Texas Legislature


State house to school house: new laws affect MFISD

By Richard Zowie

The Highlander

The State of Texas has implemented new laws for public schools — including rules on school buses, bullying and graduation requirements — and area schools are working to get them implemented.

Burnet County is home to two public school districts: Marble Falls Independent School District (MFISD) and Burnet Consolidated ISD.

MFISD Superintendent Chris Allen, PhD, provided updates on the different laws implemented:

* New school buses must have shoulder-to-lap seat belts for all riders (SB 693). “We are in the process of gaining approval to purchase four new buses, and they will have the required harnesses,” Allen said.

* With the help of a measure dubbed David’s Law, school officials hope they will have more tools at their disposal to fight cyber bullying (SB 179). The superintendent said they have aligned rules, expectations, documentation, and training to the new requirements.


The vote not taken

Over the last eight months, I have received more communication from the district about the Speaker of the House than any other topic. Some think he should be replaced; some think he is the only one with any sense. Spending the 140 days of the regular session immersed in the culture and process of the legislature has given me a slightly different perspective on the issue than I had going in, one I feel deserves sharing.

The problem with singling out one member of the legislature, one leadership team, or one Speaker of the House as being the problem is that it assumes that the problem lies with the person and not with the power itself.


House, Senate approve bills to protect children in foster system

AUSTIN — Both houses of the Texas Legislature last week passed bills to improve the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in response to Gov. Greg Abbott's call for emergency action to improve child protection programs.

Tasked with protecting children, elders and people with disabilities from abuse, neglect and exploitation, the DFPS, part of the Texas Health and Human Commission, has attracted attention in recent years for inadequate funding and staffing to meet obligations. 

Senate Bill 11, whose primary author is Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, was approved by the Senate on March 1. The bill would shift to private contractors the DFPS’s foster care management mission, but the state would remain the ultimate guardian over foster children, Schwertner said. The bill also contains oversight and accountability provisions to enable close monitoring by the DFPS and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

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