2017 Texas Legislative Session: Make Children a Priority
CHILDREN AT RISK’s Legislative Priorities
- Establish a task force to examine and increase access to evidence-based parent education and quality parent engagement programs in Texas, as well as improve inter-agency coordination between the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the Texas Workforce Commission, Texas Education Agency, and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
Early Childhood Education
- Increase coordination of state-funded child care and public Pre-K data systems at the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Workforce Commission through the Early Childhood Database System to improve outcomes for children and maximize taxpayer dollars.
- Increase transparency by requiring the Texas Workforce Commission to report how state dollars are being spent, including the number and percentage of children receiving subsidies that are participating in high quality child care settings to parents and policy makers.
- Increase local coordination of early education programs by supporting public/private partnerships between school districts and high quality child care centers.
- Sustain the High Quality Pre-Kindergarten Grant Program at $236 million for the biennium.
- Create sustainable funding for quality Pre-K through formula funding.
- Expand Pre-K eligibility to children whose parents are whose first responders and have been killed or injured during duty
- Limit Pre-K classrooms to a maximum of 22 students, allowing no more than 11 students for each teacher or aide in Pre-K classes with more than 15 students.
- Increase inter-agency coordination of child care and Pre-K data systems through the Early Childhood Database System to improve outcomes for children and maximize efficiency of taxpayer dollars.
- Increase public/private partnerships between school districts and high quality child care centers.
Expanded Learning Opportunities
- Extend the Expanded Learning Opportunities Council for four additional years to examine the efficacy of a longer school day/longer school year and to examine best practices for public/private partnerships.
- Establish a workgroup to provide school districts with best practices on recess. Require school districts to develop a locally determined school recess policy.
- Set aside convictions of victims of human trafficking for non-violent crimes committed as a direct result of trafficking
- Streamline processes for landlords to evict tenants who are engaged in trafficking activity on leased property.
- Target unlicensed “massage establishments” for deceptive trade practices.
- Improve the curriculum of court-ordered programs for consumers of prostitution to highlight child sex trafficking.
- Establish a statewide data collection system to track all prostitution-related crimes, including crimes related to minors.
- Strengthen the civil nuisance and abatement statutes to enable local governments to more effectively shut down illegal sexually-oriented businesses.
- Criminalize the online promotion of prostitution and increase awareness and enforcement of state and federal laws related to online child sex trafficking.
- SB 355 & HB 3145 Recess
- SB 940 & HB3323 Early Childhood Transparency and Coordination
- SB 1669 & HB1522 Task Force for Parent Engagement
- HB 357 First Responders Pre-K
- HB 269 Empower HT Victims
- HB 272 & SB 128 HT Training for Texas CDL Applicants
- HB 269 & SB1165 Empowering Victims of Human Trafficking to Restore and Rebuild