Government

Texas Legislature
10:14 am
Fri May 24, 2013

In Legislative Homestretch, Transportation & Education Funding Still Uncertain

Eileen Pace TPR

Tensions between the House and Senate over education funding have hit an all-time high this session, and that along with an added provision related to fees charged to overweight 18 wheelers worries Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, because of the transportation dollars tied to those same spending bills.

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Texas Legislature
4:47 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Senator's Late Budget Changes Upset Both Sides Of The Aisle

As in 2011, public education funding is a major issue at the state capitol.
Flickr user Phil Ostroff cc

Last-minute changes to House Bill 1025, a spending bill that has been the glue for the Texas budget, is now causing things to fall apart.

Lawmakers in the Texas House said they are shocked by the changes tacked on to a supplemental spending bill still awaiting a final vote, and have said they will not send the legislation to Gov. Rick Perry’s desk.

Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, said Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, has broken their agreement regarding an additional $200 million in education funding.

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Texas Legislature
2:46 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

CHL Campus-Carry Bill Dies In Senate, But The Fight Isn't Over Yet

Flickr user David Trawin (trawin) cc

Lawmakers at the capitol have approved a measure to train public school teachers to respond during a mass-shooting event and let die a bill to allow concealed-handgun license holders to carry guns on a college campus. 

As the first of its kinds, House Bill 1009 provides volunteer school teachers with the same level of training as a police officers who respond to a mass-shooting scenario. 

"We plan on passing the bill exactly as it passed the House," said Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, who carried the bill in the Senate.

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Texas Legislature - Business
12:16 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Last Of Perry Business Tax Cuts Goes Through With Key Oversight Provision

Ryan Poppe TPR News

A Democratic senator was able to add a last-minute provision to the last of Gov. Rick Perry’s business tax cut bills calling for more oversight and monitoring of the program. 

Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, was able to add his provision to House Bill 500, which provides  Texas small businesses with $600 million in tax cuts.

The attachment bill would have the Texas Comptroller review the businesses receiving a tax cut to be sure such cuts were effective.

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City Growth
11:02 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Southside Street Project Boosting Growth For Area Schools, Businesses

Landsat image of Southeast San Antonio in 1974.
U.S. Geological Survey

The city has begun a major "complete streets" project on Villaret Boulevard, which spans east and west on the city's Southside.

Once completed, the $7 million project will double the width of Villaret Boulevard the length of Palo Alto College, a drainage system will be installed to prevent flooding in future storms, and there will be lighting, curbs, sidewalks, and bike lanes.

These improvements are needed to  keep up with continued growth of Palo Alto, as well as housing and industry locating in that part of town.

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Medicaid Expansion
9:38 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Protesters For Medicaid Expansion Disrupt Gov. Perry At Speaking Event

Gov. Perry speaks at the Austin Chamber of Commerce.
Ryan Poppe TPR

A group of protesters managed to infiltrate Gov. Rick Perry's speech announcing the latest bill that awards tax cuts for Texas small businesses. 

Moments after the Senate gave the final passage of a bill awarding over $600 million in tax cuts for small businesses, Perry made the announcement at the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

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Texas Legislature
3:03 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

House Democrats Successfully Kill Welfare Drug Testing Bill

Ryan Poppe TPR News

House Democrats were able to stall a vote on a bill that would have mandated welfare recipients be drug screened before receiving benefits, an action that ultimately killed the bill entirely.  

The bill would have required anyone applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits to be screened for illicit drug use and it immediately struck a chord with House Democrats like Rep. Sylvester Turner of Houston.

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City Government
12:57 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Mixed Review For Anti-Discrimination Proposal

The council's governance committee met in the main chamber halls because many people on both sides of the anti-discrimination issue showed up to hear the discussion.
Ryan Loyd TPR

When it comes to city hiring practices or contracts the council awards, District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal believes everyone should be included in protections against discrimination, which is why he’s suggesting an update to San Antonio’s anti-discrimination policies to include gender identity, sexual orientation, and veterans.

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Texas Legislature
6:25 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Legislature Tightens Cell Phone Search Privacy

Chris Eudaily TPR

You may not be aware that currently police do not need a warrant to search through your GPS locator in your cell phone, but that is about to change. 

The house passed House Bill 1608, which was added as an amendment to Senate Bill 1052, and stops the warrantless search of a person’s cell phone records.

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Medicaid Expansion
1:14 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

What Medical Options Are Left For Texas’ Working Poor?

Ryan Poppe TPR News

Now that every opportunity for Medicaid expansion is gone at the state capitol, the lawmaker who authored the GOP plan, which eventually failed, explained what medical options are left for the state’s working poor.

Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, is a doctor and has seen first hand the problems the 1.5 million Texans without health insurance face when it comes to seeking medical care.

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