One week to go
The 30 days allowed for the third special session will run out on October 19, so just one week (or less) remains. If lawmakers are not able to adopt new maps for the districts for the SBOE, Congress, Texas Senate, and Texas House, then they could be back for more fun in a fourth special session rather than kicking off their re-election campaigns.

At this time, all the maps seem to be making steady progress through the legislative process and it seems likely things will conclude in time (but this is the Texas Legislature we're talking about, so things can always get interesting!).

We've updated details on the Bills on the Move - 3rd Special Session if you would like to track progress on the bills for all the topics on the Governor's call for the session.

Here are the details you need to know about bills that may impact public education in some form or fashion:

Property Taxes
The Texas Senate passed SB 1 (Bettencourt/Meyer) and the House Ways & Means Committee advanced the bill yesterday. The Senate version of SB 1 would provide additional temporary property tax rate compression of about 6 cents during tax year 2022. It would also prohibit districts from conducting VATR elections in 2022. The House version of this bill is quite different. The House version SB 1 does not affect school property taxes at all, but rather provides payments directly to homeowners. The comptroller would be directed to use $3 billion of funding allocated to Texas under the American Rescue Plan to send payments to homeowners based on the number of homesteads. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas) indicated that these payments would be roughly $535 per homestead. The bill also creates a joint interim committee to study property tax relief.

We expect SB 1 to be scheduled for consideration by the House in the coming days, and then it becomes a matter of whether the House or Senate version of the bill will prevail.

The House Ways & Means Committee also advanced HB 90 (Oliverson), which would require the Comptroller to deposit 90% of and General Revenue surplus into the property tax relief fund. TEA would then be required to use this revenue to reduce M&O tax rates on an annual basis. This process would begin in the 2024-2025 biennium. HB 90 is also expected to be scheduled for consideration by the full House in the coming days.

UIL Athletics
HB 25 (Swanson) has been scheduled for consideration by the full House tomorrow, Thursday, October 14. That bill would both require that participants in UIL athletic competitions compete according to their sex at birth. As it stands, SB 3 (Perry) has passed the Senate and was referred to the House Public Education Committee where a hearing was not granted. When HB 25 is heard, SB 3 could be substituted in its place for passage, making the bill much closer to final passage before the deadline.

Several appropriations bills are moving through the process to spend and direct spending from the federal funds received under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The section impacting public schools is the $286 million appropriated for TRS-Care/TRSActiveCare to provide funding for coronavirus-related claims so that premiums for TRS-Care and TRSActiveCare insurance policies not increase as a result of coronavirus-related claims. At this time, SB 8 (Nelson/Bonnen) is the bill that is the furthest along in the process as it has been passed by the Senate and given favorable consideration from the House Appropriations Committee. We expect it to be scheduled for consideration by the full House soon.
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