Lege Headlines

What's up under the dome

Eva Longoria
Eva Longoria
• Looks like the Legislature and the Governor's Office are heading for a showdown over the Rainy Day Fund. While Gov. Rick Perry is still holding fast against spending the state's $9 billion emergency fund, both Senate Finance Committee Chair Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, and House Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, want to use it to pay off the state's $3 billion to $4.5 billion deficit.

• After a series of parliamentary inquiries Wednesday into the propriety of discussing the so-called ultrasound bill – which would require that a woman seeking an abortion must undergo an ultrasound, listen to the fetal heartbeat, and hear a description of fetal development – Rep. Sid Miller pulled the bill off the floor, mid-debate. He will bring it back up again for debate today (Thursday, March 3), starting at 10am. (See "LegeLand: A Bill To 'Protect Our Women,'" Feb. 18.)

• Calls for lawmakers to preserve funding for Texans with disabilities got a Hollywood boost when San Antonio-based disABILITYsa.org invited Eva Longoria to speak at its March 1 rally at the Capitol. The Desperate Housewives star told the crowd: "We're not here to ask for more money. We're here to keep what we have fought for."

• Texas brewpub owners last week said they negotiated with at least one powerful beer distributor lobbyist and may have found a way to gain his support for House Bill 660, which would loosen restrictions on brewpubs selling their beers off-premises – the brewers agreed to give up a provision for self-distribution.

Chisum (Photo by John Anderson)

• Is Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, the first man to jump before redistricting pushes him? The 11-term veteran and former speaker candidate announced he's considering a run for the Texas Railroad Commission. This would spare him a tough re-election run in North Texas, which is likely to lose several House seats.

For broader coverage of these and other stories on the 82nd legislative session, see austinchronicle.com/legeland.

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Legislature, Rainy Day Fund, ultrasound bill, Eva Longoria, Warren Chisum

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