A Look at the Priority Bills for Straus and Patrick
By Aman Batheja, Morgan Smith, and Becca Aaronson, The Texas Tribune
Along with their bully pulpits and control over the legislative process, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus have another valuable weapon in their efforts to influence the legislative session: low bill numbers.
While most bill numbers are assigned sequentially based on when they are filed, the speaker and the lieutenant governor traditionally award the lowest bill numbers to measures they view as priorities.
Guns on Campuses
NEA Higher Education Advocate
Just three states (Idaho, Utah, and Colorado) explicityly allow gun-owners to carry concealed weapons onto campuses. But pro-gun legislators in several other states, including Florida and Texas, are itching to join that group in 2015.
Tough times or not, tax break for yachts steams ahead
By Peggy Fikac, The Houston Chronicle
As some lawmakers look high and low for money to ease cutbacks in education and human services, the House Ways and Means Committee has approved a tax break for big yachts.
The committee voted 8-3 Thursday for House Bill 2187, which Rep. John Davis, R-Houston, casts as an effort to preserve the economic activity that goes along with having big yachts purchased and kept here.
Other states — most notably Florida — have limited their yacht taxes and Davis said that means Texas is losing out on sales and service.
We don’t need more STEM majors. We need more STEM majors with liberal arts training.
The ability to draw from other disciplines produces better scientists.
By Loretta Jackson-Hayes, associate professor of chemistry at Rhodes College in Memphis
In business and at every level of government, we hear how important it is to graduate more students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math, as our nation’s competitiveness depends on it. The Obama administration has set a goal of increasing STEM graduates by one million by 2022, and the “desperate need” for more STEM students makes regular headlines. The emphasis on bolstering STEM participation comes in tandem with bleak news about the liberal arts — bad job prospects, programs being cut, too many humanities majors.
As a chemist, I agree that remaining competitive in the sciences is a critical issue. But as an instructor, I also think that if American STEM grads are going lead the world in innovation, then their science education cannot be divorced from the liberal arts.
Concealed Handguns Mainly Miss the Mark as an Answer to Campus Rape
By Peter Schmidt, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Amanda Collins blames a state ban on concealed handguns on public-college campuses for leaving her vulnerable to the stranger who raped her in a parking garage eight years ago at the University of Nevada at Reno.
In recounting the incident in testimony before state legislatures there and elsewhere, Ms. Collins has argued that she would have been much better equipped to fend off the man who jumped her had state law not required her to leave at home a pistol for which she had a concealed-weapons permit.
Backgrounds and Beliefs of College Freshmen
The Chronicle of Higher Education
For nearly five decades, researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles have surveyed the nation's incoming freshmen to learn more about their backgrounds, views, and expectations. Use this interactive graphic to see how their attitudes and self-images have changed since the 1960s, as measured by UCLA's Cooperative Institutional Research Program, part of the Higher Education Research Institute.