Texas Senate Votes for Parental Choice in Educational Opportunities for Our Children

March 30, 2017

AUSTIN – Senate Bill 3, authored by Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), passed the Texas Senate by a vote of 18-13 today. The legislation begins school choice for Texas schoolchildren through two opportunities – an Education Savings Account (ESA) program and a Tax Credit Scholarship program.

These programs would be available to 17 million people within the most populated 17 counties (roughly 4 million school aged children) in Texas and provide a “parent trigger” for counties with a population under 285,000 people. The “parent trigger” would establish criteria for voters in exempted counties to call for an election to determine if their school district should opt in to a school choice program.

“We have some excellent public schools in Texas, but we also have some schools that aren’t providing the best opportunity for their students and even the best of our schools don’t meet all the needs of all students,” said SB 3 author and Senate Education Committee Chair Larry Taylor. “This legislation will level the playing field for Texas parents who are desperate for more choices, but are limited because of their financial resources.”

The ESA program, to be administered by the State Comptroller, will provide parents with funds for the education needs of their child including private school tuition, private tutoring, online learning or other qualified options such as instructional materials and courses.

The Tax Credit Scholarship program, to be administered by a non-profit educational assistance organization selected by the State Comptroller, provides scholarships to eligible students from private businesses. Eligible students may receive a scholarship for up to 75% of the average statewide school districts’ daily attendance or a scholarship up to $500 for academic support programs at a public school. Texas special needs children would be funded at a higher level of 90%.

“A child’s future should not be predetermined by their zip code,” stated Senate Republican Caucus Treasurer Van Taylor (R-Plano). “Choice leads to competition; and allowing parents the ability to use a portion of their tax dollars to send their child to a school of their choice will give students more opportunity while improving our education system.”

Echoing Senator Eddie Lucio’s (D-Brownsville) statement on SB 3 in bi-partisan agreement, “This parental choice bill is for Texas parents to help find the best school for their children,” concluded Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston).

The two programs are estimated to potentially have 30,000 to 70,000 children participate at their parent’s choice. It should be noted one year of growth in Texas public schools is 86,000 students.

Senate Bill 3 has been widely supported by Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and former U.S. Senator Phil Gramm (R-Texas).


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As Chairman of the Texas Senate Republican Caucus I want to recognize the finest group of Legislators in the United States. We're all proud of our accomplishments like Property Tax Reform and Relief, School Finance, School Safety, Hurricane Harvey Relief, Protecting Religious Liberty, Protecting Life, Securing Our Border, the Texas Budget and "Beer-To-Go."

These 18 Senators, under the leadership of Lt. Governor Patrick, enacted these conservative solutions to Texas' challenges for the betterment of all of Texas: Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury), Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway), Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), Pat Fallon (R-Prosper), Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton), Bob Hall (R-Edgewood), Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills), Joan Huffman (R-Houston), Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville), Angela Paxton (R-McKinney), Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown), Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) and Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood).

Hats off to our House colleagues and Speaker Bonnen, with the Governor able to sign these important Bill's this year.

If you want to see what really happened during the 86th legislative session, watch the video below and spread the word to all Republicans, and like-minded Conservatives, across the State of Texas.

Thank you,

Chairman Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston)
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Seniors should be exempt from all taxes completely we have already paid our share.

you have a vivid imagination if you think anything you have done resembles tax reform

What exactly is the Relief. I have not been informed.

When we start educating children on reading writing basic arithmetic and instilling the knowledge that with mastery of these they can do anything they set their hearts to do can be accomplished, I'll be impressed.

Sorry, but this legislative session was a horrible failure. A significant budget increase, no further limitations on abortion, no constitutional carry, no real property tax relief. Sorry, but the republicans failed us. I hope most of you are primaried, as we need real conservatives to represent Texas!

I Absolutely believe nothing Ya'll say.

They say property tax relief but all they do is reevaluate the property and raise the value to increase the amount you pay

School tax have always been insanely insanely high in texas they pride them selves on not having a state income tax but sometimes I wonder what the would be

Property tax reform? My taxes went up 10%; I appealed and was denied. In fact, everyone I talked to had a huge increase in taxes and all was denied a reduction. Although a lifelong republican, I may vote democrat in the next state elections.

Still forgot about the legislative priorities set out at convention the Alamo and monuments protection and hb 357 with a Republican controlled house there was no reason the prorites should have not been carried out .seems like the party kneeled down to the house speaker governor and Lt governor and kissed the ring

This texas legislation is a joke!! All this should have been delt with years ago! The texas lotto was created to help schools and veterans!! This year abbott and paxton passed a bill in texas senat to fund child protective services and fostercare 509 Million dollars that begins this year in 2019!!! Thats only to fostercare and child protective services!!!! Familys DO NOT stand a chance in these two family killing systems!!!!

Tax breaks for who my property taxes went up and my trailer home is falling apart but that disnt matter tax breaks fir golf courses i believe

Once again patting yourself on the back for a failed session. As someone already has said..."putting lipstick on a pig." WE ARE "STILL" GETTING TAXED OUT OF OUR HOMES"!

I noticed something in common with a large amount of these post. They could have saved a lot of typing had they simply typed, "ME< ME>ME!"

I think that you all have done an injustice for the people of Texas.

how do you plan to FUND all the ventures you are proud to endorse when there is no state income tax and now you cut the property do you make education BETTER when Texas has one of the WORST public school systems in the country???

And still no passing of legalized gambling casinos in texas,to create more jobs,training for younger people who may not get to go to college,a boost in the economy and revenue for our state.the state of texas needs to get off the fence on this.

Really?🤔 As a Republican I say this has been about the worst Session in a long time, the property tax relief is really nothing to brag about and folks will see that all in due time, what about the planks of Constitutional Carry, The Monument protection, that would have saved the Cenotaph and other monuments, and the list could go on, I don't get how y'all the TSRC and Legislative leaders keep trying to polish this turd of the 86th Legislative Session.

Nothing is free we the people pay for it always good job

Donna Campbell on any “finest group of legislators” is truly a sham. What a waste of space!

Really, all I saw was tax cut to the rich and business while a property tax relief that was a joke. Lobbists getting more money and power in our state government, more public union empowerment, snubbing of constitutional carry, increased taxes, the left assault on our history and monuments went unencumbered, abortion still open, spending like drunken sailors, and free education and health care for illegals, and no updating of the voter registration rolls. I left CA to get away from this and now Texas looks like CA in 1990's and that's when the left's takeover began. Frankly it has me scared that all I did was buy time before I'm right back in the frying pan again.

You really did nothing for the property tax for new home buyers. Most people living in apartments could afford a home if they did not have to pay $400 to $600 a month in property tax. Were dose all that money go ?

If Dan Patrick is leading it you can bet it will not help Texans. It will help the leaders of Empower Texas Coalition.

Go ahead and congratulate yourselves for a lackluster session. YOU don't fund the TSBPE properly and then accuse it of inefficiency, then let it expire while taking bribes from industries who want to kill it. You'll get no praise from me.

And stealing 1 billion dollars from the Houston Firefighter Pension.

Senate Bill 1978, the save "Chick fil-A Bill," authored by Senator Bryan Hughes (R - Mineola) would prevent a government or public entity from penalizing businesses for exercising their religious beliefs. This bill is essential after Chick-fil-A was barred from opening a location at the San Antonio Airport.

Chick-fil-A should not be punished for choosing to support certain religious organizations that align with their beliefs. Progressive liberals killed the Texas House companion bill, House Bill 3172, but Texas Senate Republicans will not allow the 86th Legislative Session to end without protecting the religious liberty of businesses and individuals.

Read the Bill here:
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It’s Freedom of Religion. If you don’t like their beliefs than don’t eat there. Simple as that. For the rest of us, we don’t mind waiting in long lines to get our delicious Chick-Fil-A 🐓🍟🇺🇸🍕

This was one of the very few good things y’all did this session. So, thank you for at least doing this. But very disappointed in both houses in the Texas Legislature, and Greg Abbott as well. Y’all are giving me very little reason to continue voting Republican. I am sick of voting Republican just because “well, he is better than the DemocRAT.” I’m starting to wonder if there is much of a difference.

On a personal note I dislike their food. I also think food needs available 24/7/365 at an airport. Based on our laws their hours of service are there’s to set. But airport patrons have a need for food when on the ground and during layovers. So either Chic Fil A either makes an exception for airport eateries, or airports pick someone that will.

And, from another angle, Chick-fil-A should not be rewarded for their financial support of racist, bigoted hate groups that agree with their "Christian" beliefs.

This isn't about Republicans and Democrats, it's about discrimination based on religious beliefs. That is, unless you support discrimination ?

Still won't give one penny to chick-fil-a. And choosing not to allow a business that brings controversy into an airport is not discrimination.. it good business

We are , ONE NATION UNDER ALMIGHTY GOD and is beautiful to see business with this religious spirit This business are so blessed.

Thank you Texas Senate. Vote out the Texas House of Representatives that voted against this bill. If “ chick fil a “ is still denied a permit then build very close to airport. The city will lose revenue. Because many people will patronize their business.

Chick-Fil--A is this most successful fast food chain out there right now. I really dont think they need government help. A couple of times they have been denied leases in venues that do a significant amount of their business on Sunday and thus want their patrons to have food available on Sunday. It is a contingency of the lease. Chick-fil-A chooses to not open on Sunday. Both are reasonable stances. Dont need government intervention. It is not religious persecution, it is a business dispute.

And now, perhaps as a result, the Federal Aviation Administration is looking into whether this is discrimination at the airport. The council had a chance to reconsider that decision but instead doubled down it. They will regret it soon!

2 problems with this approach. First, it ignores the fact that a 7-day-a-week airport probably needs a 7-day-a-week vendor to service its customers. Any business that closes on Sunday to give their employees a day off and time to go to church is to be applauded, but it has to take the consequences that go with that choice, and to do so without screaming "Persecution!" That goes for the loudmouths using this to make political hay in the Texas Legislature. The second problem is that, when a Muslim business wants to get a contract and also be closed for Friday prayers, this law will be used to let them do so. Either that, or those in control will hypocritically try to find a loophole to prevent them from doing so.

and the converse of this is that the san Antonio airport should not be forced to comply with chik-fil-a's beliefs if it's not their own.....

Texas, please continue to stand up to those who discriminate against other citizens, because they don’t agree.

Great now can you please Find a funding plan for our schools? Why didn't you cap the school portion of our PROPERTY TAX at 2.5 %?how come the teachers are not getting their 5000$ pay raise you all promised? Why can't you end the ROBINHOOD? Can you please tax something else to fund our schools? the 2 year plan you all came up with just kicks the can down the road!

It's discrimination pure and simple and there are already laws against it. If you don't like a business belief system then don't patronize that business.. but don't force your belief system on anyone else either and they are doing just that by not allowing CFA to open a location at the Airport.

Good now our 2nd Amendment rights are being embezzled by government. We need to show the same concerns for all our rights. Concealed Handgun permits are the embezzlement of the 2nd Amendment.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Just because your beliefs don’t align with a restaurant, you want to deny many others a good place to eat and there aren’t many of those in airports. Don’t like them, don’t shop there, I don’t mind.

Protect religious beliefs from the persecution of democrats!!! Always vote Republican!!!

Why are you filtering out replies? Since when do you decide which replies I deem relevant? FB has gone way too far!

People travel 24/7 so the airport needs a place for people to eat on Sundays. That is why they weren't chosen


Well, they can’t really keep them out since this airport accepts federal funds. So, the council man that started all this has got to come up with answers as why he didn’t check into that little fact.

I believe in one nation under GOD. But I believe I have the right to boycott because I believe the greatest command is to love.

Before you realize it our own government will be banning us who believe in God from life itself.

Thank you thank you chick fil. for standing up the

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