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Legislative Priorities

Legislative Priorities

Government Relations

The Texas A&M Office of Government Relations (GR) is located in College Station and is Texas A&M’s interface with the Texas Legislature, Congress, and senior state and federal executive branch officials. The office is part of The Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) GR team, a coordinating body of A&M System government relation officers that work in unison to advance system goals. This GR office provides analysis on legislative policy matters that can broadly impact the university community and strives to improve the position of Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University at Galveston and the Texas A&M Health Science Center in the federal and state arenas. The GR office also works in unison with other units throughout campus to develop and coordinate analyses on the potential effects of pending legislation and to implement legislative guidance as appropriate. The office also engages in strategic communications through social media and other channels, seeking to positively influence both public policy and public opinion regarding support for the teaching, research and service at Texas A&M University and throughout higher education.

For more information visit the GR website, and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

The GR office is led by Norman R. Garza, vice president for Government Relations, and includes Michael Hardy ’13, assistant vice president for Government Relations, and Dr. Stanton Calvert, special advisor to the vice president for Government Relations. 


State Priorities - 88th Legislative Session (2023)

In fall of even-numbered years, Texas state agencies and public universities submit their Legislative Appropriations Requests (LARs) to the governor's Office of Budget, Planning and Policy and the Legislative Budget Board. These requests are used to prepare the state's general appropriations bill, which provides funding for state agencies and institutions for the following two fiscal years.

These requests include an administrator's statement at the beginning of the LAR to provide a narrative justification for the full legislative appropriations request.

The legislative priorities for Texas A&M University and Texas A&M University at Galveston for the 88th Legislature are summarized below:

Texas A&M University

1. Formula funding

Formula funding is the foundation for Texas public institutions of higher education, flowing directly into college classrooms and labs. Additional general revenue in the formulas wil help cover student enrollment growth and help offset record inflation and the resulting pressure on tuition and fees.

2. Graduate education and the Texas Research University Fund (TRUF)

For every $10 million in research expenditures at Texas A&M, the Texas Research University Fund (TRUF) provides approximately $1.2 million for additional investment. Graduate students are crucial to Texas A&M's research enterprise to help generate new knowledge and discoveries that save lives, enrich our well-being, and generate economic development throughout the state. Additional funds will aid in the recruitment and retention of graduate students and ensure a better pipeline for these skilled researchers.

3. Texas A&M System employees' health insurance

A decline in state support for these employees' health insurance over the last several years has required Texas A&M System institutions to cover these additional costs. There is a gap of more than 20% between the funding for these employees, compared to other state employees in the Employee Retirement System of Texas.

4. Financial support to meet the mental health needs of students

Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas A&M was experiencing an increased need for mental health services for our students. The pandemic has only magnified this need. Financial support from the state will help Texas A&M meet this critical threat to our students' well-being.

5. Hazlewood Legacy program

The Hazlewood Act and the Hazlewood Legacy are, largely, unfunded mandates on Texas public institutions of higher education to waive tuition for eligible veterans and their dependents. In FY2021, Texas A&M System institutions waived $44.2 million in legacy exemptions and only received $5.9 million — or 13.3% — in state reimbursement. An increase in state support for reimbursing universities for their Hazlewood Legacy costs will sustain this program for future generations and reduce the cost-shift to other students.

6. Exceptional item request: MetaFort Virtual Production Institute

This exceptional item will support an ecosystem designed for teaching, learning and research. The Texas A&M MetaFort Virtual Production Institute will support state-of-the-art instrumentation required for a learning laboratory. Funding for this exceptional item request will allow Texas A&M to meet a need in the state by educating students to be prepared for high-demand jobs.

Read more on these requests at tx.ag/TAMU88LAR.

 

Texas A&M University at Galveston

1. Formula funding

Formula funding is the foundation for Texas public institutions of higher education, flowing directly into college classrooms and labs. Additional general revenue in the formulas wil help cover student enrollment growth and help offset record inflation and the resulting pressure on tuition and fees.

2. Performance Based Funding for Comprehensive Regional Universities

The 87th Legislature recognized the importance of the state's 27 Comprehensive Regional Universities by passing SB1295 and using federal funding to support this legislation. Continued support from the state's General Revenue to provide performance funding for student support programs will help address the state's decline in direct enrollment from high school to college and close the gap in these institutions' graduation rates. Increasing regionals' college enrollment and graduation rates will add more skilled employees to the workforce and improve regional economies.

3. Exceptional item request: The Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research

Programmatic support for this facility will enable existing operations to continue and allow it to expand its presence and impact by providing necessary medical equipment and supplies; additional tanks to rehabilitate injured sea turtles; rescue vehicles; required training of staff and volunteers; and salary support for full-time facility personnel. Further, it will strengthen the Texas workforce of undergraduate, graduate, veterinary students, and the community in all aspects of marine ecology and conservation of the Gulf of Mexico, sea turtle biology, and other marine science programs.

Read more on these requests at tx.ag/TAMUG88LAR.


Federal Relations

The goal of Texas A&M’s office for Federal Relations is to elevate the national profile of Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University at Galveston and the Texas A&M Health Science Center, and each entity’s faculty, researchers and students. To accomplish this, the office works closely with the TAMUS Office of Federal Relations, located in Washington, D.C. The system office is led by Dustin Bryant ’04 and he and his staff serve as the conduit to Congressional Members, staff, and high-level federal agency personnel. 

The Office of Federal Relations maintains excellent relationships with the 38 member (36 House members + 2 Senators) Texas Congressional delegation to raise awareness of Texas A&M's vast and diverse university system. As part of this effort, they accompany Members and staff during campus visits, and help arrange Texas A&M faculty, administrator, and student visits in Washington. The office maintains a current understanding of federal research priorities, and works to ensure that Texas A&M is a part of solving national-level issues by monitoring federal legislation regarding national higher education and research.

Finally, the Office of Federal Relations works closely with national-level higher education associations such as the Association of American Universities (AAU), and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) to address issues that affect the higher education community more broadly. For information on the Texas A&M University System, Washington, D.C. office, please visit www.tamus.edu/relations/relations.

Address

505 George Bush Drive
College Station, TX 77840

Phone Number

(979) 845-7514

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