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87th Session Recap

Texas’ 87th Legislative Session came to a close on Monday, May 31, after more than four months, with state lawmakers passing at least 116 new laws that directly impact Texas public schools. There were 953 bills filed (13 percent of the 7,148 filed, overall) that directly related to public education, meaning that 12 percent of proposed legislation regarding public education passed. 

The session was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, from limits on who could attend legislative chambers and hearings to how the state would respond to school funding needs and loss of instruction from school closures in spring 2020. There was also considerable discussion about the distribution of federal COVID-19 relief funds. Other issues receiving significant attention and impacting public education included the expansion of authority to the Commissioner of Education; efforts to define what can be taught in social studies and civics classrooms, especially related to race and race relations; and requiring that students only participate in gender-specific UIL activities for the gender by which they were defined at birth. 

In the months leading up to the session, a group of Keller ISD stakeholders helped draft a set of legislative priorities that were unanimously approved by the KISD Board of Trustees on December 14. While not all of the District's priorities were addressed, many of them were reflected in drafted legislation, and a few of them were adopted into law. Of note, Senate Bill 1, the state’s budget bill, maintained funding that the legislature put in place during the 86th legislative session, and bills were passed to expand and make permanent individual graduation committees (IGCs). Meanwhile, legislators fell just short of passing legislation that would provide approval and funding for the expansion of full-time remote instructional offerings. 

The following are just a few of the key pieces of legislation that impact Texas public schools: