83rd Legislature

Texas Education
1:53 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Will Surplus Revenue go to Public Education?

The Texas Tribune

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 7:24 pm

One of the men who controls the state’s checkbook is leaving the door open to restoring some of the $5.4 billion in public education cuts enacted two years ago.

House Appropriations chair Jim Pitts took questions from lawmakers on the House floor today, including one from Austin Democrat Donna Howard.

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Texas Matters
12:02 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Texas Matters: The Story Of Education Funding Turns Another Page

The nine justices of the Texas Supreme Court in January 2013, Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson, who is from San Antonio, is seated in the middle.
State of Texas

Texas education funding is ruled unconstitutional, and Attorney General Greg Abbott is expected to appeal the case to the Texas Supreme Court. There are opposing views in the legislature on whether to immediately act to address the issue, or wait until the court forces it. Gov. Perry is causing a stir with his radio ads in California that try to lure companies to the Lone Star State, and one columnist from San Francisco says this is generating some interesting conversation.

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Texas School Safety
9:11 am
Thu February 7, 2013

Creating Marshals to Watch Over Schools

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 8:22 am

Story as heard on KUT 90.5

Texas lawmakers have rallied around the idea of making elementary schools safer. There have been calls to allow anyone with a concealed handgun license to bring guns onto public school campuses. Or for teachers to get concealed carry licenses.

The latest idea comes from a bill filed by State Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas). He wanted to know what schools and professional school security organizations wanted.

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State Park Funding Shortfall
11:53 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Putting Money Back Into Texas State Parks

Texas Parks and Wildlife

Texas lawmakers are looking to save Texas state parks from closing down by making sure that taxpayer funds intended for state parks get there. 

When you go to a sporting goods store and buy a canoe there is a little tax that supports the Texas park system, since a person would be likely to enjoy paddling that canoe on Texas state waterways.

Over the years the state diverted that park tax money and held it in order to balance the state budget on paper.

In the current state budget, $184 million pegged for parks was diverted to help balance the overall budget.

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Military Benefits
6:46 am
Fri February 1, 2013

New Bill Extends Benefits For Spouses Of Military Members Killed In Action

The state capitol has been busy in the new legislative session.
Flickr user TN Drum Guy cc

State Senator Leticia Van de Putte has introduced a bill to extend homeowner tax exemptions to spouses of military members killed in action.

If it is approved and becomes a law, it would be considered a constitutional amendment for voters to decide.

In 2009, legislation was passed allowing veterans who are fully disabled to get a property tax exemption. In 2011, legislation was passed allowing that exemption to be passed on to surviving spouses if that veteran passed away.

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Texas Legislature
1:24 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

State-of-the-State Analysis: Will Lawmakers Buy Perry's Tax Cut?

Texas Tribune

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 6:00 am

Two SMU political science professors disagree on whether Governor Rick Perry’s call for a tax cut will sail through the legislature. We asked professors Cal Jillson and Matthew Wilson to watch the governor’s state-of-the state speech yesterday and tell us what impressed them.

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Texas Legislature
11:46 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Texas Lawmakers, Families Push For Texting While Driving Ban

KUT News

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 12:12 pm

State lawmakers gathered Tuesday at the Capitol in support of a bill that would outlaw texting while driving. 

Both Senate Bill 28 and House Bill 63 would ban all forms of cell phone use while driving a vehicle—including texting, emailing and talking. This is the second attempt at a texting ban for both State Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) and State Rep. Tom Craddick (R-Midland). Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the last attempt in 2011

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7:14 am
Tue January 29, 2013

STAAR Exam Results Released Today, Reform On The Horizon

Lead in text: 
Just as the first round of results are posted, the 83rd Texas Legislature will be considering streamlining standardized testing. Of those state legislators with bills addressing the issue is Rep. Mike Villareal, D-San Antonio, but the reform push is being supported by both sides of the isle.
Last spring, students in Houston took a brand new standardized exam, the STAAR. The state plans to release the grades for thousands of students later today. But the whole testing system could get an overhaul from the Texas Legislature this session, as Laura Isensee reports from the KUHF Education Desk.
Texas Legislature
3:25 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Lobbying Your Legislator: Make Your Voice Heard

KUT News

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 3:19 pm

With the Texas Legislature back in Austin, lobbyists from across the state have descended to advocate for and against the thousands of bills that will be filed.

So what if you’re just a regular Texans with an opinion? Do lawmakers want to hear from you? Do they care what you think?

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7:07 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Van de Putte Leads Charge On Veteran Issues In 83rd Legislative Session

Lead in text: 
While most of the focus on the legislature thus far has been on issues like education funding, gun control and women's rights, Texas is also faced with the growing needs of veterans who return home; the two most vital being employment and medical care.
State legislators intend to lay out their bills for the 83rd legislative session over the coming months. Veteran's organizations will be waiting to see if they are part of lawmaker's plans. Most notably they'll look for legislation that works on reducing the disability claims backlogs that are continuing to rise in Texas.

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