, HB 5 and SB 11. Find out more about how both sides debated the bill and how members passionately argued their beliefs on the House and Senate websites.  

Related articles can be found in the Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle and the Austin American-Statesman. (Some of these websites may require a subscription.)

Looking ahead…Chancellor May has been invited to testify before members of the House Economic & Small Business Development Committee on Thursday, March 9. His testimony will focus on how higher education intersects with and has an impact on businesses and the economy by meeting workforce demands.

The Senate and House both are adjourned until 2 p.m. on Monday, March 6. 

Important Issues 

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. 

Meanwhile ... in Washington, D.C.

On Thursday, March 2 – which you know is Texas Independence Day – former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence as the 14th Secretary of Energy. You can watch the swearing-in ceremony online

This week, President Donald Trump delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress.

Ideas and deadlines...Do you have a legislative idea you want to share with our legislators in Austin? Organizations and individuals approach our legislators every year with ideas about how to create or change policy. That input helps contribute to the approximately 4,000 bills which have been filed to date. But our state legislators cannot keep filing bills for an unspecified period of time. The deadline to file any bill – with the exception of emergency appropriations and local bills – is March 10.

Have an idea? Find out who represents you and contact your member.