State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, carries literature laying out House Bill 1 as he prepares to discuss the appropriations bill on the House floor March 31, 2015.
State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, carries literature laying out House Bill 1 as he prepares to discuss the appropriations bill on the House floor March 31, 2015.

As House Budget Debate Kicks Off, Public School Funding a Hot Topic

With more than 350 proposed amendments before then, the Texas House is likely to go well into the evening before getting to a final vote on the $210 billion budget. Early fights focused on public school funding. Use our livestream, courtesy of the Texas Legislature, to watch the debate.

 
Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, confers with Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, during a March 11, 2015, committee hearing on state contracting issues.
Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, confers with Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, during a March 11, 2015, committee hearing on state contracting issues.

Contracting Overhaul Sails Through Senate

Amid an ongoing scandal over how the state awarded a multi-million dollar contract to a private company, the Texas Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that would overhaul the state’s contracting processes.

 

Contracting Overhaul Sails Through Senate

Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, confers with Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, during a March 11, 2015, committee hearing on state contracting issues.
Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, confers with Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, during a March 11, 2015, committee hearing on state contracting issues.

Amid an ongoing scandal over how the state awarded a multi-million dollar contract to a private company, the Texas Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that would overhaul the state’s contracting processes.

 

 

The Brief: March 31, 2015

Rep. John Otto R-Dayton, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, during Tribune Conversation event on February 12th, 2015
Rep. John Otto R-Dayton, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, during Tribune Conversation event on February 12th, 2015

A busy day is on tap as the state's two-year budget comes up for debate on the floor of the Texas House and a special election takes place to fill the last vacancy in that chamber.

Senate Passes A-F Grading System for Schools

Then-state Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, is shown on the second-to-last day of the first-called special session during the 82nd Legislature on June 27, 2011. Taylor was elected to the Texas Senate in 2012.
Then-state Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, is shown on the second-to-last day of the first-called special session during the 82nd Legislature on June 27, 2011. Taylor was elected to the Texas Senate in 2012.

Public schools in Texas would begin receiving grades on an A-through-F scale to reflect their performance under a bill that won preliminary approval in the state Senate on Monday. The grading would begin in the 2017-18 school year.

Promise, Pitfalls in Cruz’s First Week as a Candidate

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Sen. Ted Cruz campaigns in a Barrington, N.H. manufacturing plant.
Sen. Ted Cruz campaigns in a Barrington, N.H. manufacturing plant.

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s New Hampshire debut, much like the rest of his first week as a candidate, demonstrated both the promise of his presidential candidacy and the potential hurdles facing his uphill campaign.

Powdered Alcohol Ban Sent to Full House

State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, talks with colleagues on the floor during discussion on school finance Friday afternoon May 27, 2011.
State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, talks with colleagues on the floor during discussion on school finance Friday afternoon May 27, 2011.

Texas has joined a growing number of states moving quickly to outlaw powdered alcohol, a new product that health officials say could make it easier for minors to conceal and consume alcohol.