Hot List: Day 70 of the Legislature


The Lead:

We’ve reached the halfway point of the session, and the wild ride is just beginning. Last week the Senate Finance Committee approved the state budget, which the Senate is expected to take up on Wednesday. The House will finally begin debating bills more substantive than honorary resolutions this week. Now the workload at the Capitol will start to increase.

Meanwhile, committees continue to craft legislation and are beginning to meet longer and later, though the big debates are still to come.

Weekend Headlines:

1. Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) will have to make a good case for charter schools if he wants his major Senate Bill 2 to pass. The Texas Tribune reports that charters aren’t a cut and dry partisan issue but may greatly depend on the inclinations of rural House districts that tend to be wary of public funds going to privately run schools.

2.  Immigrant rights groups and the business community are coming together to support House Bill 3206. Dallas Democratic Rep. Roberto Alonzo’s bill would give undocumented immigrants the chance to get a driver’s license, as the Rio Grande Guardian reports.

3. It looks like people in both parties are getting a little tired of the Reign of Perry. Some legislation filed recently aims to keep officeholders—cough Perry—from “double dipping.” Under this practice Perry draws $90,000 per year in state retirement, in addition to his $150,000 salary, The Dallas Morning News writes.

Line of the Day:

““For taxpayers, it’s a lot more expensive to treat them in the criminal justice setting [than state-funded community mental health centers]. And it’s wrong for society. There are no outcomes. It becomes a revolving door.” —Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, as quoted in the San Antonio Express-News.

What We’re Watching Today:

1. The House Government Reform Committee will hear a few bills that would exempt records from the open records law.

2. The House International Trade Committee plans to discuss the ongoing Rio Grande water dispute between Texas and Mexico.

3. If you want morbid, then you’ll find the Senate Open Government Committee interesting. The committee will be talking about which parts of an autopsy report should be confidential.