Hullabaloo from the House (and Senate)
- After 24 years in the Legislature, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (San Antonio) bid farewell to the Texas Senate on Tuesday. Van de Putte will be stepping down from state politics to run for San Antonio mayor. Senator-Elect José Menéndez will succeed Van de Putte as the senator for Senate District 26.
- Yesterday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Senate leadership presented a $4.6 billion tax relief package that includes $2.5 billion to lower property taxes. Senate Bill 1, authored by Senate Finance Chair Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), would set the exemption at 25% of the state’s median home market value. Several bills have been filed this session that would restrict how much appraisals or local tax rates can grow.
- Tax-free shopping may not be just for back to school purchases anymore. State lawmakers are reviewing plans to extend the benefit to other Texans, particularly hunters. There are currently 3 bills proposing to add tax-free shopping weekends at the beginning of dove and deer seasons. The holidays would exempt firearms and hunting supplies such as ammunition, blinds, stands, decoys, firearm-cleaning supplies, gun cases and safety equipment.
- Texas was well-represented at the 87th Academy Awards. Houstonian and University of Texas alum, Wes Anderson, won 4 Oscars for his film The Grand Budapest Hotel including “Best Costume Design, “Best Makeup” and “Best Production Design”. Boyhood, shot in Texas by native Richard Linklater, was nominated for 6 Oscars but only made-off with one. The film snagged “Best Supporting Actress” for Patricia Arquette’s stellar performance.
Only in Austin…
Although it may not feel like it, spring has officially sprung in Austin. As another snap of cold weather rolls into town the season’s first crop of bluebonnets is just starting to appear. Texas Bluebonnets are springing-up in the planters next to the University of Texas Tower. The bluebonnets, like other wildflowers throughout the state, are planted yearly in memory of former first lady, Lady Bird Johnson.