Over the last couple of weeks, Texas legislators have been considering bills which, if approved in the House and Senate, will mean changes to Texas’ gas drilling laws. HB 40 and its companion bill SB 1165 addresses state jurisdiction over drilling operations and limitations on the regulatory authority of local government.
On March 30th, The Texas Energy Resources Committee voted 10-1 to approve CSHB 40 after many hours of testimony the previous week. City of Southlake staff and the City’s Attorney were among many local experts who spent time in Austin testifying before the Committee as the bill was being considered.
Below is a link to the testimony that took place over eight-plus hours the week of March 23rd.
House Committee on Energy Resources (3-23-15)
Senate Committee on Natural Resources & ED (3-24-15)
(Begins at 12:36)
The Texas Energy Resources Committee vote of March 30, 2015
On October 18, 2011, the Southlake City Council approved local drilling ordinance 880-B. A brief history of the City’s current oil and gas drilling ordinance and summary of the ordinance ‘s changes is available in the Executive Summary. For more information about Oil and Gas Drilling and Production in Southlake please visit CityofSouthlake.com/Drilling
Representative Vicki Truitt (R-Keller) is organizing a town hall meeting in Carroll ISD to engage with local residents, educators, parents and students to discuss challenges with the public school finance system. The meeting will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Monday, May 14 in the cafeteria of Carroll High School, 800 White Chapel Boulevard in Southlake.
This spring, Legislative leaders from around the state were appointed to a special committee that will study the state’s school finance system and recommend changes to the 2013 Texas Legislature. Representative Truitt, a seven-term legislator from Tarrant County representing the people of Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake, Keller, Westlake and parts of Trophy Club and Fort Worth, was selected to serve on the committee.
The creation of the Joint Interim Committee to Study the Public School Finance System was authorized by lawmakers during a Special Session of the Texas Legislature last summer. If you are unable to attend the Town Hall, presentation material will be available at http://www.vickitruitt.com.
“I’ll be able to play a key role as the state seeks a better way to fund public education and devises a better formula through which state funding is disbursed for public education,” said Representative Truitt. “The purpose of this town hall meeting is to understand my consituents’ concerns and ensure that the voices and opinions of the people from the 98th District will be heard in Austin.”
Carroll school officials are urging parents, employees and students to attend this Town Hall meeting so their opinions about public school funding can be heard. CISD is just one of hundreds of public school districts who have joined lawsuits against the state of Texas for what many have described as a failed school finance system. Carroll ISD lost $8 million in state funding over a two-year period and has had to cut positions, institute fees and look for alternative ways to help fund daily operations.
Representative Truitt was instrumental in the last Legislative session in helping get a bill passed that allowed school districts who do not receive transportation funding from the state to charge fees to keep that service in place. Just last month CISD Trustees reluctantly instituted a $250 bus rider fee for all riders except those special education students who receive free transportation.
The Board did add a $500 family cap to help lessen the burden on Dragon families, but they say the fee is an alternative to having to cut transportation altogether. The district spends $2.1 million transporting students to and from school and to field trips and extracurricular competitions. Officials say the $250 per rider fee won’t cover the costs, but will help offset expenses so that the effect on the classroom can be avoided.
To learn more about Carroll ISD’s budget, visit the district’s school finance website at www.carrollbudget.com.