Ed Sterling

Lawmakers remain on threshold of passing major legislation

State Capital Highlights

Texas lawmakers have yet to cast final votes on the marquee issues of the 86th regular session of the Legislature: the state budget, school finance reform and property tax relief. Conference committees named by House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, must complete their work on the state budget and the other top […]

Property tax reform bill goes to conference committee

State Capital Highlights

The Texas House of Representatives on May 1 passed Senate Bill 2, legislation proposing to bring property tax relief to homeowners, but the lower house slowed the bill’s momentum by tacking on 25 floor amendments. If finally passed in the coming days, the legislation would lower the rollback rate for most local taxing authorities from 8 percent to 3.5 percent […]

Conference committee to work out differences in state budget



Only a month is left for lawmakers to get the state’s business done in the 86th regular session of the Texas Legislature. Still unfinished are the issues at the top of a list shared by Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen: the passage of a state budget for fiscal years 2020-2021, property tax reform […]

Conference committee to work out differences in state budget



A fter Easter weekend, conferees for the Texas House and Senate must work out differences in the two chambers’ versions of a fiscal 2020-2021 state budget to send to Gov. Greg Abbott. Concurrence is required on how to spend an estimated $250 billion in revenue available to fund the state’s fiscal years 2020-2021. Once an agreement has been reached, the […]

Top officeholders join together in push for funding solution

State Capital Highlights

Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen on April 10 released a joint statement promoting a twofold method for the 86th Texas Legislature to curb property tax increases across the state. “Texans are fed up with skyrocketing property taxes. At the beginning of the legislative session, the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker laid out an […]

House passes legislation to reform school finance, property taxes

State Capital Highlights

The Texas House of Representatives on April 3 approved much-anticipated legislation written to revise the state’s public school finance system. The vote was 148-1, and the bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. House Bill 3 would increase pay for public school classroom teachers, librarians and other full-time personnel and also would enable property tax relief. Primarily authored by […]

Air pollution from tank fire sparks lawsuit

State Capital Highlights

Last week, with 60 days remaining until the end of the 140- day regular session of the 86th Texas Legislature, the House and Senate vaulted closer toward finalizing a state budget. On March 27, the House of Representatives voted 149-0 in favor of HB 1, its version of the state budget for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. The lower chamber’s […]

Air pollution from tank fire sparks lawsuit

State Capital Highlights

Images of a stream of billowing dark smoke drew the nation’s attention last week to a fire that engulfed 11 petrochemical storage tanks at the Intercontinental Terminals Company about 15 miles southeast of Houston in Deer Park. On March 17, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered that all state resources be made available to local and industry officials and urged residents to […]

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 […]


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