Legislative Update
Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Greetings,

The 87th Texas Legislature convened Tuesday, Jan. 12. This update includes information on the state budget outlook, Texas redistricting, the Trump administration’s transparency rule impact on research, and the Biden administration’s postponement of student loan payments. We will be following legislation at the state and federal levels that pertain to higher education and its impact on UTA. As you receive updates, please let us know if there are any topics you would like to hear more about from Government Relations.

Thank you for your dedication to UTA, and Go Mavs!

— UTA Government Relations

Biennial Review Estimate

Lawmakers have $113 billion for budget

Texas lawmakers entered the legislative session this week with an estimated $112.5 billion available to allocate for general-purpose spending in the next two-year state budget. That number is down slightly from the current budget but is significantly higher than what was estimated this summer when the coronavirus began to devastate the economy.

Ball bearings balanced on a metal ledge

Pandemic, recession are challenges in balancing next budget

One of the largest tasks Texas lawmakers will tackle during the 2021 legislative session that began this week is writing the state budget, which outlines state spending for the next two years.

Texas map sliced up representing redistricting.

Texas redistricting: What it is and its impact

Lawmakers are expected to take on the complicated and contentious redistricting process—the decennial redrawing of maps for the state’s congressional, legislative, and State Board of Education boundaries.

"Politics" magnifying glass over the word "science"

EPA approves scientific 'transparency' rule

The Trump administration’s rule requires researchers to disclose their raw data. Opponents argue that the goal is to exclude important research.

Graduating student's mortarboard cap with "I'm So In Debt. Please help."

Biden to extend pause on student loan payments

President-elect Joe Biden will instruct the Education Department to continue excusing student loan borrowers from making payments.

State of Texas economic overview

On Monday, Jan. 11, the Texas Comptroller released the Biennial Revenue Estimate (BRE) for the 2022-23 biennium. This revenue estimate has implications for both 2020-21 and 2022-23. It gives an early indication of what UTA can expect as the Legislature writes the budget this legislative session.

The BRE released Monday projects that $112.53 billion will be available for general-purpose spending in the 2022-23 biennium, which represents an improvement from the mid-2020 revenue estimates. However, it is still well below the 2019 BRE issued two years ago at the start of the 2019 legislative session that said the state would have $119.2 billion to spend in the 2020-21 biennium.

The revenue estimate improves the picture presented in July, but confirms that the state is still not out of the woods. There is still a budget deficit of $950 million for the 2020-21 biennium, which will reduce the amount of funding available to the Legislature for the next biennium, but it is better than the $4.58 billion deficit projected in July.

In late December, Congress passed a $900 billion coronavirus relief package, providing colleges and universities with another $23 billion in relief aid.

Upcoming meetings

Gavel-to-gavel coverage of the 87th Texas Legislature can be found live and online over the next 140 days. The legislative session is scheduled to adjourn on May 31, 2021.

Depending on your television provider, you may have access to local government channels to watch on TV. AT&T subscribers can view on Channel 99.

Appointed positions

The Office of the Governor is always looking for people to apply to various boards, including higher education. If you need assistance in applying, please contact Jeff Jeter at jeter@uta.edu. See a full list of available positions.

Your input helps UTA

The University needs the support of its faculty, staff, and alumni to ensure we continue to receive resources to serve our students, conduct research, and expand our programs. For more information on how you can support the University and its legislative goals, contact:

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