Austin – The Senate Education Committee today voted 9-0 unanimously to approve Senate Bill 7 by Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), which will strengthen and enhance educator misconduct laws in Texas. Senator Bettencourt said, “Teacher misconduct reports are being filed all over Texas, with a 43 percent increase in the number of cases the Texas Education Agency has opened this fiscal year. Educator misconduct has become a statewide epidemic, and the Senate Committee on Education today unanimously approved common sense legislation to stop it. I look forward to bringing this bill to the Texas Senate,” he added.

SB 7 has firm support from educator groups, school board groups and the education community. Key bill points include:

Expanding the Texas Education Agency’s investigative authority from intra-district to inter-district relationships;

Expanding reporting requirements to include not only superintendents, but principals as well, with penalties for failing to report; and

Automatic revocation of teaching certificate if offender receives deferred adjudication for an educator misconduct offense or any offense that would require them to register as a sex offender.

Senator Bettencourt will add an amendment along with Senators Van Taylor (R-Plano) and Royce West (D-Dallas) on the floor that will strengthen SB 7 based on ideas presented during public testimony.

“Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has named protecting students from predatory teachers one of his top 10 legislative priorities, and Governor Greg Abbott discussed it during his State of the State Address,” Senator Bettencourt continued. “When teachers and students engage in this behavior their lives are irrevocably altered, and it is important that we no longer turn a blind eye and engage everyone in stamping out this problem!”

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