The Texas House has given initial approval to a transportation funding plan that uses money from the gas tax rather than tapping the Rainy Day Fund.
As it stands today, and has since 1991, 20 cents of every gallon used to fill up your car has gone to the state's highway fund with the stipulation that five cents of it would go to fund education.
House Joint Resolution 2, authored by Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, would stop that diversion. Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, is the co-sponsor of the bill and explained the difference between the House bill and the Senate version.
It took lawmakers ten hours of debate to pass the strictest abortion legislation Texas has ever seen on a vote of 19 to 11 Friday night.
Democratic lawmakers in the Texas Senate tried 21 times to change the bill by adding resolutions but none of those attempts were successful. Sen. Judith Zafarinni, D-Laredo, was one of those who tried to change the bill.
"As a pro-lifer I tried mightily to amend this bill to prohibit the abortion of an unborn child after 5 months," Zafarinni said. "Please remember that 11 Democrats voted for that amendment today."
Update: (4:55 p.m.) DPS has issued a press release saying that they have received information that people are planning on using a variety of props and items to disrupt Senate proceedings and will be inspecting bags before letting people into the gallery.
According to the release, so far DPS has found:
"One jar suspected to contain urine, 18 jars suspected to contain feces, and three bottles suspected to contain paint. All of these items – as well as significant quantities of feminine hygiene products, glitter and confetti."
The controversial abortion restriction bill will likely pass the Texas Senate in Austin today, but yesterday in downtown San Antonio, a rally with Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, demonstrated that there is plenty of opposition to that bill.
The rally was called Stand With Texas Women, and along with Mayor Julián Castro were four Texas Senators all beating the drum in opposition to the abortion bills.
But the person that the crowd came to see was Davis.
As abortion legislation nears Gov. Rick Perry's desk, opponents are now looking at ways to combat the measures once they are signed into law. Attorneys in the Texas House have opposing legal interpretations of House Bill 2, the abortion bill that passed in the Texas House today.
The Texas House has approved HB 2, the controversial abortion bill, on a vote of 98 to 49 without the addition of any amended changes.
The bill now heads to a Senate committee and a final vote on the bill is expected during the early part of next week.
The bill will ban abortion after 20 weeks and mandates that all clinics be upgraded to ambulatory surgical centers and have a doctor on staff that has admitting privileges at a hospital no more than 30 miles away. It also calls for doctors to follow all the FDA guideline for the drug RU-486.
Texas Senate Democrats rallied at the capitol and then boarded a big orange "Stand with Texas Women" tour bus to take the abortion fight on the road.
Sen. Kirk Watson of Austin, who is the chair of the Democratic Caucus, had initially requested the entire Senate take committee hearings on the road. When that request was denied, Stand With Texas Women chartered their own.