Texas House Unveils Public Education Funding Plan / RECAP: County Affairs Committee Hearing / Chair Coleman Files Seven More Bills

Texas House Unveils
Public Education Funding Plan

On Tuesday, the House unveiled their plan to address public education funding in Texas: House Bill 3, also known as the “Texas Plan”. Below is an outline of the main facets of the bill. Thank you to Chairman of the Public Education Dan Huberty (R-Houston) for working so hard on a bipartisan plan that the whole House can support.

  • $9 billion would go toward increasing the base funding for each student and compressing school districts’ property tax rates by 4 cents statewide
  • Help districts fund free full-day pre-K for eligible students
  • Send more money to school districts with higher concentrations of disadvantaged students
  • Increase the base funding per student by $890 to $6,030 — the first time that allotment has been raised in four years
  • Lower school district property tax rates statewide by 4 cents per $100 of taxable property value, helping to reduce so-called Robin Hood payments that redistribute money from wealthier districts to poorer ones. The compression could save the owner of a home with $250,000 in taxable value about $100 annually in school district taxes.
  • Increase the “basic allotment,” the main element of the current state funding formula, to $6,030 per weighted average daily attendance, from $5,140 now.
  • Create a teacher merit pay plan in the state funding formula. Districts would not necessarily tie bonuses to students’ performance on tests, but would be able to design their programs following some state guidelines, he said.

The Houston Chronicle wrote an editorial about the House’s school finance plan, entitled “Finally, a plan to put real money into Texas schools.” Click here to read.

The Editorial Board writes, “It’s a good plan, not a perfect one. It emerged in the House, not the Senate. Its chances of passing intact largely depend on the intestinal fortitude of Speaker Dennis Bonnen and vocal support from regular Texans. But first, let’s just celebrate the mere existence of a plan in a state where lawmakers for decades have paid little more than lip-service to the troubles of our woefully underfunded public schools.”

County Affairs
Committee Hearing

Panel #1-Health and Human Services Commission-00:14:00
Dr. Courtney Phillips, Executive Commissioner, Texas Health and Human Services CommissionCurtis Walters, Director of the Office of Primary and Specialty Health, Texas Health and Human Services CommissionSonja Gaines, Deputy Executive Commissioner, Texas Health and Human Services Commission

Mike Maples, Deputy Executive Commissioner, Texas Health and Human Services Commission

Panel #2-Indigent Healthcare-01:47:00
John Hawkins, Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy, Texas Hospital Association

George Masi, President and CEO, Harris Health

Don McBeath, Director of Government Relations, Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals

Panel #3-County Behavioral Health-02:51:00
Sheriff Wilson, Limestone CountyLee Johnson, Deputy Director, Texas Council of Community CentersEllen Richards, Chief Strategy Officer, Travis County Integral Care

Panel #4-Behavioral Health in School Settings-04:07:00
Andrew Keller, CEO, Meadows Foundation

Miriam Nisenbaum, Executive Director, National Association of Social Workers

Panel #5-Behavioral Health in the Criminal Justice System-04:50:00
Brandon Wood, Executive Director, Texas Commission on Jail Standards

Scott Ehlers, Special Counsel, Texas Indigent Defense Commission

Dr. Monica Faulkner, Director, University of Texas at Austin Texas Institute for Child and Family Wellbeing

Chair Coleman Files Ten More Bills

In addition to the bills I have already filed this session (click here for info), I filed ten more bills this week. Today is the bill filing deadline in the House – there are 80 days left in the 86th Texas Legislative Session.

HB 3287Relating to automatic employee participation in and administration of a deferred compensation plan provided by certain hospital districts.
This bill gives the commissioner the authority to appoint a board of managers to a school district only if 15% of the campuses in that district are low performing.HB 3459Relating to the delegation by a podiatrist of certain acts to certain podiatric assistants; authorizing fees.
This bill authorizes the Harris County Hospital District to be involved in health care provider participation programs which allows counties to collect funds for the healthcare programs.

HB 3681Relating to preliminary examination periods for mental health protective custody.
This bill increases the time a facility may detain a person accepted for a preliminary examination from 48 hours to 72 hours.

HB 3743Relating to conflicts of interest and discrimination policies for an ethics or medical committee review of an advance directive.
This bill
requires hospitals’ ethic committees to adopt a conflict of interest policy and a discrimination policy to consider patients with physical or mental disabilities.

HB 3758Relating to the authority of the governing board of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs to amend a qualified allocation plan in response to a natural or man-made disaster.
This bill allows board of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs to change their biennial allocation plan in response to a disaster.

HB 3786Relating to establishing family drug courts in counties.
This bill adds “affordable housing” to list of qualifying projects for public-private partnerships.

HB 3837Relating to the offense of failure to comply with an order from a fire marshal and the authority of certain county employees to issue citations for certain violations; changing a criminal penalty.
This bill adds specifications to the different classes of offense a person can be charged with especially concerned with the citations that fire marshals or certified fire inspectors can issue.

HB 4279Relating to the authority of the Texas Water Development Board to establish, operate, and, through the issuance of general obligation bonds, finance a grant program to provide financial assistance to political subdivisions and the state for projects related to disaster recovery; disaster mitigation; or construct, repair, rehabilitate, or reconstruct state or local infrastructure.
This bill establishes the issuance of general obligation bonds (GO bonds) to be used for disaster recovery.

HB 4289Relating to the creation and operations of health care provider participation programs in local jurisdictions in this state.
This bill authorizes hospital districts, counties, or municipalities to collect mandatory payments from each hospital in the jurisdiction for a health care provider participation program.

HB 4468 – Relating to county criminal justice reform.

Chair Coleman on TSU Law School Proposed Status Change

I am opposed to changing the status of Thurgood Marshall School of Law as it is an integral part of Texas Southern University. I have always been opposed to merging Texas Southern University with any University System. TSU should remain independent.

On Wednesday, I was glad to talk at the Texas Home & Mortgage Symposium  with Representative Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi, right) and Harvey Kornberg of the Quorum Report (left).

What To Watch This Week:

Our video of the week is from the press conference from March 5th wherein House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) and Chairman of the Public Education Committee Dan Huberty (R-Houston) discussed the House’s public education plan.

Cartoon of the Week

Source: michaelpramirez.com

Song of the Week

Our song of the week is “Almeda” by Houston’s own Solange. The New York Times wrote a great article about Solange’s new album, which you can read here. Fun Fact! This song by Solange is in reference to Almeda, a neighborhood in my district (District 147) in southwest Houston. In fact, my district office is located in Almeda. Furthermore, Solange recorded a lot of her album at Project Row Houses, a community art collective also in my district. I am proud to have grown up and to reside in Houston’s historic Third Ward.



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