Legislative Recap Summer 2017

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June 26, 2017
During the most recent legislative session, the Richardson Chamber has been closely following and advocating for several pieces of legislation that benefit the local business community. Below are the highlights from the session: 

The budget was signed by Governor Abbott, only line-item vetoes for $120 million in spending from $217 billion budget.  
 
Several education and workforce development bills were signed by the Governor:  
HB 22. HB 22 will reduce the role of student performance on state exams in A-F ratings, decrease the domains used to evaluate school performance from five to three, and require an individual A-F rating for each domain instead of one overall grade.  

HB 1500. HB 1500 will add the percentage of students who earn an associate’s degree to the metrics of public school performance as a fourth domain in A-F ratings for public schools. 

HB 3594. House Bill 3593 will allow school districts to make cybersecurity and computer coding courses eligible for STEM credits, has been signed by both chambers but not sent to the governor. 

Senate Bill 1318 for the designation of mathematics innovation zones was sent to the governor. SB 1318 encourages the implementation of innovative mathematics programs in public schools. 

SB 1782. SB 1782 will eliminate certain dropped-course and formula funding restrictions on adults returning to complete their degree after a two-year gap. 

HB 2994. HB 2994 will encourage public junior colleges to partner with businesses and high schools to provide workforce training by allowing them to request funding for such programs, as well as tuition waivers for high school students and courses funding by local businesses. 
 
One beneficial economic development bill: 
HB 108 (Effective 9/1/17). "The Recruit Texas Act." The Recruit Texas Program will help employers expanding or relocating to Texas in partnering with junior and technical colleges to train hires. 
 
In network right-of-ways:   
Senate Bill 1004 will allow wireless network companies to place network nodes, or equipment at a fixed location that enables wireless communication, in a public right-of-way (ROW). 
 
The legislature will re-convene for a special session, called by Governor Abbott, on July 18 to address 20 priorities by Governor Abbott that were not addressed during the previous session. They must pass sunset legislation that would keep several key agencies, including the State Bar of Texas and Texas Medical Board, open during the next biennium. The remaining 19 items on the agenda address including school finance reform, rollback elections for property tax increases, restrictions on bathroom use for transgender Texas and school choice for special needs students.