83rd Legislature

Special Session
1:43 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Gov. Perry Adds Transportation Bills To Special Session Agenda

Eileen Pace TPR News

Hoping to solve some of the state’s glaring problems with transportation, Gov. Rick Perry has opened the special session agenda to transportation-related bills.

This move has been a whispered rumor since the session began, but now lawmakers in the Texas House and Senate will begin debate on over 12 pre-filed transportation bills. 

The big one with the most buzz is a bill co-authored by Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, and Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville.

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Texas Legislature - Education
12:01 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Texas Education Getting A Major Makeover With Signing Of New Bills

Flickr user biologycorner (Shannan Muskopf) cc

Parents, students and several lawmakers crowded into the governor's press room to witness Gov. Rick Perry signing legislation into law that changes the state’s public education system. 

While there were a handful of bills on hand, the one that stood out most was a bill that reduces the number of high-stakes exams students are required to take from the current 15 standardized tests down to five.

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Texas Legislature
3:52 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Perry And Boots Sign Service Animal Law In San Antonio

Boots puts the final stamp of approval on the bill.
Eileen Pace TPR

Against the backdrop of VFW 76 in downtown San Antonio, Gov. Rick Perry signed into law House Bill 489 to benefit returning wounded warriors and other disabled people who use service animals.

The bill prohibits restaurants and other establishments from refusing to allow entry to service dogs of any disabled person.

Col. Carol Anderson, U.S. Army Ret., kept her service dog close to her during the press conference because her injuries left her panicky among crowds.

"Right now I’m rubbing my dog with my foot," Anderson admitted.

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Texas Legislature
3:09 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Opposing Views Of Education During 83rd Legislative Session

Though much of the money cut in 2011 has been restored, both sides of the education debate have positives and negatives to take out of this session.
Eileen Pace TPR News

The largest teacher’s union in the state of Texas and a right-wing political think tank are providing their assessment of this past session education bills.

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Texas Legislature
11:17 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Fight Not Over For Bill To Reduce High-Stakes Testing

Ryan Poppe TPR News

A statewide pro-business group based in Austin is urging Gov. Rick Perry to veto House Bill 5, a bill that changes the state’s testing structure for public schools.

Bill Hammond, the executive director for the Texas Business Association, said the House bill that reduces the number of high-stakes exams for school kids will provide the Texas workforce with a poor product.

"60 or 70 percent of the jobs that are being created today require some post-secondary education of some sort, perhaps even a certificate from a community college or an associate’s degree," Hammond said.

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Special Session
2:49 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Redistricting Committees Hire Attorneys For Outside Help

Ryan Poppe TPR News

The House and Senate redistricting committees have secured a legal team to help solve the challenges that exist with the issue of voting districts.

While the House committee has hit the road to hold public meetings in the Dallas area, the Senate committee held its last state capitol meeting before heading out to their own public meetings.

Sen. Kel Seleger, R-Amarillo, the Senate’s redistricting chairman, said the Senate will be using C. Robert Heath, who he said is one of the most experienced redistricting attorneys  in the United States.

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Special Session
12:51 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Still A Chance For Non-Redistricting Bills In Special Session

State lawmakers are leaving the friendly confines of the capitol to hold redistricting meetings on the road.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

A leading expert on government from the University of Texas at Austin's Office of Governmental Relations is weighing in on this summer’s special session and if the legislature can expect to see legislation beyond redistricting.

Barry McBee, UT-Austin’s vice chancellor of governmental relations, said there is still plenty of time for various discussions during this special session.

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Texas Legislature
2:48 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

How Did The 83rd Legislature Do On LGBT Equality?

People in San Antonio marched for equal rights in Milam Park as the Supreme Court heard arguments in the DOMA case in March of this year.
Ryan Loyd TPR

The month of June is Gay Pride month and Chuck Smith, the executive director of Equality Texas, is looking back over the 83rd legislative session to celebrate the group’s successes and develop a plan for some areas of improvement.

"This legislative session we had a record number of endorsed bills--over 30 bills--and I think that was indicative of lawmakers not being afraid to carry our legislation. I think the reality is that what we are trying to do now is mainstream Texas values," Smith said.

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Medicaid Expansion
12:15 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

So What Does No-Plan Medicaid Expansion Look Like?

Gov. Rick Perry has maintained a strong stance opposing the federal expansion plan.
rickperry.org

Despite a lack of direction from the Texas Legislature, the state’s leading doctor is optimistic about how Texas will function without having a plan to address Medicaid expansion.  

Dr. Kyle Janek is the commissioner for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and will be the chief negotiator when the state begins discussions with federal government on whether to extend Texas a waiver and award the state a block grant to start a state-run form of Medicaid.

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Special Session
4:49 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

State Republicans Begin To Show Signs Of Redistricting Flexibility

Court-ordered interim U.S. Congressional Districts for the 2012 election.
State of Texas District Viewer http://gis1.tlc.state.tx.us/

The chairman of the House Redistricting Committee indicated they are willing to provide some flexibility in the development of new election maps for the state.  

Like his counterpart in the Senate Redistricting Committee, Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, said he will entertain alternative voting maps during the special session.

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