What to Expect This Week in the Texas Legislature

It’s all about the budget, fetal remains and a convention of states.

By Rhonda FanningFebruary 14, 2017 11:18 am

It’s going to be another busy week at the Texas Capitol. The 85th legislative session kicked off last month and the week ahead – the sixth of the session – is slated to be a busy one.

The budget is usually at the forefront of the legislative session. It’s the only bill that lawmakers are required to pass every two years.

This year the Texas comptroller announced the state would have less to spend than previously projected, which has put both the House and the Senate in a bind as far as setting their particular budget proposals. But the House had one possible solution – using the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund, or Rainy Day Fund, to put it a little extra cash.

“The Texas Senate – and Republican lawmakers, in general – have said let’s not spend the Rainy Day Fund,” says KUT’s Ben Philpott. “It’s going to be close to $12 billion by the end of the budget that they’re writing right now and some lawmakers have said we just shouldn’t touch it.”

Both the House and the Senate proposed across-the-board cuts to certain agencies to help keep state costs low.

“The House budget is a little more generous in that than the Senate budget,” Philpott says. “The Senate budget does do cuts to Medicaid, does do cuts to public education, or at the very least the House budget adds more money to public education. So there’s been a debate amongst lawmakers.”

The Senate’s budget spends a little less than the state would have to spend, while the House’s proposal spends a little more.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– The fetal remains bills coming up on Wednesday

– Gov. Greg Abbott’s emergency item to call for a convention of states

Written by Beth Cortez-Neavel.