Hot List: Day 22 of the Legislature


The Lead:

Monday morning rang in bright and noisy as hundreds of motorcyclists descended on the Capitol yesterday to campaign for their riding rights. Legislators seemed revved up too as they met to discuss the hot button issue of state-mandated school security in a joint committee hearing.

We may hear more about school safety—and other issues Gov. Rick Perry wants to push—in the governor’s biannual state of the state speech today at 11 a.m.

Yesterday’s Headlines:

1. The Senate met for a joint hearing of the Committee on Agriculture, Committee on Rural Affairs and Homeland Security, and the Committee on Education to discuss providing training for school officials to earn their concealed handgun licences. This comes amid a series of proposals to enhance school security following the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut. Representatives from school districts across the state, though, were not impressed and testified that “their systems work for them, and they don’t want the state interfering” as the Observer’s Liz Farmer reports.

2. Motorcycle club members from across the state converged and rode into Austin to advocate for tighter motorcycle safety laws. The Observer’s Beth Cortez-Neavel has the details.

3. Speaker Joe Straus stressed bipartisanship in his speech to the Texas Association of Broadcasters. The Houston Chronicle has more.

Line of the Day:

“We are our first responders. I believe if you can stop it in its conception, then you have a responsibility to do so.” —Harrold ISD Superintendent David Thweatt, arguing that paying staff members to earn their concealed handgun licences would provide security for the district, which sits about 30 miles from the nearest police department.

What We’re Watching Today:

1. Legislative Action Day! Gear up, all you nonprofit supporters for this event sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Expectations are high, as the AFP promises on its website “a historical day of empowerment and engagement in nonprofit advocacy that not only supports our respective charitable missions, but upholds the importance and critical role of our sector in providing community impact.”

2. Meanwhile, another guy who knows a thing or two about fundraising—Rick Perry—will likely dominate today’s news cycle. Today Perry will deliver his seventh—and perhaps his last—state of the state speech to a joint session of the Legislature in the House chamber at 11 a.m. Capitol folks will be listening carefully for any hint of Perry’s future electoral plans. The AP is reporting that Perry will use the speech to push for a state constitutional amendment that would have the state to return to the taxpayers any money it doesn’t spend. Who said Rick Perry was out of ideas?

3. The Senate Committee on Finance, and Committee on Business and Commerce will both be meeting this morning. Senate Finance will continue its hearings on the higher education section of the budget.