Hot List: Day 123 of the Legislature
The House was on the clock last night: Midnight Thursday marked the deadline to pass bills on second reading. House members churned through quite a few bills in the final hours, but dozens more withered on the calendar and are finished, at least for now (they could resurface as amendments to other bills).
One thing that seemed pretty dead was a plan to use vehicle sales tax revenue and fees to fund growing transportation needs, as the Observer reports. Conservative reps were divided—raising fees is a back-door tax increase, after all—and the author of the bill, Rep. Drew Darby, killed it because Gov. Rick Perry promised to veto any transportation funding unless it’s purely vehicle sales tax revenue.
The headline-making drone bill passed the House, as the Observer’s Beth Cortez-Neavel reports. The bill would make it a Class C misdemeanor to take pictures with drones, though there are some exemptions for DPS. Just before the midnight deadline, lawmakers passed a measure that gives children 14 years old and up legal consent to immunizations, despite concern that the bill would allow kids to get the HPV vaccine. And just like that, it felt like 2007 again.
1. The last bill the House approved last night was a bill to reimburse universities for absorbing the tuition of veterans or their dependents under the Hazlewood Act, as the Dallas Morning News writes.
2. The House also approved a bill that extends free or reduced-cost breakfasts to all students in a school in which 80 percent of the students are eligible for the program, as the Texas Tribune reports.
3. The Associated Press reports on the stalled budget negotiations between Rep. Jim Pitts and Sen. Tommy Williams. Pitts promises that things will get “worked out.”
Line of the Day:
“We shouldn’t be burying our treasure.” –Rep. Dan Branch (R-Dallas) on spending from the rainy day fund.
What We’re Watching Today:
1. The House will complete third readings of bills passed yesterday. Today is the deadline for the House to pass House bills to the Senate.