The Texas State Technical College star has never shined brighter in the Texas legislature as it has this recent legislative session. This was underscored by the fact that Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick took time out in middle of session to participate in the TSTC 50th celebration, along with nearly 40 senators and house members.
Throughout the session, Chancellor Reeser and members of the external relations team gave testimony and were consulted with on numerous occasions about key issues. The External Relations team tracked 201 bills and is has analyzed the 34 that passed for their impact to the college.
Key Legislative successes included the creation of two campuses North Texas and Fort Bend County, and the approval of the highest level of TRBs in the college’s history. House Bill 658 created a new campus for TSTC in Fort Bend County.
The bill passed the Senate by a unanimous vote, authorizing Texas State Technical College’s small extension program in Fort Bend County to expand to a full campus. The bill was co-authored in the Texas House of Representatives by Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond; Rep. Rick Miller, R-Sugar Land; Rep. Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City; Rep. Phil Stephenson, R-Wharton; and Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson, R-Waco. The bill was sponsored in the Texas Senate by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham and will allow TSTC in Fort Bend County to better serve the larger Houston region.
HB 1051 upgraded the status of Texas State Technical College's extension center in Ellis County to a campus. Authored by Rep. John Wray, R-Waxahachie, and co-authored by Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Grand Prairie, the bill was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, and will allow TSTC to better serve the Dallas-Fort Worth region.
In addition to the creation of campuses, the TRBs will fund the second building of TSTC in Fort Bend County. Additionally, TRBs will allow TSTC to purchase the building we have been leasing in North Texas as well as finish out the building. In Harlingen, TRBs will make it possible to complete the second phase of the renovation of the engineering building. Finally, in Abilene, we now have the potential to create a new industrial training center with matching community support.
In addition to the authorization of TRBs, TSTC received an increase in transition funding that will allow us to open and operate the campus in Fort Bend County and provide additional money for the relatively new operations at North Texas and Williamson County locations. “Transition funding is crucial to TSTC because it supports our new campuses without drawing resources away from other parts of the college.” said Chancellor Mike Reeser.
Another legislative success involved the Texas Educational Opportunity Grant Program (TEOG). TEOG funding was restored for our students, avoiding a significant loss of money.
Further, you probably heard in the news that the concealed carry bill passed. Along with the rest of higher education, we are analyzing the impact and will be developing policies to comply. Revised policies will be taken to the board at a later date in order to implement them by September 1, 2016 deadline.
"If there was a disappointment, it is that we did not obtain the amount we sought from the funding formula,” said Vice Chancellor and Chief Government Affairs Officer, Roger Miller. “However, for the first time in several sessions, we did achieve a modest increase in formula funding. In fact, TSTC’s increase rivaled that of any other segment of higher education thanks to the implementation of TSTC’s new funding formula,” added Miller. The funding level for this 84th legislative session set a good foundation for next session, in which we hope to finally achieve a level of funding that allows us to meet more of the needs of the college’s tremendous growth and innovation.