We should be encouraging high achievement in our students, not stifling it. Today the House passed my bill, H.B. 505, which removes limitations on the number of dual credit courses in which public high school students may enroll per semester. This bill will allow non-early college high school students to obtain college credits while in high school and to save costs in the long run.
It now moves on to the Senate, where I hope this common-sense legislation will be sent forth to the Governor’s desk.
Standing with Undocumented Students
On Monday, I joined Senators José Rodríguez, Sylvia R Garcia and Jose Menendez, the original authors of the Texas Dream Act Domingo Garcia and Rick Noriega, business leaders, religious leaders and DREAMers for a press conference concerning in-state tuition for undocumented students.
In the Capitol, the decisions legislators make are more than political theories or ideological musings; they are decisions that affect real lives in very real ways.
Repealing in-state tuition rates would hurt Texas families and destroy the futures of so many bright, young Texans without status. Doing so would go against our values and our economy. This is more than just bad politics, this is poorly-conceived public policy. It makes no sense to have young Texans living in the shadows without access to the education they deserve. Families who live here, work here and pay taxes here deserve to be recognized for who they are: residents.
When our state is in such a high need for a highly-educated workforce that is ready for a 21st Century economy, it is counterintuitive to cut off access to college from the young people who want to learn and give back to their society. This is why business leaders are standing up to defend in-state tuition rates. They understand that any repeal would hurt Texas’ bottom line.
Responsible legislators from both parties need to stand up for what is morally just and economically sound: Keep In-State Tuition for Texans without Status by defeating Senate Bill 1819.
The Austin Chronicle’s Tony Cantu writes about gentrification in east Austin, and his thoughtful, in-depth piece mentions my 2005 legislation that would allow cities to use Tax Increment Financing to create more affordable housing units. I passed this legislation to provide another alternative for longtime residents who were effectively being driven out of their neighborhoods by rising property taxes. Ten years later, it is too late for some residents of my district. As the article notes, “developers have descended upon the city to capitalize on the hot real estate market. But the positive impact of renewal and the rebuilding of deteriorating neighborhoods is having a corrosive side effect on longtime, lower-income residents, in many cases forcing their displacement from neighborhoods they’ve long called home.”
I am not opposed to progress and growth; but we must acknowledge that it comes at a cost. I will continue to prioritize affordable housing issues for all Austinites.
Save Texas Schools Rally
Stop the underfunding and over-testing of our schools! Join thousands of parents, teachers, students and community members at your Texas Capitol from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 18. This is a crucial time in the legislative session, and your voice can make a difference.