Six weeks left in the legislative session in Austin, and hundreds of bills remain pending as lawmakers dig deeper into budget talks.
The bathroom bill, anti-sanctuary city legislation, abortion, school finance and property taxes all remain stuck in a log jam of bills still pending.
“The Senate has pretty much finished all of its hot button, lightning rod issues and sent them over to the House, but Speaker Strauss' attitude was give me a budget first and then we'll start taking up all the read meat kind of issues,” says Harvey Kronberg at The Quorum Report.
Kronberg says questions about how to use the Rainy Day fund also remain amid falling revenues.
“We've been budgeting based on the assumption of an averag $60 a barrel oil, we haven't even come close to that this year,” he says. “We're already suffering severe labor constraints, particularly in construction which is a huge driver of the economy in Texas.”
Funding for border security also is a concern with President Trump’s border wall still in question. And pension reform affecting police and fire in Houston remain up in the air.
“The comptroller is proposing we take part of the Rainy Day fund to replenish pension supplies,” says Kronberg. “But state Sen. Paul Bettencourt passed out of the Senate a bill that would require voter approval to replenish pension bonds, which in an anti-tax environment could be problematic.”