Texas Matters: State revenue numbers look good for this session of the legislature; there is even a surplus. Gov. Rick Perry suggests that the extra money be used to cut taxes, while others want to restore funding to education and health programs that took cuts in the last legislative session. Gun owners in Texas stand their ground as the federal government comes up with its next move to cut down on gun violence.
Lawmakers are back under the dome of the Texas Capitol for a new session for a new age in politics, with the reminder of what happened two years ago in the back of their minds.
Two years ago, education funding was slashed by $5.4 billion, the use of the state’s emergency "rainy day" fund was frowned upon, and a controversial Voter ID bill got through both chambers but was found unconstitutional against minority voters by the court system.
School districts in Texas are required by law to conduct and report a safety audit to prepare for emergency situations on campus. The Newtown shootings have given these preparations a greater sense of urgency.
Texas Matters: After reviewing school district safety audits, the attorney general's office found that 78 Texas school districts were not compliant with the law. The Newtown tragedy is also having an effect in San Antonio school districts, where two students who were making jokes about bomb threats and shootings on their own campuses were arrested. Texas Monthly crowns its 2012 Bum Steer of the Year: Lance Armstrong.
With federal spending cuts looming, cases working their way through the courts questioning state funding of education and gun control control at the front of public debate, Texas lawmakers have their work cut out for them this session.
The 83rd Texas Legislative Session Begins on January 8th December 20, 2012 There's no doubt about it. Federal dollars pay for a lot of things in Texas. This year's state budget included $33 billion in federal money. Overall federal spending in Texas totaled more than $220 billion in 2010.