State Capital HIGHLIGHTS

AUSTIN — After more than 15 hours of floor debate, the Texas House of Representatives on April 7 approved a balanced, $218 billion, state budget for fiscal years 2018-2019. During the debate, state representatives proposed some 378 amendments to the House version of Senate Bill 1, although many were tabled or withdrawn. The House version of the proposed budget must now undergo the scrutiny of the Senate, which passed its own $218 billion version on March 28. Members of the House and Senate will meet in a conference committee to reconcile differences in the two versions and finalize a budget that then can be sent to Gov.

Greg Abbott for approval. The House version, which cuts overall state spending by more than $1 billion compared to the current 2016-2017 budget, provides an additional $1.5 billion for public schools, $500 million to address a shortfall in the health care program for retired teachers and an increase of more than $450 million to address crises in Child Protective Services and foster care. It also puts more resources toward mental health services and Texas Grant scholarships, and it protects voter-approved funding for transportation improvements, House Speaker Joe Straus explained.

 

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