A statewide pro-business group based in Austin is urging Gov. Rick Perry to veto House Bill 5, a bill that changes the state’s testing structure for public schools.
Bill Hammond, the executive director for the Texas Business Association, said the House bill that reduces the number of high-stakes exams for school kids will provide the Texas workforce with a poor product.
"60 or 70 percent of the jobs that are being created today require some post-secondary education of some sort, perhaps even a certificate from a community college or an associate’s degree," Hammond said.
The House and Senate redistricting committees have secured a legal team to help solve the challenges that exist with the issue of voting districts.
While the House committee has hit the road to hold public meetings in the Dallas area, the Senate committee held its last state capitol meeting before heading out to their own public meetings.
Sen. Kel Seleger, R-Amarillo, the Senate’s redistricting chairman, said the Senate will be using C. Robert Heath, who he said is one of the most experienced redistricting attorneys in the United States.
A leading expert on government from the University of Texas at Austin's Office of Governmental Relations is weighing in on this summer’s special session and if the legislature can expect to see legislation beyond redistricting.
The month of June is Gay Pride month and Chuck Smith, the executive director of Equality Texas, is looking back over the 83rd legislative session to celebrate the group’s successes and develop a plan for some areas of improvement.
"This legislative session we had a record number of endorsed bills--over 30 bills--and I think that was indicative of lawmakers not being afraid to carry our legislation. I think the reality is that what we are trying to do now is mainstream Texas values," Smith said.
Despite a lack of direction from the Texas Legislature, the state’s leading doctor is optimistic about how Texas will function without having a plan to address Medicaid expansion.
Dr. Kyle Janek is the commissioner for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and will be the chief negotiator when the state begins discussions with federal government on whether to extend Texas a waiver and award the state a block grant to start a state-run form of Medicaid.
Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, said his plan uses a portion of the Rainy Day Fund without actually taking money out of the Rainy Day Fund.
"What it does is once you pass a certain threshold and as the fund approaches filling, which it got pretty close, then it would splinter part of that off for constitutionally dedicating some of that revenue stream to transportation," Nichols said.
Nichols says this will allow the Rainy Day Fund to continue to grow, but not as quickly. Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, helped solidify the financing portion of the plan.
The first non-redistricting bills have begun to trickle in at the state capitol for the special session.
So far none of the legislation has been placed on the special session agenda by Gov. Rick Perry, but the first bill unrelated to the focus of redistricting was filed by Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands.
Toth's bill was modeled after a bill filed in the regular session that makes it a crime to enforce any new federal guns laws.