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Governmental Relations

Legislative Update - Friday, May 6, 2011

HB 1 - Appropriations Bill  

The Senate passed HB 1.  A conference committee comprised of House and Senate members will now reconcile the differences between the House and Senate appropriations bills. House Conference committee members include Representatives: Jim Pitts (R) of Waxahachie, Sylvester Turner (D) of Houston, John Otto (R) of Dayton, John Zerwas (R) of Richmond, and Myra Crownover (R) of Denton.  The Senate is expected to name its conferees within a day or two. Given that the Senate capitulated on the use of $3 billion from the Rainy Day fund and that the Senate split along  partisan lines for  the budget vote, it is believed that the House version, the most conservative of the two appropriations bills, will be used as the baseline bill. Under the House version of HB 1, the formula funding for the Alamo Colleges is  listed at  about $60,069,980 for each of the next two fiscal years. This is in contrast to FY 2011 net state allocation to the Alamo Colleges of $65.3 million in formula funding.  HB 1 allocates a biennium total of $199,087,676 for community colleges employee group health insurance, which is in contrast to the $323.2 million allocated during the last biennium --- a $124.1 million reduction statewide for all community colleges.

Key Legislative Bills Engrossed this Week

HB 2999 - relating to a fixed tuition rate program for students who transfer to a state university after completing an associate degree program, whereby the university may charge student tuition at the same rate as if the student had started as a freshman at the university – passed by the House.  It’s companion bill, SB 1727 – passed the Senate.
SB 1731 - relating to requiring public junior colleges to offer an academic associate degree program that would transfer in its entirety towards a bachelor’s degree was left pending in committee – passed by the Senate.
SB 1729 - relating to the Texas Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (T-STEM) Challenge Scholarship program – passed by the Senate.

SB 1488 - relating to the purchasing and contracting practices of junior college districts; providing criminal penalties – passed by the Senate.

SB 32 - relating to the consolidation of related higher education programs governing tuition, fee exemptions, and waivers respective to specific target populations – passed by the Senate.

HB 2758 - relating to mandatory emergency alert systems at institutions of higher education - passed by the House.     
SB 1005 – an institution of higher education my not grant preference to any provider of textbooks or other instructional materials in conducting activities of the institution: 1) during student orientation or registration; or as part of any program for repurchasing instructional materials from students – passed by the Senate and referred to the House Higher Education Committee.

Leo Zuniga
Associate Vice Chancellor of Communications