[TACRAO] Listserv March Legislative Update

Jayson Naiser jayson.naiser at blinn.edu
Tue Mar 31 15:29:44 CDT 2015

Howdy All,
I wanted to send this update a week earlier but due to an office move and spring break hitting at the same time it slowed me down a bit.
The main part of the session has just started with committees starting to hear bills.  The first ones are starting to move through the process.  I have included below bills that either have been heard or are scheduled to be heard that I think will be of interest to the membership.  If you hear of any that I missed please email me to let me know as there have been close to 255 bills filed that have been assigned to the two Higher Education Committees.
Before getting into the bills, I want to point out a few items.
The first item I have included this year is if a bill has a Companion Bill<http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/pubslegref/gtli.pdf#page=60> (definition is page 60) with it.  This is just to help keep track of them.
Second, I want to point out a process that the House Higher Education Committee does with its bills.  The House Higher Education Committee will hear testimony for a scheduled bill and leave it pending afterwards.  They will then leave the bill pending until they bring it back up during a later meeting (if they ever do) to vote on.  Many bills are never brought back up to be voted on by the committee.
*I will also add my regular disclaimer that I am not a lawyer, nor do I pretend to play a lawyer on TV, so I have endeavored to make my interpretations of the legalese for the bills as complete and accurate as possible.*
Please feel free to email me with any questions or concerns.
SB 11<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=SB11>
I will start with the canceled handgun bill SB 11<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=SB11> as it has been in the news and is always of interest to everybody.
This bill was voted out of committee on 2/18/2015 with a vote of 7 and 2 against, it then went to the senate floor on 3/18/2015.  The Senate voted 20 to 11 to pass the bill.  The bill has now been sent to the house and is waiting to be scheduled to be read for the first time and sent to the house committee.
While there are several bills, this is the concealed handgun bill that is working its way through the process this year.  This bill will allow for people with CHL's (persons 21 years of age and have taken required training class) to legally carry handguns on public institutions of higher education.  The bill will give private institutions the ability to choose after consulting students, staff and faculty.
The bill does allow for institutions to establish rules and regulations for the storage of handguns by CHLs in dorms and residential facilities.  It will also allow athletic events, sporting venues and places that are currently off-limits (bars, hospitals and churches, for example) to remain off-limits.
The bill also allows for institutions of higher education to have immunity from liability for actions of CHLs on campus except in cases where private or independent institutions of higher education have adopted administrative prohibitions for CHLs on campus.
An important note for SB 11 is that if SB 17<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=SB17> (the open/constitutional carry bill) were to pass, "open" carry would be prohibited on campuses of institutions of higher education.
HB 937<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=HB937> is the Companion Bill for SB 11 which was considered on 3/31/2015 in the house committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety.  The committee substituted a committee version, which is a copy of the version that passed the Senate and reported favorably, with a vote of 6-3, to the House.
SB 778<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=SB778>
SB 778<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=SB778> is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Committee for Higher Education on 4/1/2015.
This bill will require public institutions of higher education to meet 5 of 9 performance metrics before they can increase tuition beyond the rate of inflation.  If less than 5 of the 9 are met they cannot raise above the inflation rate.  Applies only to general academic teaching institutions<http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/ED/htm/ED.61.htm#61.003>.
The Performance measures are:

*         4-year graduating rate of first-time, full-time, bachelor's degree-seeking students

*         6-year graduating rate of first-time, full-time, bachelor's degree-seeking students

*         Persistence rate of first-time, full-time, degree-seeking freshman students after one academic year

*         Educator certification rate of teacher education graduates

*         Percentage of students awarded a baccalaureate degree who are first-generation college graduates

*         The 2-year graduation rate of incoming, full-time undergraduate transfer students

*         The 4-year graduation rate of incoming, full-time undergraduate transfer students

*         Percentage of lower-division semester credit hours taught by tenured or tenure-track faculty

*         Dollar value of external or sponsored research expenditures
HB 3293<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=HB3293> is its companion bill.
HB 1992<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=HB1992>*
HB 1992<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=HB1992> was heard on 3/25/2015 and has since been left pending.
This bill prohibits institutions of higher education from requiring a score of more than a 3 on an AP exam in granting course credit; unless they can, through evidence based research, show that students who achieve scores of 3's are insufficiently qualified for secondary courses.  This bill will also require a study of performance of how students receive course credit by achieving scores on the exams.  The bill, if passed, will apply to entering freshman students in fall 2016.
* Please note that this Bill has a committee substitute that allowed for the increase in score with research and the required study.  The committee substitute is not available online, so if you follow the included links and read the posted bill text, it does not include the new language.
SB 13<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=SB13>
SB 13<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=SB13> was heard by the Education Committee on 3/12/2015 and reported favorably by a 11-0 vote on 3/23/2015.  The Senate voted 30-0 to pass the bill on 3/30/2015 and it has been sent to the house.
This bill will prohibit the limitation on the number of dual credit courses or hours in which a student may enroll in while in high school or limit the number of dual credit courses or hours in which a student may enroll in each semester or academic year.
It also includes language that requires courses offered for joint high school and junior college credit to be taught by qualified instructions approved or selected by the public junior college.  The instructor must have a master's or doctoral degree in the discipline that is the subject of the course or a degree in another discipline with a minimum of 18 graduate semester hours in the discipline that is the subject of the course.
This bill requires the public junior college to approve or reject an application for approval to teach a course at a high school that is submitted by an instructor employed by the school district, organization, or other person that operates the high school, no later than the 60th day after receipt of the request.
HB 3278<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=HB3278> is its companion bill.
HB 1583<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=HB1583>*
HB 1583<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=HB1583> was heard on 3/25/2015 and left pending.
This bill will require that each public junior college to establish for Allied Health, Nursing, and Career and Technology a block schedule curriculum.  The block schedule curricula will need to be published in advance of each semester.
The curriculum will include:

*         Courses required for a student's enrollment in the program, as a full-time student are offered each semester in scheduled block (morning, full-day, afternoon, evening or weekend) schedules designed to provide scheduling predictability from semester to semester to students enrolled in the program.

*         Students may enroll in an entire block schedule curriculum offered under the program in a semester rather than enrolling in individual courses leading towards the degree or certificate.
*Please note that this Bill has a committee substitute that limited it from all programs to the 3 listed.  The committee substitute is not available online, so if you follow the included links and read the posted bill text, it does not include the new language.
HB 2628<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=HB2628>
HB 2628<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=HB2628> is scheduled for a hearing on 4/2/2015
This Bill will have the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), with assistance of the appropriate advisory committee, periodically review the fields of study curriculum with student interest and academic and industry needs.
The Bill also has the THECB, with the assistance of institutions of higher education, career and technical education experts, and college and career readiness experts, to establish alignment between the college and career readiness standards and the knowledge, skills, and ability's students are expected to demonstrate in career and technical education.
The THECB, with assistance from advisory committees, will also develop career and technical education programs of study curricula.
The bill also allows for students enrolled in a THECB-established program of study who transfers from a public junior college, public state college, or public technical institute to another institution that offers a similar program, to receive academic credit, for each of the courses that the student has successfully completed in the program of study curriculum from the former institution.  This is regardless, unless otherwise required by COC-SACS, of whether the institution has adopted the established program of study.  The student may complete the program of study at the institution they transferred to by completing only the remaining number of semester credit hours that the student would have needed to complete the program of study at the institution from which the student transferred.
SB 1480<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=SB1480> is its companion bill.
SB 1819<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/Companions.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=SB1819>
For SB 1819<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/Companions.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=SB1819> the first hearing, schedule for 3/30/2015, was cancelled.  It has been rescheduled for 4/6/2015.
This bill changes the law from SB 1528 (79th Regular), in that a person unauthorized to be present in the US cannot be considered a resident of the state for purposes of receiving in-state tuition.  The bill also ensures that institutions of higher education can establish a policy that requires a person to submit documentation to verify that the person is authorized to be present in the US.
HB 2912<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=HB2912> is the companion bill.
SB 806<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=SB806>
SB 806<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=SB806> was heard on 3/16/2015 and was voted out of the committee (7-0) and sent to the Senate where it has placed on intent calendar.
This bill allows for colleges to directly translate military training and experience into college credit hours.  This will re-establish the College Credit for Heroes program (making pilot program permanent).  The College Credit for Heroes program will also provide grants to colleges so they can establish expedited licensing programs that recognize the training and experience that veterans have.
HB 757<http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/Companions.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=SB806> is the companion bill.

Jayson Naiser
Chair, Legislative Issues

As part of its commitment to student success, Blinn is implementing a Quality Enhancement Plan<http://www.blinn.edu/qep/> titled "Destination Success: First-Year Focus," which utilizes learning communities to support first-year college students. Find out more at www.blinn.edu/QEP/<http://www.blinn.edu/qep/>.
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