Chad’s Morning Brief: Texas Senate Acts to Bring College Tuition Rates Under Control, Texas Democrats Derail Religious Organization Protection Legislation, and Other Top Stories
Here is your Morning Brief for May 1, 2015.
State lawmakers agree that college tuition is getting out of hand. As tuition rises in Texas, more and more families are being priced out. On Thursday, the Texas Senate took action to bring the cost of tuition under control according to the Dallas Morning News.
The Senate took aim at rapidly rising college tuition rates in Texas on Thursday, approving a bill that would require institutions to meet certain performance targets before they can increase tuition beyond the rate of inflation.
Because the new restrictions would not be put in place until the 2018-19 academic year, the legislation also limits tuition hikes until then to no more than the inflation rate plus 1 percent. When the requirements take effect, institutions that meet the targets would be allowed to raise tuition by inflation plus 3 percent.
Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, author of the measure, said his goal is to force colleges and universities to improve performance if they want to raise tuition. “If an institution wants to charge more, they must provide more. Their performance must justify the higher tuition,” said Seliger, whose bill was approved on a 29-2 vote.
We will see how this works for the next several years. Lawmakers knew they had to do something though as the costs were just getting out of hand.
Protecting Religious Organizations
The Dallas Morning News also has a story about a bill dealing with gay marriage and protecting religious organizations was slowed by Democrats.
The measure, which would add a chapter to the Texas family code on “freedom of religion with respect to recognizing or performing certain marriages,” was introduced late Tuesday and scheduled to be heard by the Senate State Affairs Committee on Thursday.
Committee Chairwoman Joan Huffman, R-Houston, announced at the start of the meeting, though, that the bill “has been tagged, so it will not be heard today.”
She was referring to holds, or delays, of action on the bill placed by Democratic Sens. Jose Menendez of San Antonio and Kirk Watson of Austin, according to this online story by the Austin American-Statesman. With the Senate expected to recess for the weekend, the earliest Huffman’s panel could hear the bill is Monday, it said.
On Tuesday, the same day the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in what could be a landmark case on same-sex marriage, the Texas Senate suspended rules to allow the bill to be filed, as the bill filing deadline has passed. According to the Senate Journal, Houston Democratic Sen. John Whitmire, the Senate’s longest-serving member, made the motion to suspend the rules.
“The Motion In Writing was read and prevailed without objection,” the Journal says.
The Democrats are slowing and attempting to derail a bill that would allow religious organizations, clergy, and those employed by religious organizations to refuse service to gay weddings. Seems like a bill that should offend no one.
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