Hot List: Day 9 of the Legislature

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The Lead:

Crickets will be chirping the rest of the week at the Capitol—both the House and the Senate have adjourned until Wednesday, Jan. 23. The reason? The overlapping inauguration of President Obama and Martin Luther King Day allow for the week-long vacation. Poor guys.

The Senate and House have released draft budget proposals, but no one seems in a hurry to get the ball rolling. Lawmakers came under heavy criticism yesterday for initial budget proposals that maintain the deep spending cuts from 2011. It’s still early in the process. There will be many opportunities to improve the budget in the months to come. But for now expect to see some of your senators and reps on TV next Monday in Washington for the inauguration.

Yesterday’s Headlines:

1. The budget debate continues, though official work on the budget won’t pick up again until Jan. 23. The Observer’s Liz Farmer reports on the Senate’s budget proposal and what we can look forward to as the Senate works on a final budget in the upcoming months.

2. Both the House and the Senate are off to their usual slow start, adjourned until Jan. 23. The San Antonio Express News has more.

3. The House and the Senate honored Sen. Mario Gallegos (D-Houston) yesterday, as the Houston Chronicle writes, with kind politics-free words from several legislators in the presence of Gallegos’s large family. Gallegos passed away in October after a liver transplant. His seat remains open and will be filled by an upcoming special election.

Line of the Day:

“Let everyone that can hear my voice know that the entire Senate membership is a family. We meet, we consult, we live, we laugh, we cry together. So we have literally lost a family member.” – Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) at yesterday’s session honoring the late Sen. Gallegos.

What We’re Watching Today:

1. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst will hold a press conference this morning at 10 a.m., staying in town just a little bit longer than his colleagues. He will likely discuss committee assignments, which have been postponed until next Wednesday. You can be sure he will get questions on the Senate’s budget proposal too.

2. The calendar. When the Lege is off, so is the Hot List. We’ll pick it back up next Wednesday.