Texas legislative bills under consideration

By James Hartley

Time is running out for the Texas Legislature, which meets biannually, to pass bills and send them to the governor for approval. The current legislative session, controlled by a Republican majority, ends June 1. Read on for the status of bills of interest to the Eastfield community.

Guns

Both the House and Senate have approved bills to allow licensed gun owners to carry handguns in holsters. Once they iron out minor differences between the two bills, legislators will send it to Gov. Greg Abbott, who is expected to sign it.

The campus carry bill, which would allow licensed gun owners to carry weapons on public college campuses, has passed the Senate and awaits action in the House.

Abortion

A Senate bill would prohibit insurance companies from providing coverage for abortions except in cases of medical emergency. Abortions would still be covered under supplemental health insurance. The bill has been placed on the intent calendar in the Senate.

The bill to end coerced abortions has been sent back for a rewrite.

Fracking

A bill that would give the state more control over fracking has been sent to the governor. The bill has been often referred to as the “Denton fracking bill” because that city passed a law banning fracking within its city limits.

Taxes

On April 28, the Texas House of Representatives tentatively approved a $4.9 billion tax cut by reducing state sales taxes The Senate plan would cut property taxes by 25 percent across the board.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has said that he will only support a budget that includes a cut in property taxes. Gov. Greg Abbot has previously stated that he supports any tax cuts.

The House and Senate must reach an agreement before sending the budget to the governor.

Tuition

A Senate bill that would require undocumented students to pay out of state tuition in Texas received a hearing but remains in limbo.
It has not been placed on the intent calendar, and cannot be voted on until it is on the intent calendar for two days.

Texting and driving

The House passed a bill in March to ban texting and driving in Texas. The bill would make it illegal to text while operating a vehicle, but would allow for phone calls, emergency texts and talk-to-text. The bill has been referred to committee in the Senate.

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