The Final Month, Important Bills, $11.2 Billion for Education
From the newsletter sent April 30, 2021
109 days down, with only 31 days to go before the end of the legislative session. As I’ve mentioned before, the Texas Constitution contains strict language detailing when session begins and ends, with May 31st being the constitutionally required final day of this session. This means that if a bill has not passed both chambers before the 31st, it is dead for at least two years. As one might imagine, this deadline results in a frenetic final few weeks.
We have been extremely fortunate this session in that our high-priority bills continue to make steady progress. In fact, I’m pleased to report that we had our first bill passed out of both chambers and sent to the Governor’s desk this week. I won’t get into the details again, but HB 567, The Childhood Trauma Reduction Act, was our bill to protect children from being unnecessarily taken from their families. I sincerely believe that the changes made in this bill will improve our CPS system and lead to better outcomes for children and families.
Several other high-profile bills were voted out of the House this week, and I wanted to highlight a few of particular importance:
- HB 2622 is better known as the Second Amendment Sanctuary bill. In effect, it prevents state agencies and local governments from enforcing any new federal gun laws or restrictions.
- HB 19 seeks to protect commercial vehicle operators from inordinate, unfair lawsuits that often jeopardize small businesses and the transportation services Texans depend on.
- HB 2283 prohibits election administrators from accepting large donations from individuals and organizations for the purposes of administering elections.
Finally, there have been concerns surrounding the status of federal dollars sent to the state for schools. While it’s true that the money was not immediately disbursed to districts, this delay was due to outstanding questions regarding the guidelines and stipulations attached to the funds. There was understandable consternation from many school districts worried about receipt of these dollars, but now that those questions have been answered, the state was able to release the funding as intended. More on this below.
May God bless you and your family,
James B. Frank