HBA-MPM S.B. 947 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 947 By: Barrientos Higher Education 5/10/1999 Engrossed BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The University of Texas at Austin's Texas Union (union) is a place where students congregate in an unstructured setting. The union is also the primary planner and presenter of events and activities for the campus and the principal source of co-sponsorship funding for events presented by other students. Every time a union fee increase is sought, the union must go through a referendum voted on by the student body. Other groups on campus can raise their fees with only the approval of the student fees advisory committee, a representative panel of students, administrators, and faculty that analyzes and votes on the need to raise the fee. The student referendum requirement has left the union unable to raise its fees in line with normal inflation and legislatively mandated increases in cost. Current law states that this fee may not exceed $33 per regular session or $16.50 for each summer session. S.B. 947 allows the compulsory fee dedicated to the existing union building to be increased if the board of regents of the university and the student fees advisory committee concur and if this amount is approved by students in an election for that purpose. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Section 54.530(a), Education Code, to stipulate that a compulsory fee for operating, maintaining, improving, equipping, and/or constructing additions to the existing Texas Union (union) building near Guadalupe Street may not exceed $33 for each regular session and $16.50 for each term of the summer session unless the board of regents (board) of the University of Texas System increases the amount as provided by this subsection. Authorizes the board, with the concurrence of the student fees advisory committee, to increase the amount of the fee to an amount that is no more than 10 percent of the amount imposed in the preceding academic year. Authorizes the board to increase the fee to an amount that is more than 10 percent of the amount imposed in the preceding academic year, rather than a fee not to exceed $40 for each regular semester and $20 for each term of the summer session, if the increase is approved by a majority vote of students participating in a general election called for that purpose. Prohibits the board from increasing the fee amount to more than $50 for each regular session and $30 for each summer session. Makes conforming and nonsubstantive changes. SECTION 2. (a) Requires a review panel of three members appointed under this section and financed by the office of the vice president of student affairs at The University of Texas at Austin (university) to conduct an external review of the operation of the union to ensure the appropriate use of the fee. Requires the review to include an examination of management decisions and other areas relating to the operation of the union as necessary. Requires the review panel, no later than the first day of the 2000 fall semester, to make to the board of directors of the union related recommendations on ways to improve the facilities and operations of the union. (b) Requires the vice president of student affairs to compile a list of seven proposed members of the review panel, which must consist of current or former union directors, associate union directors, or college or university presidents with union experience. Provides that a proposed panel member may have acquired the necessary union experience at a college or university outside of this state. Prohibits the vice president of student affairs from serving on the panel. (c) Requires the vice president of student affairs to submit the list of proposed panel members to a student committee consisting of five representatives to the student assembly of the university, to be selected by the student assembly. Requires the student committee to select three persons from the submitted list. Requires the student committee to select another person from the list to fill a vacant position, should one occur on the panel. Provides that the student committee's selections, including any replacement selections, are final, unless a proposed member is unable to serve, in which event the student committee is required to select a replacement. (d) Requires the vice president of student affairs to submit to the student committee additional names as necessary to restore the list of proposed members to seven, if, at any time, the listed number of proposed members of the panel is less than five. (e) Provides that this section expires January 1, 2001. SECTION 3. Makes SECTION 1 of this Act applicable beginning with the 1999 fall semester and prospective to fees charged on or after that date. SECTION 4.Emergency clause. Effective date: upon passage.