Government

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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Texas Legislature
5:14 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Bill To Prohibit Enforcement Of Federal Gun Laws Dies In Senate

Flickr user David Trawin (trawin) cc

House Bill 928 would criminalize any police officer enforcing a new federal gun law in the state of Texas, and it immediately struck tensions between Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, and Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston.

"I could be for this if you take an amendment I’m going to offer to your bill," said Ellis. "I’m going to offer an amendment to close the 'gun show loophole.'"

"The criminal background checks at gun shows would doom this wonderful bill that we are trying to do right here," replied Estes.

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City Government
4:01 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Bernal Gets Support, Backlash On Anti-Discrimination Expansion Proposal

District 1's Diego Bernal says the city is lagging on anti-discrimination policies and has proposed an expansion to include such groups as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.
Gonzalo Rodriguez Duable

The San Antonio City Council could soon take up an anti-discrimination ordinance to include additional groups.

District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal proposed a policy that would also be consolidated with other anti-discrimination regulations that he said are scattered about in a constellation of codes and ordinances.

City staffers are researching how to go about consolidating the policies. The council’s governance committee will meet Tuesday and decide whether to advance the issue to the full city council.

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Texas Legislature
12:44 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Both Sides Compromise To Pass State Budget Bill

Wikipedia Commons

After several late-nights of heated discussions, a joint committee of senators and representatives unanimously approved a $100 billion state budget. 

For the last week Republicans and Democrats have gone back and forth arguing about what should be left in the state’s budget and what should be left out.  

The biggest factor was how much Republicans would be willing to give up to restore funding for public education.

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Texas Legislature
4:18 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Water Resolution Passes Despite Republican Concerns, Democrat Protests

Ryan Poppe TPR News

A House budget committee passed Senate Joint Resolution 1 to fund state-related water plans. The measure sets up an empty fund that the state can use to fund water projects over the next 50 years, and now heads to the House floor for a vote.

While many of the committee confidently voted for the resolution, others had reservations.

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Texas Legislature
5:15 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Lawmaker Finds Last-Minute State Funding Mechanism For Roads

Activity in the Eagle Ford Shale could help convince lawmakers to find a solid solution for state transportation needs.
UTSA

At this point in the legislative calendar many bills are facing a looming demise, but Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, said he has found another way to get money for transportation needs.

"One of the obvious ways is to take some money in the budget and devote it to our energy related zones that have borne the burden of most of the oil and gas production. They are just simply deteriorating and they’re not safe anymore," Darby said.

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Texas Legislature - Education
3:59 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

House Democrats Holding Out Over Education Funding On State Budget Bill

The Save Texas Schools rally on March 12, 2011, the year state legislators cut large chunks of funding to education.
Flickr user Phil Ostroff cc

After meeting for hours behind closed doors, House Democratic leaders declined the Republican deal on the state’s budget bill.  

Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, the vice-chair of the Democratic Caucus, said House Democrats are unified in their stance against the budget in its current form, which promises $3.2 billion for education funding.

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Texas Legislature
2:29 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Gov. Perry Closer To Getting His $1.8 Billion In Businesses Tax Breaks

Ryan Poppe TPR News

A bill that provides $630 million worth of tax incentives has already made its way out of the House, and is now heading to the Senate floor for a vote.

The bill has been altered from its original wording, streamlining those benefiting down to one business group.

"I explained to my colleagues as we’ve been trying to work through this in the last couple of days: It’s almost like I have to pick which three of my kids gets something and which do not. It’s almost impossible," said Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, who is carrying the bill in the Senate.

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Texas Legislature
1:32 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Lawmaker Seeking Alternative Path For Immigrant Driver Permit Bill

Wikipedia Commons

At this late stage in the legislative session, most bills that haven't made it out of at least one chamber are left to the wind, but there is still a chance for a bill with bipartisan support that proposes to provide immigrants without legal documentation a driver’s permit.

Rep. Roberto Alonzo, D-Dallas, is carrying the bill, which was authored by Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands.

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Texas Legislature
4:24 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

With Hwy. 281 In Mind, Campbell Bill Aims To Restrict Future State Toll Projects

Ryan Loyd TPR

The Senate has passed a bill that prohibits the state’s transportation department from turning free roads into toll roads, but the "do-or-die" deadline is approaching fast for it to clear the House in time.

Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, authored Senate Bill 1029, which addresses the conversion of existing state roads into tollways. She said there are several highways throughout the state being eyed for this type of tolling, one of which is Hwy. 281.

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