Hot List: Day 86 of the Legislature


The Lead:

Slower day at the Capitol today—the calm before the storm. Tomorrow the House will begin debating the two-year state budget, and lawmakers have pre-filed 267 amendments. That’s not surprising. The budget debate on the floor is the one chance most House members have to impact how Texas spends its money.

Yesterday’s Headlines:

1. Yesterday, the Senate Education Committee heard another bill on CSCOPE, the controversial curriculum tool that has enraged tea party groups. The debate lasted well into the evening, with a few outbursts from Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston).

2. The troubled CPRIT foundation, created to support cancer research, will shut down in 60 days, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

3. The Texas Tribune writes that Senate Finance Chair Tommy Williams is crafting a Medicaid reform plan that would use taxpayer money to help uninsured Texans buy private insurance plans.

4. While the Senate Education Committee debates standardized testing and teacher pay, Kyron Burdine, a junior at Arlington High School, was recently suspended for writing “YOLO” on his STAAR test and tweeting it to Texas Education Agency officials.

Line of the Day:

“I do trust the superintendents and educators. We have to until proven differently, and I believe in local control.” —Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) said in the CSCOPE debate in the Senate Education Committee.

What We’re Watching Today:

1. In the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee today, lawmakers will hear bills that would eliminate the Driver Responsibility Program, which piles fines and penalties on people given various traffic violations. The program has put many Texans deep in debt.

2. House State affairs is hearing HCR 58, which would permit the use of the word “God” at public gatherings and display the Ten Commandments in public schools and other government buildings.