83rd Legislature

Texas Education
11:01 am
Fri August 9, 2013

How Are Texas Schools Performing? New Accountability Ratings Tell Us

TEA Commissioner Michael Williams.
Christopher C. Leonard cc

The state has released this year’s school accountability ratings under the agency’s new rating system, which show 84 percent of all individual campuses and charter schools "met standard."

The new school accountability system, which was passed by the Texas Legislature during the regular session earlier this year, was designed to make it easier for parents to understand how each school district and individual campuses measured up.

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84th Legislature
4:47 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Sen. Lucio Already Preparing His Adoption Class Bill For Next Session

Eileen Pace TPR News

State Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville, was the only Democrat in the Texas Senate to vote for the controversial abortion bill earlier this summer, and said he will re-file his bill requiring women to take a class about adoption before they can get an abortion.

Lucio is not against providing extra healthcare funds to make services available, but is still true to his beliefs about abortion.

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November Ballot
4:03 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Political Action Committee Preparing To Mobilize Water Bill Support

Water was one of the big issues in the 83rd Legislature along with education and transportation funding.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

Water Texas, a political action committee formed by Speaker of the House Joe Strauss, R-San Antonio, and Rep. Allan Ritter, R-Nederland, is getting ready to start a campaign to encourage voters to approve the use of $2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund to help fund the next 50 years of water projects in Texas.

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Special Session Part III
3:00 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Lawmakers Wrap Third Special Session With Transportation Bill

Chris Eudaily TPR News

The final transportation bill will provide the Texas Department of Transportation with $1.2 billion per year in road funding from the Rainy Day Fund.

The speaker of the House and the lieutenant governor will appoint a ten-person committee each legislative session -- five members each of the House and Senate -- which will determine a sufficient balance in the Rainy Day Fund before money can be transferred into the State Highway Fund.

The Rainy Day Fund minimum will then have to be approved by the full House and Senate on a simple majority vote.

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Special Session Part III
3:10 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Business Leaders Pushing For Transportation Bill Passage

Chris Eudaily TPR News

Pro-business groups are hoping to persuade House lawmakers to approve a transportation bill that has now been up for debate four times.

The transportation bill working its way through the House this special session involves using money from the Rainy Day Fund and has seen a little bit of controversy in the 83rd Legislature, but was still projected to pass during the first special session.

It failed because of the filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, which effectively ran the clock out on the session.

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Special Session
2:03 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

House Panel Approves Transportation Funding Bill With Amended Changes

Chris Eudaily TPR News

A transportation panel of seven state representatives heard from the head of the Texas Department of Transportation about the transportation bill that passed the Senate and how it will benefit the State Highway Fund beyond the next two years.

"If we don’t increase our resources now, our production in dollar terms will fall to levels not seen since the early 2000s," said TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson. "Meanwhile, more and more people move to Texas [and] congestion worsens."

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Special Session
10:45 am
Fri July 19, 2013

House And Senate Transportation Bills Set For Duel In Joint Committee

Chris Eudaily TPR News

Update (2:30 p.m.): The Senate took the house transportation plan, replaced it with their own funding mechanism, and then passed it on a unanimous vote.

The original House bill's plan to end the gas tax diversion has been eliminated, and the Senate has elected to go with the 50-50 oil and gas industry tax split in their own version of the bill. The Senate also established a $6 billion floor for the Rainy Day Fund, which must be maintained for the State Highway Fund to get the money from the oil and gas industry tax.

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Special Session - Abortion
11:32 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Perry Signs Abortion Restriction Bill Into Law

Rick Perry speaks before signing House Bill 2 into law.
Ryan Poppe TPR

Gov. Rick Perry joined fellow anti-abortion lawmakers and advocacy groups at his side to sign into law House Bill 2, the controversial abortion bill tightening requirements on clinics that perform abortions and banning the ability to have an abortion after 20 weeks into a pregnancy.

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2014 Election
2:48 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

New Dewhurst Campaign Video Politicizes His Role In Abortion Debate

Screen shot of the opening scene of David Dewhurst's new campaign video.
Dewhurst campaign video

Less than 72 hours after the passage of House Bill 2, the bill that will hold clinics performing abortions to a standard equal to a ambulatory surgical center, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst released a campaign video that features his role in the bill's passage with clear political and religious undertones.

On June 19, before the filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, and before the second special session was even being discussed, Dewhurst sent a tweet that featured an ad about how the abortion bill would close all but five clinics in Texas.

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Abortion Legislation
3:05 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Abortion Rights Event At The State Capitol Draws Small Crowd

The flood of people that swarmed the capitol in the days after Sen. Wendy Davis' filibuster at the end of June had slowed to a trickle by Monday's event.
Trey Martinez Fischer Facebook

A rally that started at the capitol in Austin yesterday only drew a small number of people compared other abortion rights events around the state.

About 300 abortion rights supporters gathered at the capitol to speak out against last week’s passage of a strict abortion bill during a national day of action.  Demonstrators huddled under umbrellas and rain gear intently listened to keynote speaker Jim Hightower, the former agriculture commissioner, who had a few choice words for Gov. Rick Perry and other Republicans at the state capitol.

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