Affairs Committee
Steve Ahlenius
Vice-Chair Govt. Affairs
Eddie Brown
John Darby
Tony Felker
Mary Frazior
Jim Johnson 
Jamee Jolly
Eddie McBride
Wayne Mitchell
Jason Mock
San Marcos
Tony Moline
Cedar Park
Mitch Thames
Bay City


Last week chambers were asked to share position statements or resolutions on School Choice. Following is what was submitted:  

Last Tuesday, the House Public Education Committee held an organizational meeting and heard invited testimony.
Education Commissioner Mike Morath told the committee that Texas has:
  • 1,207 school districts and charters
  • 8,685 campuses  
  • 347,672 teachers.
  • Texas Education Agency's goal is for every child to be prepared for success in college, a career or the military and its strategic priorities are:
  • Recruit, support and retain teachers and principals;
  • Build a foundation of reading and math through pre-kindergarten, math innovation zones, reading and math academies, and reading excellence teams;
  • Connect high school to career and college through innovative academies like Early College High Schools, P-Tech and T-STEM, college and career counseling, industry certifications, and work-based learning; and
  • Improve low-performing schools.
He discussed TEA's funding requests that include money for:
  • A-F Rollout - TEA is in the process of developing, implementing and communicating the A-F accountability system. Exceptional Item request #8 would provide funding so parents and teachers see STAAR test questions each year.
  • Data System Integrity - Exceptional Item request #4 is funding to maintain the statewide data system that is the backbone of the Texas accountability and school finance systems.
  • Broadband Access - Exceptional Item request #5 is for funding to install fiber optic connectivity to schools leveraging a 9-1 federal-state match.
  • Cybersecurity - Exceptional item request #6 is funding the help reduce the risk that confidential student and teacher data is not compromised from cyber-attacks.
Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments & Accountability - Kim Andrew of Comal ISD discussed the recommendations of the Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments & Accountability, which include:
  1. Implement an individualized, integrated system of Texas designed state assessments using computerized-adaptive testing and instruction aligned with the state's curriculum framework.
  2. Allow the Commissioner of Education to approve locally developed writing assessments.
  3. Support the continued streamlining of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).
  4. Limit state testing to readiness standards.
  5. Add college-readiness assessments to the indicators of the state's accountability system in Domain IV (Postsecondary Readiness). They recommended appropriate available funding for a broader administration of college-readiness tests. To provide the option of using nationally recognized measures of college and career readiness, the commission recommended adding assessments such as SAT, ACT, AP, IB, and Aspire as options to Domain IV at the high school level.
  6. Align the state accountability system with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requirements.
  7. Eliminate Domain IV from state accountability calculations for elementary schools.
  8. Place greater emphasis on student growth in Domains I (Student Achievement), II (Student Progress) and III (Closing Performance Gaps) in the state accountability system.
  9. Retain the individual graduation committee option for graduation.
The Senate Finance Committee will meet on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. in E1.036 of the capitol extension to take up:
  • SB 15 by Don Huffines (R-Dallas) and SJR 1 by Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) would exempt the homestead of the surviving spouse of a first responder killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.
  • SB 17 by Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) would phase out the franchise tax in increments in each biennium the estimated general revenue growth exceeds five percent.
  • SB 142 by Van Taylor (R-Plano) would allow a deduction of the federal COGS as an option under the franchise tax.
  • SB 518 by Borris Miles (D-Houston) would provide a franchise tax credit of $1,000 per intern for businesses completing an internship program.
  • SB 550 by Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) would establish a franchise tax credit or insurance premium tax credit for rehabilitation of a certified historic structure.
  • SB 575 by Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) would increase the small business franchise tax deduction from $1 million to $4 million. 

Have a great week!

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