Texas House to debate budget in all-day floor session

Posted April 09, 2017

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.

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.

(AUSTIN) - After a long debate, the Texas House approved Senate Bill 1, the General Appropriations Act, which included funding for programs and services in the Permian Basin. Both are hot-button issues that have dominated the House's budget negotiations during this legislative session. Two are from Democrats looking to put more money back into the House's budget and one is from a group of conservative Republicans trying to do just the opposite.

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?"

"I wish they would've stayed at the table and negotiated, but they walked away", said Republican Rep. JR Hoell, a leader of the budget resistance. The funding could still be removed since the House budget will have to be reconciled with the Senate's budget. In offering the amendment, with support from state Rep.

The amendment explicitly says taxpayer funds "may not be used to pay for or support a school voucher, education savings account, or tax credit scholarship program or a similar program through which a child may use state money for nonpublic education".

State Rep. Matt Rinaldi, a Dallas County Republican, has an amendment to make organizations that perform abortions ineligible for state funding for any of their programs, even though the law already prohibits state funds from being spent directly on abortions. The bill will go to a conference committee comprised of House and Senate appointed members. The one measure that was approved stripped $10 million per year budgeted for air quality control at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and moved it to the anti-abortion program.

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Statewide GOP leaders took some of the heftiest blows in the House chamber.

The House added $20 million for new state liquor stores on the northbound and southbound lanes of I-95, which were not in the governor's proposal, along with $750,000 for NHLC headquarter renovations.

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.

The mixed-bag news delivered by Hegar will have little effect on the overall budget debate and the amendments awaiting consideration.

Also, the House budget would boost public schools funding by about $1.5 billion, contingent on the passage of a larger school finance package. He voted for the amendment blocking money to the tuition subsidy programs.

While he cautioned the budget has not yet been finalized, Denton ISD Superintendent Jamie Wilson said he was pleased with Thursday's vote.

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