Lege Lines: Elsewhere Around the Dome
Sine die is less than two weeks away
Sine die, the technical name for the end of the session, is less than two weeks away – the 140-day regular session ends May 29. Lawmakers increasingly fear a special session, as House and Senate remain deeply divided on the budget, school finance, university spending, school vouchers, and passage of Sunset Bills to keep state agencies open... Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is threatening to demand that Gov. Greg Abbott bring the Legislature back for special sessions "again and again and again" unless the House passes SB 2 (which would cripple local government's ability to balance their budgets) and SB 6 (the infamous "bathroom bill")... Confirming earlier rumors, House Appropriations Committee Chair John Zerwas, R-Richmond, said this week that the Senate may be open to using the Rainy Day Fund to balance the budget, a departure from their current scheme of raiding the State Highway Fund, which the House opposes as spending the same cash twice... No news so far on whether the budget conference committee will fund the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program. Current estimates hold that the Austin area alone lost $200-250 million in film and TV production spending in recent years because the rebate program was underfunded. That will only accelerate if the program lapses... More trouble for Patrick's school voucher plan. Not only are many reps furious that the Senate shoved a pilot scheme into HB 21, the school finance bill, but now Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, told capital news mavens the Quorum Report that 70 constituents whose names were on pro-voucher letters sent to his office have told his staff they had nothing to do with the campaign, and never gave permission for their names to be used by voucher advocates... Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, has been indicted by a grand jury on multiple charges, including bribery and wire fraud. He denies the 13 charges, which relate to his involvement in FourWinds, a former oil services company.