More legislation reaching the House and Senate floors | TCTA
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More legislation reaching the House and Senate floors

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As we near the end of April, the work of House and Senate committees is reaching a peak, and more bills are headed to the floor. Here are just a few that passed this week (but still need to clear the second chamber before heading to the governor's desk).

On the Senate floor Wednesday, two different constitutional amendments affirming parents’ rights to raise their children (SJR 70 by Sen. Bryan Hughes) and direct their children’s education (SJR 29 by Sen. Angela Paxton) were considered. Both bills passed – SJR 70 on a 28-3 vote; and SJR 29 with a vote of 21-10. The Paxton bill garnered opposition from most Senate Democrats, although there was no discussion about the bill on the floor.

A priority school safety bill, SB 11 by Sen. Robert Nichols, passed 31-0. The bill:

  • directs service centers to be a school safety resource for districts/charters in the area;
  • ensures that student records that are provided when the student moves to another district must include disciplinary records and any threat assessment that was conducted;
  • requires that districts provide DPS and other first responders with accurate maps for all district buildings;
  • requires TEA to monitor implementation of school district safety and security plans through its office of school safety and security;
  • allows the commissioner to assign a conservator to a district for the district’s failure to comply with safety and security requirements;
  • provides increased funding to districts for safety measures, including a minimum of at least $15,000 for the smallest districts; and
  • requires active shooter training for school security officers.

In the House, some important bills were debated and passed Wednesday on an initial vote, with final votes expected Thursday. HB 900 by Rep. Jared Patterson is one of the House leadership’s priority bills and addresses concerns over the content of school library books. Passing on an initial vote of 95-53 (with a final vote to be held Thursday), the bill distinguishes between “sexually explicit” and “sexually relevant” material, with the former including “patently offensive” depictions of sexual conduct. Sexually explicit materials would not be allowed in school libraries.

HB 1416 by Rep. Keith Bell is designed to provide relief from the most onerous provisions of last session's HB 4545, which requires supplemental or accelerated instruction for struggling students. Read more about it here.

Bell also passed HB 890, which would revise the grievance process to ensure that decisions are reached in a timely manner.