A roundup of this week's Capitol capers
By Richard Whittaker, Fri., April 24, 2009
• Congratulations, it's a law! On April 16, Gov. Rick Perry signed Senate Bill 769 into law, making it the first legislation to come out of the 81st Legislature. The bipartisan bill allows electric utilities rebuilding after a disaster to issue bonds instead of hiking their rates.
• Congratulations, it's a law (Part 2)! Lawmakers and filmmakers will meet at Robert Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios in East Austin today, April 23, for a special signing ceremony for House Bill 873, the measure reforming the state's film incentives program authored by Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin.
• Lawmakers have rebelled against a proposal to shift the Office of State-Federal Relations from being a separate agency to being a program in the governor's office: Opponents of HB 1583 say it strips away legislative oversight and gives Gov. Perry his own D.C. lobbyist. The House took the extraordinary step of sending the bill back to the Border & Intergovernmental Affairs Committee for further debate.
• Eat your greens (if you've got them): On April 21 the House passed HB 482 by Austin Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, providing grants to small grocers to encourage them to stock fresh fruit and vegetables in low-income areas. The bill now goes to the Senate.
• Before passing the budget on Friday, the House voted out HB 4586, the $3.3 billion supplemental appropriations bill, including $1.6 billion for Medicaid and $300 million for the beleaguered UT Medical Branch on Galveston Island.
• Not all the fun of the fair: The Senate passed SB 1181, barring anyone found guilty of a sexual offense, not including prostitution, from working at an amusement park.
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