TAB News Briefs
June. 28, 2011

Legislature passes budget, health bills
Austin American-Statesman
Moving to address key issues with just three days left in its special session, the Texas Legislature on Monday approved key budget and health care reform bills and appeared poised to approve a windstorm insurance measure for coastal areas. Still on life support: a controversial immigration measure banning so-called sanctuary cities.More

With clock ticking, House passes bills
The Associated Press via Amarillo Globe-News
The Texas House shook off its previous malaise and sped through key legislation on Monday, approving major budget, education-funding and health care reform bills despite sometimes heated debate over cutting schools to the bone. It was a far cry from last week, when a rash of absences left the 150-member chamber twice short of the 100 lawmakers needed to make quorum — halting all business.More

Governor signs bill banning private transfer fees
San Antonio Express-News
Gov. Rick Perry has signed legislation to ban private transfer fees on real estate. Private transfer fees are written into neighborhood deed restrictions and typically throw 1 percent of a home’s sale price back to the original developer each time the home changes hands over the next 99 years. Both the Texas House and Senate had voted overwhelmingly for the bill, and Texas now joins 33 other states that have banned or restricted private transfer fees in recent years.More

Airport security bill fuels tension
Abilene Reporter-News
Texas legislators advanced measures on Monday that would criminalize intentional, inappropriate touching by airport security screeners, but the legislation was so watered down it angered the conservative activists whose noisy Capitol protests pushed lawmakers to take up the issue. The new version of the bill would still make it a misdemeanor punishable for up to a year in jail to touch a person's sexual organs and other sensitive areas. But now it gives security officials a defense to prosecution if they act with "reasonable suspicion" that the search is necessary.More

As Dewhurst prepares to enter, Roger Williams leaves Senate race
Austin American-Statesman First Reading Blog
Roger Williams will become the second candidate named Williams to drop out of the U.S. Senate race to succeed Kay Bailey Hutchison and instead pursue an Arlington-area open U.S. House seat when he announces his intentions today at the Ballpark at Arlington. Fellow Republican Michael Williams made the same move in recent weeks. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst will be jumping in soon and then everything will get real.More

Commentary: Save the mortgage interest deduction for homeowners
The Washington Post
The Washington region has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation and was the only metro area to post positive home price growth over the past year, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller home price index. This shows that a growing local economy and healthy housing market go hand in hand. But as Washington policymakers debate whether to end the mortgage interest deduction and establish a 20 percent down-payment as a national standard, which would have a disproportionate impact on high-cost markets such as ours, they ought to first listen to what the voters think.More

Another Davis filibuster? 'Not likely,' she says
Fort Worth Star-Telegram Politex Blog
The special session is heading for a finale on Wednesday, but Sen. Wendy Davis says she has no plans for a replay of the dramatic final-day filibuster that forced lawmakers into overtime nearly a month ago. "Not for me, and I don't think for any of my colleagues either," says the Fort Worth Democrat, when asked about the prospects for a replay.More

Proposed coal plant's water plan stirs debate
Texas Tribune
Behind a locked gate, on a flat, 1,200-acre parcel of land beside Texas' Colorado River, cows graze and maize crops grow. Four years from now, developers hope to begin operating a giant power plant here that will burn coal and petroleum coke. But the plans have stirred considerable controversy both locally and around the Colorado River basin.More

Planned 70-mile Eagle Ford pipeline could boost access for refineries in Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi Caller Times
Two companies' jointly planned 70-mile pipeline, and connections like it, can loosen up the growing bottleneck in moving Eagle Ford shale oil to intended markets, one company's spokesman said. The planned route would also boost access to Eagle Ford production for refineries in Corpus Christi, enhancing connections between the city and the regional oil boom.More

New wall in Texas sliding soil neighborhood
Houston Chronicle
A developer has finished a sturdier retaining wall in a San Antonio neighborhood where sliding soil last year forced evacuations. Centex this month completed a rock-strengthened retaining wall between the Rivermist and Hills of Rivermist neighborhoods.More