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Teach the Vote’s Week in Review: June 9, 2023

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Texas Legislature Educator Rights Privatization | Vouchers Miscellaneous

Date Posted: 6/09/2023

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

SPECIAL SESSION: Gov. Greg Abbott (R), Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), and Speaker Dade Phelan (R–Beaumont) continue to publicly spar over their approach to property tax reform, and discord between the House and Senate is at high levels. The House passed its two versions of the bills closely aligned to the governor’s call last week and adjourned sine die. Despite the House and governor’s alignment on the property tax bill, the Senate continues to hold out in favor of the lieutenant governor’s version. Because the Senate continues to neither move the House bill nor adjourn, the upper chamber has begun to file and refer additional legislation not on the governor’s call. As of this Thursday, that included three bills related to public education. All three bills are refiled versions of legislation that died during the regular session. Patrick has pointedly said the Senate would stay in Austin to pass legislation related to conservative priorities, including at some point vouchers.

  • Senate Bill (SB) 9 by Sen. Phil King (R–Weatherford) would require that a copy of the Ten Commandments be posted in every classroom, provided one is donated. This is a refiled version of SB 1515 by King, which ATPE opposed during the regular session on the grounds that, in addition to being overly burdensome, it would have conflicted with the personal religious beliefs of school employees and students. (SB 1721 by Sen. Angela Paxton (R–McKinney) from the regular session, which would have required one copy of the Ten Commandments, along with the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution, to be posted on each campus as opposed to in each classroom, has not been refiled. ATPE took no position on the far less onerous SB 1721.)
  • SB 17 by Sen. Tan Parker (R–Flower Mound) would protect the right of a school district employee to pray or talk about religion while on duty.
  • SB 19 by Sen. Mayes Middleton (R–Galveston) would establish dedicated prayer and Bible reading time for students and staff members who choose to participate.

It is important to note the rules of the House and Senate allow legislators to file and refer any bills they want during a special session. However, the other chamber can ignore it or raise a point of order, killing the bill, based on its not being germane to the governor’s call. The other chamber can also choose to pass a bill that is not germane to the call, and the governor can simply ignore it or he can choose to sign the bill into law effectively retroactively adding it to the call The House has adjourned sine die for the special session, so these bills will not move once they are sent over to that chamber.

ATPE SUMMIT: The ATPE Governmental Relations team, including our federal contract lobbyist David Pore from Hance Scarborough LLP, will present a legislative update at 8 a.m. Tuesday, July 11, during the ATPE Summit at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions in Round Rock. Although the delegate certification deadline for the ATPE Summit is today, June 9, nonvoting attendees may continue to register for the event by contacting their local unit or region president, and the housing reservation deadline has been extended to Monday, June 12. The registration price increases to $235 on June 10. Learn more at atpesummit.org.

ATPE STATE COMMITTEE SERVICE: The application for 2023-24 ATPE state committee service is now available on the ATPE website. The deadline to apply is July 16. ATPE’s eight standing and special committees make recommendations to the ATPE Board of Directors and the ATPE House of Delegates, as well as select award recipients. The ATPE Legislative Committee reviews the current legislative program and makes recommendations for additions and amendments to the ATPE House of Delegates. The program guides ATPE’s advocacy efforts in Austin and in Washington, D.C. Learn more about ATPE state committee service and how to apply on the ATPE Blog. 

PRIDE MONTH: Over on the ATPE Blog, we take a look at the history of Pride Month and offer links to historical and mental health resources for LGBTQ+ youth.



Deann Lee

Thanks for the continued coverage!

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