State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Arlington, and other representatives on the House floor during budget debate March 31, 2015.
State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Arlington, and other representatives on the House floor during budget debate March 31, 2015.

After 18-Hour Debate, House Gives Early Approval to Budget

After an overnight debate that veered from polite disagreements to an angry outburst, the Texas House tentatively passed a $210 billion two-year budget early Wednesday morning with a 141 to 5 vote. 

 

 

 
Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, during a Health and Human Services committee hearing on Feb. 19, 2013.
Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, during a Health and Human Services committee hearing on Feb. 19, 2013.

Rules Hurt Family Violence Programs, Nelson Says

State regulations are unnecessarily holding up funds for shelters and programs that help victims of family violence, state Sen. Jane Nelson says. She wants to loosen the rules, even as she leads the charge to tighten other state contracting procedures. 

 

Rules Hurt Family Violence Programs, Nelson Says

Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, during a Health and Human Services committee hearing on Feb. 19, 2013.
Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, during a Health and Human Services committee hearing on Feb. 19, 2013.

State regulations are unnecessarily holding up funds for shelters and programs that help victims of family violence, state Sen. Jane Nelson says. She wants to loosen the rules, even as she leads the charge to tighten other state contracting procedures. 

 

 

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 multimillion-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: April 1, 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.
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.

It took more than 17 hours, but the House gave preliminary OK to a budget. Anticipated fights over vouchers and in-state tuition for undocumented students failed to materialize.

Aiming for Upset, Cruz Brings Presidential Campaign Home

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz speaks to supporters with his father Rafael, his wife Heidi and their children outside his new presidential campaign headquarters in Houston on Tues. March 31, 2015.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz speaks to supporters with his father Rafael, his wife Heidi and their children outside his new presidential campaign headquarters in Houston on Tues. March 31, 2015.

Ted Cruz returned home Tuesday evening to a hero's welcome, rallying hundreds of supporters outside the headquarters of his week-old presidential campaign with an impassioned plea to replicate the energy that propelled him to Congress in 2012. 

Analysis: Budget Debate is About More Than Money

House Appropriations Committee chair John Otto, R-Dayton,l, and State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Gainesville, listen to amendments on the budget March 31, 2015.
House Appropriations Committee chair John Otto, R-Dayton,l, and State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Gainesville, listen to amendments on the budget March 31, 2015.

The House is working on the budget, the only bill lawmakers have to pass. And that's why there are 354 proposed amendments: If you can get your idea attached to the only bill that has to pass, your chances get much better. 

School Funding, Incentive Programs Are Hot Topics in House Budget Debate

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.

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 discussions addressed school funding and incentives programs.