The regular session ends on Monday, and the big question at the Capitol is: Will there be a special session?
But the more immediate question is: Will there be a budget? On Thursday, the House rejected a new version of HB 1025, a supplemental spending bill that’s critical to the budget deal. Among many other things, the bill allocates $200 million for schools. The Senate passed the bill on Wednesday with some changes, including one added by Senate Finance Chair Tommy Williams that ties the schools funding to a provision that would return to taxpayers money that had been intended to help poor families with electric bills. The Dallas Morning News has more details.
That sets up a conference committee between the Senate and House that will have to work fast to reach a deal to save the budget in the regular session. Good times.
1. Senate and House negotiators reached a backroom deal yesterday on two education bills, the Texas Tribune reports. The bills—HB 5 and SB 2—would expand the state’s number of charter schools and reduce the number of standardized tests.
2. The Boy Scouts of America announced yesterday it would reverse its policy and allow gay scouts. Many across the country are hailing the decision as a huge step forward for gay rights, but Gov. Perry didn’t see it that way. He issued a statement saying he is “greatly disappointed with this decision.”
“The Boys Scouts of America has been built upon the values of faith and family for more than 100 years and today’s decision contradicts generations of tradition in the name of political correctness.” – Gov. Rick Perry, on the Boy Scouts of America’s decision yesterday to end a ban on gay members.
What We’re Watching Today:
1. We’ll be keeping an eye on both chambers, which will churn through bills passed by both chambers and conference committee reports.
2. The budget. Can the House and Senate settle their differences on HB 1025 before Sunday’s final midnight deadline?
The Texas Senate passes its budget bill without addressing billions of dollars in unspent federal relief. Now, public education advocates are demanding that lawmakers open up the spigot for local school districts.