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Week of May 22-28, 2017

State budget bill moves forward as conference committee agrees
AUSTIN — Texas Senate and House budget conferees met frequently last week and on May 20 managed to reach compromise on a $218 billion state budget for fiscal years 2018-2019. 

Week of May 15-21, 2017

Legislature grinds toward May 29 close with much still to accomplish
AUSTIN — With a mere two weeks remaining until the end of the 85th regular session of the Texas Legislature, lawmakers have not yet finalized a state budget for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. 
The Legislature’s 150 House members and 31 Senate members can work around the clock, if need be. Their only absolutely required accomplishment in the 140-day-long session is to produce that budget and put it on the governor’s desk. If they don’t, the governor will call them back for a special session.

Week of May 8-14, 2017

House joins Senate in passing constitutional convention measure
AUSTIN — The Texas House of Representatives on May 4 approved Senate Joint Resolution 2, a measure calling for a convention of the states, as contemplated and enabled by Article V of the U.S. Constitution.
The state Senate on Feb. 28 originally passed SJR 2, authored by Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury. Every member of the House and Senate who signed as a co-author or co-sponsor of SJR 2 is Republican, and no Democrat voted in favor of the resolution. 

Week of May 1-7, 2017

GOP majority pushes ‘sanctuary city’ bill to passage in Texas House
AUSTIN — During his “State of the State” address on Jan. 31, Governor Greg Abbott declared legislation banning so-called “sanctuary cities” to be one of his top priorities and an emergency item, saying: “Elected officials don’t get to pick and choose which laws they obey.” 

Week of April 24-30, 2017

House passes legislation to reform school finance law
AUSTIN — The Texas House of Representatives on April 19 approved school finance legislation that would reduce the amount of local tax dollars that property-rich school districts are required to share with other school districts under the so-called “Robin Hood” process.

Week of April 17-23, 2017

Federal judge says again, Texas voter ID law is discriminatory
AUSTIN — U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi on April 10 ruled the State of Texas has failed to prove that the voter identification law was not written with discriminatory intent and purpose.
The ruling came in response to a charge by the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that Judge Ramos re-examine the evidence and her 2015 findings in Veasey et al., plaintiffs, v. Greg Abbott et al., defendants.

Week of April 10-16, 2017

Next step: House, Senate must work toward agreement on state budget
AUSTIN — After more than 15 hours of floor debate, the Texas House of Representatives on April 7 approved a balanced, $218 billion, state budget for fiscal years 2018-2019.
During the debate, state representatives proposed some 378 amendments to the House version of Senate Bill 1, although many were tabled or withdrawn.

Week of April 3-9, 2017

Governor welcomes Justice Department’s sanctuary cities announcement
AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on March 27 praised an announcement by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the Department of Justice will withhold and take back federal funds from cities that do not comply with federal immigration laws and enforcement directives.

Week of March 27 - April 2, 2017

Senate panel OKs budget for upcoming two-year period
AUSTIN — A state budget for fiscal years 2018-2019 cleared the first in a series of hurdles when the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved committee substitute Senate Bill 1 on March 22.
The legislation next moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Week of March 20-26, 2017

State budget progresses toward vote by full Senate 
AUSTIN — The Senate Finance Committee, at work on the 2018-2019 state budget since January, on March 16 approved workgroup recommendations in preparation for a final vote. 
Committee Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, said she expects her panel to vote on the state budget, Senate Bill 1, this week, March 20-24. After the committee votes, the next step for the budget is consideration by the full Senate.