It’s time for the week that was in Texas politics with Emily Ramshaw, editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune.
By law, the Texas legislative session must end by Monday. Ramshaw says Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen announced Thursday that both chambers have come to an agreement on House Bill 3, which deals with school finance and property taxes.
“What we’re looking at is a school finance bill that includes funding for full-day pre-K and increase in the base funding for students, which hasn’t changed for four years,” Ramshaw says.
Ramshaw says lawmakers will work through the weekend to get the bill passed, and then it will head to the governor’s desk.
Ramshaw says Senate Bill 10, the biggest mental health bill to come out of this session – which died in the House – was revived at the last minute. It’s now part of Senate Bill 11. The bill allows for greater access to mental health services for students who experience a school shooting, Ramshaw says. Rep. Jonathan Stickland, a Republican from Bedford, originally killed the bill when it was SB 10, because he argued it didn’t require enough parental consent.
The Texas House Committee on County Affairs scheduled a hearing to review newly released cell phone footage recorded by Sandra Bland. Bland was found dead in a Waller County jail in 2015 after a controversial traffic stop. Some believe Bland’s death was caused by law enforcement officers, but investigators ruled Bland’s death a suicide. None of the legislation this session would have changed the outcome of Bland’s case, but Ramshaw says committee Chairman Garnet Coleman, a Houston Democrat, called the hearing to investigate whether the Texas Department of Public Safety followed proper procedure when it released that footage.
Written by Astrid Alvarado.