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On Friday, November 17, the Texas House passed both HB 2, with amendments, and HJR 1, on second reading. They will now go to a vote on third reading, and if passed, over to the Senate for consideration.

HB 2, which passed with a 145-2-1 (yes-no-present, not voting) vote, would establish two grant programs: the School Safety Grant Program and the School Safety Plan Implementation Grant Program. The programs would be funded by transfers of money to the school safety fund that could not exceed $1.1 billion per year. The bill would repeal the School Safety Allotment. TEA would administer the program. For HB 2 to become effective, HJR 1 (see below) must receive voter approval.

The amendments to HB 2 that were adopted on the House floor were:

  • Floor Amendment 1 by Rep. Erin Zwiener added to the list of the permissible uses of the school safety grant “implementation of the Texas Overdose Prevention Program – Schools (TOPPS) developed by the University of Texas San Antonio Health Science Center.”
  • Floor Amendment 5 by Rep. Valoree Swanson stated that a district or charter school that receives a school safety grant may conduct a psychological or psychiatric exam or test or provide psychological or psychiatric treatment (as defined in the amendment) to a student ONLY if the district or charter obtains written consent from the student’s parent or guardian before conducting the exam or test or providing the treatment.
  • Floor Amendment 6 (an amendment to Floor Amendment 5) by Rep. Joe Moody added language to Swanson’s amendment above that would allow a district or charter school, IF conducting the examination or test or providing the treatment is part of a threat assessment under Section 37.115 of the bill, to do so without the prior consent of the student’s parent/guardian.

HJR 1, which passed with a 144-3-1 vote, proposes a constitutional amendment creating the State School Safety Fund (SSSF) to provide ongoing financial support for school safety projects in public schools. It would provide for the transfer of certain general revenues to the newly created state school safety fund. HJR 1 must be approved by the voters to become effective.