Today was the first day members of the 84th Texas Legislature could begin pre-filing bills for the upcoming regular legislative session. The opening day of the session is still more than two months away, but several pieces of education-related legislation have already been filed:
- Rep. Mary Gonzalez (D) filed a number of school-related bills today. They include measures pertaining to class-size limits, teachers’ employment rights, preventing harassment and discrimination in schools, sex education, and testing of students with limited English proficiency and disabilities.
- Rep. Mando Martinez (D) has proposed period TRS cost-of-living increases for retirees, a state minimum salary schedule for educators that is tied to a national average, and an increase in the state’s residential homestead exemption for those who pay property taxes.
- Rep. James White (R) filed several truancy-related bills.
- Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D) filed legislation to provide for free pre-kindergarten programs in public schools to study the cost-of-education index.
- Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D) also filed legislation to make pre-kindergarten programs more widely available.
- A bill by Rep. Dan Flynn (R) would allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed in classrooms.
- Rep. Carol Alvarado (D) filed a bill to extend the 22:1 class-size limit into fifth grade and another bill requiring the collection of data pertaining to class sizes and assessments administered in pre-kindergarten programs.
- A bill filed by Rep. Cecil Bell (R) today would remove endorsement information from students’ high school diplomas, leaving it on their transcripts.
- Rep. Tony Dale (R) is putting forth requirements for censuring a member of a school district board of trustees in certain circumstances.
- On the Senate side, Sen. John Whitmire (D) filed a couple of truancy and student discipline-related bills today.
- Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D) filed bills relating to keeping anaphylaxis medication on hand for emergencies at school campuses and allowing students to transfer between public school districts.
- Sens. Zaffirini (D) and Rodney Ellis (D) both filed legislation to expand pre-kindergarten. Sen. Ellis also filed a bill to limit pre-kindergarten class sizes.
- Additionally, other bills by Sen. Ellis would modify sex education statutes and place the elected State Board of Education (SBOE) under periodic sunset review.
- Sen. Chuy Hinojosa (D) proposes a ban on the use of electronic cigarettes and vapor products at school.
- Sen. Charles Schwertner (R) wants to expand mental health first aid training for educators to include additional school staff.
- A bill by Sen. Kel Seliger (R) proposes the establishment of individual graduation committees for certain students who fail the state assessments multiple times.
These are just a handful of the hundreds of bills that will be filed as the legislative session approaches. Stay tuned to Teach the Vote for updates on all important legislative developments that may impact public education in the coming months.