Cy-Fair Edition | March 2023


News from the 88th legislative session


Gov. Abbott prioritizes school choice, border security

NUMBER TO KNOW $57.5 million This is how much state senators have allocated in the draft 2024-25 biennium budget for anti-human tracking eorts, including victims services, mental health treatment for survivors and law enforcement training. “THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE OF A BALANCE BETWEEN THE STATE REQUIREMENTS AND MANDATES WITH THE FUNDING THAT IS PROVIDED TO SCHOOL DISTRICTS.” CYFAIR ISD CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER KAREN SMITH ON CHALLENGES WITH THE WAY TEXAS FUNDS PUBLIC SCHOOLS



Gov. Greg Abbott outlined his priorities for the current legislative session during his biennial State of the State address Feb. 16. “This session, we will ensure Texas remains the leader of this nation as an uninching force in this world,” Abbott said. “Together, we will build a Texas for the next generation—the Texas of tomorrow.” Abbott unveiled seven emergency items, which lawmakers can vote on immediately. Lawmakers typically cannot vote on or pass legislation until the 60th day of the session— March 10. The governor’s emergency items, or top priorities, for the 88th Texas Legislature are cutting property taxes, ending COVID-19 restrictions “forever,” expanding school choice, making schools safer, tightening bail requirements, increasing border secu- rity and tackling the fentanyl crisis. As Texas lawmakers create the

Lawmakers can act on Gov. Greg Abbott’s seven emergency items as of mid- February, while they must wait until March 10 to pass unrelated legislation. Cutting property taxes Ending COVID-19 restrictions Expanding school choice Making schools safer Tightening bail requirements Increasing border security Tackling the fentanyl crisis


state’s budget for 2024-25, they have access to an unprecedented $188.2 bil- lion—including a $32.7 billion surplus. According to Comptroller Glenn Hegar, this is largely due to high sales tax revenue, spikes in energy prices and recent economic growth. A large surplus means a large property tax cut, Abbott said, telling the audience “that money belongs to the taxpayers.” Another priority for Abbott is giving Texas parents more power to choose where their children go to school. This can be achieved through the imple- mentation of state-funded Education

Anti-human tracking eort aims to raise recognition, reporting crossings and other issues. In his related seventh emergency item, Abbott spoke about addressing the spread of fentanyl in Texas and the United States, which he said is caused by Mexican drug cartels who illegally smuggle the opioid into Texas and create counterfeit pills. Savings Accounts, he explained. “To be clear, under this school choice program, all public schools will be fully funded for every student,” Abbott said. On the topic of the Texas-Mexico border, Abbott blamed President Joe Biden for recent increases in border


MIKE SCHOFIELD Katy Republican Elected: 2021

Democrats propose $15K pay raises for teachers

House Bill 2450 would prevent homeowner’s associations from regulating residents’ speech. If passed, this bill would also ensure residents could peacefully assemble at property owned or maintained by the homeowner’s association. Invited guest speakers, including public ocials, would also be permitted to speak to homeowner’s association members or residents without prior approval by the homeowner’s association.


EDUCATOR PAY RAISE Under House Bill 1548, lawmakers would propose a:

One proposed bill by Texas Dem- ocrats aims to increase teacher pay after 11.6% of teachers—over 42,000— left their jobs at public schools ahead of the 2021-22 school year, according to the Texas Education Agency. State Rep. James Talarico, DRound Rock, led House Bill 1548, which would raise teacher salaries by $15,000 and increase pay for school support sta by 25%. This would bring the minimum annual salary for Texas teachers to $48,660. During the 2022-23 school year, classroom teachers, full-time librarians, counselors and registered nurses with less than one year of expe- rience must receive at least $33,660 per year, according to the TEA. Under the bill, the average teacher salary would be $73,887, making Texas the seventh-best state for teacher pay, Democrats said. According to the National Education Association, Texas now ranks 28th. “In Texas, it’s go big or go home. And it’s time, at this moment, to go big on teacher pay,” Talarico said. Before becoming a lawmaker,


State and community leaders relaunched the “Can You See Me?” human tracking campaign Jan. 26 aimed at spreading awareness of the signs of tracking and how to report suspicious activity. About 300 billboards will be displayed in over 70 Texas cities with information about the cam- paign and hotlines to call to report possible human tracking. “These victims are not invisible if we learn to look for the signs and if we learn how to report suspected abuse, exploitation and tracking,” said Texas rst lady Cecilia Abbott, who led the campaign’s relaunch. The state’s initial budget in Senate Bill 1 includes $57.5 million for anti-human tracking eorts, including victims services, mental health treatment for survivors and law enforcement training, Sen. Joan Human, RHouston, said.

Talarico taught language arts in San Antonio. “I struggled to make ends meet, and my co-workers at Rhodes Middle School drove Ubers at night and sold their own blood plasma to make extra money,” Talarico said. “Now, 40% of Texas teachers work a second job just to pay the bills.” Texas educates approximately 10% of the nation’s students, but many districts have lost up to one-third of their teachers in recent years, accord- ing to Austin ISD Board President Arati Singh. $15,000 teacher salary increase 25% increase in pay for school support sta $48,660 minimum teacher salary, up from $33,660 $73,887 average teacher salary SOURCE: TEXAS LEGISLATURE ONLINE COMMUNITY IMPACT

PENNY MORALES SHAW Houston Democrat Elected: 2021

House Bill 1806 would amend the Texas Labor Code. Under this amendment, employers discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression would be illegal. Currently, discrimination on the basis of race, color, disability, religion, sex, national origin or age is already illegal in the workplace. Sign up for our newsletter at for daily updates throughout the session. SUBSCRIBE TODAY



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