The Senate Education Committee had a long agenda for its Friday meeting, which could be its last of the session (though there is still a small amount of time before a key Senate deadline next week will cut off committee hearings). House bills not heard after this meeting may have a hard time reaching the Senate floor.

Among the bills heard Friday morning:

  • HB 2022 by Rep. Drew Darby would provide certain Medicare-eligible retirees who opted out of TRS-Care after major changes were made to that program in 2017 with an open enrollment period that would allow them to opt back into to TRS-Care.
  • HB 3298 by Rep. Steve Allison would require TEA to create a computer science strategic advisory committee with the aim of increasing the number of certified computer science teachers and increasing the number of students enrolling in computer science courses.
  • HB 1504 by Rep. Christina Morales would add one credit in ethnic studies, including Mexican American studies and African American studies, as an alternative to world geography or world history that may fulfil one of the three required credits in social studies.
  • HB 3889 by Rep. Penny Morales Shaw would prohibit TEA from requiring educationally disadvantaged students to pay any fees or costs for a program that provides internet access to public schools.

A few major bills, including some described in this post are scheduled to be heard later Friday – these include:

  • HB 332 by Rep. James Talarico, which would authorize the use of compensatory education funds to provide programs that build skills related to managing emotions, establishing and maintaining positive relationships, and making responsible decisions.
  • HB 1468 by Rep. Keith Bell, which provides for school districts and open-enrollment charter schools to develop virtual education programs outside of the virtual school network.
  • HB 2256 by Rep. Bobby Guerra, which creates a bilingual special education certification to teach students of limited English proficiency with disabilities.
  • HB 4465 by Rep. Harold Dutton, which requires the commissioner to create a grant program to expend CRRSA federal funds to overcome the educational impact that occurs as the result of a state of disaster. The commissioner would have full autonomy to implement this grant program with the decisions made being final and non-appealable.
  • HB 4545 by Rep. Dutton describes the accelerated instruction that students must receive if they fail certain STAAR exams, and creates the strong foundations grant program.