November 10, 2008
The 81st Texas legislative session begins in just two months.
Starting Monday, lawmakers began filing hundreds of bills. They only have 140 days starting on January 13th to make some major changes in Texas.
Among their top priorities are healthcare, education and staying ahead of our dwindling economy.
Both Senate and House members say this is going to be one of the most challenging sessions yet.
And Austinites CBS 42’s Katherine Stolp spoke to Monday say they’re ready for change.
Father of three, Rob Kohler admits he spends a lot of his time thinking about his family’s future, especially for his three sons.
“I think so many Texans are one crisis away from losing everything,” said Kohler.
During this economic downturn, Kohler hopes the House and Senate will create laws to help Texas families out.
Monday lawmakers met at the state Capitol to discuss several issues, like alternative energy.
“We have to do better when it comes to cleaning up the air and addressing issues when it comes to climate change,” said Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin.
Republican State Rep. Dan Gattis said he wants to focus on the economy this legislative session.
“I think the economy is a huge concern,” said Gattis. “What can we do on a state level to bolster the economy and what can we do to continue to add good jobs?”
Every legislator we talked to is expecting a leaner budget this year due to outstanding bills from Hurricane Ike and from what many lawmakers call the hurricane on Wall Street.
We won’t know just how much leaner the state’s budget will be until right before the Legislature convenes. That’s when Comptroller Susan Combs will release her revenue estimates.
Tuesday’s election shrunk the GOP majority in the Texas House to 76 Republicans and 74 Democrats. The state Senate has 20 Republicans and 11 Democrats.