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 88th Texas Legislature, Called Special Sessions and resources

TSTA is following the special sessions closely. Be on the lookout for alerts from our Government Relations team for ways to take action as the sessions progress. TSTA expects a session this fall that will focus specifically on school vouchers. We have been at the forefront of the fight to keep vouchers out of Texas, and with your help, we will succeed again.

Want to get involved? Check out our event page!

Chaplain law

The school chaplain bill, which TSTA opposes, goes into effect Sept. 1; tell your school boards to say no

This bill (SB 763) will allow school districts to hire or accept the volunteer services of religiously affiliated chaplains to work with or replace professional school counselors in public schools. These individuals will not have to be trained in counseling or be certified as Texas educators or hold professional licenses. Read more

Texas book ban

Through the passage of HB 900, as of September 1, book vendors servicing public schools are now required to submit a list of library materials with a rating system indicating “sexually relevant” or “sexually explicit” content to the Texas Education Agency by April 1, 2024. We are closely following the lawsuit filed by booksellers and First Amendment advocates seeking to overturn the book ban. In the meantime, here is an explainer and timeline on the new law.

Mandatory school drills and active threat exercises

Senate Bill 168, authored by Senator Blanco and signed into law June 14, 2021, requires school districts to adopt trauma-informed methods and policies regarding active shooter drills and exercises. The Texas State Teachers Association supported this legislation as an excellent first step to providing the needed guardrails for mandatory school drills in a way that centers the mental health and well-being of children. Since the filing of SB 168, we have continued to advocate for policies that will reinforce student and teacher protections against trauma-inducing events such as active shooter simulations. TSTA supports the proposed amendments regarding mandatory school drills and active threat exercises. Read more

First and second special sessions

Both the House and Senate have settled up SB 2, SB 3, and HJR 2, the property tax relief bills. When the Senate passed its bills, a one time bonus payment to teachers was added and supported by the full Senate. But, it was the first thing stripped from the bill over in the House. Multiple attempts were made by House Democrats to provide for that pay raise, without success.

When the HJR was received in the Senate, another attempt was made to amend, but again without success. In the Lt. Governor’s own words, teachers will get a raise when a special session is called in the fall, and it will be permanent, not a one time payment. Well, we are no fools, and know what that means… Teachers might get a raise if he gets his voucher scheme. Teachers were yet again used as a pawn in this special session chess game.

The one thing that was true in Patrick’s statement is that there will be yet another special session and a bigger fight ahead, so let’s get ready!

The Legislature convened for its 88th biennial regular session on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. This session, TSTA’s priorities—in addition to killing private school vouchers again—are more funding for public schools, including pay raises for educators; a cost-of-living increase and better healthcare benefits for TRS retirees and a substantial increase in the state’s contribution to healthcare costs for active educators. Our Top Education Issues page has more information about what we’re fighting for this session.

The Texas Tribune also has an explainer for the longstanding and new education issues the Legislature is set to consider.

TSTA and 20 other advocate groups have joined together to make recommendations to the Legislature for addressing serious concerns about charter schools in Texas.

Committee Testimony

Follow our advocacy efforts at the Capitol! TSTA represents the interests of our members and Texas students through lobbying efforts and testimony during session.

Support school safety and mental health, oppose CSSB 11

Removing teacher certification requirements will undermine the importance of high-quality early learning

TSTA does not support giving privilege to certain prior experiences that are unrelated to education, nor do we support lowering the standards for entry into the profession

TSTA is concerned that bill will unfairly threaten educators with criminal charges for maintaining diverse libraries

TSTA has concerns with bill overhauling minimum salary schedule

TSTA opposes bill revoking SBOE’s ability to veto SBEC rules

TSTA opposes bill increasing the number of guns on campuses

TSTA opposes bill increasing the presence of inadequately trained, non-law enforcement personnel on campuses

HB 1707 — Factsheet on charter permitting bill; TSTA opposes

HPE April 18, 2023 — Opposing SSES Expansion

HPE April 18, 2023 — Opposing expansion of charter school opening timeline

HB 2729 — Opposing lowering teacher qualifications for PreK

HB 4969 — more member testimony, more voucher schemes

HB 4340 — member testimony, yet another voucher scheme

HB 11 — Concerns with bill removing SBOE authority to review SBEC rules

House Pub Ed — HB 100, Insufficient increase to the basic allotment

Member testimony on HB 100

Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education — TFA on protecting tenure

Education groups oppose HB 2890 — SBOE voting requirements for charter application approval

TSTA Opposes HB 3 — state mandated armed security on campuses

Testimony on HB 1416 regarding STAAR tutoring requirements

TSTA supports HB 1225 — allow parents to opt their students out of online STAAR testing

Comments on Texas Education Agency budget

TSTA opposes HB 621 — TSTA believes Veterans must still be certified to become classroom teachers

Behavioral Specialist budget rider request

House Appropriations — February 27, 2023

Senate Finance — February 6, 2023

HB31 — Enrollment based funding

Agency Testimony

TSTA hosts a team of dedicated educational policy experts to represent the interests of TSTA members and students at the State Board of Education, State Board for Educator Certification and the Texas Education Agency. Here we’ll post recent testimony that we’ve presented to these agencies and to House and Senate committees.

TEA: ESSA proposed Amendment

TEA: Teacher Incentive Allotment rule comments

TEA: Concerning school safety requirements

SBEC: Concerning counseling public school students

Texas Faculty Association Legislative Updates

5/11: SB 17, SB 18 heard in House committee

5/8: Testimony from Pat Heintzelman to House Higher Education Committee in regards to SB 17, the DEI bill, and SB 18, the tenure bill

5/4: House Action Imminent

4/20: In the Thick of It

4/12: Senate Bills on the Move, Accreditation on the Table, Community College Funding Flying

3/31: Strong Showing by Faculty in Senate Hearings

3/24: Critical Race Theory bill, Community College Reform Get First Tests in Committees

3/16: Take Action Now!

3/9: Bill Filing Deadline Looms

3/1: Committee Season Begins; Bill Filing Deadline Looms

2/27: The Weird Calm Before the Big Storm

2/16: Lieutenant Governor Patrick Announces Priorities

2/9: House Committees Named

Vote Education First in every election!

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