Urgent Legislative Updates

Yesterday was a big day for TACT issues in committees.

Senate Higher Education passed SB 67, a bill that would provide paid leave to faculty who are victims of assault.  TACT registered in favor of this legislation.

Senate Finance received a report from the Legislative Budget Board staff about the base bill funding of Optional Retirement Program and Teacher Retirement System.  Budgeted appropriations levels have been dropped to the constitutional minimum of six percent of salary.  TACT expressed opposition to the reduced funding.

Pics from the TACT Spring Conference

Check out these pics from the TACT Spring Conference and Legislative Visits!

TACT Spring Conference

The 82nd Legislative Session has just begun, and everyone is already buzzing about the proposed budget cuts for the upcoming biennium.  Texas Higher Education will be receiving the largest cuts across the board.  The TEXAS Grant Scholarship fund will be reduced by 41% while higher education’s general fund will be cut by at least 7.6%, a total of $1.7 billion.  This does not include the reduced contribution to the Teacher Retirement System and Optional Retirement Plan.  So what can you do to ensure that your concerns are heard by your elected officials?

TACT Executive Director in Austin American-Statesman

Below is TACT Executive Director Chuck Hempstead’s letter to the editor published in today’s Austin American-Statesman, regarding the article sent to you on January 10.  Please view the letter below, and feel free to contact us with any thoughts.

“Re: Jan. 10 article "Pressure building to boost graduation rates, cut budgets."

Incentive funding for Texas higher education is when then-state Sen. Bill Ratliff rewarded universities for deploying career, tenured professors, rather than less expensive alternatives, in undergraduate classrooms.  Incentive funding is the Legislature providing additional scholarships to students who cannot afford escalating tuition without it.   

Incentive funding is not to create unfunded mandates while carving a larger slice from a diminishing appropriations pie and blindly wishing that if only the faculty worked harder, all other graduation rate variables will recede and we'll find ourselves with more, younger degree-holders.

Will corporate employment recruiters start asking, "How fast did you graduate to make room for someone else?" Or will they stick with, "What do you know that you can contribute?"

New Service for Members

In order for TACT Members to follow all of the twists and turns with what is expected to be an exciting legislative session, we have included a “Legislative Tracker” on the TACT website. It can be found here. It contains a list of bills that TACT is currently following, as well as a link to all the information about the bill, including the complete text, history, and current status in the Legislature.

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