Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Time to read
2 minutes
Read so far

Bailes not proud of 88th legislative session

Posted in:
  • Article Image Alt Text
    State Rep. Ernest Bailes (TX18) addresses the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce following the end of the 88th Texas Legislature’s regular session on some major happenings.

CLEVELAND – Fresh off the end of the 88th Texas legislative regular session, State Rep. Ernest Bailes (TX18) was back in district to address the Greater Cleveland Chamber on some of the highs and lows. 

Bailes, excited to see some familiar faces, delved head-first into some of the significant bills that passed and others that failed amid several controversies related to vouchers, teacher salaries and he covered the impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton. 

"It was a historical session, but not one to be proud of," said Bailes. 

Initially reading from prepared remarks on several pieces of legislation, the Republican moved on to more hot-button issues, like the fight for vouchers, a top priority of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. 

"The people that were pushing for this never shot straight, and that starts at the very top," he said. 

Bailes touted his role in stopping vouchers, although he said it came with a cost, arguing the state senate refused to raise teacher salaries if vouchers didn't pass. 

"Teachers in our public education system are held captive because of a few individuals who want vouchers," said Bailes. 

Bailes argued that vouchers were not cost-effective and that Texas families already have a right to school choice. 

"We have choice in the state of Texas. You can go take your kid anywhere you want to take them. It's no different than the city park. If you don't want to go to the city park, if you don't want your kids to be associated with the kids that play in the city park or swim in the city pool, you want to take them to the country club, or you want to take them to the private pool you have every right to do so," Bailes told the crowd. 

Bailes took issue with using tax dollars to fund non-public schools and spoke about the proposed $8,000 per student allowing parents to fund other school choice options. 

He argued that parents do not put enough tax dollars into the system to fund vouchers, especially when parents have several children. 

Furthermore, Bailes told the audience that any household capable of homeschooling their child should have no issue and that his job was to protect students that did not have the family structure or support system. 

"I'm telling you right now, if you have two parents at home that care, you can receive a home school education second to none. That is not typical," said Bailes. 

He went on to say that another of his concerns was that if any allocation were made, it would come with strings attached, leading to the state's hand in alternative education methods.  

 “The language for anyone that’s receiving that is going to have to take the same STAAR test as every other kid,” Bailes argued; those individuals don’t want to do it that way. 

“That is the exact opposite of why people do choose to put their children in the home school system.” 

Bailes also spoke on the impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton and why he thought it was necessary. 

“I’ve caught more slack on that bill than anything else,” he said. 

Bailes went on to explain that it was not something he wanted to do but after a budget line item request from Paxton for $3.3 million.  

“He refused to say what it was for,” Bailes explained, “We can’t simply cut a check for $3.3 million without knowing what it’s for.” 

The money Paxton requested was in fact for a legal settlement of wrongful termination claims of former employees. 

He explained that Paxton fired employees after they brought issues at the AGs office to his attention and that it laid the groundwork for the process. 

The impeachment was the first ever in the state for a sitting statewide elected official and only the fourth in history. 

“No one wanted to have to do this. That’s not what I wanted to have to do when I voted to go forth with that,” said Bailes. 

There were a few positive notes, like an increase in teacher retirements, border security, school safety, and broadband across the state.