TCTA | Three education bills go down in House floor debate
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Three education bills go down in House floor debate

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Two bills dealing with non-educational aspects of charter schools failed on the House floor today, and another bill was killed by its own author after an unacceptable amendment was added.

HB 3610 by Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins would have exempted charters from property taxation. The bill was opposed by much of the traditional public education community, and it failed on a 66-76 vote on the House floor. UPDATE: Late Thursday, Rep. Leo Pacheco gave notice to reconsider the vote by which HB 3610 failed; upon another vote, the bill passed on its initial vote 68-67, and by 65-60 on a final House vote Saturday. It will now move to the Senate.

HB 1348 by Rep. Joe Deshotel would have limited the ability of municipalities to address where charter schools could be located, as well as other governance issues related to land and property development, etc. Most education organizations opposed the bill, and after extensive debate, a failed vote, reconsideration, and postponement, it was eventually killed when the author further postponed consideration until June 27. (As the session ends on May 31, postponement to a date later than that is a procedural maneuver to kill a bill.)

Another bill was killed by the author’s extended postponement. HB 2261 by Rep. Gene Wu was a seemingly innocuous bill to allow municipal management districts to help fund public education projects, such as paying for team uniforms or after-school activities. An amendment was added to change public schools to private schools, and after Rep. Wu was unsuccessful in removing that amendment, he killed his own bill by postponing consideration until June 1.