Major proposals on the move address teacher salaries, retiree… | TCTA
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Major proposals on the move address teacher salaries, retiree benefits, vouchers, and more

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Just over halfway through the 88th regular legislative session, more than 50 of the 1000+ bills that TCTA is monitoring on behalf of our members have at least been voted out of a House or Senate committee. For most of the bills below, the most recent action was the committee vote; bills that have been scheduled for floor consideration or that have passed the House or Senate are so noted.

“Priority bills” (bills prioritized by the Speaker, Lt. Gov., and/or Gov.)

HB 1 by Bonnen – The House’s state budget proposal includes an additional $5 billion for public education, along with $17 billion in property tax relief, $875 million intended to limit TRS ActiveCare premium increases to 5% each year of the biennium. Scheduled for House floor consideration Thursday, April 6.

HB 600/HJR 2 by Bonnen – The bill and accompanying constitutional amendment improve benefits for retirees; HB 600 includes a contribution increase by active employees from the current 8% of salary to 9%. See here for more details.

HB 900 by Patterson – In an effort to address concerns about school library catalogs, this bill distinguishes “sexually explicit” material from “sexually relevant” material, prohibiting the use of sexually explicit material (described as portraying sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, as defined in the Penal Code) and requiring parental consent for student access to sexually relevant material (directly related to required curriculum).

SB 3 and 4 by Bettencourt – These are part of the Senate’s property tax package using more than $17 billion of state funding to reduce taxes for property owners. See here for more details. Both bills passed the Senate March 22 but have not yet been referred to a House committee.

SB 8 by Creighton – Described as a parents’ rights bill, this includes a voucher proposal in the form of education savings accounts. May be debated on the Senate floor next week.

SB 9 by Creighton – This “teachers’ rights” bill includes the Senate salary proposal ($2,000 for most teachers; $6,000 for those in districts with enrollment of less than 20,000) as well as attempts to limit the time that teachers are required to work outside of the instructional day. TCTA continues to work with the bill author and others to improve these proposals. May be debated on the Senate floor next week.

SB 10 by Huffman – The Senate’s proposal to improve benefits for retirees; see here for more details. Passed the Senate March 29 and has not yet been referred to a House committee.

SB 30 by Huffman – This is the supplemental appropriations bill; a supplemental bill is typically passed each session to revise expenditures approved in the previous session for the current budget cycle. SB 30 includes $1 billion to help fund retiree benefit increases and $600 million for school safety initiatives. Scheduled for House floor consideration Thursday, April 6.

Other bills

HB 621 by Shaheen – This bill provides for temporary certification of a person who has served in the U.S. armed forces, allowing them to substitute military experience in part for education requirements. TCTA has worked with the author to improve the bill by requiring at least 20 hours of training in classroom management, but are asking for additional amendments to revise provisions that would allow a person without a bachelor’s degree to teach core subjects for up to five years.

HB 2729 by Harris – This revises the qualifications for high-quality prekindergarten teachers so that, although a public school HQ preK teacher must be certified, a teacher employed by an entity with which the school district is contracting to provide the HQ preK would not have to be certified.

SB 798 by Middleton – SB 798 removes the requirement that a school counselor have experience as a classroom teacher.

HB 1416 by Bell – This bill is HB 4545 cleanup legislation designed to ease the burdens caused by last session’s bill that requires accelerated or supplemental instruction for struggling students. Among its provision are repeal of the requirement for accelerated learning committees; a decrease in the required hours of supplemental instruction from 30 to 15; limitation of the requirement for supplemental instruction to students who do not perform satisfactorily on math and reading/ELA assessments; and an increase in the maximum number of students in group instruction from 3 to 5 up to 8th grade; and to 10 for 9th grade and up.

HB 669 by Thierry and SB 838 by Creighton – Both bills require panic alert devices in every classroom.

HB 98 by Moody – The bill allows districts to contract with a local mental health authority to provide mental health services on a campus.

HB 516 by Wu – HB 516 increases reporting requirements regarding disciplinary actions. TCTA has concerns about a likely chilling effect on teachers’ ability to remove disruptive students from the classroom. The author amended his bill to drop a requirement that the reports include teachers’ names and we continue to work on eliminating the provisions requiring additional reporting on teacher removals from the classroom.

HB 579 by Burns – This proposal allows parents of students with significant cognitive disabilities to request that their child be exempted from the alternative state standardized test, and requires the student’s ARD committee to determine whether the student should be exempted.

HB 1662 by Burns – HB 1662 is a TCTA-initiated bill to ensure that districts make available key documents for employees, such as compensation plans, employee leave policies and professional development requirements.