Gov. Greg Abbott has taken action on all bills passed by the legislature in the 2017 session. The governor vetoed 50 bills, including four education-related bills.

HB 61 included provisions relating to the accountability system and to the placement of video cameras in special education classrooms.

Abbott’s statement: I have signed House Bill 22, which reforms our public school accountability system to provide additional transparency on school performance. Multiple provisions of House Bill 61 are based on the existing accountability system, which was overhauled by House Bill 22. Additionally, parts of House Bill 61 regarding the use of video cameras in special education classrooms are already adequately addressed by Senate Bill 1398, which I have signed.

SB 196 required schools without a full-time counselor, nurse or librarian assigned for more than 30 consecutive days to provide written notice to parents.

Abbott’s statement: Our public schools should be focused on educating students in the classroom. Senate Bill 196 detracts from that focus and imposes a needless regulatory mandate on schools. 

HB 1342 expanded current law that requires child abuse antivictimization programs to add annual training for students designed to promote self-protection and prevent sexual abuse and trafficking.

Abbott’s statement: I have signed Senate Bill 2039, which directs the Texas Education Agency to develop an optional curriculum regarding sexual abuse prevention for use by school districts. While both Senate Bill 2039 and House Bill 1342 seek to achieve a good purpose, Senate Bill 2039 does so in a more suitable way. By recognizing both the importance of this topic and the right of parents to opt their children out of the instruction, Senate Bill 2039 strikes the correct balance.  House Bill 1342 was well-intentioned, but it lacked a provision for parental opt-out. This is inconsistent with the longstanding rule in Texas schools that parents can remove their child from “any part of the district's human sexuality instruction.”  Tex. Educ. Code § 28.004(i).

HB 1500 included several changes to the accountability system.

Abbott’s statement: In 2015, the Texas Legislature prioritized parental engagement and increased transparency by developing an A through F grading system for school districts and campuses. House Bill 22, which I have signed, makes positive changes to the existing A through F system. House Bill 22 ensures students, parents, and taxpayers know how well our schools are doing.  It also aligns the new grading system with Texas’ sanction and intervention strategies.  House Bill 1500 is based on the existing grading system and conflicts with House Bill 22.