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How will Morrison's UHV/A&M bill progress?

By Gabe Semenza
March 12, 2011 at 10:02 p.m.
Updated March 11, 2011 at 9:12 p.m.


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The Advocate examines the legislative process of HB 2556, a bill filed Tuesday by Rep. Geanie Morrison.

If passed, the bill would change the University of Houston-Victoria's name to Texas A&M University-Victoria, and move everything and everyone under its umbrella into the A&M system.

Process

* Morrison files bill with Texas Legislature.

* She includes in bill funding for other UH System universities - UH-Downtown, $7.5 million, for example - plus other schools outside system. Why?

When amending state statute, current statute - in this case, approved funding - must be included, she said. Inclusion is legislative formality.

* Morrison also strikes out, or draws line through, funding amounts allotted for UHV. Why?

If bill passes, funding would not go to UHV, but rather to Texas A&M University-Victoria.

* Why draw line through UHV funding and not delete lines?

When amending legislation, current legislation must be included. By striking out UHV funding, Morrison acknowledges its initial existence, later notes money will transfer to new school.

Where does bill go next?

* Will be referred to committee - likely House Committee on Higher Education or State Affairs.

Purpose of committee is to vet legislation. Anyone may speak at committee hearing for or against bill. Committee votes whether to send to House.

* House of Representatives. Members: 150. Votes needed for bill to pass: 76.

* Senate. Members: 31. Votes needed for bill to pass: 21 to bring bill to floor, 16 in separate vote to pass it.

Oftentimes, senators submit companion bills to legislation filed by House counterparts - as show of support. Will Sen. Glenn Hegar?

"I do not plan to file a companion bill in the senate because Rep. Morrison has been leading the charge on this issue and this bill," Hegar, a Katy Republican whose district includes Victoria, said via e-mail. "When the bill gets to the senate, I'll pick up the bill and move forward from there."

* Gov. Rick Perry's desk for signature.

* If Perry signs bill, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board serves as intermediary if disputes arise during transfer. This is standard and was included in last successful Texas bill to switch systems.

* If bill passes all hurdles, takes effect. Sept. 1.

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