GOVERNMENT: Legislature

House Approves $503 Million Boost to Current Budget

State Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, and State Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, during House budget debate Mar. 31, 2015.  Both were no votes on the budget bill HB 1 after 17 hours of debate.
State Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, and State Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, during House budget debate Mar. 31, 2015. Both were no votes on the budget bill HB 1 after 17 hours of debate.

After an 18-hour marathon Tuesday night to sign off on a $210 billion two-year state budget, lawmakers were back in the Texas House on Wednesday afternoon for a bit of unfinished business: plugging holes in the current budget.

 

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. 

Budget Debate Tackles School Funding, Incentive Programs

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.

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.

Texas House Committee Approves Open Carry Bill

House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety Chairman Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, listened to testimony during a March 17, 2015, hearing.
House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety Chairman Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, listened to testimony during a March 17, 2015, hearing.

A Texas House committee on Thursday approved a bill from state Rep. Larry Phillips that would allow the open carry of handguns in the state. The legislation now goes to the House floor. A similar bill passed the Senate last week.