hot list: day 121


Day 121 of the 82nd Texas Legislature

“Is this the sine die for the rest of us?”
—Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, asks Speaker Joe Strauss if the Democrats in the House even matter.

Perhaps no one was more responsible for organizing the massive pro-education rally at the Capitol in March than Allen Weeks. But as Abby Rapoport writes, the former teacher and track coach wasn’t an education organizer until recently, “Less than five years ago, the Austin Independent School District threatened to shut down a middle school in the St. Johns neighborhood because of low test scores. Weeks found himself in the midst of a fight to keep the school open.” Just a few years later, as the Legislature considers deep cuts to public education, Weeks is a key organizer, who “chaired the effort to create one of the biggest Texas rallies in recent political memory.”

With the clock winding down on the 82nd legislative session, Texas lawmakers are struggling to pass a school finance reform bill that would allow them to make deep cuts to public education in the budget. As Statesman reporter Kate Alexander reports, “Both the House and Senate budgets are precariously balanced on the assumption that such legislation would be approved. Failure to do so would probably force lawmakers into a special session this summer.” 

Only two days left to get House bills off the House floor, and lawmakers are rushing to get their bills heard. With more than 12 pages of bills left on the House calendar, including a number of big bills related to the budget, today is bound to be another long one. Meanwhile, the Senate is trying to muster enough Democrat votes to pass a crucial school finance reform bill.