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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bill Filing Begins for 2009 Legislative Session

Insider's Report Vol. 6, No. 41

Bonnen legislation would benefit 
"Top Ten Percent" grads

Monday officially marked the first day to pre-file legislation for the upcoming session, which convenes on January 13, 2009.  One of my highest priorities as we approach the 81st session is to ensure that all high school graduates have the tools available to them to pursue their career goals.

In continuing my support of community colleges, I filed my first bill of the 81st session, House Bill 152, to allow students who graduate in the top ten percent of their class to take advantage of the outstanding community colleges in Brazoria County and throughout Texas without losing their automatic admission status to a major state university.  Under current law, these students forfeit their automatic admission if they choose to attend a community college first.

Several years ago, I was approached by a constituent who admirably graduated within the top ten percent of his class while serving as the primary caretaker of an ill family member.  He faced the difficult decision of giving up his hard-earned automatic admission to a top university due to unavoidable and unfortunate circumstances, which is what led me to file this legislation during the 79th, 80th, and 81st sessions.

H.B. 152 would enable these students to maintain their automatic admission while attending a more affordable and conveniently located college for a maximum of two years given they maintain a 3.25 GPA.

This legislation has always been received with great enthusiasm by my colleagues and constituents but has fallen victim to the greater statewide debate over our flawed "Top Ten Percent" automatic admissions laws.  However, until we are able to address the overall system, we must find ways to provide relief to those well-deserving students who have worked hard for this achievement.

During the upcoming session, I will continue to work for legislative initiatives that promote the great value and accessibility of Brazosport College and all community colleges in Texas so that our local students can take full advantage of this affordable and high-quality educational opportunity.