Texas House Debates Budget; Pre-K Enrollment In North Texas

Texas House Debates Budget; Pre-K Enrollment In North Texas

Texas House Debates Budget; Pre-K Enrollment In North Texas

It took more than 15 hours for the Texas House of Representatives to pass a $218 billion budget, by a vote of 131 to 16 - but not until after lawmakers debated almost 400 amendments.

The proposal may not survive since the final House budget still has to be reconciled with a previously approved state Senate spending plan. Although both chambers are keeping a tight lid on spending at a time when tax collections are coming in slow even as the demand for services grows larger. There are differences in the details - particularly the House's decision to dip into the $10 billion Rainy Day Fund while the Senate balances its budget by delaying some payments until the next spending cycle.

The House's two-year budget proposal is $500 million more than the plan the Texas Senate passed last week.

The Texas House Thursday overwhelmingly passed an amendment to the Senate budget prohibiting any state funds to be spent on vouchers.

This is a developing report, so check back from time to time.

Throughout the marathon budget debate, House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, and his allies defeated several amendments from more conservative GOP members of the House, including an attempt to prevent unauthorized immigrants from being able to pay in-state rates for tuition at public universities.

As the Tribune reported, Representative Sarah Davis asked Representative Jason Isaac, who filed the amendment, "Are you aware of any other agencies that have created these types of flyers depicting themselves partying?"

The Senate budget, along with other efforts to eliminate tax-based funding "speak not to the lean and mean economic policies of Texas, but to the real lack of commitment to education", Bernal said.

After the House reviews and votes on the proposed budget this week, it will go to a conference committee for further debate, King said.

Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, proposed an amendment that would provide tampons to inmates. The amendments are also diverting money towards bathrooms or school choice and vouchers.

The Texas House has voted to take $20 million from the state's environmental agency and funnel it toward an "Alternative to Abortion" program that counsels low-income, pregnant women.

But the House on lopsided votes did embrace adding more dollars that budget-writers had originally allocated to reduce caseloads in the state's troubled foster care system and the embattled Medicaid program.

Republicans control the Texas House and Senate.

Planned Parenthood received $3.6 million in 2016 as a Texas Medicaid health care provider, about $360,000 of which was state money, with the rest coming from the federal government. Some House members worry they'll lose negotiating power later in the process.

Cain, who a year ago ousted a Straus ally in the GOP primary by 23 votes, offered a provision drastically changing Herrero's amendment. When another lawmaker proposed only allowing those subsidies for poor students, the House still booted the measure by a vote of 117-27.

Cain withdrew his amendment before House members could vote on it.

Latest News