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It is hard to find the words to describe this past week in the Capitol. Unusual? Tense? A cliff hanger? A nail biter!
However you describe it, the action has been fast paced and lively. It has had everyone on the edge of their seat.
Last week the Senate passed out its version of House Bill – 1 (the budget). [...]
I've written a lot about the state legislative budget process and its impact on UTMB over the past couple of months. Looking beyond our own focused interests, the Legislature is also dealing with a wide array of other issues that will certainly impact every Texan. There is much that bears watching as the session reaches its final days.
The Legislature has debated just [...]
Under the leadership of Senate Finance Chairman Steve Ogden and Vice Chairman Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, this past week witnessed some watershed moments in the legislative process. After three months of testimony, hearings, member discussions and searches for new revenue, the Senate Finance Committee (SFC) pulled together a comprehensive state budget that recommends some $10 billion more in budget expenditures than does House Bill 1 approved two weeks ago.
I began the week with heartburn so bad that I thought I must be having a heart attack. It started late last weekend and progressed. After a quick check-in Monday with one of the world's most brilliant doctors, Dr. Steve Quach, he quickly decided that I had "pill esophagitis" from swallowing doxycycline (antibiotic for acne) without drinking enough water. (Instructions with the prescription are very clear on the need to drink a full 8 oz. [...]
The Ides of March have come and gone, and so has the midpoint of this 140-day legislative session. The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee has worked at a feverish pace to produce HB1 and the supplemental funding bill. These bills have been voted out of committee, gone to Calendars, and been posted for presentation on the House floor. The bill has been scheduled for reading on the floor of the House and for debate [...]
More than 10 years ago, the Statewide Health Coordinating Council (SHCC) launched several initiatives designed to improve the method for collecting and tracking the number and demographics of health practitioners in Texas. It is impossible to predict and address future needs without that information.
As a member of the SHCC from 1997 until 2010 and someone who chaired the council for the past 14 years, I thought the [...]
After all, it is South by Southwest week in Austin, and there is as much to see in the session as at the annual music festival.
The House Appropriations Committee (HAC) waited for over two hours to convene to hear House Bill 1 and House Bill 274 (the budget and the supplemental budget placeholders).
I am frequently asked for more detail regarding just what goes on in Austin during the legislative session. As I tell our students, “It is a messy process, like watching sausage being made.”
First of all, there is no routine. The meeting postings are just there as placeholders. Meetings get moved around a lot! There are plenty of deadlines and tons of activity. Nothing follows a really set schedule. Meetings can [...]
It has been a little bit like that old TV series “Wagon Train.” Now if you remember that TV show, you are dating yourself to a time just after a television became an essential household furnishing. Nevertheless, in times of impending trouble, the wagon master would order the drivers to “circle the wagons.” I often wondered what would happen if they just stayed in the circle and continued to drive. Pretty cool idea, huh? Horses [...]
Another eventful week has come and almost gone in Austin. As both chambers continue marathon meetings dealing with the state budget, the House found time to debate the Sonogram Bill that has already passed out of the Senate. With votes largely following party lines, the bill — which was almost derailed by some procedural issues —has continued working its way through the House and awaits its third reading. Debate has been passionate but civil.