Odds and ends from the Capitol

By The 'Chronicle' News staff, Fri., Feb. 27, 2009

The House committees finally kicked into overdrive this week as bills began to be parceled out for discussion and regular meetings began in earnest... Anti-abortion activists descended on the Capitol Feb. 24 for Pro-Life Lobby Day and to boost Senate Bill 182 by Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, which would encourage women seeking an abortion to see an ultrasound of the fetus... All bills come with a fiscal note, calculating how much money they will cost the state: Now Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, has filed House Bill 1469, which would require that all bills come with a carbon note, calculating how much extra carbon dioxide enacting a law would produce... Rep. Diana Maldonado, D-Round Rock, has filed two bills (HB 1602 and HB 1603) to allow Texas State Univer­sity to release $98.2 million in tuition revenue bonds to bring its College of Health Professions to the Texas State University Round Rock Higher Education Center... Rep. Brandon Creigh­ton, R-Conroe, has filed HB 1307 to increase school finance transparency by requiring the 50 largest school districts to post their check registers, credit-card expenditures, and fund balances on their websites. Austin Independent School District says it already places much financial data on its website but is unsure how it could do that securely with credit-card data... Horse-racing political action committee Texans for Economic Development is keeping up the pressure to legalize racinos (race tracks with slot machines) with a survey claiming 76% of Texans support them: The Texas Gaming Association struck back with its own survey, claiming that what Texans really want is casino resorts... The new 2009-10 Texas Legislative Handbook – the invaluable pocket-sized directory that staffers, lobbyists, and reporters depend on to find their way around the Capitol – has finally arrived from the printers.

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