Ed Sterling

Supplemental funding legislation draws from ‘Rainy Day Fund’



A few of the funding priorities expressed by the executive, legislative and judicial branches are not covered in Senate Bill 2, the state’s tentatively approved appropriations bill for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. So, on March 13, the Senate voted unanimously in favor of SB 500, $6 billion in supplemental funding to plug many holes. Some $4.3 billion of the […]

Lawmakers start rolling out high-priority legislation

State Capital Highlights

With the filing of legislation that would give teachers an across-the-board pay increase, Texas lawmakers showed progress toward solving the complex issues of school finance and property tax reform. Senate Bill 3, passed March 4 by the full Senate on a voice vote, would entitle each classroom teacher and full-time librarian to a state-financed $5,000 increase above their 2018-2019 school […]

Order stops state, local authorities from purging voter rolls

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A San Antonio federal judge on Feb. 27 ordered Texas Secretary of State David Whitley not to purge the names of voters whose registrations he challenged as being potentially fraudulent. The order came in a voting rights case filed by the League of United Latin American Citizens and other plaintiffs. U.S. District Judge Fred Biery denied defendants’ motion to dismiss […]

Caucus names legislative priorities for public education

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The Texas House Democratic Caucus on Feb. 21 announced its “Texas Kids First” education-funding package that would include all-day pre-kindergarten, teacher raises and retirement and property tax reform. “We hope to work with our colleagues to incorporate some of these ideas into their bills,” said Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, caucus chair. Caucus member Rep. Gina Hinojosa, D-Austin, a former […]

Senate panel focuses on funding of public education



When Texas legislatures meet every two years, lawmakers’ singular, must-do assignment is to produce a state budget. Toward that goal, the Senate Finance Committee held meetings on Feb. 11, 12 and 13 to work on Article III of Senate Bill 1. That article focuses on the public and higher education parts of the state budget for fiscal years 2020 and […]

Governor gives lawmakers list of emergency items to tackle

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AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott named as his emergency priorities education reform, teacher pay, school safety, property tax reform, mental health services and disaster response in his Feb. 5 “State of the State” address to a joint session of the Texas Legislature. The House and Senate may schedule committee hearings on bills related to items on the governor’s priority list […]

Senate to look at Property Tax Reform



Senate committee starts work on property tax reform AUSTIN — Voters would have the power to prevent their local governmental bodies from increasing property taxes by more than 2.5 percent per year under legislation introduced in the Texas Senate and House on Jan. 31. Senate Bill 2 and identical House Bill 2, both 116 pages in length, propose to amend […]

Senate Finance panel starts work on state budget

State Capital Highlights

Jane Nelson, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, on Jan. 22 said she would follow an aggressive agenda to deliver a budget ready for floor debate by the end of February. “There are a lot of things this committee and the full Senate will decide to add, subtract, change, before we actually recommend out of this committee a budget,” she […]

State’s top elected officials take oaths of office



Public officials and private citizens gathered at the south steps of the state Capitol on Jan. 15 for a day’s worth of inaugural events, most notably the administering of oaths of office to Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who were reelected to four-year terms in November. In his inaugural address, Gov. Abbott predicted the 86th regular session […]

House elects new speaker as legislative session kicks off



The 86th Texas Legislature convened on Jan. 8 with all its customary ceremonies and recognitions— chief of which was the unanimous election of a new House speaker — Angleton Republican Dennis Bonnen. On Jan. 9, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, and Speaker Bonnen announced their joint commitment to passing legislation that would improve […]


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