TCTA's top-ranked lobby team is hard at work to fight off bad bills and help craft legislation that benefits Texas teachers. During the 2017 regular session, TCTA made a number of important, teacher-friendly changes to bills that were passed and signed into law.

SB 1566 (Kolkhorst/K. King) — TCTA initiated a bill (filed as HB 3318 by Rep. Lance Gooden) to require that Districts of Innovation post their current DOI plan on the district website, and, within 15 days of adoption, send a new or revised plan to TEA, which must promptly post the plan on the TEA website. The bill was eventually added as an amendment to SB 1566, which passed and was signed into law.

HB 22 (Huberty/L. Taylor) — ​TCTA successfully opposed an objectionable teacher quality indicator (allowing for up to 25 percent of indicator to be based on student performance on state assessments) in this accountability legislation.  We also worked to ensure that harmful provisions providing continuous funding to the commissioner for vaguely defined high-quality educational programs were removed from the bill.

HB 674 (Johnson/Garcia) — ​TCTA was successful in persuading the bill’s author to include the school campus behavior coordinator (in current law due to previous TCTA-initiated legislation), in a school district positive behavior program, and to make annual staff training on the program permissive rather than mandatory.

​HB 1553 (Lozano/Hinojosa) — ​TCTA worked to ensure that harmful provisions providing continuous funding to the commissioner for vaguely defined high-quality educational programs were removed from the bill.

HB 3349 (Gervin-Hawkins/V. Taylor) — ​TCTA’s efforts ensured that the required number of hours of classroom instruction in a new abbreviated educator preparation program for a trade/industrial certification candidate was increased from 25-50 to 80.

SB 7 (Bettencourt/K. King) — In this major legislation regarding educator misconduct, TCTA’s advocacy ensured that district policies must allow school employees to keep personal phone numbers and email addresses confidential. Our efforts also ensured that any confidential evaluatory documents released to TEA can only be used for purposes of an investigation, and those documents must remain confidential unless produced in accordance with evidentiary rules for a contested case.

SB 179 (Menendez/Minjarez) — ​TCTA worked with the authors of “David’s Law” to ensure that teachers and school employees are immune from liability for reporting bullying, or reporting student conduct which may constitute assault or harassment.  

SB 1398 (Lucio Jr./S. Thompson) — ​TCTA was successful in persuading the bill author to eliminate language that would have allowed a classroom video recording believed to document a possible violation of school procedures to be used as part of a disciplinary action against district/school personnel.

SB 1839 (Hughes/Koop) — ​TCTA was successful in ensuring that current law allowing certification reciprocity for out-of-state teachers only if they had passed a certification test similar to, and at least as rigorous as, the relevant Texas certification exam, was not eliminated. TCTA’s efforts also ensured that provisions allowing three of the five field supervision visits to be conducted via electronic transmission were limited to candidates for certification other than classroom teachers. And finally, TCTA worked to ensure that current requirements for field-based experience regarding active engagement instructional/educational activities remained in place and that new provisions allowing substitute teachers to count prior experience toward required field-based experience hours were limited to long-term substitutes only.

SB 1882 (Menendez/Koop) — ​TCTA successfully advocated for including higher performance standards for charter schools with whom school districts may contract for operation of a campus, to require that the charter school had acceptable performance for at least the three preceding years prior to the contract. TCTA also ensured that students zoned for a campus run by a charter school, per the contract, would have priority admission for enrollment at the campus so that they would not be displaced from their neighborhood schools. We also advocated for campus personnel to be consulted prior to the district entering into the contract, and that current employee contracts would not be affected by the district entering into a contract with an open-enrollment charter school.

In addition to these specific accomplishments, TCTA’s continued opposition to harmful legislation helped fight off numerous bad bills, notably including vouchers and the elimination of payroll deduction; and helped to obtain an improved final bill restructuring TRS-Care.