The Texas State Senate - Troy Fraser: SD 24 - Capitol Update
From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser
For Immediate Release
May 7, 2007
MAY CAPITOL UPDATE
Dear Fellow Texan--
As we enter the last month of the 80th Legislative Session, everyone around the capitol is hard at work. We are all actively debating, seeking out compromise that will serve our state well for the next two years. The Senate and the House are routinely meeting into the night in both floor debates and committee meetings as time becomes a factor in passing bills through the process.
With 21 days remaining, here is where we stand on some of the big issues facing the Legislature:
- HPV. A bill to rescind Gov. Perry's mandate to vaccinate girls against the HPV virus, which causes most cervical cancers. The Governor has until Tuesday to decide whether to veto it.
- Trans-Texas Corridor. A bill to create a two-year moratorium on toll roads has been sent to Perry. He has until next week to decide whether to veto it.
- State Budget. A conference committee is negotiating the differences between a $150.1 billion House two-year budget and a $152.2 billion Senate proposal. Constitutionally, this is the only bill that has to pass. The conference committee includes five House conferees: Representatives Chisum, Gattis, Guillen, Kolkhorst and Turner, along with the five Senate conferees: Senators Ogden, Duncan, Whitmire, Williams and Zaffirini.
- Jessica's Law. A conference committee is working out differences on a bill that would allow a death sentence for someone twice convicted of child rape.
- Texas Youth Commission. The House this week will vote on a sweeping bill to overhaul the troubled juvenile corrections system. The bill is expected to go to a conference committee to work out differences in how the agency's management is structured.
- TAKS Testing. A Senate bill replacing the Texas Assessment of Academic Knowledge and Skills test with end-of-course exams is pending full House debate. The deadline for House debate of Senate bills is May 22.
- CHIP expansion. A major expansion of the Children's Health Insurance Program to get it back to the level it was at before budget cuts in 2003 was off track but now appears to be moving again.
- Border Security. House legislation to enhance border security, HB 13, ran into a legislative roadblock last week. It is expected to be on the House calendar again this week, but it is not guaranteed to pass the Legislature.
- Voter ID. Two House bills to require proof of citizenship to register to vote and to cast a ballot are pending Senate debate. But a block of senators has promised to keep them from coming up.
- Gambling and Poker Games. A bill to help the Tigua Indians and the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe reopen their casinos died on a tie vote in the House last week. Legislation to allow Texas Hold'em poker games, HB 3186, is pending House debate, but it lacks a Senate sponsor.
- Major Dates for the end of Session:
May 7: Last day for House Committees to report House legislation.
May 10: Last day for the House to debate House bills for tentative approval.
May 19: Deadline for House committees to report Senate bills.
May 22: Last day for preliminary House debate on Senate bills.
May 23: Deadline for final House debate on Senate bills and for Senate debate on all bills.
May 26: Last day for House-Senate conference committees to report agreements.
May 27: Deadline for House and Senate to adopt conference committee reports.
May 28: Only technical corrections in legislation are allowed; Legislature adjourns, sine die.
Session video and all other webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's audio and video webpage.
- Temple College has recently received national praise for its newly developed Texas Bioscience Institute. The institute was honored with the Bellwether Award during a ceremony at the Community College Futures Assembly in Florida. This award is given to community colleges that introduce innovative and successful programs. Colleges are selected based on a competitive peer review process. The Texas Bioscience Institute provides students the opportunity to earn an associates degree in biotechnology and has joined forces with hospitals and other medical institutions in an effort to train valuable workers for this field.
- For those who may not be able to travel the hundreds of miles from Central Texas to Washington D.C., the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park in Johnson City now houses a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The exhibit is called "A Presidential Hometown 'Welcomes Home' Vietnam Veterans" and lists the names of those who died in Vietnam during the summer of 1969. It is also mounted so that park rangers can take the exhibit to schools, allowing students to have a first-hand look at the history of this era.
- The Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 was granted some much needed assistance last month from the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). The TWDB issued the district a loan from the Texas Water Development Fund for $8,000,000 which will be used to improve the district's existing water system. The district serves over 18,000 acres including the cities of Belton, Copperas Cove, Harker Heights and Killeen.
- The Texas Department of Agriculture recently rewarded the City of Brownwood with a Texas Capital Fund Program award in the amount of $750,000. This money will provide for improvements to Barr Fabrication, LLC which will create an estimated 51 new jobs for the community. Barr Fabrication, LLC is a fabricated structural metal manufacturer.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need assistance with a state agency or wish to voice an opinion on any matter before the Texas Legislature. I always appreciate hearing from you.
I hope to see you soon.
HOW TO CONTACT SENATOR TROY FRASER
Austin Capitol Office
P.O. Box 12068
Austin, Texas 78711
FAX: (512) 475-3732
Marble Falls District Office
607 B Highway 281 North
Marble Falls, Texas 78654
FAX: (830) 693-9603
Abilene District Office
500 Chestnut Street, Suite 810
Abilene, Texas 79602
FAX: (325) 676-8060
Belton District Office
1920 North Main Street
Belton, Texas 76513
FAX: (254) 939-7611