hot list: day 109

Day 109 of the 82nd Texas Legislature

“I’m also senstiive that we don’t want Big Brother looking over our shoulder any more than we have to.”
—Sen. Tommy Williams on the liscence plate reader pilot program provision in his omnibus homeland security bill.

Sen. Steve Ogden, chair of the Finance Committee, still lacks the 21 votes needed to bring the Senate version of the budget up for debate. But, as Alexa Garcia-Ditta reports, the debate over the Senate budget, hidden mostly behind closed doors in recent days, leaked on to the floor yesterday. Lawmakers debated three “fiscal matters” bills that raise revenue for Ogden’s plan, and many of the divisions over the budget became clear.  

In a report released yesterday, the State Auditor criticized Gov. Rick Perry’s management of the Emerging Technology Fund, a grant program designed to attract new businesses to Texas. Media reports have accused Perry of using the fund to reward his political cronies. Several lawmakers rallied behind the report, which called for greater transparency and accountability for the fund.  

The TxDOT sunset bill is up for debate in the House today, and it could be a long one. There are almost 70 amendments filed for the bill. We’re also keeping an eye on the Senate and Sen. Ogden’s efforts to scrounge up enough votes to bring the budget bill up for debate.

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