House Gives First OK on SBOE Sunset Bill

CORRECTION: The House approval of HB 710 this evening was on second reading. The House must pass it on third reading, probably tomorrow, to send it to the Senate. Even so, tonight was a very important step forward. Edited post follows:

Defying far-right pressure groups that flooded Capitol offices with misleading calls and e-mails, the Texas House has just approved on second reading House Bill 710, which would make the State Board of Education subject to periodic review by the Sunset Advisory Commission. The vote was 74-68, and the House must pass it on third reading to send it to the Senate.

The House earlier this session passed HJR 77 and HB 2037, which would take control over the Permanent School Fund from the state board and put it in the hands of finance professionals. In addition, the House has passed HB 772, which would require the state board to broadcast video and audio of its meetings live over the Internet so that taxpayers can watch board members do their work.

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller released the following statement after this evening’s House vote:

“The House this session clearly seems intent on bringing transparency, accountability and expertise to education policy because the state board has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of respect for all three. Parents and other taxpayers have a right to expect swift action from the Senate on these kinds of common-sense, good-government bills.”