First Alerts

3/14/2017 First Alert

For years, TACT has used the Hazlewood Act as an example of a legislative unfunded mandate to universities that should be fully funded or reformed to limit the costs. If unchecked, various growth estimates have projected future costs at hundreds of millions of dollars.

On Thursday, Texas House Higher Education Chair JM Lozano filed HB 3766 to rein in the costs currently absorbed by universities to provide free education to the children of veterans. While the details are being debated, the bill does three things:

TACT Leaders Advocate for Faculty and Higher Education

TACT Board Members spent last Friday visiting elected officials and their staff members pushing for issues deemed most important by faculty last year in the TACT Issues Survey. Discussions ranged from unfunded mandates (Hazlewood Act) to public education funding to the Senate Finance Bill deleting $1 Billion in Special Item appropriations.

Faculty Must Insist on Higher Education Quality

We live in a world of quantitative goal achievement – and the current Texas Legislature is no different. Many bills have been filed to help “hit your numbers” – but at what cost? What used to be called “butts in seats” is giving way to “feet on stage” (graduation).

Legislative Day & Spring Board Meeting, March 3rd

With several critical issues looming this Legislative Session including a faculty hiring freeze and elimination of $1 billion in “special item” funding, this Legislative Day takes on added significance. We have thus far secured meeting times with the Senate Committee on Higher Education, Senate Committee on State Affairs and the House Committee on Appropriations. Should you desire, we will also schedule a meeting with your own district representative.

Faculty Hiring Freeze Announced by Governor

According to the February 1st Austin American-Statesman newspaper, Governor Abbott announced yesterday a freeze on new faculty hiring through August if the funds are from state appropriations. There may be some wiggle room for administrators to shift funds or request a waiver from the Governor’s Office. Additionally, the Governor asked the Legislature for full funding of the Governor’s University Research Initiative which pays one-time expenses of setting up facilities for new researchers.