Texas A&M University System Institution-Specific Legislation »

The following summary includes legislation that directly affects a member institution of The Texas A&M System or the entire System.

Systemwide or System Office Bills

House Bill 373 by Swinford/M. Jackson - Relating to the food and fibers research grant program. The bill abolishes the Texas Food and Fibers Commission as a stand-alone agency and provides that the food and fibers research program is a program in the Texas Department of Agriculture for support of applied research in fibers and oilseeds. Abolishes the existing Food and Fibers Research Council that was composed of the chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, and the presidents of Texas Tech University, UT – Austin, and Texas Woman’s University, and establishes an industry advisory council appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture.

HB 495 by Miller/Fraser - Relating to the student enrollment required for the operation of Texas A&M University--Central Texas as an independent general academic teaching institution. HB 495 amends Section 87.861(d), Texas Education Code, to provide that the enrollment requirement for the Tarleton State University System Center--Central Texas in Killeen to become a stand alone general academic teaching institution is lowered from 2,500 to 1,000 full-time students.

SB 296 by Madla/Corte - Relating to the operation of Texas A&M University--San Antonio, including the student enrollment required for operation as an independent general academic teaching institution and supplemental funding of the university. SB 296 amends Section 87.841(d), Texas Education Code, to provide that the enrollment requirement for the Texas A&M-Kingsville System Center to become a stand alone general academic teaching institution is lowered from 2,500 to 1,000 full-time students, provided that the legislature authorizes the issuance of tuition revenue bonds to finance education and related facilities.

The bill also stipulates that if the 1000 FTSE threshold is met during the 2006-2007 biennium, the new university would not be eligible for the small school supplement of $750,000.

SB 702 by Deuell/Flynn - Relating to authorizing certain uses for student center complex fees charged to students enrolled in component institutions of The Texas A&M University System. SB 702 allows the use of the Student Center Complex Fee for the construction of a student center at a member institution of The Texas A&M University System. Amends Section 54.521, Texas Education Code, to authorize the Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System to levy a regular student fee on each student enrolled in an educational institution within The Texas A&M University System for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, renovating, adding to, replacing, and financing one or more student center facilities for the institution. The bill also deletes existing provisions relating to the production of revenue for acquiring or constructing certain facilities.

Texas A&M University

SB 1883 by Ogden/Brown - Relating to the lands managed and controlled by the board of regents of The Texas A&M University System. Under current law, The Texas A&M University System does not have the authority to enter into an agreement to lease land or facilities for construction on the original main campus of Texas A&M University. Consequently, the university cannot accept a donation for the construction of an academic facility. SB 1883 grants the Texas A&M University System authority to enter into an agreement with a donor for the purpose of the donor’s constructing an academic facility for use by the university. The Agreement must contain provisions including transfer of title to the facility to the board of regents upon completion of construction. Further legislative permission would be necessary before a facility could be built for non-educational related purposes.

Prairie View A&M University

HB 1409 by Coleman/Ellis - Relating to the authority to change the name of component institutions of The Texas A&M University System. Legislation amends Section 86.23(b),Texas Education Code, to exempt Prairie View A&M University from the provision which otherwise grants The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents authority to change the name of any institution, agency, or service under the control and management of the board.

Tarleton State University

HB 1102 by Miller/Fraser – Relating to certain student fees at Tarleton State University. HB 1102 permits Tarleton State University to increase both the Student Center Complex Fee and the Recreational Sports Fee up to 10 percent without a student referendum, provided that the fees may still not exceed the maximum amounts set by statute.
Additionally, H.B. 1102 authorizes Tarleton State University to assess an Intercollegiate Athletic Fee not to exceed $10 per semester credit hour upon receiving student approval through an election. Increases in the fee up to five percent would have to be approved by majority vote of the legislative body of the student government, and any increase above five percent would have to be approved by a student body vote.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

SB 471 by Hinojosa/Luna - Relating to the Texas Coastal Ocean Observation Network. The bill clarifies existing statutes relating to the Texas Coastal Ocean Observation Network as a cooperative project that includes Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi, Lamar University, The Texas Water Development Board, and the Texas General Land Office.

Texas Engineering Experiment Station

House Bill 2481 by Bonnen/Harris - Relating to air contaminant emissions reductions, including the continuation and provisions of the Texas emissions reduction plan and the use of money currently dedicated to the Texas emissions reduction plan fund. This bill extends the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) until 2010, thereby providing for additional years of funding for the Energy Systems Laboratory of the Texas Engineering Experiment Station. The bill also directs the Lab to calculate the annual emissions savings from energy efficiency programs and from renewable energy programs, in addition to the current requirement regarding building code programs, for use in the State Implementation Plan.

House Bill 2129 by Bonnen/Armbrister -Relating to energy-saving measures that reduce the emission of air contaminants. Among other things, the bill directs the Energy Systems Lab of the Texas Engineering Experiment Station to develop at least three alternative methods for achieving a 15 percent greater potential energy savings in residential, commercial, and industrial construction than the amount now required. The bill was amended to direct a contract of $216,000 each year be given to the Energy Systems Lab by a non-profit Houston group for the development and annual calculation of creditable statewide emissions reductions obtained through wind and other renewable energy resources for the State Implementation Plan.

Texas Agricultural Experiment Station

SB 66 by Nelson/Driver – Relating to the establishment of certain programs and initiatives designed to prevent the manufacture and use of methamphetamine. SB 66 establishes programs to prevent the use and manufacture of methamphetamine, including prevention and education programs. The Office of the State Chemist of the TAES is specifically required to distribute materials for educational purposes to retailers, distributors, farmers and others as appropriate.

SB 1370 by Madla/Truitt – Relating to the disposition of certain tax revenue for the protection and development of grape and wine production. SB 1370 specifically appropriates up to $50,000 per year in tax revenue from wine sales to TCE and TAES, respectively, for the purposes of viticulture research and programs.

Texas Cooperative Extension

HB 492 by Woolley/Shapleigh – Relating to personal finance education as a requirement for graduation from public high school. HB 492 will require the State Board of Education (SBOE) to include elements relating to personal finance as part of the essential knowledge and skill of economics and require personal finance education as a condition for high school graduation. Texas Cooperative Extension (TCE) is a state partner in the nationwide partnership with NEFE (National Endowment for Financial Education) and already provides a 10-hour curriculum enrichment program currently utilized by many Texas schools. Under the new legislation, TCE would continue to play a role in partnering with more schools and providing this curriculum to teachers.

HB 1747 by Keffer/Staples – Relating to the creation of and funding for the Texas Entrepreneurship Network. HB 1747 establishes a new program to develop and diversify the economy of the state by facilitating the growth and success of entrepreneurs operating under the administration of the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA). TCE is named as one of the members of the network.

SB 1370 by Madla/Truitt – Relating to the disposition of certain tax revenue for the protection and development of grape and wine production. SB 1370 specifically appropriates up to $50,000 per year in tax revenue from wine sales to TCE and TAES, respectively, for the purposes of viticulture research and programs.

SB 1686 by Estes/Hardcastle – Relating to the interagency work group on rural issues. SB 1686 names the director of TCE to the work group which shall meet to discuss rural issues and provide information related to their agency for use in developing rural policy and compiling an annual report.

Texas Forest Service

HB 2171 by Cook, R./Armbrister – Relating to the volunteer fire department self-insurance fund. HB 2171 makes a small technical change in statute for the Texas Forest Service (TFS) authorizing the TFS to hold this Fund in a local depository, rather than in the General Revenue Fund. Since its inception in 1997, the Fund has been maintained in a local depository and has met all other statutory requirements of the original legislation.

SB 9 by Staples/Corte – Relating to homeland security; providing a penalty.
Expands existing homeland security statute to include agricultural policy for the protection of the state from certain pests and diseases and adds the TFS as a statutory member of the Homeland Security Council.