83rd Legislature

Texas Matters
12:28 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

The Confusing And Murky World Of Tax Loopholes In Texas

2012 general election precincts
State of Texas District Viewer

Texas Matters: Taxes are a touchy subject no matter what side you are on, but they exist to raise revenue so closing loopholes is one way to make sure everyone pays a fair share. Also on the show: A look at Tesla Motors effort to open up the Texas market, Texas school districts letting teachers with a CHL carry a gun on campus, and the Texas history behind John Ford's classic film, "The Searchers."

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Texas Legislature
10:04 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Senate Ends Week Passing Unemployment Drug Testing Bill

Both the House and Senate have started to pass bills in the 83rd Legislature, but nothing has made it to the governor's desk.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

Similar to the bill mandating welfare recipients be screened for drugs, this bill mandates that Texans receiving unemployment benefits also be drug-tested.

Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, authored the bill that would force all unemployment applicants to go through a drug-screening process with a counselor from the Texas Workforce Commission.

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Natural Gas Exploration
12:34 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Environmental Groups Support & Oppose Fracking Water Recycling Bill

Regulations are struggling to keep up with the natural gas boom that is putting a strain on community and environmental resources.
South Texas Environmental Education and Research

A bill to ensuring that oil companies using fracking techniques are being held to environmental standards has passed out of the Natural Resources Committee and now heads to the House floor for a vote.

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Texas Legislature - Business
10:29 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Bill Encourages Space Exploration Companies To Make Texas Home

Texas could be next to get into private space exploration, the next frontier.
Chandra X-ray Observatory Smithsonian Institution

A bill that would make Texas the next state to possess a commercial rocket launch pad has been unanimously voted out of the Senate Economic Development Committee.

The bill, authored by Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, facilitates a way for space exploration companies to build and operate in Texas and provides matching funds as an incentive for these companies.

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The Source - April 11, 2013
6:41 am
Thu April 11, 2013

The Source: Medicaid Expansion In Texas

Though some Republicans in the legislature are working on ways to get the federal money, Perry has remained strong in his stance opposing any expansion.
rickperry.org

In the first segment:

Kevin Moriarty from Methodist Healthcare Ministries and John Davidson from the Texas Public Policy Foundation talk about the pros and cons of Medicaid expansion in Texas.

Though Gov. Rick Perry has been staunchly opposed to expanding Medicaid in line with the Affordable Care Act, some Republicans don't want to leave the money on the table.

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Texas Legislature
4:53 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Senate Passes Bill Requiring Welfare Recipients To Be Drug Tested

Texas State Capitol in Austin.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

On a unanimous vote, a bill authored by Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, to require all welfare recipients to take a drug test passed the Texas Senate. 

The bill requires every Texas Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipient go through a drug-screen, which could include a one-on-one interview or questionnaire.

Nelson said her bill also provides $300 million towards rehab.

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Texas Legislature - Business
12:34 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Lawmakers Consider Bills To Open Texas To Electric Car Maker Tesla

Elon Musk at the state capitol to urge state lawmakers to open the state to his dealerships.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

Elon Musk, the owner of Tesla Motors and creator of commercial space exploration company SpaceX, spoke at the capitol urging lawmakers to approve a set of bills that allow his car company to be able to sell their cars in Texas.

During his time at the capitol, the billionaire car maker also met with Gov. Rick Perry about the issue.

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Violence In Schools
5:45 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Mass Stabbing In Houston Sparks More Talk About Handguns On Campus

Another incident of mass violence sparks more talk about handguns on campus.
Oleg Volt Wikipedia Commons

Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Grandbury, said today’s mass stabbing in Houston could have been prevented if students and faculty were allowed to carry guns.   

Birdwell has authored a bill in the Senate that would allow students and faculty that possess a concealed handgun license to carry their weapons onto a school campus. 

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School Vouchers
2:31 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Cardinal Testifies In Favor Of School Voucher Bill, Still Unlikely To Pass

With the House banning voucher funding for private and charter schools, it is very unlikely that this new effort will yield any results.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, testified in favor of Sen. Dan Patrick's bill that provides students with tax credits or vouchers to attend a private school.

"We have parents who are committed to their child’s education and want to get them out of poor performing schools," DiNardo said. "How could any of us look these parents in the eye and say that their children should be denied an opportunity for a better future simply because the system we have now, which in many cases is failed, is the only option we are going to allow them."

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Human Trafficking
1:58 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Websites Selling Sex Advertising Avoid Liability With Senate Bill Word Change

Backpage.com

The idea behind Senate Bill 94 was to hurt human traffickers by shutting down their internet connection to customers. The law was intended to stop websites from selling ads for sex.

The women, who are often underage, are trafficked for sex, their traffickers get the money, and the websites also get a cut. The Aim Group, an online media analyst, estimated that Backpage.com took in $22 million last year from escort advertising.

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