Legislative Update
Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Greetings,

We seem to be moving past a rough beginning for 2021 into a hopeful spring and summer. After the winter storms and power outages in February, the Texas Legislature is working hard to prevent another failure of the electrical grid by overhauling grid regulations. Meanwhile, COVID-19 numbers are on the decline. The Texas Senate adopts the recommendations of the Senate budget committee and advances Senate Bill 1 to the Texas House of Representatives, moving the budget process one step closer to Conference Committee, where the House and Senate will negotiate the final appropriations bill. The Texas Legislature also is working toward regulating social media censorship. As earmarks are making a potential return in the U.S. Congress, how will Texas react to the return of this process?

We will be following legislation at the state and federal levels that pertains 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

Seal of the Texas Public Utilities Commission

PUC appointee

Former Texas Capitol aide Will McAdams was named to the Public Utility Commission board.

Candescent light bulb with background of plot chart, representing increase prices.

Electric overhaul

Sweeping legislation to overhaul state’s electricity market in response to winter storm heads to Texas House after Senate's unanimous approval.

Image of Texas with power lines, some of which are broken

Is fix enough?

Texas lawmakers want to prevent another power crisis, but the legislation doesn't go far enough to do that, critics say.

Nurse pushing a hospital bed with a man wearing an oxygen mask.

COVID-19 decline

Texas reports fewer than 3,000 people hospitalized for COVID-19 for the first time since June.

Letter of word Budget look like they are cut from a $1 bill.

Money talks

Texas Senate committee approves its preliminary budget, setting the stage for fiscal debate.

Drawing of man's face with his eyes and mouth coverd by hands. The hands show logos for YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

Social censorship

Texas Senate approves bill to stop social media companies from banning Texans for political views.

Image of pig marked into section that are red or blue, representing states and budgetary "pork".

'Project funding'

Pork may return to the menu in Congress. Will Texas partake in budget earmarks?

Small game-like pieces with white in majority on one side and a few blue on other.

Progressive pursuits

President Joe Biden's Build Back Better bill may cement a governing majority.

Graphic showing directional sign with University going one way Trade School another, Community College, and Hogwarts. Representing College Alternatives.

More options

Parents want alternatives to four-year college, Carnegie/Gallup poll finds.

American Rescue Plan

American Rescue Plan

Congress quickly passed and President Biden has signed the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill.

State of Texas economic overview

In late February and early March, UTA 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:

  • higher education formula funding, UTA’s largest and most important source of state funding
  • student financial aid to help students access affordable education
  • continued research funding to enhance UTA’s programs and promote economic recovery
  • 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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