Government Relations – So Many Ways to Make a Difference!

TACAC Texas Legislative Day

Texas Legislative Day at the Teas Capitol was a week ago today, February 26, then just four days later we were on the way to Washington DC to participate in NACAC’s annual Advocacy Day!  We’re in the middle of the 86th Legislature for Texas and your Government Relations Co-Chairs are following several bills that impact students, college and university admissions and affordability, and high school graduation requirements.  Government Relations Co-Chairs (Caroline and Toni), along with TACAC’s Presidents’ Council, Jonah O’Hara from the Executive Board, and 2 other TACAC members from secondary schools teamed up to meet with 10 offices of both Texas Senators and House Members to discuss specific legislation that has been introduced this session and its impact on college access and our membership. All in all we had a really productive day, one of the best meetings we had was with the Vice Chair for the House Higher Ed Committee, Representative Lynn Stucky.  He was very receptive to our concerns and was planning to use this information during upcoming hearings on the various bills we brought up.  For those of us who have gone to NACAC’s Hill Day in the past, this experience was quite different. The conversations we had regarding actual proposed bills and their direct impact on our students and counselor colleagues made a difference.  Bringing the “boots on the ground” perspective close to the actual legislative process was so meaningful! 

We realize that not everyone can take a day off of work to go to Austin to share your stories with your elected House and Senate members but you can very easily pick up the phone, type an email, or send a letter.  You can even direct message them via Twitter if you want to quickly share your opinion or perspective on an issue important to you!  Don’t forget about their district offices too – they have staff there in your region to hear your concerns and share those directly with your Texas State Senator or House Member.  Don’t know what issues you should be following or how to do?  You can search bills by topic and create a free account to follow them here: or just search of bills of interest and your elected officials contact info here: For national contacts for both US Senators and your US House of Representatives member go here:

NACAC Advocacy Day

We wrapped up #NACACHillDay yesterday, March 4.  The TACAC Presidents’ Council and Caroline, visited with John Cornyn’s office as well as 13 House of Representatives members from across Texas!  5 of these were freshmen Congressional Members who were new to NACAC’s college access agenda.  We advocated for decreasing the student to counselor ratio, fully funding Pell Grants and also Title IV, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which funds states’ programs for college counseling, AP/IB coursework, Music, Arts, Foreign Language, and other programs that provide for a rigorous curriculum and well-rounded students.  The Higher Ed Act is up for reauthorization and we shared our perspective on changes Chairman Scott is proposing that we strongly believe will help students everywhere.  Visits with the freshmen members from El Paso, Greater Houston, and Dallas Metroplex were quite productive – the aides we met with were like sponges just soaking in the information which made for really productive dialogue.  We had a few people join our meetings from the United for College Success coalition to discuss to and through college initiatives as well as members from International ACAC to talk about the importance of International Students to our state’s economy and dropping rates of international student enrollment. While waiting for our flights home at the airport yesterday, we talked about how nice it was to include these other folks in our meetings and how their messages complimented our overall conversations with our elected officials.  This was definitely the best NACAC Hill Day for me over the course of my Gov Rel Co-Chair term, perfect way to “roll off”!  Look for photos from both legislative days on Twitter and Facebook using #TACACLegeDay, #NACACHillDay, and of course #TACACOnTheGo!

Government Relations is Tracking the Following Proposed Texas Bills (follow us on Twitter for updates as we get them, @GovRelTACAC:

HB 879: Relating to the automatic admission to general academic teaching institutions of students who complete the early college education program.

HB 535: Relating to the completion and submission of financial aid application for costs of higher education as a condition of high school graduation for public school students.

SB 426: Relating to the use of public school counselor’ work time.

SB 249 & HB 539: Relating to the automatic admission to general academic teaching institutions and eligibility for certain scholarships of a student who is the valedictorian of the student’s high school graduating class.

SB 3: Relating to additional funding to school districts for classroom teacher and librarian salaries.

HB 988, SB 32 and 33: (SB33 & HB 988) Relating to the establishment of the Texas Promise Grant Program for certain students at two-year public institutions of higher education. (SB32) Relating to the establishment of the Texas Promise Grant Program for certain students at public institutions of higher education.

HB 132, SB 143 & SB 876: Relating to the limitation on the amount of tuition charged by public institutions of higher education.

SB 35: Relating to the establishment of and operation of the Texas B-On-time student loan program.

HB 277: Relating to a requirement that online admission application forms for public institutions of higher education include a link to certain comparative gainful employment data.

For any questions, please contact the Government Relations Committee at [email protected].   





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