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The House Public Education Committee will meet at 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 4, to hear testimony on the following bills. All but two are bills passed by the full Senate.

HB 1411 Gates | et al.
It would allow funds from a district’s transportation allotment to be used to fund the transport of CTE students from a school bus stop to a campus as well as from a school bus stop to a location where students are provided work-based learning. Additionally, the bill would permit a district to use funds from its transportation allotment to provide prepaid fuel cards to students who are eligible to use the district’s transportation system, but find the system is not feasible for their transportation needs, including for transportation to a location where the students receive work-based learning. The bill would also permit the commissioner to provide procedures that permit districts to provide cards for another transportation system or prepaid fuel cards.

HB 4064 Meza
It would expand the existing bullying prevention policies and procedures to include harassment prevention policies. Harassment is defined to include threatening to cause harm or bodily injury to another student, engaging in sexually intimidating conduct, causing physical damage to the property of another student, subjecting another student to physical confinement or restraint, or maliciously taking any action that substantially harms another student’s physical or emotional health or safety. The bill also specifies conduct that constitutes bullying or harassment to include conduct that occurs due to another student’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, ethnicity or religion, a distinguishing characteristic of another student; or a student’s association with a person or group with one or more actual or perceived characteristics. The bill also adds requirements to any bullying or harassment prevention policies to specify that no remedial action may be taken solely on the basis of an anonymous report of an incident. Plans must also: distinguish various responses to reported incidents; encourage positive and preventative approaches to discipline for bullying or harassment that minimize a student’s removal from the classroom; require that a school district employee be designated to serve as a primary contact regarding the policies and procedures for bullying and harassment prevention, etc. The bill also requires that TEA develop model guidance for bullying and harassment. This includes TEA hiring a safe school specialist to identify evidence-based training resources and providing additional technical assistance for policy implementation. Requires TEA to conduct an investigation and issue a report for any school district that TEA determines is out of compliance.

SB 226 Paxton
It would add training in “virtual learning” and “virtual instruction” to the existing requirements for teaching certificates for teachers. Language in the bill describes that training must cover the “best practices” in assessing students receiving virtual instruction based on academic progress and developing a virtual learning curriculum.

SB 347 Paxton | et al.
As filed, it would expand the definition of a “governmental body,” for the purposes of the open meetings act and public information act, to include local school health advisory councils.

SB 462 Lucio | et al.
As engrossed, it would permit a district to use funds from their transportation allotment to transport meals or instructions materials, and would allow that the district be reimbursed on a per-mile basis for transporting a meal or instructional materials to a student’s residence or other location designated by the district for the duration of a declared disaster.

SB 797 Hughes
As engrossed, it would require public elementary schools, secondary schools, and institutions of higher education to display a poster or framed copy of the United States national motto, “In God We Trust.” The poster must be donated for display or purchased from private donations. The poster/framed copy must have the U.S. flag as well as the state flag only.

SB 1063 Alvarado | et al.
As engrossed, it would require that of the three credits in social studies required by the TEKS, at least one half credit come from economics or personal financial literacy and economics. It would also require the SBOE to ensure that a personal financial literacy and economics course allocate two-thirds of the instruction time to instruction in personal financial literacy and one-third of instruction time to instruction in economics.

SB 1522 Taylor | et al.
As engrossed, it would limit the amount of adjustment for amount of instructional days to the equivalent of one school year. The adjustment may be divided by the commissioner between two consecutive school years.

Watch the hearing.