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The House Public Education Committee met Tuesday, March 7, 2023, to hear testimony on four bills. A summary follows:

  • HB  621 was introduced by Rep. Matt Sheehan, who said his bill replaces two years of college with four years of military experience with the creation of a temporary educator certification for certain military members. He stated that he would want this opportunity for military veterans even if there was not a teacher shortage and noted there are 25 other states doing something similar. A representative for the Texas Coalition of Veterans Organizations testified in support of the bill. A representative for ATPE testified “on” the bill, sharing concerns that a teacher candidate would lack pedagogical training since they would not have to go through an alternative educator preparation program. The bill was left pending.
  • HB 131 was laid out by Rep. James Talarico on behalf of Rep. Andrew Murr. Talarico said the bill would allow excused absences for students to have a career investigation day. There was no public testimony on the bill. The bill was left pending.
  • HB 699 was introduced by Rep. James Frank, who said the intent of his bill was to follow up on his UIL home school participation legislation passed last session. He expressed concerns with a UIL rule that affected district classification status that the commissioner of education had vetoed and said HB 699 codifies that no classification changes can be made about home school participation in UIL. UIL Deputy Director Jamey Harrison testified “on” the bill. He clarified rule made by the UIL committee that applied a formula to determine whether to bump up district classification, and he said that the rule did not cause an automatic change in classification. The bill was left pending.
  • HB 768 was introduced by Rep. Alma Allen, who explained that certain employees (e.g., bus drivers and paraprofessionals) don’t get paid during state holidays. She said her bill would help these staff members receive pay during the holidays. TASBO Associate Executive Director of Policy and Research Dr. Amanda Brownson testified in opposition to the bill. Brownson said that her membership has two main concerns: The first concern is with the cost involved, and the second is that district staff might end up without personal days when they need them. Brownson expressed appreciation for Rep. Allen and her staff and said she looks forward to working on this legislation moving forward. The bill was left pending.