highlights

Week of Sept. 24-30, 2018

Future of TRS health care hinges on lawmakers’ support
AUSTIN — Retired teachers facing the unwelcome prospect of paying higher monthly health insurance premiums received better-than-expected news last week.
The Teachers Retirement System board of trustees on Sept. 21 voted not to increase premiums because the TRS staff negotiated a better rate and other cost savings with its health insurance provider, while keeping plan and pharmacy benefits the same.

Week of Sept. 17-23, 2018

Weather system prompts Texas to prepare as hurricane season continues
AUSTIN — Before Hurricane Florence reached the shores of the Carolinas last week, Gov. Greg Abbott focused on the Gulf of Mexico, where an inbound tropical disturbance threatened the southern region of Texas.
Proactively, Abbott on Sept. 14 issued a disaster declaration for 78 counties stretching from the Texas Gulf Coast to deep into the interior of the Lone Star State.

Week of Sept. 10-16, 2018

Governor points out actions taken to make schools safer
AUSTIN — Just before Labor Day weekend, Gov. Greg Abbott released a School Safety Action Plan Summary that lists actions taken by school districts to harden campuses in the wake of the deadly Santa Fe Independent School District shooting in May.

EARLY DELIVERY: State Capital Highlights, week of Sept. 3-9, 2018

Texas leaders call for new trade agreement to include Canada
AUSTIN — The White House last week announced a preliminary new trade agreement had been secured between the United States and Mexico.
While details of the pact are forthcoming, the White House said the agreement would “create more reciprocal trade that grows the economy, supports high-paying jobs for American workers, protects American intellectual property” and “is a mutually beneficial win for North American farmers, ranchers, workers, and businesses.”

Week of Aug. 27 - Sept. 2, 2018

Officials observe anniversary of Hurricane Harvey at Rockport church
AUSTIN — August 25 marked one year since Hurricane Harvey's battering winds and torrential rains brought death and destruction to coastal and inland counties of Texas.
Repairs and rebuilding in the region continue to this day, and the U.S. Office of Coastal Management has estimated the cost of the storm at $125 billion.

Week of Aug. 20-26, 2018

Texas Education Agency releases two sets of ratings
AUSTIN — The Texas Education Agency on Aug. 15 released 2018 campus accountability ratings and, for the first time ever, A-F district accountability ratings.

Week of Aug. 13-19, 2018

TEA releases preliminary financial accountability ratings
AUSTIN — Some 80 percent of public school districts and charters earned the highest-possible preliminary financial accountability rating, according to figures released by the Texas Education Agency on Aug. 8. 

Week of Aug. 6-12, 2018

Hurricane Harvey-affected campuses receive special evaluations
AUSTIN — Some 109 independent school districts and charters directly affected by Hurricane Harvey are eligible for special evaluation in this year’s state accountability system, the Texas Education Agency announced Aug. 1. 
Based on data reported to the agency during the past school year, the affected districts and charters encompass some 1,188 eligible campuses.

Week of July 30 - Aug. 5, 2018

Select panel considers approaches to mass shooting prevention
AUSTIN — A special interim committee of state lawmakers met July 24 at the Texas Capitol to further explore what can be done to prevent mass shootings like the one that resulted in 10 deaths and 10 injuries in May at Santa Fe High School.

Week of July 23-29, 2018

Mental health experts inform school violence & security panel

AUSTIN — Psychological prevention and treatment for students is the best way to head off school violence, mental health professionals told a panel of state lawmakers on July 18.

This was the third in a series of interim hearings for the Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools & School Security, a panel named by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in response to the shooting at Santa Fe High School in May. 

Dr. Andy Keller, president of the Meadows Foundation in Dallas, told panel members: