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Highway Bill Approved, Legislature Finally Adjourns

Highway Bill Approved, Legislature Finally Adjourns

Your life, liberty, and property is a little more secure today.  After nearly seven months on the job, the Texas Legislature adjourned 'sine die' last night.'  'Sine die' is Latin for 'without date,' and is the expression used by lawmakers to designate an end of a session, when no more special sessions are expected.

  The House and the Senate managed to reach agreement on a $1 billion plan to divert money from the state's oil and gas revenues to the Texas Department of Transportation.

  State Rep. Joe Pickett (D-Ft. Worth), who is the main sponsor of the bill, says, at the end, the pot of money for road construction and repair was even bigger than first expected.

  "We originally were debate about $840 million, but today we have obtained $1.2 billion for highway projects each year," Pickett said.

  House Speaker Joe Straus clearly echoed the feelings of the members upon adjournment.

  "I am happy that we have completed our work on this issue, and our citizen legislators can return to their families, businesses, and home communities," he said.

  The final vote was 124-2 in the House, overwhelming support for a measure that had, just last week, failed to get the two thirds needed for approval.

  Since it is a Constitutional Amendment, it will have to go before the voters in 2014.

  "It is now up to us to educate everybody between now and next year," Pickett said.

  That may not be easy.  Several conservative groups oppose the plan, saying the state is 'raiding its reserves.'  But business groups overwhelmingly support the compromise, and their support is what is seen as pushing it over the top last night.  They warn if Texas is not seen now to be addressing its growing transportation problems, businesses will start to flee the state.

 

 

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