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2 Document(s) [ Subject: Freedom of speech ]

Committee: House Higher Education
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Distance education | Dual credit high school programs | Freedom of speech | Higher education | Higher Education Coordinating Board, Texas | Sex crimes | Sexual harassment | Student loans | Student transfers | Tuition revenue bonds | University finance |
Library Call Number: L1836.86 Ed84hh
Session: 86th R.S. (2019)
Online version: View report [96 pages  File size: 1,706 kb]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 86th Legislature. Conduct active oversight of all associated rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure intended legislative outcome of all legislation, including the following:
  • HB 449, HB 1735, and SB 212, which relate to sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking at public and private postsecondary educational institutions. Monitor the process by which institutions of higher education adopt policies on sexual assault prevention, victim outreach programs, and disciplinary hearings. Monitor rules and regulations at the federal level that could necessitate changes to state law.
  • HB 1638, 85th Legislature, Regular Session, which relates to statewide goals for dual credit programs. Review best practices for providing opportunities to high school students to earn college credit while ensuring that courses taken reflect authentic, college-level rigor.
  • SB 18, which relates to the protection of expressive activities at public institutions of higher education. Monitor the process by which institutions of higher education implement policies to protect the expressive rights of persons guaranteed by the constitutions of the United States and of this state.
  • SB 25, which relates to measures to facilitate the transfer, academic progress, and timely graduation of students in public higher education. Monitor the process by which the Higher Education Coordinating Board adopts rules via negotiated rulemaking. Monitor the progress of institutions developing recommended course sequences and the progress of the feasibility study to implement statewide meta majors.
  • SB 16, which relates to a student loan repayment assistance program for peace officers. Monitor the process by which the Higher Education Coordinating Board implements the loan repayment program and administers the grants to eligible peace officers.
2. Evaluate current and future capital infrastructure needs at Texas public universities, health-related institutions, and Texas State Technical Colleges in preparation for potential legislation to be considered by the 87th Legislature. Identify and evaluate alternatives to tuition revenue bonds for the State’s funding of higher education capital infrastructure needs, including options for addressing deferred maintenance needs at aging campuses.
3. Review progress toward the goals of the 60X30TX plan, including institutional strategies for responding to diverse and rapidly changing workforce needs and demands, including workforce education, industry certification, and degree programs to address healthcare shortages. Specifically review community colleges’ capacity to meet the goals of 60X30TX, including a review of taxing districts and service areas versus geographic areas of need. Review the Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative's work-based learning, industry-aligned internships, and industry credential initiatives. Consider whether legislative action may be needed to expand work-based learning and recruitment efforts for adults who have previously completed some college level coursework.
4. Study the prevalence of online courses and degrees in higher education. Examine how institutions providing online courses and programs are accredited, particularly courses and programs originating from states other than Texas. Evaluate how students whose courses and degrees are primarily online perform in terms of persistence and degree completion versus students who take courses in traditional classroom settings. Study labor market outcomes for students with primarily online courses and degrees versus more traditional programs.
5. Monitor the State Auditor's review of agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction. The Chair shall seek input and periodic briefings on completed audits for the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years and bring forth pertinent issues for full committee consideration.
Committee: Senate State Affairs
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Abortion | Attorney General of Texas | Court costs and fees | Emergency communications | Emergency management | Evacuation routes | Fees | Freedom of religion | Freedom of speech | Gun control | Higher education | Human trafficking | Natural disasters | Penalties and sentences (Criminal justice) | Price gouging | Public retirement systems | Theft |
Library Call Number: L1836.85 ST29a
Session: 85th R.S. (2017)
Online version: View report [71 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Review the interaction between federal, state, and local agencies in charge of responding to natural disasters. Examine emergency situation operations, including evacuation routes and procedures, and the efficient use of Disaster Recovery Centers. Make recommendations to ensure emergency management officials have the tools and authority necessary to promptly and appropriately respond to disaster areas and alert citizens to potential threats.
2. Study and make recommendations on the benefit of the state maintaining a single, web-based source of comprehensive information that outlines the State Emergency Operations during times of disaster.
3. Review the Attorney General's efforts related to price-gouging and identify existing issues with current law, if any, that could be remedied to further protect Texans during times of disaster.
4. Review laws related to looting crimes. Examine whether current penalties and enhancements are sufficient to deter looting crimes during a disaster.
5. Second Amendment: Review local ordinances imposed on sellers and venues that affect a person's rights under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Examine state and local regulations and restrictions regarding the carrying of weapons during a natural disaster. Make recommendations on whether any legislation is needed to address the regulatory barriers to the full exercise of the Second Amendment rights of citizens.
6. Pensions: Examine and assess public pension systems in Texas. Specifically, review and assess (1) the different types of retirement plans; (2) the actuarial assumptions used by retirement systems to value their liabilities and the consequences of amending those assumptions; (3) retirement systems' investment practices and performance; and (4) the adequacy of financial disclosures including asset returns and fees. Make recommendations to ensure public pension system retirees' benefits are preserved and protected.
7. Attorney General Jurisdiction: Examine the Attorney General's jurisdiction on issues of alleged violations of state laws regarding abortion and multi -jurisdictional human trafficking cases. Make recommendations to ensure uniform enforcement across the state.
8. Court Fees: Examine the structure of court fees and make recommendations to ensure statutory filing fees and court costs are appropriate and justified. Provide reeommendations for proper agency oversight of fee collection.
9. Campus Free Speech: Ascertain any restrictions on Freedom of Speech rights that Texas students face in expressing their views on campus along with freedoms of the press, religion, and assembly. Recommend policy changes that protect First Amendment rights and enhance the free speech environment on campus.
10. Religious Liberty: Monitor the implementation of legislation that protects citizens' religious freedoms, including Senate Bill 24 (sermon safeguard) and House Bill 555 (religious liberty of county clerks), and make recommendations for any legislation needed to ensure that citizens' religious freedoms are not eroded by local ordinances or state or federal law.
11. Monitoring: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on State Affairs, 85th Legislature, Regular Session, and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/ or complete implementation. Specifically, monitor the following: Implementation of Senate Bill 2190, relating to the public retirement systems of certain municipalities; • Implementation of House Bill 3158, relating to the retirement systems for and the provision of other benefits to police and firefighters in certain municipalities; • Implementation of House Bill 3976, relating to the administration of and benefits payable under the Texas Public School Retired Employees Group Benefits Act; and • Implementation of Senate Bill 16, relating to decreasing the fee for the issuance of a license to carry a handgun.

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