Columns

Thu
09
Apr

House passes state budget after long debate

After 17 hours of floor debate and hundreds of amendments considered, the Texas House of Representatives on April 1 passed House Bill 1, a state budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017 that appropriates $209.8 billion. The vote was 141 in favor to 5 against, with nay votes cast by Reps. David Simpson, R-Longview; Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler; freshman Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving; freshman Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington; and freshman Molly White, R-Belton. The House version of the state budget, a 3.8 percent increase over the current 2014-2015 state budget, draws no funds from the Economic Stabilization (“rainy day”) Fund. Senate concurrence with the HB 1 is necessary for the state budget to be finally adopted. SB 2, the Senate version of 2016-2017 state budget, has been pending in the Senate Finance Committee since March 25.

Thu
09
Apr

Texas Senate approves changes to teacher training and evaluation

Prospective teachers would have a more rigorous path to the classroom and stronger continuing education under a pair off bills passed by the Senate Tuesday. Forty percent of Texas public school teachers are certified under the alternative certification program, where people who have college degrees but didn't study education can learn how to become classroom teachers. Under current law, a candidate for alternative certification need only have a 2.5 grade point average and 15 hours of classroom training to get into a teacher preparation program. Amarillo Senator Kel Seliger thinks those standards need to be higher. "We need ever better, more motivated teachers," he said.

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Thu
02
Apr

Grandma’s teeth

By MARC ROBERTSON
 
Thu
26
Mar

House passes human trafficking, border security bills

Bills to address the illegal importation and exploitation of persons and to protect the state’s border with Mexico moved through the Texas House last week. They were the first major statewide
legislation to be approved by the body since Jan. 13, the opening day of the 140- day session. 
 
Thu
26
Mar

Bill would set standards for police body cams

The Senate Criminal Justice Committee looked at a bill Tuesday that would create a set of uniform rules for police departments using body cameras. Dallas Senator Royce West said that
Thu
19
Mar

Lawmakers seek to control elements of state spending

By ED STERLING
 
Debates over the Texas House and Senate versions of the state budget lie ahead, and movement toward setting budget controls to blend into a final, agreed-upon budget for 2016-2017 emerged in low-numbered bills filed last week.
 
Thu
12
Mar

Senate bills set stage for tax, debt relief

A trio of powerful state senators, along with Lt. Gov.
Thu
05
Mar

Senate panel passes legislation to fund state highways

The Senate Transportation Committee on Feb.

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