83rd Legislature

Texas Drought
9:15 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Should Texas Use 'Rainy Day' Fund For Water Projects?

Daniel Reese for KUT News

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 8:42 am

Should Texas take money from the state’s so-called Rainy Day Fund for water projects? It’s an idea that will get a closer look today.

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.

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Texas Matters
12:32 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

The Battle Over Expanding Medicaid In Texas

Texas Republicans are now trying to find a way to get federal money without going "all in" with Obamacare.
Chris Eudaily TPR

There’s a mounting effort at the Capitol in Austin to try to find a way to do something about Medicaid, the joint state and federal health program for children, the disabled and the very low income.

Early in the week there were rumors that the House GOP caucus was going to vote in favor of expanding Medicaid in line with the Affordable Care Act.

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Texas Legislature
12:11 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Texas Lawmaker Targets LCRA For Oversight & Re-Structuring

Lower Colorado River Authority

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.

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Higher Education
9:20 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Should College Students Be Required To Do Community Service In Order To Graduate?

San Antonio's Trey Martinez Fischer wants to require college students to do community service before they can graduate.
Chris Eudaily Texas Public Radio

A law being floated in the Texas House would require college students to perform community service before they would be allowed to graduate.

San Antonio Representative Trey Martinez Fisher says he wrote the bill with one objective in mind.

"We want to make sure our students are coming out of college with a well-rounded experience"

Martinez Fischer points out that there needs to be a meaningful experience for students that is outside of the academic framework. 

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Bexar County Education
4:03 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Bill Seeks To Study District Consolidation In Bexar County

This map generated by NEISD shows the boundries of the different school distrcits that fall into Bexar County.
NEISD

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.

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Texas Veterans
8:58 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Veteran Education Requirements Putting Strain On Texas Colleges

Teresa Vieira for KUT News

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 7:17 am

Colleges and universities in Texas are struggling to pay for the tuition benefits they give to qualifying veterans and their dependents as part of a program called the Hazlewood Act.

As the number of veterans rises, higher education leaders say their institutions need help tackling the costs.

“We continuously get pulled at not to increase tuition. We don’t want to increase tuition. But those are the issues that we follow," Kenth Hance, Texas Tech University Systems Chancellor, says.

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Texas Legislature
3:21 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Texas Senate Approves Restoration Of Some Education/Medicaid Funds

Texas State Capitol in Austin.
Flickr user TN Drum Guy cc

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.

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Texas Healthcare
11:04 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Religious Leaders Demand Money For Women's Health

Texas Tribune

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 7:11 pm

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."

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Texas Legislature
12:29 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Agenda Texas: Homeschoolers Take To The Capitol To Learn/Participate

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 10:15 am

Agenda Texas as heard on KUT 90.5

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.

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Texas Legislature
8:56 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Jeb Bush Pushes Charter School Expansion, Rigorous Standardized Testing

Lizzie Chen/KUT News

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 6:00 pm

One of the biggest Republican stars in the country provided some advice on overhauling public education to the state Senate today. 

“I would advocate that when you have a chance to reform, it ought to be big,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told the Senate Education Committee. “You ought to go big or go home.”

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