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March 12, 2003     (512) 463-0300

Senate Passed Legislation on Education, Safety Issues

Austin - The Senate today approved several bills regarding education and the health and safety of Texans. The following bills were approved unanimously and will be passed down to the House for its approval:

After presiding over today's Senate session, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst updated reporters on the budget crisis, promising that "we will come out of this process leaner, more efficient, and still providing for our essential services." The Lieutenant Governor said that he is pleased to report that they currently have $700 million morethan was originally projected and that the monies would go into the fiscal year 2004-05 budget.

Dewhurst announced another recommendation today that will save an additional $65 million in addition to the non-tax revenue sources he recommended to the Finance Committee on Monday. Dewhurst proposed lowering the Medicaid eligibility requirement for nursing homes from 225% of the poverty level to 200% and allowing continued coverage to those people currently eligible. The Lieutenant Governor remains optimistic that the legislature can balance the budget without raising taxes.

According to Dewhurst, the Senate Finance Committee should start the budget mark-up process next week and they expect a bill to be ready by the first week in April.

The Senate will reconvene Thursday, March 13, 2003, at 8:00 a.m.

Session video and all other webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's audio and video archive pages.