83rd Legislature

Texas Legislature
4:47 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Senator's Late Budget Changes Upset Both Sides Of The Aisle

As in 2011, public education funding is a major issue at the state capitol.
Flickr user Phil Ostroff cc

Last-minute changes to House Bill 1025, a spending bill that has been the glue for the Texas budget, is now causing things to fall apart.

Lawmakers in the Texas House said they are shocked by the changes tacked on to a supplemental spending bill still awaiting a final vote, and have said they will not send the legislation to Gov. Rick Perry’s desk.

Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, said Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, has broken their agreement regarding an additional $200 million in education funding.

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Texas Legislature
2:46 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

CHL Campus-Carry Bill Dies In Senate, But The Fight Isn't Over Yet

Flickr user David Trawin (trawin) cc

Lawmakers at the capitol have approved a measure to train public school teachers to respond during a mass-shooting event and let die a bill to allow concealed-handgun license holders to carry guns on a college campus. 

As the first of its kinds, House Bill 1009 provides volunteer school teachers with the same level of training as a police officers who respond to a mass-shooting scenario. 

"We plan on passing the bill exactly as it passed the House," said Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, who carried the bill in the Senate.

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Military
1:17 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Legislature Passes Summer Electric Bill Relief For Burned Veterans

The San Antonio Military Medical Center.
Joint Base San Antonio

Veterans who have burn injuries can now ask their utility companies for discounts, no matter where in Texas they reside now that the Burned Veterans Bill has passed in the Legislature.

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte sought to expand the benefits of a bill passed in the last session to the statewide population of burned veterans.

The bill allows investor-owned utilities, municipal co-ops and retail electric providers to establish discount programs similar to the one that has proven so successful in San Antonio the last couple of years.

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Texas Legislature - Business
12:16 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Last Of Perry Business Tax Cuts Goes Through With Key Oversight Provision

Ryan Poppe TPR News

A Democratic senator was able to add a last-minute provision to the last of Gov. Rick Perry’s business tax cut bills calling for more oversight and monitoring of the program. 

Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, was able to add his provision to House Bill 500, which provides  Texas small businesses with $600 million in tax cuts.

The attachment bill would have the Texas Comptroller review the businesses receiving a tax cut to be sure such cuts were effective.

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Texas Legislature
3:03 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

House Democrats Successfully Kill Welfare Drug Testing Bill

Ryan Poppe TPR News

House Democrats were able to stall a vote on a bill that would have mandated welfare recipients be drug screened before receiving benefits, an action that ultimately killed the bill entirely.  

The bill would have required anyone applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits to be screened for illicit drug use and it immediately struck a chord with House Democrats like Rep. Sylvester Turner of Houston.

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Texas Legislature
6:25 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Legislature Tightens Cell Phone Search Privacy

Chris Eudaily TPR

You may not be aware that currently police do not need a warrant to search through your GPS locator in your cell phone, but that is about to change. 

The house passed House Bill 1608, which was added as an amendment to Senate Bill 1052, and stops the warrantless search of a person’s cell phone records.

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Medicaid Expansion
1:14 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

What Medical Options Are Left For Texas’ Working Poor?

Ryan Poppe TPR News

Now that every opportunity for Medicaid expansion is gone at the state capitol, the lawmaker who authored the GOP plan, which eventually failed, explained what medical options are left for the state’s working poor.

Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, is a doctor and has seen first hand the problems the 1.5 million Texans without health insurance face when it comes to seeking medical care.

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Texas Legislature
5:14 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Bill To Prohibit Enforcement Of Federal Gun Laws Dies In Senate

Flickr user David Trawin (trawin) cc

House Bill 928 would criminalize any police officer enforcing a new federal gun law in the state of Texas, and it immediately struck tensions between Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, and Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston.

"I could be for this if you take an amendment I’m going to offer to your bill," said Ellis. "I’m going to offer an amendment to close the 'gun show loophole.'"

"The criminal background checks at gun shows would doom this wonderful bill that we are trying to do right here," replied Estes.

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Texas Legislature
12:44 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Both Sides Compromise To Pass State Budget Bill

Wikipedia Commons

After several late-nights of heated discussions, a joint committee of senators and representatives unanimously approved a $100 billion state budget. 

For the last week Republicans and Democrats have gone back and forth arguing about what should be left in the state’s budget and what should be left out.  

The biggest factor was how much Republicans would be willing to give up to restore funding for public education.

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Texas Legislature
4:18 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Water Resolution Passes Despite Republican Concerns, Democrat Protests

Ryan Poppe TPR News

A House budget committee passed Senate Joint Resolution 1 to fund state-related water plans. The measure sets up an empty fund that the state can use to fund water projects over the next 50 years, and now heads to the House floor for a vote.

While many of the committee confidently voted for the resolution, others had reservations.

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