Texas House budget debate extends into evening

Apr 09, 2017, 04:17
Texas House budget debate extends into evening

After 10 hours of debate, 27 amendments and a short-lived filibuster, the Colorado House of Representatives abruptly broke off debate on the state budget proposal just before 11 p.m. Thursday, delaying a vote until the next morning.

House Democrats propose the state redirect millions of dollars in border security funding to pay for other programs like free tuition for veterans and their children. Diego Bernal, D-San Antonio, would cut $7.5 million from the Department of Public Safety budget to pay for public schools.

Patrick has said the state must "live within its means" and avoid tapping the rainy day fund, which comes primarily from oil and gas production taxes and is the largest reserve of its kind in the country. "This budget does not rely on budget gimmickry".

The debate over the controversial amendment lasted an hour before it was voted down, 44-21. Most of the amendments seek to shuffle money around without increasing overall spending, or they seek to deny money outright for some state programs.

The Senate has passed its version of the budget.

During the 84th Legislature, lawmakers raised funding for higher education by 7.5 percent, resulting in an overall $19.9 billion budget, according to a Texas Tribune article.

Uncertainty remains over whether New Hampshire House Republicans can agree on a budget plan as the chamber runs up against a Thursday deadline for sending a spending plan to the Senate.

The budget now heads back to the Senate, which is all but certain to reject it, setting up a panel that will hash out the differences before the end of session.

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It was approved in a 20-2 vote by the Committee on Public Works and Highways, cleared the House on a voice vote and now moves on to the Senate. State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, gave an impassioned speech that prompted a large number of members to vacate the chamber as he accused House leadership of trying to hide a politically hard vote on the Enterprise Fund.

The House has voted to restore some funding to a Texas Medicaid program providing therapy for disabled children, softening $350 million in cuts that sparked uproar last session.

Muñoz's amendment passed - and immediately set off a protest by Republican Jonathan Stickland to Representative John Kuempel, who was in the speaker's chair. But the House's failure to reach a deal reveals fissures within the Republican party deep enough to derail legislation, similar to the dynamic in Washington that sank Republican efforts to reform health care.

Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, proposed an amendment that would provide tampons to inmates.

Another fund controlled by Abbott, this one to promote Texas tourism, was tapped send $25,000 to a program to battle the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

Having failed to obtain a majority vote for the line-item budget (HB 1) or the accompanying narrative (HB 2), Jasper entertained a motion to adjourn. Democrats, meanwhile, wouldn't cooperate unless the plan added fresh money for social service programs and full-day kindergarten.

After the Texas Tribune unveiled that bigwigs at the TABC were spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to travel to Cali and Hawaii and other warm, sunny places for industry conferences, the House unanimously voted to completely slash the agency's travel budget.

Sununu said he's eager to work with the Senate in the next phase of the process and will be open to House members "who want to bring good ideas forward". "We will deliver a fiscally responsible budget", said Sununu.

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