Hot List: Day 136 of the Legislature
The House and Senate spent most of yesterday at a standoff, waiting for the other to budge on two major pieces of legislation that are key to the state budget. Senate Finance Chair Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands) broke the impasse by introducing House Bill 1025, which is the supplemental spending bill. The House previously supported the bill when it included $200 million in additional spending for education, but Gov. Rick Perry got involved and helped derail the agreement when he told the Senate too much money was allotted to education.
That led to a tense few days between the House and Senate. But everyone apparently came to their senses, and Williams proposed a bill accepted, even lauded, by his Democratic counterparts last night. Under the plan, the basic education allotment per-student-spending would reach $5,040 in 2015, which Williams claimed would be the highest ever.
As the Senate was passing HB 1025, the House finally took up Senate Joint Resolution 1 that it was holding hostage to get the $200 million for schools under HB 1025. The House quickly approved the resolution that asks voters to OK creating the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas, which would distribute $2 billion for water infrastructure projects under HB 1025. With both bills passed, the budget deal can go forward.
1. Rep. Craig Eiland (D-Galveston) tearfully told the House that he wouldn’t seek reelection to spend more time with his family, as the Texas Tribune reports.
2. Democrats successfully killed all abortion-related bills this session before they got to the House or Senate floors this session, writes the San Antonio Express News.
3. Protestors in favor of Medicaid expansion interrupted a speech yesterday by Gov. Perry who responded that he would meet with them at his office. The Tribune writes that the 15-minute meeting didn’t go far.
4. The Observer’s Beth Cortez-Neavel documents the impact of the split between UT-Brownsville and Texas Southmost College. Hundreds of employees lost their jobs.
Line of the Day:
“I’ve had committee dinners since I’ve been here for seven terms. Lobby pays. They follow rules. Everybody knows up front. And we even post it, so we are all in compliance.” –Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi) told the Texas Tribune about a dinner bill for 140 people that totaled $22,241.03. Sorry we missed that one.
What We’re Watching Today:
1. With several deadlines passed, the House and Senate will now focus on conference committee reports and bills passed by both chambers.