TMA Legislative News Hotline
Monday, May 16, 2011
With only two weeks left in the 2011 legislative session, lawmakers still have a lot of work to accomplish if they plan to pass a state budget by Memorial Day. Legislators are under pressure from outside groups to approve a budget that dramatically cuts state spending. A robo-call went out last week asking lawmakers to keep the state living within its means by cutting spending, protecting the Rainy Day Fund, and saying “no” to any new taxes or revenue schemes.
What’s in the works this week: The budget negotiators spent last week ironing out House and Senate differences in the 2012-13 budget. We should see their final product early this week. Meanwhile, Senate Bill 1811 by Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock) that would help cover some of the spending in the budget will be taken up by the Texas House. The legislation, known as the “fiscal matter” bill, would generate nontax revenue money. The House likely will substitute SB 1811 with its language. The bill then goes to conference committee, where House and Senate differences are resolved. The big sticking point stalling the budget process is how to pay for public schools. This issue is before the full Senate. Either or both of these issues could hang up the budget.
Here a few more bills that received Senate approval last week:
- House Bill 1380 by Rep. Vicki Truitt (R-Keller) and SB 1022 by Sen. José Rodríquez (D-El Paso). It would allow international medical graduates to apply for licensure in Texas after two (rather than three) years of graduate medical education.
- SB 270 by Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio). It helps ensure more newborns receive hearing screenings. It also adds follow-up care for newborns with abnormal hearing screening results.
- SB 1360 by Sen. Chris Harris (R-Arlington) and HB 2975 by Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi). The legislation establishes a process of accredited continuing medical education (CME) programs for physicians by the Texas Medical Board (TMB). A TMB stakeholders group would develop accredited CME offerings regarding Lyme disease diagnosis, care, and treatment.