House Speaker Dade Phelan and Lt. Governor Patrick Discuss School Safety Proposals – June 13, 2022
Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan sent a letter to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick outlining his proposal to respond to the Robb Elementary shooting. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick sent a letter in response acknowledging their alignment in certain issues while stating other proposals need to be discussed by the related committees.
Gov. Abbott Directs Expansion and Acceleration of iWatch Texas Program – June 7, 2022
Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter directing Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath, and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Commissioner Harrison Keller to expand and accelerate their efforts to promote the ability to report suspicious activity known to students, staff, and families through the iWatchTexas reporting system. iWatchTexas is a partnership between communities and law enforcement that aims to make it easier for the public to report suspicious activity in the state, including criminal, terroristic, or school safety-related threats.
Gov. Abbott Directs Texas State University to Provide ALERRT to ISDs – June 6, 2022
Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter instructing Executive Director Dr. Pete Blair to begin providing Texas State University’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) programs to all school districts across the state, prioritizing school-based law enforcement. Governor Abbott also requested ALERRT to provide an after-action debrief of the shooting at Uvalde once the investigation is complete and of other relevant situations to school administrators, law enforcement, and others charged with keeping our Texas schools safe.
Gov. Abbott Directs TEA to Provide Strategies to Heighten Public School Safety – June 2, 2022
Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter to Commissioner Mike Morath directing the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to ensure existing school facilities are held to heightened safety standards following last week’s shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. In the letter, Governor Abbott directs TEA to:
- Instruct school districts to identify actions they can take prior to the start of the new school year that will make their campuses more secure
- Instruct all school districts to conduct weekly inspections of exterior doors to verify they are secure during school hours
- Develop strategies to encourage school districts to increase the presence of trained law enforcement officers and school marshals on campuses
Gov. Abbott Directs TxSSC to Conduct School Safety Review – June 1, 2022
Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter to Dr. Kathy Martinez-Prather directing the Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) to begin immediately conducting comprehensive school safety reviews to ensure all Texas public schools are following the appropriate procedures to maximize school safety. In the letter to Dr. Martinez-Prather, Governor Abbott instructs that TxSSC ensure all school districts’ School Safety and Security Committees meet ahead of the new school year to review their Emergency Operations Plan and address any campus safety needs, ensure the School Behavioral Threat Assessment Team is trained and has reviewed procedures for each campus, ensure all staff and substitutes are trained on their specific district and campus safety procedures, and conduct an assessment of their access control procedures. TxSSC is instructed to provide a progress report of findings to the Governor’s office and the Legislature by October 1.
Governor Abbott Requests Creation of Special Legislative Committees – June 1, 2022
Governor Greg Abbott sent a joint letter to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker Dade Phelan requesting the Texas legislative leaders convene special legislative committees following last week’s tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. Gov. Abbott requested that the special legislative committees be charged with examining and developing legislative recommendations on school safety, mental health, social media, police training, firearm safety, and more. Speaker Phelan later established the House Investigative Committee on the Robb Elementary Shooting and Lt. Gov. Patrick created the Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans.
Lt. Gov. Patrick Creates Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans – June 1, 2022
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced the Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans. The committee will consist of the following Senators: Chair Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville), Co-Vice Chairs Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) & Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury), Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), Juan Hinojosa (D-McAllen), Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), Royce West (D-Dallas), and Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo). Patrick asked Chair Nichols to hold his hearing on June 23 or a date shortly thereafter and “to coordinate with the House of Representatives Chair to hold their hearings on the same date, if possible, to accommodate both invited and public witnesses.” Patrick also noted that the Senate “will also be working with Attorney General Paxton’s office to ensure payments from the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund” are expedited. The complete statement from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick can be found here.
Governor Abbott Issues Disaster Declaration for City of Uvalde – May 31, 2022
Governor Greg Abbott issued a state of disaster declared in the City of Uvalde following the shooting on May 24 at Robb Elementary School. In a press release from The Office of the Governor, “[t]he disaster declaration will accelerate all available state and local resources to assist the Uvalde community, as well as suspend regulations that would prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the aftermath of the tragic shooting.”
Lt. Gov. Patrick Letter to TEA Commissioner Morath – May 27, 2022
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick sent a letter to Education Commissioner Mike Morath asking for information on $100 million appropriated through SB 500 for school safety infrastructure and for TEA to extend associated grant timelines for school districts and charters.
Speaker Phelan Creates Investigating Committee on the Robb Elementary Shooting, Issues Additional Interim Charges – June 3, 2022
House Speaker Dade Phelan has announced the creation of the Texas House Investigative Committee on the Robb Elementary Shooting. The committee will be made up of the following members: Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock), Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso), and former Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman. In addition to the formation of this new investigative committee, Speaker Phelan also issued a series of joint charges to the Select Committee on Youth Health & Safety and Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee. Seven additional House members have been appointed to the Select Committee on Youth Health & Safety: Rep. Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood), Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth), Rep. Mary Gonzalez (R-Clint), Rep. Tracy King (D-Batesville), Rep. John Kuempel (R-Seguin), and Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa)