Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
The original legislation that allowed for these fees to be charged stipulated that the fees could not be charged after the fifth academic year starting from the time the fee is was first charged. Some universities currently charging the fee are nearing the five year expiration date. The purpose of this legislation is to allow those universities, by majority vote of the students, to charge the fee for another five years.
While charging additional fees at universities is not desirable given the expensive cost of education, this fee was already approved by the 81st Legislature. Allowing the fee to expire would support our limited government principle.
On the other hand, the fee could only be extended if a majority of students (who are after all the people required to pay the fee) approve it in an election. This has the potential to support our personal responsibility principle. Even so, the bill is not without deficiencies.
Since student elections tend to be low turnout affairs, a minority of enrolled students who make up a majority of election participants can impose the fee for everyone. Furthermore, because the fee would be renewed for five years, the incoming classes subsequent to the election would have no say in the matter until the five year period comes up for renewal again.
We recommend that legislators vote against this bill unless it is amended to:
1. Provide that the fee could only be authorized by a vote of the majority of students enrolled or
2. Require an election to renew the fee annually rather than after five years.
The adoption of either of these provisions would satisfy our objections to this legislation.