Opinion

Tue
16
Jun

Comptroller certifies budget

State Comptroller Glenn Hegar on June 9 announced he had certified House Bill 1, the state budget. Certification is the last step before advancing to the governor’s office for final approval. HB 1 appropriates $209.4 billion in total spending for the state’s budget for the 2016-17 biennium.   

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Tue
16
Jun

Federal court of appeals rules on abortion law

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on June 9 upheld the constitutionality of House Bill 2, the state abortion law revised by the Texas Legislature in a July 2013 special session. HB 2 and its provisions may be applied throughout Texas, the panel stated in a 56-page ruling, but drew two narrow exceptions: (1) a health clinic that performs abortions in McAllen may continue to function without upgrading its facilities to comply with standards set for ambulatory surgical centers; and (2) the law’s admitting privileges requirement does not apply to a certain  medical doctor when he is working at the McAllen facility.  To view more please log in or subscribe to the digital edition. 

Tue
09
Jun

Governor decides fates of bills passed by Legislature

by Ed Sterling

Governor Greg Abbott has until June 21 to give bills recently passed by the Texas Legislature his final consideration before signing them, letting them take effect without his signature or vetoing them. By June 1, the last day of the Legislature’s 84th regular session, some 819 House bills and 504 Senate bills earned final passage, plus two House Joint Resolutions and five Senate Joint Resolutions. Unlike bills, which are subject to gubernatorial veto, the voters of Texas will find the seven joint resolutions appearing as proposed constitutional amendments on the Nov. 3 statewide ballot.

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Tue
02
Jun

Legislature passes budget as session wraps up

By Ed Sterling

Four days before the June 1 end of the 84th regular session of the Texas Legislature, both houses finally agreed after months of deliberation on a state budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. A 10-member conference committee worked out differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget. The House vote on final adoption of House Bill 1 was 115 ayes to 33 nays; the Senate vote was 30-1. HB 1 awaits approval by Gov. Greg Abbott.

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Wed
27
May

Abbott, Patrick, Straus announce tax relief compromise

Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus on May 21 jointly announced a $3.8 billion tax relief package for Texas businesses and homeowners. According to the announcement, the agreement reached by Patrick and Straus on a tax proposal, along with additional legislation, includes.

 

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Wed
20
May

Agreement on state budget evades House, Senate

By Ed Sterling

Tue
12
May

Conferees struggle toward budget compromise

For the Texas Legislature to accomplish its main purpose, the passage of a state budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017 must be achieved. The five House and five Senate members of the Conference Committee on the budget, House Bill 1, have been working together since late April. They must angle their philosophical pathways to something mutually acceptable to take back to their respective chambers for consideration. Last week, however, no resultsshowing HB 1 conference committee report was published, so as yet, there is no document revealing stalematebreaking agreements on the $211 billion budget.

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Tue
05
May

House, Senate produce disparate versions of tax relief

Legislation approved by the House and Senate last week reveal widely differing views on how to bring about tax relief to Texans in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. Speaker Joe Straus lauded the preliminary approval of House Bill 31, legislation to reduce the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 5.95 percent, resulting in a $2.66 billion revenue decrease, and House Bill 32, legislation cutting the franchise tax paid by many businesses by 25 percent and resulting in a statewide revenue decrease of $2.56 billion. Both bills were written by House Ways and Means Chair Dennis Bonnen, RAngleton, along with several members credited as coauthors.

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Tue
28
Apr

House, Senate state budget conferees roll up sleeves

By Ed Sterling

With barely more than a month left in the regular session of the Texas Legislature, it’s time for the House and Senate to do whatever can be done to reach an all-points agreement on House Bill 1, the state budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.
 

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Tue
14
Apr

Letter to the Editor

Proposed Leverett water well The proposal pushed by Mayor Virdell and Aldermen Bryan Miiller and Todd Keller to construct the Leverett water well on Riley Mountain is a highly risky scheme. No firm cost estimate has been determined for the entire project. The mayor and two aldermen chose not to run for re-election and now, at the very end of their terms, are trying to jam this scheme through city council. Any decision regarding major cost for the taxpayers should be discussed and studied by the new mayor and council. the Leverett well as a private business venture, I doubt you would find many investors willing to put money into it including Aldermen Miiller and Keller.
 
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