More than 900 bills were filed Friday, as lawmakers scrambled to get their final pieces of legislation submitted before the 6 p.m. filing deadline.
In total, over 6,300 bills were filed this legislative session, roughly 300 more than in 2013's session. Approximately 350 of the filed bills are related to higher education.
Rep. Zerwas (R-Richmond) , chair of the House Higher Education Committee, said in interview with the Texan last week it is normal for there to be an influx in the number of bills filed as the deadline approaches.
“The deadline always brings a flurry of activity,” Zerwas said. “There are interest groups out there that realize, all of the sudden, that they don’t have anything and they come in desperately asking to get something in.”
Below are some of the 928 bills filed Friday.
HB 3670: Rep Naishtat’s (D-Austin) bill establishes a rule requiring environmental fee programs, like UT’s Green Fee, renewable after the fifth year of implantation if students vote for the extension in general student body election. At UT, $5 from each student’s tuition and fees is put toward environmental initiatives and research projects around campus, each long semester. The fee is $2.50 during the summer semesters.
HB 3853: The bill, filed by Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas), would abolish the Texas emergency technology fund to support research initiatives at state universities, an idea first proposed by Governor Greg Abbott. The funds would be controlled by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating and used to recruit esteemed researchers and Nobel Laureates to work at state schools in science, technology and math related fields.
SB 1750 and HB 2365: Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) and Rep. Jim Murphy (R-Houston) filed identical bills in the house and senate regarding work-study programs for higher education institutions. Work-study programs allow students to pay for tuition by working at their university or college. West and Murphy’s bills would give students off campus work-study options. The bill mandates that 50 percent of a higher education institutions work-study options be located off campus.
SB 1735: Representative Brian Birdwell (R-Grandbury), Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), Hall and Kel Seliger(R-Amarillo) authored a bill that would create Texas residency requirements for military tuition exemptions. If passed, the bill would require that any military personnel or their dependents, looking to receive tuitions exemption at state schools, establish Texas residency to receive exemptions. Certain military personal and their dependents must establish domicile status by residing in Texas for eight years, or have been born in Texas, to receive the exemption.
Other bills to note:
HB 3785 and SB 1839: A marijuana proposition was filed by Rep. Marisa Márquez (D- El Paso) and Sen. José Menéndez. The bill would allow Texans to carry up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis for medical purposes.
HB 3301: If passed, Rep. Eddie Rodriguez’s (D-Austin) bill would grant qualifying undocumented citizens would be provided “state citizenship” and issued a state identification card and number. The card would work as a drivers licenses and most other state issued licenses.
HB 3669: Rep. Terry Canales (D-Edinburg) filed a bill that, if passed, would allow convenience stores and grocery stores to open and sell alcohol between 7 a.m. and noon on Sundays. Currently in Texas, the sale of alcohol at these locations is not permitted before noon.
HB 3831: Terry Canales (D-Edinburg) would like the legal drinking age for member of the armed force on active duty lowered to 18. If his bill passes, 18-year-old members of the armed forces would be held to the same laws as 21-year-old-citizens when it comes to the purchasing, ordering and handling of alcoholicbeverages.
HB 3839 and HJR 142: If passed, State Rep. Joe Deshotel (D-Port Arthur) would have Texans vote on the establishment of up to nine casinos in Texas.