SB 6 was passed by the House on Friday, June 17th. The House added several amendments on the floor. One amendment added back the Technology Lending Program. This would allow the Commissioner to appropriate up to 5% of the IMA to fund a technology lending program to assist schools in providing technology to students who cannot afford to buy their own. It was in the House version during the regular session but was removed from the conference committee report.
Rep. Madden added an amendment that would require the Commissioner to provide funding from the IMA to the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Texas School for the Deaf, and the Texas Youth Commission. The amendment, however, does not require these entities to spend these funds on instructional materials or technology.
Provisions from HB 400, which didn’t passed during the regular session, were added on the bill as well. These provisions pertain to the assessment system. In essence they relax some of the requirements for the implementation of the new system for two years. There was a lot of support for HB 400 in the House during the regular session but not much in the Senate.
Because the House version of SB 6 is different from the Senate version it is very likely that they will work out the differences in a conference committee. Once the conferees agree to the final version, the bill will have to be voted on again by both the House and Senate. In order for the bill to take effect immediately, the bill must pass with a 2/3rds majority of the membership. That is at least 100 representatives and 21 senators.