Get the latest news for Texas' 86th legislative session.
On Wednesday, the big hearing took place at the Capitol. We saw drama. Poignant questions were asked. Dare we say, people were tuning in and biting their nails. The hearing lasted forever — well, it felt like that. Who knew the Ways and Means Committee would be so exciting? Oh, wait … you’re thinking maybe we’re talking about Michael Cohen or the U.S. House Oversight and Reform hearing. Perhaps it has something to do with Russia or hush payments? No, sir … or ma’am. Technically, it did involve payments and money. As they say, "No dough, no show." Ways and Means took up HB 2 — the property tax cap bill. Wait. You’ve heard this song before? Maybe. Recall last week I shared in “The Big Picture” that the Senate Committee on Property Tax passed out of committee their version of the 2.5 percent property tax cap bill, also known as SB 2. As of today, SB 2 has not been heard by the full Senate. Now the House takes its turn. Don’t expect the House to rush the bill through in order to beat the Senate. Do expect more conversations and possibly a change in the 2.5 percent number.
(6 p.m.) Austin Mayor Steve Adler testifies before Ways and Means on HB 2. (Photo from the Texas Legislative Online live stream.)
Have you ever felt the rush — or anxiety — of working against a deadline? Next week, legislators will face those feelings as they deal with a major deadline. The last day they can file bills is March 8. Our super-duper-high-tech-hamster-wheel-finger-and-toe counting system has the total number of bills filed so far at approximately 4,000. Like going to a good sale, expect a mad rush at the end. (Xanax not included.) Additionally, Chancellor Joe May will testify on Wednesday, March 6, during the Senate Committee on Higher Education hearing. Follow us on Twitter for updates — @DCCCDGovt (cheap plug, I know). Hold on — what about this week? Glad you asked. Chancellor May was in Austin this week and met with Lt. Gov. Patrick’s higher education advisor, plus staff members from Sen. Watson's and Reps. Neave and Lozano’s offices. He also spoke by phone with Gov. Greg Abbott’s director of economic development.
Still going … (7 p.m.) Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt testifies before Ways & Means on HB 2. (Photo from the Texas Legislative Online live stream.)
When we visit with House and Senate members, Chancellor Joe May and DCCCD staffers have one primary goal: to advocate for our students and colleges on issues of importance. A few of those issues include:
Still going … (9:30 p.m.) Roberto Zarate, Alamo Colleges Trustee and Chair of ACCT, testifies before Ways and Means on HB 2. (Photo from the Texas Legislative Online live stream.)
I know, I know. I’ve been slapped on the hand about certain content in the update. Fortunately, there are censors … eh, I mean, editors. So, let me tread carefully. Booze! I mean that Mardi Gras is upon us! Yes, it’s time for the annual ritual of drinks, beads, food and, well, drinks – if you are over 21. Laissez les bon temps rouler! As you pack your beads for the parade in New Orleans or hop in an Uber to begin celebrating this weekend in North Texas, take time to catch up on what’s going on in Austin and beyond. As we like to say, Laissez les #TXLege Download rouler! Reminder: Le contenu peut être derrière un paywall (yup, the paywall disclaimer).
Still going … (10:45 p.m.) A Dallas County representative testifies before Ways and Means on HB 2. (Photo from the Texas Legislative Online live stream.)
What’s old is new again! Jason Witten wants to return to the Cowboys’ lineup. The legislature is hearing bills that closely resemble bills that didn’t pass the members’ smell test in 2017. Elected officials — local and state (past and present) — are in trouble with the law. What gives? Well, as the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. With the March 8 deadline upon us, expect a flurry of bills to be filed. Is there a bill we missed that you care about? Contact us. Additionally, the Texas Legislature Online provides you with information and copies of bills. The site also lets you know when committees will meet and more. All for free. So tune in, my friends. As the kids say, “It’s about to get krunk.”
Still going!!! Are you kidding me? (11:55 p.m.) A concerned taxpayer testifies before Ways and Means on HB 2. (Photo from the Texas Legislative Online live stream.)