Welcome back to the schools-chief bill

Jane Nelson, the Senate's top budget writer.

Typically, Senate rules would prohibit the Senate from taking up the matter again during the same Legislative session.

Nelson touted her budget's focus on education.

Zerwas's proposal taps the Rainy Day Fund to cover a shortfall in a pension program for retired teachers ($500 million), continue increased border security spending ordered by state lawmakers in 2015 (about $650 million), and finance basic improvements at decrepit state-run mental health hospitals (about $240 million).

The full Senate now will act in coming days on House Bill 1005, sponsored by House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, that would replace the elected state superintendent with a governor-appointed secretary of education - a change sought by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb. The Senate, in turn, is expected to agree to the bill either Tuesday or Thursday, sending it to Deal for his signature. He also anxious the proposal could prosecute people who mistakenly sign unnecessary affidavits while adding "another level of intimidation" that may further stigmatize voters casting ballots because they lack proper ID.

"Don't put off until tomorrow what you believe you can do today - that is an old political adage that I follow", he said.

Up until Tuesday, the Senate had been vague about its road funding preferences. Some Capitol insiders have wondered if the accounting trick is even acceptable under the Texas Constitution.

Senate Judiciary committee Chairman Rodric Bray said Monday that he doesn't have time to hear the bill before lawmakers adjourn.

"It also begins to reduce the pressure on local property taxes, which have been funding a greater and greater share of education".

Senate Bill 1: A plan by Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, SB 1 would update the state's criminal code to create specific crimes related to domestic terrorism and to create a state Department of Homeland Security (the agency is now combined with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency). "That includes ESF and that includes a critical look at the way the state highway funds are being utilized in their budget".

But senators say such a proposal is a no-go in the upper chamber.

"I'm happy to have that conversation - to see whether it's good policy or not - we just ran out of time", the Martinsville Republican said, adding that the committee's final hearing is this week and he was unable to get Bacon's measure on the agenda. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, of Nelson's bill.

The bill also says 15 percent of the sales tax money diverted to Jackson would go toward helping Jackson offset the cost of providing fire and police protection in the district.

The Texas Senate on Monday approved key modifications to the state's strictest-in-the-nation voter ID law, incorporating some changes ordered after federal courts previously found it discriminatory. The Senate budget would remove the $1.4 billion spent on special items last session, and replace it with $700 million to increase standard formula funding.

  • Larry Hoffman