As of today, there are 33 days until the end of the regular legislative session. Note the use of the word regular since the possibility of a special session this summer looms as the Senate struggles to pass a budget. Rumor has it that the Senate will debate the budget tomorrow if the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Steve Ogden (R-Bryan) can find the 21 votes needed to bring the bill up for discussion. On the other side of the pink dome in Austin, the House will finish the week debating redistricting and a few sunset bills while they concentrate on moving bills out of committee. There are 16 days until the last day to pass House bills for the first time on the House Calendar. Effectively, that means a House bill needs to be out of a House committee by the end of this week in order to allow the paperwork to be processed in time to make it onto a calendar. Now is the time to begin watching amendments closely as entire bills are added to other bills that are moving through the process.
The cost of your Texas driver’s license may increase. Senate Bill 9 by Sen. Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands) and Senate Bill 1583 by Sen. Steve Ogden (R-Bryan) would add an additional $8 fee for a regular license, which currently costs $24 for six years, plus an extra $1 for online renewals. Fees also would rise for commercial driver’s licenses and for reinstating suspended licenses. The good news? The additional funds would be directed towards hiring additional staff, updated technology and new facilities in order to cut wait times at DPS offices across the state.