Nichols’ 5 Cents - Nichols ends 86th session with success
On Monday last week, the 86th Legislative Session convened Sine Die, marking the end of another successful legislative session for Texas.
“The Legislature came together once again and passed integral legislation that will benefit all Texans, and help our State to continue to move forward with one of the strongest economies in the country,” said Senator Robert Nichols. “I am also grateful to Lt. Governor Patrick for entrusting me to serve as Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee for the fourth time.”
Senate Bill 2, also known as the Texas Property Tax Reform and Transparency Act, was passed and will require cities and counties to receive voter approval before raising property tax revenue 3.5 percent more than the previous year. Community colleges and hospital districts must receive voter approval before surpassing an 8 percent revenue growth.
In a unanimous vote in both chambers, the Legislature passed House Bill 3 which includes $6.5 billion for public education, while increasing the state share of education from 38 percent to 45 percent.
This includes raising the base funding per student from $5,140 to $6,160 per student. It raises the minimum salary schedule for employees, and provides a pay increase for certain employees.
It fully funds Pre-K for the state’s most needy children, and provides additional funding for dropouts and students in residential treatment centers.
It also reduces recapture payments by school districts, and lowers school property tax rates 8 cents statewide in 2020 and 13 cents in 2021, on average.
To address school safety concerns and ensuring our students are protected, school districts will receive $100 million to purchase school safety upgrades such as doors with push bars and metal detectors at school entrances and security systems.
“I am proud to be a part of a Legislature that has put our students first,” said Nichols. “We also ensure that every teacher, counselor, librarian and nurse will receive on average a $4,000 pay increase. They work hard to ensure our students are getting the education they deserve and need.”
The Legislature also passed Senate Bill 12, which will shore up the state’s Teacher Retirement System (TRS) pension system. The state is contributing an additional $1.11 billion towards the pension fund to ensure that it remains actuarially sound. This funding will also enable the Legislature to provide retirees with a one-time “13th check” beyond the monthly allocation they currently receive.
“Serving the people of Senate District 3 has and continues to be one of the greatest honors of my life, and I look forward to what the future holds for Texas,” said Nichols.
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