WEEK IN REVIEW
(AUSTIN) — Texans licensed to carry concealed handguns could now carry their weapons on college campuses under a measure approved by the Senate on Monday. Senator Jeff Wentworth of San Antonio believes that armed students, faculty and staff could help prevent a shooting tragedy like the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007. He successfully attached a measure as an amendment to a bill dealing with higher education finance provisions.
Current law doesn't prevent concealed handgun licensees from carrying on university property, but it does prohibit firearms inside buildings. This amendment would remove that restriction. Licensee applicants would still have to be 21 years of age or older and complete an instructional course to be awarded the permit. The bill now heads to the House for approval.
Thursday, the Senate passed a bill that would allow the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to start developing guidelines for hunting feral hogs and coyotes from helicopters. Bill sponsor Senator Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay said that the estimated 2 million feral hogs in Texas, formerly a rural issue, are now encroaching on major cities. "We're having cases where, in urban areas, these hogs are tearing up yards and endangering children," he said. Traditional hunting and trapping methods are too expensive for land owners to do effectively, he said, and by allowing hunting from the air, it will be easier to get the feral hog population under control.
Other measures passed this week by the Senate include:
- HB 5, by Nelson, which would permit Texas to partner with other states in health care compacts to give states more flexibility to administer government health care programs like Medicaid;
- The conference committee report on SB 14, the voter I.D. bill, which differs from the Senate version of the bill in that it creates a new, free voter I.D. card to be issued by the state;
- SJR 14 and SB 516, by Patrick and Van de Putte, would extend the property tax exemption for disabled veterans to their spouses after death.
The Senate will reconvene Monday, May 16 at 11 a.m.