Texas

House of Representatives Grinds Through Debate Over State Budget

The House is considering more than 400 amendments to general appropriations bill.

Debate on the state budget is underway in the Texas House of Representatives. The House is working its way more than 400 amendments before it votes on the budget bill. For the first several hours, the pace has been glacial.

With money even tighter than usual, members are scrambling to dig up funds for top priorities. When those priorities clash, the results aren’t pretty. For example, Democrat Sergio Muñoz proposed Amendment 22.

“What we’re doing here is we’re taking out the strategy money from the [Texas] Enterprise Fund and dividing that equally to the Department of Family and Protective Services [the parent agency of Child Protective Services (CPS)] and also to restore some of the therapy rate cuts in the same article with Health and Human Services,” Muñoz said. Overhauling CPS is one of Governor Greg Abbott’s emergency items for the session, and finding adequate funding for the agency has been a bipartisan concern.

Muñoz’s amendment passed – and immediately set off a protest by Republican Jonathan Stickland to Representative John Kuempel, who was in the speaker’s chair.

Stickland: “Did we just defund the Texas Enterprise Fund to zero?”

Kuempel: “We adopted an amendment that spent all the money in the Enterprise Fund.”

Stickland: “And can you tell me what effect that has on all of the amendments regarding the Texas Enterprise Fund that are behind it?”

Kuempel: “There’s no longer money to be spent in that fund.”

Stickland had proposed an amendment, now moot, to shift money from the Enterprise Fund to the State Highway Fund. He spent the next half hour in an unsuccessful effort to get Kuempel to reverse the vote on Muñoz’s measure.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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