Legislative session officially underway
Date Posted: 1/11/2013
(A repost of the Jan. 8, 2013, Legislative Alert Network message) The 83rd session of the Texas Legislature officially kicked off at noon today. The most important piece of business on this first day was swearing in newly elected members and electing Rep. Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) to a third term as Speaker of the House. Straus has a record of even-handed leadership, which he will need while overseeing what is sure to be a contentious session in which major battles over public education funding, teacher retirement and the creation of a private school voucher program are expected. In related news, the state comptroller released the state’s budget revenue estimate yesterday. The estimate confirmed the assertion of former state analyst Stuart Greenfield, recently reported by ATPE, that the state will have more than enough funds on hand to restore all of the budget cuts made to public education and Medicaid during the last session. According to the comptroller’s estimate, the state has a budget surplus of nearly $9 billion and nearly $12 billion in the state’s Rainy Day Fund. How these funds are used will be an ongoing fight this session. ATPE will advocate restoring the budget cuts made last session and adequately funding student population growth. Our opposition will advocate using the money for other purposes, such as eliminating the business margins tax, which was created to replace the funding lost by reducing property taxes after the last lawsuit over school finance. The battle might ultimately hinge on the involvement of constituents like you. It’s crucial that all educators stay informed and involved this session. The following information explains the ATPE resources that can help you do just that. Don’t forget to register for Lobby Day It’s not too late to register online for ATPE’s Political Involvement Training and Lobby Day. The two-day event will take place Feb. 10-11, at the Hilton Austin Downtown and the Texas State Capitol. Lobby Day is a great way for you to build relationships with the elected officials charged with making decisions that affect your day-to-day working environment. The first day of the event will feature hands-on training from the ATPE lobby team; the second will have attendees meeting face-to-face with their legislators. Plus, attendees will earn valuable continuing profession education (CPE) credit. The deadline to register online is Jan. 17. Registration is open to all ATPE members and financial assistance for qualified local units is available. The deadline to make housing reservations is also Jan. 17. Click here to make your housing reservations now! Rooms are still available. Register now! See how one individual educator—State Treasurer Cory Colby—is Teaching the Vote:
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