State News

News pertaining to the state of Texas.

Legislature sends $209.4 billion budget to Abbott

9 hours ago
Courtesy Photo

Texas lawmakers in both chambers on Friday overwhelmingly approved a $209.4 billion two-year budget, a 3.6 percent increase over the current one. It now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk.

The budget leaves $6.4 billion unspent, including $2.9 billion under the state’s constitutional spending cap, which limits the growth of some state funds. Lawmakers also left untouched another $11 billion in the state’s Rainy Day Fund, which is fed by oil and gas production taxes.

Abbott signs pre-K bill considered top priority

May 28, 2015
KWBU

Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday turned one of his highest legislative priorities into law, signing a bill aimed at improving early education in Texas.

House Bill 4 sets aside $130 million over two years for school districts whose pre-kindergarten programs meet certain standards. Early education was among five emergency items Abbott declared earlier this year.

Open carry faces filibuster threat in Senate

May 28, 2015
NPR

State Sen. José Rodríguez said Thursday that if the opportunity arises, he plans to filibuster a bill allowing the open carry of handguns in Texas.

Speaking at a Texas Tribune event, the El Paso Democrat said he thought the legislation was "totally unnecessary" and presented a threat to the safety of police officers and the public.

"I think my back is problematical, but I assure you, for this issue, I will stand as long as I can," Rodríguez said.

FM 100 at Bois d’Arc Creek north of Honey Grove has been closed due to flooding.
provided image

FLOOD CLOSURES

information updated at 2:40 p.m on Wed., May 27

Fannin County

FM 100 at Bois d’Arc Creek north of Honey Grove

Hopkins County

FM 71 east of Commerce at South Sulphur River

FM 900 north of Saltillo

Lamar County

US 271 at Red River is open but down to one lane each direction, closure possible if Red River rises

Red River County

FM 410 west of SH 37 near Red River

FM 1159 east of SH 37 at Collier Creek

House passes weakened campus carry bill

May 27, 2015
The version of Bill 11 that was passed in the House last night is quite different from the version that passed the Senate.
KETR

*Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Thirty minutes before a key midnight deadline — and facing a potentially fatal procedural challenge — the Texas House hurriedly approved a bill requiring public universities to allow concealed handguns on campus Tuesday night.

The 101-to-47 vote on Senate Bill 11 came after House Republicans added language exempting health facilities and letting universities carve out gun-free zones. They also adopted an amendment stating that private colleges would have to follow whatever public universities do.

Hopes fading for new rules to limit tuition growth

May 27, 2015
Texas A&M University-Commerce

Texas lawmakers upset with the climbing cost of college began this year with high hopes for new limits on tuition increases.

But as the end of the state’s legislative session nears, hopes are fading. All the bills seeking to regulate state schools’ tuition have died. And there’s little time left in the legislative session to find new paths to revive the idea.

Not everyone has given up, but some of the top advocates for tuition regulation are already turning their sights to the 2017 session.

After combative day in Legislature, both sides claiming wins

May 27, 2015
For hours, the House debated an ethics reform bill, dissolving into angry tirades and raunchy debate about the reach of a drug-testing provision for lawmakers.
NPR

As the clock struck midnight, the failure of an anti-abortion initiative — dear to the hearts of the far right — marked the end of a tumultuous day on the floor of the Texas House that saw the passage of sweeping ethics reform and a version of legislation allowing concealed carrying of handguns on college campuses.  

The version of Bill 11 that was passed in the House last night is quite different from the version that passed the Senate.
KETR

Supporters of campus carry will  be fighting against the clock on Tuesday when the Texas House takes up previously delayed legislation requiring public universities and colleges to allow concealed handguns on their campuses. 

After a month of discussion over whether to attach campus carry to another piece of gun legislation — an effort to squeeze the controversial measure through — House lawmakers opted to consider the bill, Senate Bill 11, on its own.  

Texas a hair's breadth away from cutting braiding laws

May 20, 2015
NPR

Isis Brantley is a hair’s breadth away from the end of her decades-long battle with the state to practice and teach African hair braiding in Texas, after a measure to deregulate the industry passed the Texas Senate on Wednesday and will head to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk.

Senate panel OKs restrictions on minors seeking abortions

May 20, 2015
Representative Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria) authored House Bill 3994, which would apply more restrictions to minors seeking an abortion without parental consent.
Texas House of Representatives

Minors seeking abortions in Texas without parental consent will face a tougher set of legal hurdles under legislation already approved by the House and now headed for the Senate floor.

Facing cuts, community colleges plead for more funds

May 20, 2015
Paris Junior College has campuses in Paris, Greenville and Sulphur Springs.
Paris Junior College

For community colleges in Texas, any economic news seems to be bad news.

When the economy is booming, fewer students enroll and the state gives the colleges less money. When times are tough, enrollment goes up but the state has less money to give.

With hospital funds in question, who's at risk?

May 20, 2015
In Texas, the Harris Health System receives the most money from the uncompensated care pool. In 2013, about 64 percent of Harris Health's patients received charity care or were self-pay, "a euphemism for no-pay," said President and CEO George Masi.
Houston Public Media

As Texas negotiates with Washington over how to pay for health care for the poor and uninsured — a tricky dance given the state's opposition to expanding Medicaid coverage under President Obama's signature health law — billions of dollars in federal funding are on the line. And the state's safety-net hospitals and clinics are steeling themselves for an uncertain future. 

Without two-thirds rule, Senate moving Patrick's priorities

May 19, 2015
The Texas Senate's two-third rule has been whittled down to a three-fifth rule.
NPR

In January, the Texas Senate upended nearly 70 years of tradition on how it brings legislation to the floor for debate. Whereas it used to take the support of two-thirds of the senators present to bring up a measure, it now takes only three-fifths.

Campus carry faces last hurdle in Legislature

May 19, 2015
Senate Bill 11 would require public universities and colleges to allow concealed handguns on their campuses.
NPR

With less than two weeks left in the legislative session, the Texas House is all that is keeping a stalled measure requiring public universities and colleges to allow concealed handguns on their campuses from reaching the governor's desk.

So-called campus carry could travel one of two routes to clear that chamber, passing as stand-alone legislation or as an amendment to another gun-related bill.

Abbott leans into possible role as 2016 'kingmaker'

May 18, 2015
Gov. Greg Abbott
NPR

Gov. Greg Abbott, once reluctant to get involved in his party's 2016 presidential primary, has a new message for White House hopefuls: Get in line.  

With Texas poised to play a role in determining the GOP nominee for the first time in decades, the first-term governor is increasingly making clear he does not plan to let the newfound clout go to waste. He's laid out five criteria for the candidates and wants them to come see the border that has been central to his agenda so far.  

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