Legislative Update
Friday, March 5, 2021

Greetings,

So much has happened in the last two weeks, from the historic snowstorms to Governor Abbott lifting all pandemic restrictions for the state of Texas. Learn how the University of Houston was impacted by the pandemic and what its president thinks the Texas Legislature should do about it. The FDA approves a one-dose vaccine and parents want their kids back in school, as many states are giving vaccine priority to teachers and other school workers. The pandemic has altered higher education deadlines and increased the need for further student support. We look forward to what the new Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, has in store for education around the country.

We will be following legislation at the state and federal levels that pertain to higher education and its impact on UTA, including President Joe Biden’s new pandemic stimulus package. 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

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

No masks required

Gov. Greg Abbott has rescinded statewide mask mandate and capacity limits on businesses.

Pell Grants must keep up, with graph showing increasing college costs while Pell Grants remain same over several years.

Pell needs increase

The economic case for doubling the Pell Grant may have reached its moment.

Point of Order with Evan Smith

Gap year

Texas Tribune and the University of Houston president discuss higher ed’s gap year.

UT/TT poll

Opening schools

After a year of pandemic, Texas voters more open to sending kids to school, poll finds.

Miguel Cordona, secretary of education.

Secretary Cardona

U.S. Senate confirms Miguel Cardona as Secretary of Education.

A $100 bill with Ben Franklin wearing a mask.

Pandemic relief

The House approved President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan. The Senate plan has a few changes.

State of Texas economic overview

  • In late February and early March, UTA Interim President Teik Lim testified to the Senate Finance Committee and House Appropriations Committee on UTA’s budget requests and priorities. This is a key step in the process as the Texas Legislature negotiates funding decisions that will lead to the final version of the state’s two-year budget.
  • UTA’s top priorities are support for higher education formula funding, the University’s largest and most important source of state funding; support for student financial aid to help students access affordable education; support for continued research funding to enhance UTA’s programs and promote economic recovery; and support for the Texas Nursing Shortage Reduction Program, which provides state funding to incentivize the training of nurses in Texas.
  • Once the House and the Senate have finalized their versions of the budget bill, usually in late April or early May, the two chambers will reconcile their differences in negotiations in Conference Committee. The final version of the bill produced by the Legislature will then be sent to the governor for final authorization.
  • The Texas House and Senate have each proposed preliminary budgets in the 2021 legislative session that would spend $119.7 billion in General Revenue over the next two fiscal years. Budget proposals by the two chambers of the Legislature are often very different and become a major point of contention during session. This year, the budget proposals are the closest they have been in years.

Upcoming meetings

The Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate live and archived sessions are available now.

Senate Hearings

House Hearings

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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