The House Public Education Committee advanced another raft of Senate bills while the House was in session Thursday afternoon. The committee approved the following measures today:
- SB 1837, the Senate companion to HB 3231, which would exempt charters operated by a public senior college or university from being assigned a financial accountability rating under Section 39.082(e)
- SB 489, the Senate companion to HB 3684, would add instruction to prevent the use of e-cigarettes to the tobacco prevention section of the duties of the local school health advisory committee.
- SB 601, which would allow charter schools to be exempt from paying municipal drainage fees. State Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) voted against the bill.
- CSSB 725, the Senate companion to HB 367, which would expressly allow schools to donate surplus unserved cafeteria food to hungry children on campus through a third-party non-profit. A committee substitute included language from a “food shaming” bill by state Rep. Helen Giddings (D-DeSoto) that was pulled from the local calendar on Wednesday.
- SB 754, the Senate companion to HB 878, which would allow districts to extend depository contracts for three additional two year terms as opposed to two, and to modify the contract for any extension.
- SB 1051, which would create a driver education course for the deaf or hard of hearing and create a fee for the course.
- SB 1152, which would create an excused absence for a student to pursue enlistment in the armed services or the Texas National Guard, similar to the way in which students may currently be excused to visit a college or university.
- SB 1153, which would guarantee a parent’s right to information regarding intervention strategies for children with learning difficulties.
- SB 1318, the Senate companion to HB 2014, which would allow the TEA commissioner to designate a campus as a “mathematics innovation zone.” Such a campus would be exempt from accountability interventions for two years and would be allowed to use a “pay for success” program approved by the commissioner. The bill sets up a framework for creating such pay for success programs funded by private investors.
Members met again Thursday evening to pass SB 22, which would replace the current tech-prep program with a Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program.
The committee is next expected to meet on Tuesday, but Chairman Dan Huberty (R-Houston) told members to expect more formal meetings to vote on individual bills.