Published: Sun, April 09, 2017
Health Care | By Gwendolyn Kim

Texas House Says No To Vouchers During Budget Debate

Texas House Says No To Vouchers During Budget Debate

Now that it has passed second reading, the budget will receive a final vote by the House on Monday before being sent to a conference committee to iron out differences between the House and Senate.

Teacher groups have opposed the bill, saying that it allows too much opportunity for contracts to be nullified and other abuses.

Ten hours of debate Thursday and 93 proposed amendments to the state's $28.6 billion budget was not enough for the state House of Representatives.

Lawmakers in the midst of what promises to be an hours-long slog debating the state's spending plan for the next biennium voted 103-44 in favor of an amendment expressly stating state money "may not be used to pay for or support a school voucher, education savings account, or tax credit scholarship program or a similar program through which a child may use state money for nonpublic education".

Another budget amendment, by state Rep.

The statement sparked a heated response from Democrats, including House Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, who said it was an attempt by Williams to taint the legislation that started the program and promote partisanship and an alternative-right ideology.

That idea could face some pushback.

Both chambers' budgets would slightly increase overall spending from the current two-year budget. He voted for the amendment blocking money to the tuition subsidy programs.

Kuempel: "We adopted an amendment that spent all the money in the Enterprise Fund".

Also, the House budget would boost public schools funding by about $1.5 billion, contingent on the passage of a larger school finance package.

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Therefore, the determination of what to deposit can not be made until 12 months of sales tax collections are analyzed. The two lawmakers almost got into a physical fight on the House floor.

"SB 1 rightly assumes that annual sales tax data will be evaluated in September 2019, and the transfer will occur accordingly".

Still other amendments take a hardline stance against subsidizing private schools.

"Over 400 amendments were pre-filed and will be debated", he said.

Planned Parenthood received $3.6 million in 2016 as a Texas Medicaid health care provider, about $360,000 of which was state money, with the rest coming from the federal government.

Several Republicans filed amendments that look to trim parts of the budget to pay for a controversial anti-abortion counseling program.

The volume of amendments, even though many might be withdrawn before they are considered, will likely mean Thursday's floor session will continue into the night.

- The New Hampshire House on Wednesday deadlocked on an operating budget for the next two years, but did manage to pass a $306 million capital budget for infrastructure projects that include new courthouses in Milford and Hampton; $9.6 million for community colleges, and new liquor stores in Hampton and Portsmouth. The two versions will have to be reconciled later in the session.

Under the Texas Constitution, the state budget must balance and must remain within the official revenue estimate handed down by the state comptroller.

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