Lawmakers in the House Appropriations Committee are holding a public hearing this morning on the proposal. The bill would set aside $2 billion from the economic stabilization or "Rainy Day" fund for water projects.
The bill’s author – Rep. Allan Ritter (R-Nederland) – says prolonged statewide drought has revealed the importance of developing a dedicated source of revenue for the state’s water plan.
State Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, is hoping to changing the way the Lower Colorado River Authority does business. She has authored a set of bills -- HB 585 and HB 635 -- which would submit the LCRA's operations and its board members before the Sunset Advisory Commission.
State Rep. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio wants the 17 public school districts in Bexar County like Northside, Northeast, SAISD, and Edgewood re-evaluated to see if consolidation would help make the adminstrative side more efficient.
"I’m not an expert in this field, but I would imagine that there are some inefficiencies when you have 17 different police departments, 17 cafeteria departments, 17 different IT departments, 17 sets of superintendents and executives," Gutierrez said.
Education funding took a massive hit during the 2011 legislative session as law makers tried to balance the budget. About 5.4 billion dollars was cut, but many lawmakers in this session are hopeful that the full amount can be restored.
A little under a third of the funding restoration has been approved by the Texas Senate, which unanimously approved 1.7 billion additional dollars be allocated to Texas Schools. The Austin-American Statesman reports an additional 4.5 million dollars was allocated to Medicaid and healthcare for children.
Religious leaders from Christian, Buddhist, Sikh and Jewish faiths are calling on state leaders to increase funding for women’s health programs. Clergy members held a news conference at the Capitol today to highlight a statement signed by more than 370 religious leaders from various faiths.
"We are voices of faith that minister to people of all levels of economic ability in our state and we’ve seen these cuts especially affect women in poverty in Texas," said Larry Bethune, pastor of the University Baptist Church in Austin. Bethune sits on the board of the Texas Freedom Network, an organization that says it exists to counter the "religious right."
There’s a perception, not unjustified, that it takes a high-priced high-powered lobbyist to get a bill passed in the Texas Legislature. But people still try to get something done with an army of volunteers. Some who are still in elementary school.
Around 100 kids from across the state came to Austin for the Texas Home School Coalition's rally day. The kids spent the day learning about the legislative process, yes they got school credit for participating, and to help support home school legislative efforts.