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The Senate Education Committee will meet at 9 a.m., Thursday, May 13, to hear testimony on the following bills:

HB 129 González, Mary | et al., SP: Zaffirini
Adds to the topics that should be covered under essential knowledge and skills related to “digital citizenship.” The definition of digital citizenship would include cyberbullying, as well as digital ethics, etiquette, safety, and security, including the identification of hate speech, racism, and discrimination. It would also include media literacy, including the ability to identify credible sources of information.

HB 159 González, Mary | et al., SP: Lucio
As filed, strengthens training for educators and principals in order to better serve and better educate students with disabilities. Requires that any training requirements for a certificate must require the individual demonstrate: 1. basic knowledge of disability categories under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and conditions that can be considered a disability under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and how these conditions and disabilities can affect student learning and development; 2. competence in the use of proactive instructional techniques; and 3. competence in the use of evidence-based inclusive instructional practices. The bill adds two additional criteria for educator preparation programs. To be eligible for approval or renewal of approval: 1. incorporate proactive instructional techniques throughout course work and across content area; 2. integrate inclusive practices for all students, including students with disabilities. Adds to language on principal certification to require that qualifications must emphasize the ability to create an inclusive school environment and foster parent involvement, as well as requiring knowledge of developing curriculum and instructional management for students with disabilities. Requires the board to include options that involve interaction with a diverse student population, including students with disabilities when they are proposing rules to provide options for field-based experience or internships required for certification. Requires that school districts, when designing staff development, use procedures that ensure training for for staff that incorporates proactive instructional planning techniques, integrates inclusive and evidence-based instructional practices for all students, including students with disabilities.

HB 189 Canales, SP: Lucio
Requires that open enrollment charter school governing bodies follow the same procedures as the board of trustees of a school district when making a severance payment to a superintendent or administrator upon early termination of his/her contract. This requires that the governing body report the terms of the severance payment to the commissioner of education. The commissioner is then required to reduce the open enrollment charter school’s Foundation School Program funds by the amount that the amount of the severance payment to the administrator exceeds an amount equal to one year’s salary and benefits under the administrator’s terminated contract.

HB 1080 Patterson | et al., SP: Nelson
As filed, requires that UIL ensure league rules do not exclude students enrolled in a school district or open enrollment charter school (or who otherwise receive public education services from a district or school) who receive outpatient mental health services from a mental health facility from eligibility for participation in league activity. School districts and charter schools would also be prohibited from adopting or enforcing policies that restrict participation in UIL activities for these same students. Finally, the commissioner is required to adopt rules that ensure students who receive mental health services have reasonable opportunities to participate in UIL activities.

HB 1133 Clardy, SP: Hughes
Allows the voters of Rusk County decide whether to maintain or revoke the county equalization tax. The Senate Education Committee already has heard and reported the Senate companion, SB 998.

HB 1342 Leach, SP: Perry
Certain independent school districts participating in TRS-ActiveCare that desire to solicit bids for new health insurance providers have reported having a hard time obtaining accurate cost comparisons due to a lack of available information from TRS. This bill seeks to remedy this issue by requiring TRS to provide any de-identified health information, enrollment information, or other available relevant information on request in connection with a search for alternative health benefit plan coverage. It amends current law relating to the provision of certain health information and other information to school districts and other participating entities in the Texas school employees uniform group health coverage program.

HB 2120 Bell, Keith | et al., SP: Perry
This bill codifies the process by which school board administrators in independent school districts process complaints and grievances.

HB 2721 Lucio III | et al., SP: Lucio
As filed, bans a student from participating in extracurricular activities or UIL events if the student engages in conduct that constitutes assault against a referee, judge, or other official of an extracurricular activity in retaliation for the official’s actions in performing their duties as a referee, judge, or other official.

SB 1083 Campbell
Makes sex education an opt-in course that requires written permission from a parent/legal guardian before a student can attend. Parents may also opt a student in to specific lessons or topics.

The committee also will consider pending business (vote bills out of committee).

Watch the hearing.