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Teach the Vote’s Week in Review: Aug. 11, 2023

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Date Posted: 8/11/2023

The ATPE Governmental Relations team recaps the past week’s education news, legislative and election updates, and regulatory developments.

SELECT COMMITTEE: The House Select Committee on Educational Opportunity and Enrichment released its report Friday afternoon with no surprises. The committee’s primary recommendation could be summed up as “pass the bills the Legislature failed to pass during the regular session,” many of which were soundly opposed by the Texas public education community, including a plan for education savings accounts, or vouchers. ATPE Governmental Relations is reviewing the report and preparing an analysis for publication here on Teach the Vote as soon as possible. The report is widely viewed to be a blueprint for legislation in a special session focusing on education.

SPEAKER: House Speaker Dade Phelan (R–Beaumont) spoke with The Texas Tribune this week regarding the current legislative climate, specifically his relationships with Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), as well as the likelihood the Legislature will pass a voucher/education savings account bill during an anticipated special session in October. “‘It’s still going to come down to whether there’s 76 votes, and that’s going to be incumbent upon members voting their districts,’ Phelan added. ‘There’s always hope, but no guarantee.’ Asked if he was personally weighing in on the issue, he said ‘absolutely not’ and that he wanted members to represent their districts like always.” Read the full article by Patrick Svitek in The Texas Tribune.

FEDERAL BUDGET: ATPE Governmental Relations Director Monty Exter takes a look in this Teach the Vote blog post at the differing visions for funding public education in the proposed congressional budgets. The proposal from the House—where Republicans hold a narrow majority—would cut about $20 billion in public education funding. The proposal from the Democratic-controlled Senate would only cut $67 million from Title I funding.

ATPE PODCAST: On the latest episode of The ATPE Podcast, ATPE Staff Attorney Jeff Kelly examines the First Amendment rights afforded to educators, who are almost uniquely impacted by the First Amendment because they are both individuals and employees of a governmental entity. This can complicate matters for educators, to say the least.

TAX-FREE SHOPPING: As students and educators return to campus across the state, many families will be shopping for back-to-school supplies this weekend, and they’ll enjoy tax-free shopping on many necessary items. This ATPE Blog post explains which items are not subject to sales tax beginning Friday, Aug. 11, through midnight, Sunday, Aug. 13.


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