NPT Capitol: Border law school study sparked by Chavez bill
News release from the office of state Rep. Norma Chávez:
CHÁVEZ AND MARTINEZ PASS BORDER LAW SCHOOL AMENDMENT
Amendment requires the state to determine feasibility of establishing a law school in the Border Region
AUSTIN – Today, State Reps. Norma Chávez (D – El Paso) and Armando Martinez (D – Weslaco) passed an important amendment to Senate Bill 956 sponsored by State Rep. Dan Branch (R – Dallas). The Chávez/Martinez amendment would require the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to conduct a feasibility study regarding establishing a law school in the Border Region.
“All major metropolitan areas in Texas have at least one law school except those metropolitan areas located in the Border region,” Rep. Chávez said. “A law school in the border region would not only improve access to a professional education, but also increase access to justice.”
“With limited opportunities to obtain a graduate degree in the border region it is imperative that we push for the establishment of a law school along the border,” Rep. Martinez said.
Rep. Chávez authored and passed out of the House Committee on Higher Education, House Bill 4528, which would have required a feasibility study regarding establishing a law school in the border region. Rep. Martinez authored and passed House Bill 91 calling for a similar study in the Rio Grande Valley. Both bills are stalled in the Calendars Committee. Reps. Chávez and Martinez worked together with Rep. Branch, Chair of the House Higher Education Committee, to amend SB 956 and include the study.
Currently, there are 9 law schools in the state:
* Houston – 2 public law schools and 1 private law school; Dallas/Fort Worth – 2 private law schools; San Antonio – 1 private law school; Austin – 1 public law school; Waco – 1 private law school; and Lubbock – 1 public law school.
“As Border representatives, Rep. Martinez and I recognize that the number of professional schools along the Border lag behind the other major metropolitan regions of the state,” Rep. Chávez said.
The study would be completed by November 1, 2010. The bill will go to the Senate for final consideration.