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Government/Politics

Straus Lays Out Legislative Priorities Ahead Of 2017 Session

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Ryan Poppe
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Texas House Speaker Joe Straus addressing the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio says his top priorities for the upcoming legislative session include reforming school funding and foster care.

Straus laid out his legislative agenda Thursday before a packed crowd at the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

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Credit Ryan Poppe

Straus says this session, lawmakers will find balancing the state budget a lot more challenging because of lost oil and gas revenues, but he says that doesn’t mean money needed for public schools and foster care will be ignored. 

“Even in this fiscal situation we can ignore some of the very real challenges our state is facing.  In fact at times like this it is especially important to identify our priorities clearly and to pursue them with focus," Straus says.

Straus wants House lawmakers to recalculate the formulas that determine how much each school districts receives. He wants to end Texas’ Robin Hood recapture system that requires property wealthy school districts to send money to the state that can be used for poorer districts.

“I happen to live in a district that has been subject to re-capture for decades and that approach no longer is accomplishing what it was a solution for back then and it’s getting worse," Straus explains.

Straus wants to work with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to identify faith-based groups that could help provide additional foster care homes.  Monday is the first day for lawmakers to file proposed legislation. The legislative session begins January 10th.