Apr 25, 2011

Sign Up Now for May 3 First Tuesday at the Capitol

TMA Legislative News Hotline

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower
Mound with Tarrant County
physicians and alliance
members at First Tuesday
Sign up now for the last First Tuesdays at the Capitol. It’s your last chance to join hundreds of your colleagues to lobby on legislation that affects you and your patients. Sign up now to attend First Tuesdays at the Capitol on May 3. International medical graduates especially are invited to take part. Register today.

With only 35 days left in the 2011 regular session, lawmakers have a lot of work to accomplish. When Senate members get back in Austin tomorrow, their top priority is to finalize the state’s 2012-13 budget plan. If it is approved, it is likely the House will not concur in the Senate changes, and a conference committee of five House members and five Senate members will be appointed to reconcile differences. In the lower chamber, the House is scheduled to take up the proposed redistricting plan on Wednesday. Upcoming legislative deadlines in both chambers start the second week of May.

Tomorrow, the full Senate could start the budget debate. It will take two-thirds of the Senate to bring the bill up for debate on the Senate floor. The budget plan passed by the Senate Finance Committee last week totals $176.5 billion, ($80.7 billion in general revenue). The budget reduces current spending by about $6 billion, but is $11 billion more than the House proposal. If the Senate musters the necessary votes to  pass its budget bill, the bill is sent back over to the House with the Senate language.  Then the House and Senate versions likely will need to be reconciled in conference committee. TMA will report the names of the 10 conference committee members as soon as they become available so you can be aware if your local legislator is serving on the committee. TMA staff also is preparing a side-by-side comparison of the two budget bills so you can better understand the differences and what’s in play. Stay tuned.

A couple bills on the Senate Local and Consent Calendar that could be taken up this week are:
  • Senate Bill 224 by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound). It requires schools to report students’ fitness and academic scores to the Texas Education Agency.
  • SB 1177 by Senator Nelson. It requires health care facilities such as hospitals to develop and implement vaccination policies to protect patients from vaccine-preventable diseases. The policy would require health care workers to get vaccinations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
Jails brace for influx of mentally ill (Houston Chronicle)
Hinojosa: Shapleigh walked away from the fight
(Rio Grande Guardian)

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