HB 1875 Interstate Compact Bill for Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists (Rep. Ryan Guillen):
- HB 1875 passed the House almost unanimously. It did not receive a committee assignment in the Senate. If it is any consolation, no health care “compact” bill (five total) passed out of the Senate. They all stalled in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee without a hearing. One other “compact” bill (cosmetology) passed but was vetoed by the Governor. We worked with other health care professions and the U.S. Department of Defense (on behalf of veterans and military personnel and spouses) to find a way of moving the compact bills forward. Rep. Guillen and his aide Nick McMillin worked tirelessly to pass this bill.
Public Education Legislation: PASSED
Major Education Bills of Importance to TSHA:
- SB 18 Tenure in public higher education institutions: Enshrines a definition of tenure into the state’s education code and would make changes to tenure policies at the state’s higher education institutions. Requires governing boards overseeing public colleges and universities in the state to adopt policies allowing institutions to fire tenured faculty for several reasons, including "professional incompetence” or “conduct involving moral turpitude”
- HB 3: Requires armed officers on all campuses and invests $330M in school safety
- SB 10: Increases payments to retired teachers by 2% to 6%, depending on year retired, and gives a stipend of $2,400 or $7,500 to older retirees
- HB 3928: Increases requirements for school districts to identify and serve students with dyslexia.
Major Education Bills of Importance to TSHA: FAILED
- HB 100: Would have increased per pupil funding by $140 and increased other school funding. It was derailed when the Senate added a controversial school choice program proposal to the bill. The bill also included a teacher pay raise.
- HB 11: Would have set minimum salary requirements for teachers and increased teacher pay
- SB 8: Would have created an education savings account program for all students and prohibited discussion of gender identity in schools
- SB 9: Would have set minimum salary requirements for teachers and increased teacher pay
Other Bills Affecting SLPs and Audiologists
- SB 2017: Defines “over-the-counter” hearing aids and avoids conflict regarding their sale by audiologists. Bill passed out of the Senate unanimously. Governor has not signed the bill currently.
- HB 109: Health benefits coverage for hearing aids. Keeps health care plans from denying a patient the right to purchase a hearing instrument solely because it costs more than the plan allows. Signed into law by the Governor on May 15
- HB 1771: Requires consistency in how telemedicine/telehealth records are maintained. Passed out of both chambers unanimously. On the Governor’s desk for signature.
- HB 3132: Indication of hearing impairment on state drivers’ licenses. Passed unanimously in both chambers and on the Governor’s desk for his signature.
- SB 380: Authorized state payment for Interpreters for the Deaf in court. Passed both chambers and signed by the Governor.
- HB 667: Music Therapy Licensure. Passed in the House but died in the Senate.
Many issues of importance to TSHA related to expanding Medicaid enrollment, expedited credentialing, Medicaid “express lane” sign-up options, and efficacy of autism treatments and reimbursement did not receive committee hearings. and died in place. As the saying goes, “Wait till next year/session.”
The above indicated bills are only a few of the bills your TSHA Legislative Team worked on this session. If you don’t see a bill you are interested in, contact us, or you can check on the bill by going to Texas Legislature Online.
The regular 88th legislative session is sine die. The Governor has already called one special session to address property taxes and border issues. We anticipate there will be additional special sessions to address school choice/vouchers, teacher pay raises, and other issues on the Governor’s wish list this summer. Your opportunity to contact your legislators to make a difference remains.
TSHA Legislative Team: Bobbie Kay, Larry & Mark