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Home    Education    Legislative    Publications    Calendar    Sunbelt Builders Show    Resources May 31, 2011

State lawmakers ordered back to work today
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
With senators unable to broker a last-minute deal on school finance, the Texas Legislature gaveled the 82nd session closed Monday, followed quickly by Gov. Rick Perry calling legislators back for a special session to begin this morning. Perry, who determines the agenda of special sessions, directed the Legislature to consider the school finance bill, which would reduce the amount owed to school districts by $4 billion, and a Medicaid measure. Other issues could be added as early as today, and Republicans immediately began lobbying to include a laundry list of GOP priorities that fizzled during the regular session. More

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Fort Worth senator center of attention as Legislature opens special session
Fort Worth Star-Telegram    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Before 10:44 p.m. Sunday, Wendy Davis was just one of 12 Democrats in the Texas Senate, a freshman from Fort Worth whom many expected to have trouble winning re-election next year. But once Davis began her instantly famous filibuster — a 79-minute speech that blocked passage of a key school finance bill and forced Gov. Rick Perry to call a special session — she became the one of the most revered figures in the Texas Capitol. And one of the most reviled. More

US home prices probably slumped on discounted distressed property sales
Bloomberg    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
U.S. home prices probably slumped in March by the most in 16 months, indicating residential real estate will keep weighing on the expansion, economists said before a recent report. Property values in 20 cities dropped 3.4 percent from March 2010, the biggest year-over-year decline since November 2009, according to the median forecast of 25 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News ahead of a report from S&P/Case-Shiller. Other reports may show manufacturing slowed in May and consumer confidence rose as fuel costs eased. More

Construction employment up in 19 states and DC since April 2010
Steel Market Update    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In April, construction employment increased in 19 states plus the District of Columbia, according to the Associated General Contractors of America analysis of state employment data released by the Labor Department. However, 29 states experienced losses with some as high as 14.1 percent while only one state stayed the same since April 2010. Increasing material costs along with governments paring back their budgets could worsen the already dismal construction market. More

Camp Bullis isn't Fraser's concern
San Antonio Express-News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
San Antonio and Camp Bullis appear to have dodged two legislative bullets during this session. One, fired by Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, would have limited the city's legally recognized authority to enforce its tree ordinance in its extraterritorial jurisdiction. The other, from Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, would have made enforcement of the ordinance in the ETJ so costly and so open to legal challenge that it would become practically unenforceable. More

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Certificates of insurance bill heads to Texas governor
Insurance Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Texas Legislature has passed a measure that requires regulatory approval of property and casualty certificate of insurance forms provided to insureds as proof of coverage. Certificates of insurance are widely used in commerial insurance, especially in the construction industry, and insurance agents traditionally have been asked to provide the certificates to insureds and interested parties. As a result agents are often brought into disputes over policy terms and coverages because of language contained in the certificates. More

HOA reforms quietly passed in Austin
KERA    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
New protections against Home Owner Association abuse are headed to Governor Perry's desk. They come just days after the reforms appeared dead. Senator Royce West, a Dallas Democrat, says this session he spent more than 40 hours in negotiations with homeowners, home builders and homeowner associations, HOA's. West says he wanted to hammer out a bill of rights for the millions of Texans living in HOA's — an agreement deep-pocketed associations wouldn't kill again. More

Perry's higher education policy taking on a tea party flavor
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Rick Perry had been governor of Texas for all of 13 days when he announced in January 2001 that higher education would be his top legislative priority. He called for voucher-style funding, an expansion of online learning and a dramatic increase in student financial aid. More than 10 years later, reinventing public higher education remains a work in progress for the state's longest-serving governor. That effort has taken an unusual turn lately, with prominent alumni, donors, business leaders and university officials questioning Perry's initiatives and those of his appointees to university governing boards. More

Texas job growth twice as nice
Real Estate Center    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Texas' economy is not only outperforming the United States, but the state's nonfarm employment is growing twice as fast. Texas gained 254,000 jobs during the 12 months ending April 30, an annual growth rate of 2.5 percent, according to the latest Monthly Review of the Texas Economy produced by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. During that same period, U.S. nonfarm employment rose 1.1 percent. The state’s private sector employment growth also was higher than the nation as a whole, 3 percent compared with 1.7 percent. More

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H2O4TEXAS celebrates 82nd Legislature's water victory
H2O4TEXAS Coalition    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As the 82nd Texas Legislature digs down deep to finish out the session, the H2O4TEXAS Coalition would like to take a moment to celebrate the passage of Senate Joint Resolution 4 (SJR 4) — one of the most important measures to pass the 82nd Legislature. Had this critical water legislation not passed, the consequences for the state's public health and economy would have been devastating. More

Chisum looks ahead to Railroad Commission
Amarillo Globe-News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
State Rep. Warren Chisum — who announced three months ago that he would seek a seat in the three-member Texas Railroad Commission — can go on with his original two-possibility plan the Legislature put on hold for seven weeks. Gov. Rick Perry can appoint him to fill the seat former commissioner Michael Williams vacated in early April. Or, Chisum can run for the seat commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones is expected to vacate early next year when, like Williams, she plans to run for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. More

White House slashes red tape to boost economy
Agence France-Presse via IndustryWeek    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
On May 26, the White House unveiled a series of measures to cut back on burgeoning red tape and simplify rules which it said could save U.S. businesses "billions" of dollars over the coming years. The administration hopes the move will lift some of the burdens from struggling companies and give fresh impetus to the faltering jobs market with unemployment still hovering around 9 percent More

Every word counts: Critical lessons in contract language
For Construction Pros    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Disputes are an unfortunate part of construction. Complex projects invite disagreement, and while most disputes are resolved by the project participants, a very few end up in court or arbitration. To that end, anyone who has gone through the painful process of allowing third parties such as arbitrators, judges or juries who were not involved in the project, to decide a dispute will tell you that contract language takes on a whole new meaning when disputes are decided by people who were not involved in the project. More
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