May 21, 2013
One more week. Actually, even less than that – the 83rd Texas Legislative Session wraps up in just six days.
We’ll speed through the rest of this week and Memorial Day weekend trying to wrap things up and push legislation over various finish lines before deadlines kick in that clearcut bills. It’s often said that the legislative process in Texas makes it easier to kill bills than to pass them; that’s never more true than it is in this final week.
The good news is that we can now make some plans for when the session’s over.
I’m not wasting any time – I’ll be convening a telephone town hall meeting next Tuesday night, May 28, at 7 p.m.
You can, and should, sign up for the call right now. Go here, RSVP, and put it on your calendar.
I’m hopeful that there’ll be a lot of good news to report, including substantially increased schools funding, sensible standardized testing and charter school reforms, fair pension systems settlements, and real water supply funding.
I’m also looking forward to talking about the bills we’ve stopped. Senate Democrats have been especially successful in blocking bills that would harm women’s health and their right to choice, implement backdoor voucher schemes weakening public schools, and impose damaging redistricting maps.
But this session shows once again that Texas can do better when it comes to providing for our children and our future:
Next Tuesday at 7 p.m., let’s get on the phone to talk about it.
Don’t forget to RSVP. I’m looking forward to talking with you next week.
One of the big topics will be the budget deal that legislators arrived at late last week. We’ll be voting on this over the next few days, but here’s what’s on the table:
It’s not all good. There’s no Rainy Day Fund money for transportation or energy; the language that would have allowed for negotiations to expand Medicaid has been deleted; and there will be hundreds of millions in gimmicky, political, poorly conceived business tax breaks and utility rebate schemes.
But all in all, this is a good budget. It’s much, much better than what the legislature passed last session and what was initially proposed this year.
Is it as good as it gets? Of course not. We’ve been saying for more than a year that Texas can do better on these basic necessities – things like schools and healthcare that Texans need and our economy depends on.
But thanks to the good work of a lot of good people, this budget does better than where we were at the beginning of the session and even after the initial drafts were unveiled.
Starting soon – next week, I’m guessing – we’ll start working to do even better.