5/26/2009 12:26 PM
For all the work UT had to do to get relief from the Top 10 percent rule, it’s amazing how little relief they’re getting.
Rep. Dan Branch’s (R-Dallas) bill to put a cap on the percentage of students admitted automatically (SB 175) appears to be one of the few major initiatives to survive the Democratic filibuster occurring on the House floor right now.
The bill almost fell apart last Thursday, but now appears to have survived. A coalition of Democrats and rural Republicans endangered the bill. Rep. Harvey Hilderbran (R-Kerrville) successfully amended the bill to change it to a top 8 percent bill with no cap.
After having a few days (courtesy of the Democrat’s filibuster of the local calendar) to think it over, Hilderbran, Branch, and Rep. Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio) reached a compromise, that replaces the 8 percent amendment. Here are the parameters:
* Instead of a cap at 50 percent, the cap on top 10 percent is now set at 75 percent.
* The sunset date was reduced from eight to six years.
There are a few other provisions such as reporting and outreach requirements, but those two items are the major parts of the compromise.
This is the fourth session UT has tried to pass this bill. It died on a Senate filibuster in 2003, died in the Senate in 2005, was defeated on the House floor in 2007, and now appears ready for final passage in 2009.
In essence, the compromise codifies the status quo. The percentage of students admitted automatically is just over 80 right now, but is expected to grow rapidly. This bill ensures UT has some discretionary admits but not many. And the whole issue comes back in just a few short years.