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July 2, 2009
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Special Session Moving Along
from The Fort Worth Star-Telegram PoliTex Blog
The first special session of the 81st Legislature is moving along. The House adjourned and recessed until 10 a.m. Thursday, after referring three bills to committee. Already, the House State Affairs Committee has approved HB 2, the measure geared to keep five state agencies operating. The Senate adjourned and recessed until 3 p.m. today; all three bills have been sent to committee. More


Toll Road Bill Faces Tough Fight in Texas Legislature Special Session
from The Dallas Morning News
Gov. Rick Perry's special session effort to win new approval for public-private toll roads in Texas may be hitting the skids. Lawmakers on the House Transportation and Senate Finance committees left the bill pending, saying either they couldn't support it or that it was too complex to vet by the end of the week. That's when top state officials have asked them to wrap up their work. More

DFW Home Prices Drop 5 Percent in New Report
from The Dallas Morning News
Dallas-Fort Worth home prices showed no sign of a rebound in the latest Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index. Home prices dropped 5 percent in the D-FW area in April from a year earlier, according to the benchmark monthly survey. Prices fell 18.1 percent across the 20 U.S. metropolitan markets included in the report. More

Road Bond, Sunset Bills Nearing Quick Passage
from The Austin American-Statesman
Legislators, many of them tanned and exhibiting a relaxed, schools-out air Wednesday, ripped quickly through two of the three issues that Gov. Rick Perry put on their special session plate. Leaders were predicting final passage by this afternoon of a bill that would keep alive for two more years several state agencies, including the Texas Department of Transportation, and of a second piece of legislation allowing the state to issue $2 billion in transportation bonds. More

Immigration Crackdown Goes After Employers
from The Houston Chronicle
Federal officials announced plans to audit the immigration and employment paperwork of 652 businesses across the country, including 26 in Houston, marking a major increase in work site enforcement. The initiative is part of a growing push to target employers who hire illegal immigrants, a centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s immigration enforcement strategy. More

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Hutchison Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq
from The Fort Worth Star-Telegram PoliTex Blog
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison made a surprise visit to Iraq, her office disclosed. Speaking on a conference call with reporters from Kuwait, the Texas Republican said she wanted to make the trip to see the situation in Baghdad the day after US troops withdrew from the country’s cities. She expressed confidence in the gradual withdrawal plan in place but warned that violence could escalate in the short-term. More

Fort Worth Among Fastest Growing Cities in U.S.
from The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Fort Worth was the 10th-fastest-growing city in the country in 2008 and three other Texas towns were in the top 10, according to U.S. census population estimates released Tuesday. Texas was well-represented among the fast gainers. Round Rock, north of Austin, was No. 2 on the list with a gain of 7,877 residents. McKinney was No. 5 and Killeen was No. 9 on the growth chart of cities with populations over 100,000. More

HUD Expands Refinance Program
from The San Antonio Express-News Nest Fest Blog
Part of President Obama's Making Home Affordable program allows people who are underwater on their mortgages to refinance. More

Editorial: Planning for Success at Inland Port
from The Dallas Morning News
Planning and coordination efforts among the various jurisdictions involved in the International Inland Port of Dallas have been sidetracked for months because of a long-simmering political dispute. It's good to see that the major parties to that dispute are working out their differences so that comprehensive planning can proceed. A project of this magnitude requires that everyone be working off the same playbook. More

Perry Beats Feds' Deadline for School Funds
from The San Antonio Express News
Texas Gov. Rick Perry met a deadline Wednesday to request federal stabilization funds for education - with 18 minutes to spare. Perry was the last of the nation's governors to submit an application. Missing the deadline could have meant losing more than $3 billion in federal money for education funding, from preschool to college. Much of the money is intended for salary increases for teachers, librarians and other school employees. More

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