Columns/Opinions

Thu
30
May

Top officials say state’s top issues are resolved

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AUSTIN — With the governor’s mansion as their backdrop, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen on May 23 announced their agreement on the Texas Legislature’s state budget, property tax reform and school finance reform bills.

Standing behind the state’s top three elected officials in the press conference were members of three House and Senate conference committees tasked with smoothing out the sticking points in House Bill 1, the state budget; Senate Bill 2, property tax reform; and House Bill 3, school finance reform.

Abbott spoke first, saying the assertion that he, Patrick and Bonnen made in January at the beginning of the legislation session — that together they would decrease property taxes and improve public school finance — is now accomplished. “I’m proud to tell you, today, we are announcing that we’ve done exactly that,” Abbott said.

 

 

Thu
23
May

Much remains on table as Legislature begins final week

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AUSTIN — As the Texas Legislature entered the final week of its 140-day 86th regular session, Texans continued to wait for lawmakers to wrap up priority issues: the 2020-2021 state budget, property tax reform and school finance reform.

Of the more than 7,000 bills Senate and House members have filed proposing to create, amend or repeal a law, only 56 had passed and been forwarded to the governor’s desk for final approval as of Sunday, May 19. This is a low number of bills to have survived the threshing floors at both ends of the Capitol at this point in the session. Lawmakers with bones to pick with each other have used and may continue to use parliamentary maneuvers to speed or slow the movement of bills between now and May 27, the last day of the session.

 

 

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Thu
23
May

Five things happening at your capitol this week

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My Five Cents…

The next time you hear from me, the 86th Legislative Session will have come to an end. On average only about 1 in 5 bills will make it successfully through a legislative session. At the writing of this column, approximately nine percent of the 7,324 bills, filed in the Senate and House, have been passed and sent to the Governor. This number will continue to rise. In 2017, 18 percent passed and in 2015, it was 21 percent. .

Here are five things happening at your Capitol this week:

1. Free Speech on

College Campuses

Thu
16
May

Five things happening at your capitol this week

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My Five Cents…

By Senator Robert Nichols

While session is five months long, 80 percent of the work is done in 20 percent of the time.

At the writing of this column, we have 11 days left in the Session, and much of the work is left to be done.

Here are five things happening at your Capitol this week:

1. Telemarketer Bill

Thu
16
May

Lawmakers remain on threshold of passing major legislation

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AUSTIN — 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 issues hastily in order to meet deadlines and deliver the finished products to their respective chambers. While little time remains for the bodies to address other issues, many measures can make it through both houses if Bonnen and Patrick want.

The largely ceremonial last day of the session will be Monday, May 27 — Memorial Day.

 

 

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Thu
09
May

Farm boy pitched his way to forgotten fame

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Texas History

The long baseball career of Fred “Firpo” Marberry, the major league’s first relief pitcher, ended on May 9, 1941 with his unconditional release by the Fort Worth Cats of the Texas League.

Even though Fred Marberry was the tenth child born to a Mississippi couple, who resettled in north central Texas, there were only four siblings waiting to welcome him in 1898. The other five were already dead and gone.

Growing up on a farm near Streetman south of Dallas, Fred had no time for extracurricular activities. After school, weekends and in the summer, there were always plenty of chores to do. Except for an occasional game with the local amateur team, he played very little baseball in his teens.

 

 

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Thu
09
May

Property tax reform bill goes to conference committee

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May 5, 1994

AUSTIN — 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 and 2 percent for school districts. The bill also allows local option elections on proposals to exceed rollback rates.

SB 2, like House Bill 1, the state budget bill, is now in the hands of a conference committee of five House members and five Senate members tasked with producing a final, agreed-to version. Meanwhile, all eyes are on the calendar and the clock as constitutional deadlines set in and the May 27 end of the session grows near.

 

 

Thu
02
May

Five things happening at your capitol this week

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My Five Cents…

Students across the state are counting down the days until they are out of their classrooms and can begin their summer vacations. In an almost identical countdown, legislators are marking the days left until the end of session. As I write this column, we have 25 days left till the end of the 86th Legislative Session.

Here are five things happening at your Capitol this week:

1. School Safety Bill

Thu
02
May

Top issues remain in play as Legislature enters final month

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AUSTIN — 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 and school finance reform.

Thu
25
Apr

Conference committee to work out differences in state budget

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AUSTIN — After 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 budget bill will be subject to an up or down vote in each chamber before it is forwarded to the governor’s office for final approval.

Speaker Dennis Bonnen on April 15 named five House members to a conference committee tasked with negotiating an agreement. He chose House Appropriations Committee Chair John Zerwas, R-Richmond; and Reps. Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood; Sarah Davis, R-West University Place; Oscar Longoria, D-Mission; and Armando Walle, D-Houston.

 

 

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