Texas Legislative Wrap-Up: Victories in The Lone Star State
Legislative wins include greater accountability for P.E. and more funding for home visiting
The 2017 Texas legislative session is concluded, and we in Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Mission: Readiness, and ReadyNation walk away with key victories in education and care for our children. Our members have worked hard to expand and preserve existing programs, and as a result we saw measures passed this session that improve accountability and, in the case of home visiting, increase funding. Though these successes are formidable, there is still much to be done to ensure every child in need receives sufficient education and care, and we commend you all in sticking with us in the push for a citizen-ready America.
Highlights of the outcomes from this session are:
- Senate Bill (SB) 1879 on Physical Education (P.E.). The bill requires specific questions to be included in schools’ annual P.E. program self-assessment, and for those results to be posted on the Texas Education Agency website. Currently, there is no way of determining if schools are offering high-quality physical education or not, and we see the passage of this bill as a small step in the right direction toward helping individuals assess and self-check their school districts to better the physical fitness and future of our youth.
- Home visiting programs received $9.4 million in additional funding this session. These services provide at-home care for at-risk families, and offer them a steady base of support while, usually young and first-time, parents gain the skills to provide a healthy and happy home for their children. Voluntary home visiting/parent-coaching programs have been shown to decrease child abuse and neglect and increase the likelihood of both the child and parents growing up to contribute positively to our society.
- SB 1404, which requires each school district to report the availability of expanded learning opportunities (after-school programs) as well as the number of students participating in them. This victory is in part thanks to ally partners who sought to collect data on the current programs in Texas to better determine the number and quality of programs currently being offered. With SB 1404, we will better be able to track and assess the expanded learning opportunities and after-school programs across the state.
Pictured above from left to right: Major General Anthony “Tony” A. Cucolo III, U.S. Army (Retired); Brigadier General Louis W. “Bill” Weber, U.S. Army (Retired); Rear Admiral Gerald Judson “Judd” Scott, Jr., U.S. Navy (Retired); Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, Joe Straus; Major General Susan Pamerleau, U.S. Air Force (Retired); and Brigadier General Joseph V. Medina, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired).