Ethics Reform, School Finance Update and Ban on Sanctuary Cities

March 18, 2017

Ethics Reform Legislation

Our republican form of government is founded on the principle that public servants represent the interests of their constituents, serving as their voice in government. To that end, the Texas House has laid out an impressive ethics reform package to advance public trust in our elected bodies.

For more information about each bill in the House legislative package, click the following links: HB 500, HB 501, HB 502, HB 503, HB 504 and HB 505.
School Finance Update

Last week the House Committee on Public Education began hearings on HB 21. Although the Texas Supreme Court ruled last year that our school finance system is constitutional, structural flaws remain in the system. The House is committed to serious improvements in school finance. It is a very complicated issue but I am encouraged to see serious discussion and time spent on improving the system for both our students and taxpayers. This proposed legislation would provide an additional $1.6 billion for our public schools, providing more per-pupil funding for 95 percent of school districts. It would also begin to fix the flaws that make the current system inequitable by distributing education dollars more appropriately across the state.Money alone is not the solution to the struggles faced in public education. But HB 21 is a strong step toward reforming school funding. There is still a very long way to go in the process but I am hopeful we will soon make substantive progress for our 5 million Texas students.

Sanctuary Cities

This week the House Committee on State Affairs heard SB 4 which would outlaw sanctuary cities. A ‚Äúsanctuary” city is the common term for local governments that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities in the enforcement of immigration law. Over 600 witnesses signed up to testify with the hearing going until after midnight. Banning sanctuary cities is on the list of emergency items declared by Governor Greg Abbott and we expect this legislation to be signed into law sometime in May.