News of the Week
Tax incentives for private schooling face dim prospects
The prospects are dim for legislative proposals creating tax incentives to help public school students pay for private school, but that did not dampen the fervor of “school choice” supporters at the Texas Capitol on Tuesday.
House Panel Grills CPRIT Oversight Committee
Members of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas’ oversight committee were grilled Tuesday by a House panel that asked about their involvement with an affiliated foundation’s decision to rebrand itself and cut ties with the beleaguered institute amid the Legislature’s ongoing efforts to reform the institute.
Agenda Texas: Another Run at Gambling
For the 27th session in a row (unofficial estimate), there’s a push to create casino gambling in Texas. The legislation has been labeled many things over the years: a quick source of new revenues in tight budgets, a way to bolster new investment in flush times, and now, a way to recapture money that is rightfully ours.
Janek happy to be secret envoy on Medicaid-related talks, as long as it’s not public?
Text messages to a legislator show that Kyle Janek, Gov. Rick Perry’s point man on health care, was content last week to start planning a trip to Washington to meet with Cindy Mann, director of Medicaid and CHIP services and deputy administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry calls for thoughtful approach to immigration reform
Texas Gov. Rick Perry Wednesday softened his stand on immigration reform, calling for Congress to approve a “thoughtful” path to citizenship for immigrants who came to the country illegally.
Sanchez: Short-term fix leads to long-term nightmare
Each day in Texas, predatory payday and auto title lenders drain precious resources from our local economy with loans that carry excessive fees — adding up to a cost of more than 500 percent annual percent rate.
Mandatory DNA testing bill advances
Senate Bill 1292 requires the state pay for all biological evidence to be collected and DNA tested prior to a trial in cases where the defendant could receive the death penalty.
State Democrats, GOP seek deal on primary election date
Despite the tough talk on both sides of the two-year redistricting fight, Democratic and Republican leaders in the Texas Legislature are now working on a compromise that would ensure the state holds its 2014 primaries on time.
Senate GOP calls for $6 B take from Rainy Day Fund
Abandoning resistance to seek financial solace in the state Rainy Day Fund, Senate Republicans unveiled a plan Thursday to spend $6 billion for water and road projects, which have taken on new urgency during this 140-day session that is nearing a final sprint.
Plan to Expand Charter Schools Clears Senate
As colleagues praised Education Chairman Dan Patrick‘s efforts at building consensus, a significantly altered version of his expansion of the state’s charter school system quickly passed out of the Senate Thursday afternoon.
In Texas, Nixing Algebra II Not Out of the Equation
As Texas re-examines what students should learn in order to earn a high school diploma, no part of the state’s curriculum has attracted more attention than a single advanced math course.
Lawmakers: Tackle Redistricting or Wait for Courts?
Greg Abbott is selling a redistricting nostrum, telling Texas legislators they could cut their legal risks by adopting new political maps right away.
Agenda Texas: CPRIT’s Creation Story
Lead scientists have quit over what they claim were inadequate reviews of grant recipients. Those claims were validated when it was discovered two grants totaling $29 million were issued without scientific review. So the Texas Legislature is currently working on measures aimed at fixing those problems permanently.
Report: 2.6 Million Texans Could Get Insurance Subsidy
Nearly 2.6 million Texans could qualify for tax credits to purchase health insurance in 2014, according to a report released Thursday by Families USA, a nonprofit that advocates for health care consumers.
Senate Unanimously Approves Michael Morton Act
A year and a half after he took off his prison whites for the last time, exoneree Michael Morton stood in the Senate beside his wife, Cynthia, on Thursday as lawmakers in that chamber unanimously approved a bill named in his honor that aims to prevent others from being wrongfully convicted.
Cruz Registers Tea Party Embrace of Gun Rights
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has figured prominently in the efforts of a small group of Tea Party-aligned Republicans to mount a filibuster against the tortuously negotiated gun control legislation scheduled to make its way to the U.S. Senate floor on Thursday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appears to have the 60 votes necessary to open up debate on the bill, likely putting Cruz and his comrades on the losing side of a filibuster that they had hoped would be the kill shot for the gun control bill.
Texas Senate OKs drug testing for welfare applicants
Legislation to require drug testing for Texas welfare applicants unanimously passed the Senate on Wednesday with provisions designed to encourage drug treatment and protect dependent children from an abrupt cutoff in benefits.