Hot List: Day 116 of the Legislature

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The Lead:

Yesterday, the Senate passed the Texas Railroad Commission sunset bill, SB 212, which would rename the agency the “Texas Energy Resource Commission.” Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) carried the bill and, after a brief debate over whether the change would confuse the public—or whether to call it the “Texas Department of Oil and Gas” and, delightfully, TDOG for short—the bill passed without opposition. Other major changes to the agency include more restrictions on the Railroad Commissioners ‘ campaign fundraising.

Yesterday’s Headlines:

1. The House also passed an elementary school testing reform bill—its second of the week—which would let high-scoring kids skip state tests in certain grades. Implementing the measure, though, would require a waiver from federal law.

2. House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) said Thursday that SJR 1—asking voters to approve spending from the Rainy Day Fund on water, transportation and schools—is a “no go” in the House. SJR 1 passed unanimously in the Senate last week.

Line of the Day:

“We weren’t sent here to govern like California,” said House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) in the interview with the San Antonio Express News’ Peggy Fikac.

What We’re Watching Today:

1. The House schedule is full of bills worth watching today, including HB 1926 which would expand the state’s virtual course network and open it further to private online schools.