The Senate Budget bil is expected to hit the floor of the upper chamber today, while the House is expected to vote on the heavily lobbied Texas Railroad Commission sunset bill. A slew of amendments have been filed on that bill, but it seems unlikely to be derailed at this point. Polling and recent commentary provide some context for today's busy agenda in the 85th Texas Legislature.
The Senate presents Texas with a budget. The Senate budget reflects Lt. Governor Patrick's advertised reluctance to tap the Rainy Day fund, instead opting to use some accounting moves to lessen the impact of the big payments on transportation. It's also been widely noted that despite a much discussed conversation between Governor Greg Abbott and finance committee chair Jane Nelson, Governor Abbott's vision of pre-k is nowhere in sight in the budget bill. Speaker Straus has been highly critical of the bill, in particular how those transportation payments are accounted for, though he was comparatively muted about it in last Friday's appearance at UT Austin. Texans' budget priorities to some degree reflect expected ideological dispositions, though there is more willingness to spend public dollars on public education than one might assume from the comments of the most vocal Republicans -- and more willingness to dip in the RDF, though it will require some retail sales from more than one member of the Big Three.
|Redesigning the system of K-12 public school funding in Texas||23%||12%||13%|
|Establishing a school voucher program in Texas||3%||4%||5%|
|Continuing to limit government by approving no new spending and no new taxes||9%||19%||21%|
|Lowering property tax bills for homeowners||15%||29%||23%|
|Lowering business taxes||4%||2%||3%|
|Increasing state funding for border security operations||4%||8%||19%|
|Increasing funding for Child Protective Services||22%||6%||6%|
|Don't know/no opinion||19%||20%||9%|
|Don't know/No opinion||26%||25%||26%|
The House votes on the Texas Railroad Commission sunset bill. 42 percent of Texans know why that's important.
|Texas Railroad Commission||42%|
|Texas Department of Agriculture||10%|
|Texas Department of Public Safety||4%|
|Public Utility Commission of Texas||24%|
(This was a political knowledge question: Which Texas agency regulates oil and gas production in the state?)
The Railroad Commission bill has also inspired a slew of amendments, including one by Shaefer that would try to prohibit accomodating bathroom access by transgender people in facilities under TRC's ambit. If this seems like a lot of effort in this context, most of the public likely agrees with you.
|Not very important||13%|
|Not at all important||38%|
|Don't know/No opinion||11%|
Blast from the recent past. The House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee will hear Rep. Jonathan Stickland's unlicensed carry bill. Slim numbers of Texans - 10 percent overall, 14 percent of Republicans -- supported unlicensed carry when we polled on the issue two years ago when there were a slew of gun bills in the legislature, and they passed the open carry law.
|Texans should never be allowed to carry a handgun in a public place.||23%|
|Texans should be allowed to carry a concealed handgun in a public place, as long as they have a license.||45%|
|Texans should also be allowed to openly carry a handgun in a public place, as long as they have a license to do so.||22%|
|Texans should always be allowed to carry a handgun in a public place, and should not be required to have a license to do so.||10%|
|Texans should never be allowed to carry a handgun in a public place.||43%||14%||7%|
|Texans should be allowed to carry a concealed handgun in a public place, as long as they have a license.||43%||34%||50%|
|Texans should also be allowed to openly carry a handgun in a public place, as long as they have a license to do so.||11%||39%||29%|
|Texans should always be allowed to carry a handgun in a public place, and should not be required to have a license to do so.||3%||14%||14%|