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Hot List: day 116

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Day 116 of the 82nd Texas Legislature

LINE OF THE DAY
“There has been a criticism about the lack of transparency and insinuations of cronyism. This is our best effort to put some sunshine in the process.”
—Sen. Mike Jackson, R-La Porte, on bills that propose more transparency in Gov. Rick Perry’s Emerging Technology Fund.

OBSERVED
The Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative Austin-based think tank, has taken to the airwaves, producing TV ads to encourage lawmakers and Texans to support a lean and mean conservative budget. Their latest stars? Former U.S Senator Phil Gramm and his wife Wendy. Forrest Wilder has the details in his latest post. 

BEST OF THE REST
The Legislature may hate taxes, but it sure loves fees. Yesterday the Senate passed another handful of “fiscal matters” bills that propose raising fees for lobbyists, car insurance companies and ranchers. These bills, along with other similar measures already passed, are needed to help pay for the higher spending in the Senate’s version of the budget. The Austin American-Statesman has details on the new fees. 

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
While most of the action has been in the Senate this week, the House is scheduled to debate a major education bill today. They’re also expected to take up the last of Gov. Rick Perry’s emergency items today, sanctuary cities. It also appears that tomorrow the House will meet on Saturday for the first time this session.  

Alexa Garcia-Ditta is an Observer reporter (and former intern) covering women's health, reproductive health and health care access across the Lone Star State. Before joining the Observer, she was a staff news writer at the San Antonio Current. She holds an MA in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and BA in journalism and Spanish from UT-Arlington, where she worked for three years on her college newspaper. After graduate school, she dipped her toe in public policy communications at the Center for Public Policy Priorities. When she's not at work, she's probably training for her next marathon.