Tenure is Safe
The tenure bill (SB 18) was passed by both the House and the Senate. The final version solidifies tenure in Texas, and how tenure is awarded should basically remain the same. However, the bill allows state lawmakers to make future changes, rather than the university systems. For a final version of this bill, see here.
$3 Billion Added to University Research Funding
Through HB 1595, the state approved $3 billion for additional research funds to other colleges and universities across the state outside the University of Texas and Texas A&M University systems. TACT has been lobbying many years for this and are pleased to see this finally come to fruition.
DEI Offices and Initiatives are Forced to Close
Both the House and the Senate voted in favor of the DEI Bill (SB 17), which closes all DEI offices, training and programs. The final draft instructs the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to conduct a study to determine how this legislation affects enrollment, retention and graduation rates by ethnicity and sex. Click here to see a final version of this bill.
Special Session Called
Governor Abbott called a special session, beginning at 9PM on Memorial Day. Special sessions can run up to 30 days, meaning this will end no later than June 27.
The governor indicated he plans to have a series of sessions with limited calls to focus on his various priorities. This session, the call will include property tax relief and human trafficking. Though we don’t expect higher education-related issues to be addressed, committees may meet whether or not their subject matter is related to the call, and even hear bills. Bills may be filed by members on any subject. Such bills die when they go to the floor and are reviewed by the parliamentarian for their germaneness to the call. It's not uncommon for such bills to be filed, and in unusual instances seen them heard.
Even though higher education is not in the Governor’s focus, he can add subjects to the call at any point during a special session. Lt Governor Patrick has already signaled his desire to revisit SB 16 (CRT bill) in a letter to the governor.