Texas Legislature

Texas Legislature
11:03 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Committee Approves Water Bill Despite Funding Disagreement

Texas state capitol in Austin
Ryan Poppe TPR News

The Committee on Natural Resources has sent a water funding bill to the House floor that addresses one of the key points stressed by Governor Perry at the start of this legislative session. 

Rep. Allan Ritter, R- Nederland, said HB 4 provides$2 billion of state funds that city municipalities and businesses can tap into for their water needs.

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Texas Legislature
1:03 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Bills Filed Addressing Gun Show Loophole And High-Capacity Magazines

Texas State Capitol in Austin.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

Over 36 gun bills have been introduced so far this legislative session, ranging from lessening the time it takes to obtain a Concealed Handgun License, to bills like the one authored by Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston that puts additional regulations on gun-owners and sellers.

"Currently Texas allows private weapon sales at gun-shows without background checks, so I filed a bill -- SB 1626 -- and it will require background checks for every gun sold in the state of Texas," Ellis said.

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Education Laws
9:31 am
Tue March 12, 2013

How Teachers Can Fail Chemistry But Still Teach It In Schools

State Rep. Mike Villarreal tutors a second grader at Herff Elementary School as part of his volunteer efforts through SA2020
Eileen Pace TPR News

San Antonio Representative Mike Villarreal has filed a bill to bring transparency to licensing procedures for school teachers.

Right now teachers take a composite exam with several different parts – including all the core subjects – but as long as their overall score is passing, the teachers don’t have to pass all of those subjects to be certified to teach them.

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Texas Legislature
6:47 am
Tue March 12, 2013

State Lawmaker Says Expanded Newborn Testing Will Save Lives

Office of Rep. Myra Crownover

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 12:44 pm

On Wednesday state lawmakers on the House Public Health Committee will consider screening newborns for congenital heart defects. The bill filed by Denton Republican Myra Crownover continues her efforts to expand genetic testing for babies.

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10:52 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Could The Path To Raising State Revenue Lead Through Golf Courses?

Lead in text: 
In the last election cycle candidates on all sides were talking about "closing tax loopholes," but not many came forward with specific targets. Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, has discovered a tax loophole that saves golf courses around the state millions of dollars, but his efforts to close it may cost him his next round at River Oaks Country Club.
Rodney Ellis will be the first to tell you what a lovely time one can have on the links of the exclusive River Oaks Country Club in Houston.
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 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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The Source
11:45 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Rep. Lyle Larson Pushes Legislative Term Limits

Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio.
Rep. Lyle Larson

We all saw Governor Rick Perry running for President while still getting a check for being Governor and the state paying for his personal security and some of his travel. Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, says it’s time for that to stop.

Larson has filed a bill called "Resign to Run" that would require candidates to resign from a state office if they are seeking a new position.

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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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