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March 24, 2013     Hays Free Press
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Hays Free Press March 27, 2013 OPINION Page5A + Senate OKs budget, now House's torn " rarch 18 was day 70,  f I midpoint of the 140- _ . JLday regular session of the 83rd Texas Legislature. On March 22, the Senate ap- proved its version of the state budget, a plan to spend $95 billion in general state revenue in 2014 and 2015. The Senate ! version would spend $7 billion in general revenue more than the current 2012-2013 budget. The full budget is close to $195 billion, counting dedicated fimds and federal dollars. Also on March 22, the Texas House Committee on Ap- propriations approved its $97 billion version of the budget - Committee Substitute Senate Bill 1. This was the last step before all 150 members of the House vote on it. CSSB1 fea- tures an additional $2.5 billion for public education on top of a base budget that already ac- counts for student population growth. With the clock ticking, the two chambers must agree on a single version before sending it to the governor. Assuming the House will pass its version this week or the following week, the next step would be for a confer- ence committee of five House members and five Senators to work out the differences. And once again, assuming com- mon ground will be found, the agreed-upon version goes back to the full House and full Sen- ate for a simple majority vote to accept the changes made by the conference committee. TERM LIMITS BILL MOVES A constitutional amendment proposed by Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, would impose term limits on statewide elected of- ficials, including the governor and lieutenant governor. Eltife's Senate Joint Resolu- tion 13 was approved by the Senate 27-4 last week and now the House will have to con- sider it. If the House approves, Texas voters will have the opportunity to give it a thumbs up or thumbs down on Nov. 5, when proposed constitu- tional amendments approved by the Legislature will be on the statewide ballot. The four votes in opposition were cast by Sens. Brian Birdwell of Granbury, Craig Estes of Wichita Falls, Glenn Hegar of Katy and TommyWilliams of The Woodlands. In the Senate Joumal, Williams explained his :: CAPITAL .: vote, this way: "I do not sup- port term limits for statewide officers only." Under Eltife's measure, vot- ers would decide whether or not to limit statewide officials to two consecutive terms, but officials could serve more terms non-consecutively and currently elected officials wouldn't have terms served before Jan. 1, 2014 count against them. DNA TESTING BILL FILED Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott joined Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, on March 19 to express support for SB 1292, legislation written by Ellis proposing that DNA testing be required for all biological evidence collected by law en- forcement in all death penalty cases. Ellis called his bill "modest but vitally important reform" and a step toward "a more fair, reliable and just crimi- nal justice system in Texas," and added that it will "help reduce the possibility that the ultimate mistake is made with someone receiving the ultimate penalty." "To be certain that only guilty murderers are executed, all evidence that can be tested for DNA should be tested for DNA before the case goes to trial," Abbott said. "This will prevent endless appeals that game the system and delay justice for the families of victims." To avoid the imposition of an unfunded mandate on local prosecutors and law en- forcement agencies, SB 1292 requires that a Texas Depart- ment of Public Safety crime lab perform the mandatory DNA test at the State's ex- pense, and provide the results of those tests to both the de- fendant and state prosecutors, according to the Office of the Attorney General. Ed Sterling works for the Texas Press Association and follows the Legislature for the association. edsteding@texaspress.com '(L IX)N(; ORTHOI)ONTICkN 10 B FM 967, STE #Al10 Buda, Texas 78610 Near tt',e corP, ef of FM 1626 and 967 512-523-8680 We are now exclusively in Buda to accommodate your orthodontic needs. Iongortho.eom NEW Classes Begin April 1 & 29 4:00- 6:00 p.m. or 6:15- 8:15 p.m. Lockhart Driving School, 400 N. Main, Lockhart, TX All drives will begin in Lockhart and end in Kyle Shuttle Transportation back to Kyle after class provided for $3 per day Enroll ONLINE at www, LockllartDrivingSchool.com or call 512-665-3259 for more details NOTE: a MINIMUM of 6 students required , CLASS OF 2013 KEEPSAKE GRADUATION EDITION DISTRIBUTED MAY 29 iN THE HAYS FREE PRESS FOR JACK C. HAYS, LEHMAN & LIVE OAKACADEMY HIGH SCHOOLS *Limited copie wilt be available at each gradmion ceremony* 7his special edition will include clas.\\; fia'orites, baby photos, and much more. Ad deadline is May 10, st) don't delay. Send in your photos an d message today ! Fill {rot attached t:brm or emai] photos & message to {. paper(a havstrecpress.( ore. -,- s For more information, call (512) 268-7862, or email paper@haysfreepress.com $99in full color Horizontah 5" wide x 3.75"tai1 Verucah 2 A rode x 7 tall 2.4" wide x 3.75" tall I- I Please include I urchaser s Name: Address: Phone: E-Mail: (;raduate's Name: Corl.ratulatorv.. . Message:.. i {}r use separate piece of paper Sic oi" ad: ...................................................................................................................................................... Payment &}rm: Check Encl{sed MC, VISA, Discover CC#: Exp. Date: / 3-Digit Code: Signature: my favorite graduate! Mail this tbrm and payment to P.O. Box 2530 Kyle,'Ixas 78640 or e-mail to per@haysfi eep ess corn pa ....... Lehman High School Graduation: June 5, 8 p.m. at Shelton Stadium Jack C. Hays High School {;raduation: June 6, 8 p.m. at Shehon Stadium Live Oak Academy Graduation: June 6, 3 p,m. at the Hays Per!brining Arts Center J