Texas legislators file higher education bills for 2013


Today marks the first day of filing bills for the 83rd session of the Texas Legislature, and several bills related to higher education have already been filed.

Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, filed HB 25 calling for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s performance-based funding recommendations for universities. Branch is the chairman of Texas House of Higher Education Committee.

Branch’s HB 30 is related to transfer students’ facilitation within higher education system and increasing four-year graduation rates for students at public institutions.

Branch also filed HB 31 requiring governing boards of a state university of university system to make meeting materials available online at the earliest possible rate.

Champion of higher education Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, filed SB 27 to fund capital projects at public institutions of higher education through revenue bonds.

Zaffirini also filed SB 27 related to eligibility for the Texas B-On-Time Loan Program, a loan-forgiveness program for low-income students. Zaffirini authored the legislation that created the program and has fought to maintain it despite recommendations to do away with the program. The text of the bill is not available.

SB 46, also filed by Zaffirini, relates to exempting college textbooks purchases from sales and use tax for limited periods of time.

Zaffirini’s SB 31 is related to formula funding for semester credit hours that help students earn dual course credit. The text of the bill is not available.

Zaffirini sits on the Senate Committee of Higher Education and previously served as committee chair.

HB 66, filed by Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-San Benito, would establish a pilot program for high school students to earn prepaid tuition at public institutions through community service.

Also filed by Lucio III, HB 67 is related to the establishment of a UT System law school in the Rio Grande Valley.

Legislators will fill the Capitol for the 83rd Legislative session on Jan. 6.