UT System could face uphill battle on campus carry, tuition, other legislative priorities

Barry McBee, the vice chancellor and chief governmental relations officer for the University of Texas System, was his usual crisp and efficient self when he rattled off the system’s priorities for the state legislative session that begins in January.

Some of the priorities he outlined at a meeting Thursday of the UT System Board of Regents could face considerable debate in the Legislature. Examples:

Campus carry. The system, which oversees 14 campuses, wants to retain a provision in the state’s concealed-handgun law that allows campus presidents to establish gun-exclusion zones. Some lawmakers say presidents have declared too many areas off-limits.

Tuition. The UT System wants to retain the authority, granted to boards of regents by lawmakers in 2003, to set tuition rates. The system also wants to preserve state-mandated tuition set-asides — the use of tuition revenue to provide student financial aid.

Unauthorized immigrants. The system wants to retain 2001 legislation that allows certain unauthorized immigrants residing in Texas to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities rather than the higher prices charged to out-of-state residents.

Veterans. The system wants lawmakers to either fund or scale back a tuition benefit for certain military veterans’ family members. The benefit costs the system nearly $50 million a year in tuition revenue.

 

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