Texas Democrats push bills to raise state minimum wage
- HB 937 proposes to increase the hourly minimum wage in Texas from $7.25 to $10.10 over five years.
- Several other bills have been filed to devolve minimum wage management to local governments or increase the minimum wage to $15, in line with some of the more ambitious proposals across the nation.
- The minimum wage was last changed statewide in 2009, though recent polls indicate that more than half of Texans support raising it.
House Bill 937
Minimum Wage Workers in Texas — 2015 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Lack of diversity on state finance board prompts outcry from leaders of color
- For the first time in some three decades, the Legislative Budget Board will have no person of color serving on the board.
- Latino and black advocates—including lawmakers, organizers, and community leaders—spoke out against the all-white make-up of the committee given the stakes of financing in a state as large and demographically diverse as Texas.
- A permanent committee of the Texas Legislature, the board sets financial priorities for the state, offering budget requests and recommendations for appropriations and evaluating the performance of state and local operations.
“Black, Latino groups calling for diversity in Texas Legislature” (KXAN | January 2017)
Legislative Budget Board (Texas Legislature)
Tribpedia: Legislative Budget Board (The Texas Tribune)
Republican legislators look to do away with tuition set-aside programs in upcoming session
- Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick indicated as a priority for 2017 ending programs that set aside tuition dollars for financial aid for low-income students at higher education institutions, arguing that the law is a “hidden tax” on wealthy and middle-class families.
- Two such programs currently exist: one that began following the deregulation tuition in 2003 that required 15-20% of tuition increases to be set aside for aid, and another from 1975 requiring 15% of the first $50 charged per semester hour go to financial aid.
- Democrats and experts have argued that ending the programs without a simultaneous investment of state funding (an estimated $345 million) would make higher education inaccessible for lower-middle and low-income students, disproportionately impacting black and Latino students and institutions.
“Lt. Gov. Patrick favors scrapping key college financial aid program; many lawmakers unsure” (The Houston Chronicle)
“How Dan Patrick’s plan to slash tuition grants could keep some Texans from college” (The Dallas Morning News, August 2016)
“Lt. Gov. Patrick Slams Universities for Tuition Increases” (The Texas Tribune, April 2016)