Better Tools for Law Enforcement; Ending DEI & Tenure; Ten Commandments & More

April 23, 2023

SB 1852: Better Equipping Law Enforcement

Texas is home to the gold-standard Active Shooter Training in the country – The Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training – commonly referred to as ALERRT.

Since 2002, ALERRT has been awarded more than $126 million in state and federal grant funding and has trained more than 248,000 law enforcement, fire, EMS, and emergency management officials nationwide.

SB 1852 will make ALERRT part of the minimum curriculum requirements for peace officers.  Upon this bill becoming law, officers will be required by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement to complete a training program on responding to an active shooter as developed by the ALERRT Center.

SB 1403 – Interstate Border Security Compact: Another Tool in the Border Security Effort

The Texas Senate has passed SB 1403, an interstate border security compact that does not rely on congressional approval. An interstate compact for border enforcement would equip Texas and other participating states with the resources needed to address the shortcomings of existing federal border policy. Allowing states to share enforcement resources, intelligence, and assistance in creating and maintaining defensive border structures would strengthen states’ capabilities to address, manage, and overcome the continuing security crisis at our southern border.

Restoring Posting of Ten Commandments in Classrooms

SB 1515 is about restoring religious liberties that have been lost, liberties that were a bedrock of America’s founding until a 1971 court decision which rolled them back.  America regularly acknowledged the role that fundamental religious documents and principles had in American heritage and law. One of the most recognized set of foundational principles were the Ten Commandments, which were displayed in public buildings across the United States, including in schools, government buildings, and courthouses—including the U.S. Supreme Court building.

For the last several decades, however, expression of that heritage has been restricted, especially after a 1980 Supreme Court decision which struck down Kentucky’s law requiring the Ten Commandments to be displayed in public schools.  Now, after recent court decisions, the legal landscape has changed, and it is time to reassert the historical tradition of recognizing America’s heritage.  Through this legislation, Texas students will once again be reminded of a fundamental foundation of American and Texas law: the Ten Commandments.  This bill that I authored passed the Texas Senate this week.

SB 18 – Eliminating Faculty Tenure at Public Universities

Tenure provides a lifetime contract between a professor and an institution. Once granted, an educator can only be terminated for a justifiable cause or under extreme circumstances, such as program discontinuation or severe financial restraints.

Tenure was originally intended to protect academic freedom and recruit professors, however over the years, the practice has devolved into a costly perk that is detrimental to innovative research and quality instruction.  At a time when colleges and universities have unprecedented endowments, bloated administrative costs and ballooning tuition, we must reevaluate an outdated practice that guarantees lifetime employment at taxpayer expense.  Additionally, we have all heard the stories of indoctrination and liberal worldviews of professors who promote their agenda in the classroom.  With tenure, they are immune from fear of consequences.

SB 18 eliminates the costly, unnecessary and antiquated burden of tenure by eliminating tenure for faculty at public colleges and universities in Texas. This bill would apply to newly hired professors only.  It would then call for each institution to set up a system of tiered employment for faculty members and faculty would receive a yearly evaluation.  

SB 17 – Banning Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Programs in Public Universities

The push for the so-called “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” philosophy is a perfect example of the liberal “woke” agenda that has increasingly permeated government, corporations, schools and universities.  In Texas, we are fighting back to ensure that we implement systems based on merit and achievement, not ideological agendas which create division and intolerance. 

Last week, we passed SB 17, Senate Bill 17 will prohibit institutions of higher education in the state from promoting or creating DEI programs. The use of diversity statements on applications would be banned, and mandatory DEI training would be scrapped. Research shows these programs have not been successful in the goal of hiring more minority employees.

During testimony and debate on the senate floor, we heard examples such as one of our statewide universities using a job applicant’s commitment to DEI as a factor in hiring.  As Governor Abbott made clear in a February letter to all university systems, practices such as this violate state and federal law.

Reminder:  Vote in Your Local Elections

Across the eight counties of Senate District 10, elections for local school boards, community colleges, and city council and mayors are upon us.  Early voting in most of these elections begins on Monday, April 24. Election Day is Saturday, May 6.

There’s a saying regarding civic involvement: “Government belongs to those who show up.” Since so few people vote in these elections, those who do turn out have a significant impact in the outcome.  Make sure you research the candidates running and support those who represent your values and philosophy. 

Members of the Leadership Burleson Class of 2023 were in town last week. I enjoyed visiting with these current and future of leaders from one of the fastest growing areas in SD 10. This delegation also met with a Texas Supreme Court Justice and toured the Governor’s Mansion and the Texas State Cemetery.

I had the honor of meeting with students from Howard Payne University in Brownwood last week.

Parker County District Attorney Jeff Swain was in Austin last week.  We have been working together on proposed legislation, SB 1515. 

Last week on the Senate floor, preparing to lay out a bill to my fellow senators.