A $115 billion budget plan has received a preliminary OK in the Texas House, passing the chamber’s appropriations committee Monday with a vote of 25 to one.
House Bill 1 includes $9 billion in new funds for public schools and a 2.8 percent cost of living adjustment for state employees.
Before the vote, the committee heard testimony from Daniel Butler, a residential instructor at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. He said he’s worked there for eight years, has received two merit-pay increases and still makes less than $12 an hour.
Butler recommended a six-thousand-dollar pay increase for all state workers, saying “when pay increases are given as a percentage, it disproportionately leaves out some of the lowest-paid employees in the state and those employees are the most in need of this pay increase.”
Other testimony called for higher pay for Texas public school teachers. The budget plan would take $2 billion from the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund – which currently has more than $11 billion.
Republican State Rep. Matt Schaefer of Tyler, was the committee’s lone no vote.
The bill will now move to the House floor for a vote.
Former President George W. Bush welcomed new U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony in Dallas yesterday.
Bush and former first lady Laura Bush spoke to the 47 candidates for naturalization at the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University.
Bush praised contributions that immigrants have made to the country. He also said that while the U.S. must enforce immigration laws and protect the borders, emotions should not get in the way of immigration policy reform.
“I hope those responsible in Washington can dial down the rhetoric, put politics aside and modernize our immigration laws soon,” Bush said. “As President I worked hard on comprehensive immigration reform, and I regret that our efforts came up short.”
Bush told the new citizens they signed up for what he called a “boisterous democracy,” and encouraged them to participate in it by exercising their right to vote.
A date has been set for the trial of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger: Monday, August 12.
30-year-old Guyger has been charged with murder in connection to the fatal shooting of Botham Jean in his apartment last September.
She was off-duty when she entered Jean’s apartment and shot him, saying she mistook his apartment for her own and thought Jean was an intruder. Jean, an African-American, was unarmed.
Guyger was arrested and initially charged with manslaughter, and fired from the Dallas Police Department later in September. A grand jury indicted her for murder in November.