Tracking Texas Politics: April 16, 2015

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Here’s what could happen at the capitol on April 16, 2015

On the Floor:

A bill by Sen. Charles Perry, R – Lubbock, would take away funding from police departments who don’t ask for citizenship proof if they come across someone they think came to Texas illegally. Several urban areas in Texas have been deemed “Sanctuary Cities” where Police chiefs have publicly said they don’t have the time or the resources to go around asking for citizenship paperwork. Sen. Perry says taking away funding will force them to obey the current immigration laws. Opponents of the bill say this gives police departments the ability to discriminate against Hispanics. Austin has been deemed a “Sanctuary City”. Senators convene at 11 AM.

A detailed bill by Senate Education Chair Larry Taylor, R – Friendswood, would give tax credits to businesses who donate to help pay for students tuition at private schools. As it stands now, SB 4, would allow business owners to donate to 25, comptroller certified, non-profits who arrange scholarships for students to leave failing public schools. A maximum of $100 million dollars would be available for low-income Texas students to apply for individual scholarships to accredited private schools. Senator Taylor says this will help parents who are trapped in schools and want to leave for academic or personal reasons like bullying. He says this will bring the Texas school system into the 21st century. Critics of the bill see this is a step towards “vouchers”. Opponents fear that state money would be added to the scholarship during the amendment process, once the bill is called to the floor. As soon as Senator Taylor, and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick have the votes to bring it to the floor, the bill will pass.

Today in the House, a proposed constitutional amendment by Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, that would allow charitable raffles at professional sports events will likely come up for a vote. The House Convenes at 10 AM.

Events:

At 10 AM Faith Leaders will call for the death of around forty bills at the Texas Legislature. The Texas Impact Board of Directors hope to draw attention to religious bills this session that will spark debate and controversy.

As part of his #FREE America campaign, musician John Legend, will hold a press conference with activist groups and lawmakers to draw attention to the large number of incarcerations in Texas. The celebrity talks to the media at 3 PM.

Coming Up: 

After Representative Trey Martinez-Fischer, D – San Antonio, found mistakes in testimony and temporarily killed a bill that would let CHL holders carry their guns openly, Friday the bill returns to the House floor. More than half of Texas Representatives have co-authored the bill, so unless Democrats find another mistake and call a point of order, “Open Carry” will likely pass.

On the ground of fairness to American citizens, the Texas Senate could take up a bill that would repeal the Texas DREAM Act. Right now about 25,000 undocumented students, who came here illegally years ago, pay in-state tuition at public universities. This bill by Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, would force them to pay out of state tuition. Over the last few weeks supporters of the original bill, HB 1403, testified against the bill in droves and chanted slogans outside the capitol several times. But urged on by conservative voters who want to eliminate benefits that could act like a magnet to bring people here illegally, chances are the votes are there in the Senate to repeal the Texas DREAM Act. The House is a different story, but that’s for later this month.

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