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Keys to Unlocking Capitol Doors Tips for School Officials. 3 rd Annual TACS Annual Conference San Antonio – September 7-9, 2014. Background & Things to keep in mind:. Very few legislative offices have the resources to hire staff dedicated solely to education issues.

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keys to unlocking capitol doors tips for school officials

Keys to Unlocking Capitol Doors Tips for School Officials

3rd Annual TACS Annual Conference

San Antonio – September 7-9, 2014

background things to keep in mind
Background & Things to keep in mind:
  • Very few legislative offices have the resources to hire staff dedicated solely to education issues.
  • Legislative offices have limited budgets to run their Capitol and District offices:
    • Senators receive $38,000 month or $456,000 year.
    • House members receive $13,250 a month or $159,000 a year.
  • SDs: 811,150 vs. HDs: 167,600 residents.
  • Many offices use unpaid or low-paid interns as session only employees – typically college/law/public affairs students building their résumés.
  • Time demands on legislators & staff – 140-day regular session to get it all done; however, internal rules & deadlines crunch time demands even further.
why the 84 th will be different
Why the 84th will be different:
  • All new statewide office holders; first time since 2002.
  • Large turnover in Senate – at least 7 (23%) new members; could be 9 (29%).
  • 20-year average turnover rates: 27 (18%) in House; 3 (9.6%) in Senate.
  • Averaged over last two election cycles, higher turnover: 38 (25%) in House; 4 (13%) in Senate.
  • Majority of House members (76 – 51%) are currently either freshmen or sophomores.
  • 28% of Senate & 24% of House Committees – their Chairs are not returning including Finance, HAC & Senate Ed.
why the 84 th will be different senate
Why the 84th will be different: Senate

Senate changes – at least 7 new Senators; 5 drew two-year terms after redistricting in 2011 and drawing for terms in the 2013 session:

  • John Carona (R, Dallas – SD 16) – lost primary election; first session was in 1991
  • Wendy Davis (D, Fort Worth – SD 10) – candidate for governor; first session was in 2009
  • Robert “Bob” Deuell (R, Greenville – SD 2) – lost primary election; first session was in 2003
  • Dan Patrick (R, Houston – SD 7) – candidate for lieutenant governor; first session was in 2007
  • Ken Paxton (R, McKinney – SD 8) – candidate for attorney general; first session was in 2003

The following Senators drew four-year terms; two have resigned to go to work for systems of higher education and two have four-year terms but are running for higher office:

  • Tommy Williams (R, The Woodlands – SD 4) – Vice-Chancellor for Federal and State Relations for the Texas A&M University System; first session was in 1997
  • Robert Duncan (R, Lubbock – SD 28) – Chancellor for the Texas Tech University System; first session was in 1993
  • Glenn Hegar (R, Katy – SD 18) – candidate for comptroller of public accounts; first session was 2003
  • Leticia Van de Putte (D, San Antonio – SD 26) – candidate for lieutenant governor; first session was 1991
will the 84 th senate really be different
Will the 84thSenate really be different?

Current partisan balance:

  • 19 – Republicans (61%)
  • 12 – Democrats (39%)
  • Senate rules currently require a 2/3 “vote” or 21 votes to bring up bills for floor debate. Things could affect this balance:
    • If Senator Patrick chosen as lieutenant governor, he’s vowed to eliminate or change the 2/3 rule. Opponents to its elimination say it forces the members to work together.
    • SD 10 (currently a “D,” could switch to an “R”)
    • Potentially, the Senate could be losing 126 years of experience.
will the 84 th house of representatives be different
Will the 84th House of Representatives be different?
  • 103 (69%) out of 150 of House races already decided.
  • 47 contested races; however, incumbents should easily win about 37 races.
  • There are only about 10 seats that are truly contested with Ds & Rs on ballot and no clear victor at this point.
  • Balance of power between Rs (95 – 63%) & Ds (55 – 37%) won’t change much.
  • At least 23 freshmen; loss of 230 years of experience.
institutional knowledge vs fresh ideas
Institutional Knowledge vs. Fresh Ideas
  • Lack of experience:
    • 83rd: 41 (27%)House & 5 (16%) Senate freshmen.
    • 82nd: 35 (23%)House & 2 (6%) Senate freshmen.
    • Currently, a majority (76 – 50.6%) of House members are in first or second term.
    • Currently, 7 (22.5%) of Senators are in first or second term.
    • New Lieutenant Governor.
  • House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio, HD 121) will be the “elder” statesman going in to his 4th term as Speaker.
loss of leadership senate
Loss of Leadership - Senate

The outgoing 7 Senators were either Chairs (C) or Vice-Chairs (V-C):

  • John Carona (R, Dallas – SD 16) – C - Business & Commerce
  • Wendy Davis (D, Fort Worth – SD 10) – V-C - Economic Development
  • Robert “Bob” Deuell (R, Greenville – SD 2) – C - Eco-Devo; V-C - HHS
  • Dan Patrick (R, Houston – SD 7) – C - Education
  • Ken Paxton (R, McKinney – SD 8) – V-C - Transportation
  • Tommy Williams (R, The Woodlands – SD 4) – C – Finance
  • Robert Duncan (R, Lubbock – SD 28) – C – State Affairs

If these Senators (candidates for higher office) lose their races, they return to the Senate next year:

  • Glenn Hegar (R, Katy – SD 18) – C – Nominations; running for CPA
  • Leticia Van de Putte (D, San Antonio – SD 26) – C – Veterans Affairs & Military Installations; running for Lt. Gov.
loss of leadership house of representatives
Loss of Leadership – House of Representatives
  • 23 House members not returning:
    • 6 ran for higher office; 3 lost their primary race for higher office; 2 advanced: Creighton won special election to replace Senator Williams; Taylor running to replace Senator Paxton who is running for AG; and, Perry is on the ballot today (09/09) to replace Senator Duncan and has withdrawn his name from the general election ballot.
    • 7 retired
    • 9 defeated in primary elections
    • 1 resigned
  • 9 were Committee chairs
  • 5 were Committee vice-chairs
  • Additionally, Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio) will resign after November election to run for mayor in May 2015. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) has announced she will run for SD 18 if Senator Hegar wins race for comptroller of public accounts.
challenging issues
Challenging Issues
  • General Appropriations Act – state budget
  • School finance –
    • System declared unconstitutional by state district judge;
    • Order stayed until July 1, 2015;
    • State will appeal to the Texas Supreme Court;
    • Hearing will probably be after November elections and start of 84th session in January (01/13/2015 – 19 weeks);
    • Attitude among most legislators will be “let’s not do anything until directed to by the Supremes.”
    • Possible ruling mid-session – if ruling upheld, will there be time to craft new system? (Hint: don’t plan any June vacations.)
    • Others: accountability, assessments, ESCs, expansion of charters/choice/vouchers.
how to become legislators staffers new bff
How to become legislators’ & staffers’ new BFF
  • Tips to keep in mind:
    • You are the education professional.
    • They need you to share your experience & expertise.
    • Often, legislators & staff “don’t know what they don’t know.”
    • Share critical information about the district: finance status; student body; growth or no growth; accountability ratings; trends and projections; education associations the district belongs to; key personnel & contact information; give them info packet or flash drive with key information included.
    • When providing information, don’t overwhelm with education jargon and acronyms.
    • Invite them to your district – bring out the dogs & ponies. Tell your story (warts & all); save surprises for birthdays.
    • Don’t threaten with future electoral challenges if the legislators vote differently than you wanted – agree to disagree on issues if necessary.
    • Pledge to work together to find common ground on other issues.
how to become legislators staffers new bff1
How to become legislators’ & staffers’ new BFF
  • Tips to keep in mind:
    • Visit District and Capitol offices regularly – before, during and after legislative session; however, don’t “camp out” in their offices while you wait for a hearing to begin or bill to be heard.
    • Don’t wait to make special requests: local bills; resolutions; flags; visits.
    • Be flexible, if possible.
    • Keep them informed about the affect of proposed legislation & finance proposals will have on your district – base your position on what is best for your school district. Be specific on how proposals will affect your district – either positively or negatively – backup with facts and data.
    • Inform them of your position before proposed legislation comes up in a hearing or is scheduled for a vote. Alertthem if you are testifying and your position, particularly if you are testifying against a bill filed by your legislator.
    • Remember that legislators, for the most part, only want to hear from their own constituents.
    • Do not send form letters, petitions, robo-calls or form “e-mail blasts.”
    • Remember to say “thank you” to members & staff.
resources helpful websites
Resources – Helpful Websites
  • Texas Legislature On-line –track bills & listen to hearings: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/
  • Legislative Budget Board – Public Education – http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/TeamPage.aspx?Team=PubEd
  • LBB Fiscal Notes - how much does that bill cost?http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/FiscalNotes.aspx
  • Legislative Reference Library – daily news clips: http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/
  • State Preservation Board - plan your visit: http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/spb/plan/Plan.htm
resources helpful websites1
Resources – Helpful Websites
  • Senate Research Center - http://www.senate.state.tx.us/SRC/Index.htm
  • House Research Organization - http://www.hro.house.state.tx.us/
  • Texas Legislative Council - http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/
  • Sunset Advisory Commission – TEA limited scope review (staff report: October; testimony: November; and SAC decisions: December) and UIL (SAC decisions in 08/2014) - https://www.sunset.texas.gov/reviews-and-reports
words to live by
Words to Live By:

“Do more than is required but less than allowed.”

Told members: “Okay to run as an R or a D, but when you walk in to this Chamber and on to the floor, leave the partisanship at the Chamber door. Vote your District; remember the people who sent you.”

James E. “Pete” Laney

Texas House of Representatives – 1973-2007

1993-2003 (Speaker)

questions
Questions?

Trish Conradt

TACS Legislative Assistant

Office – 512-440-8227

Cell – 512-917-8782

E-mail - trishconradt@tacsnet.org