Apr 21, 2017
The Texas House and Senate are at loggerheads over the only bill they absolutely have to pass in the next month: The state budget.
Both object to the other's budget plans. House leaders have accused the Senate of "cooking the books" by an accounting trick that provides a $2.5 budget savings, and Senate has asked for a legal ruling from Attorney General Ken Paxton to validate their plan.
The House has asked Paxton to deep-six it as unconstitutional.
The so-called Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet, showed up at the State Capital for quick meetings with Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick seeking a change in state law exempt his companies from a long-standing ban on auto manufacturers also selling vehicles in Texas.
Almost as fast as he left town, a bill was filed in the Senate to do just that and, faster than a speeding vehicle from one of his dealerships, it was approved by a Senate committee and sent to the full Senate for just-as-fast passage.
Almost as fast was the approval by the Senate of a bill to ban limitations on the number of Texas school students who are eligible for special-education programs, following revelations about the longstanding practice by the Houston Chronicle in its award-winning series, "Denied."
In the slow lane for passage by both legislative chambers, though, was legislation to fix Houston's crisis over police and fire pensions, on the contentious issue of school-finance reform and to call for a national Convention of States to give states more clout over national affairs -- a priority of Gov. Greg Abbott.
Get the lowdown on all the fighting and political intrigue in Austin in this week's Texas Take, the leading political podcast in the Lone Star State, where you get the inside scoop on the Legislature in simple language every Texan can understand -- unvarnished straight talk, as they say.