Tracking Texas Politics: April 21, 2015

FILE - Texas State Capitol (KXAN File Photo)
FILE - Texas State Capitol (KXAN File Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Here’s what’s happening at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

On the floors

The House will give final approval to changing the Travis County based Public Integrity Unit to a “White Collar Crimes” Division under the Texas Rangers. Critics say lawmakers are creating a special class of privileged defendant. Supporters say it is taking the politics out of a unit that investigates public corruption. Representatives come in at 10 a.m.

What could be one of the first bills to become law is a way to let students graduate high school without completing all their standardized tests. A bill by Senator Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, is now sponsored by Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, and could be voted on in the House Tuesday. It would create a committee of a student’s parent, teacher, counselor and principal to decide if said student should graduate without passing all their required STAAR tests. This bill has been fast tracked to help out the more than 25,000 students who will not graduate high school on time this year.

On “Teal Tuesday” the House will vote on right to try legislation that would allow patients to take life saving drugs that are still in clinical trials.

The Senate will give final approval to a bill that would give tax credits to businesses to pay for a private school education of a low-income student.

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.

In committees

The House Committee on Culture, Recreation, and Tourism is tackling Texas pride. Should the honey bee be the state pollinator of Texas?  How about Hico as the state steak capitol? The cowboy hat has an easy path to becoming the state hat of Texas. However, one controversial measure would make the San Antonio Missions (including the Alamo) a world heritage site.

Events

At noon, the Austin Police Department is getting into the education game as Chief Acevedo urges the Senate to move HB 4, Pre-K funding for higher standards, through the legislative process. They meat at Uphaus Early Childhood Center.

 

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