Hot List: Day 17 of the Legislature


The Lead:

The House and Senate were back in action yesterday after adjourning on Jan. 16 for a (very) long holiday weekend. The House didn’t do much more than honor nurses and some other great people and places around Texas, but the Senate ticked off a few things from its to-do list—and then adjourned till Monday. Got to love a one-day work week.

Yesterday’s Headlines:

1. The Senate ended the day with the anticipated and antiquated senator term length assignments. After the election of all Senate positions in the same year—a result of redistricting—four-year and two-year terms were assigned by a luck to keep senator elections staggered.

2. Representatives from the Texas Education Agency testified before the Senate Finance Committee yesterday, urging senators to raise the budget for Texas public schools without waiting for a verdict from the ongoing finance lawsuit, The Observer‘s Liz Farmer reports. Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) also put the pressure on Senate Finance chair Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands).

3. The Texas Tribune reports that the Travis County district attorney’s office continues their criminal investigation of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. Investigations were opened after allegations of misconduct at CPRIT, including awarding an $11 million commercialization grant to Peloton Therapeutics without proper review.

Line of the Day:

“You’re not getting the results, so do you think you need to try something different?” —Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas)

What We’re Watching Today:

1. The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to reconvene at 10 a.m. to continue its budget hearings and is expected to convene at 9 a.m. on Friday to hear from public higher education agencies.

2. In line with this week’s education theme, the Texas Classroom Teacher’s Association will hold its biennial lobby day today. More than 200 Texas educators are expected to visit the Capitol around 11:30 a.m. to meet with lawmakers and honor Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer as TCTA’s 2012-13 Friend of Education in the public official category.

3. Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) is slated to give a press conference at 10:30 a.m. If it is anything like his last press conference with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, he’ll speak more on his education reform plans for the session.