The Texas House passed three major budget bills in the last week. HB 1 appropriates funds for the 2012-2013 budget. HB 4 cuts spending in the current budget to help address a $4 billion deficit and HB 275 takes $3.1 billion from the rainy day fund to close the remainder of the deficit for the current budget. Sen. Steve Ogden (R-Bryan), the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has stated that he expects the Senate to debate the budget sometime during the week of April 18th. Members of the Senate have said that the state needs to address its structural deficit during the current session to avoid facing more severe financial problems in two years.
While the focus of members remains on the budget, both the House and the Senate are beginning to spend more time on the floor with full calendars. Senate and House Committees are meeting late into the night in order to hear bills and move them to the floor.
The Texas Legislature has been visited by a variety of dignitaries in the last week. Lance Armstrong came to talk about cancer research funding and musician, Lyle Lovett, came to talk about the Texas horse industry. We expect to see the Texas A&M women’s basketball team honored in the near future after the team secured its first national championship last night.