Thursday, March 29, 2007

Democrats have taken control of the Education Budget

It's amazing to watch the debate on the Education Budget. It started off with an amendment by Rep. Noriega - who has eyes on another capitol - to an across-the-board teacher pay raise, which surprisingly passed 90-56. Among these are Reps. Turner and Davis from Clear Lake, both from Houston - the city who's taken a hit for their incentive-based increases. John Davis only won his election with 53% of the vote, and this it's certainly a contentious issue when an HISD superintendent awards himself with $168,000 paycheck...

Then came the voucher debate, which was slightly less climatic than last session. Without Carter Casteel making passionate speeches on looking forward to spending time with her grandchildren, freshman Joe Heflin attached an amendment to ban state funds for voucher programs. Speaker Craddick promptly left the dias after the amendment was adopted.

Currently, Rep. Coleman is trying to attach an amendment to gut Bob Perry's Residential Commission to fund TEXAS Grants, a higher ed student grant program. With the Dems pulling votes, Article III will be interesting for the next few hours. Or days, whatever.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Perry appoints TYC conservatorship

Today Gov. Perry appointed a conservatorship for the Texas Youth Commission, which will be widely hailed a good move to bring the troubled agency into order. Although he initially resisted such a move, Perry has appointed Jay Kimbrough as conservator.

I can't take credit for breaking the story though; see the Chron's blog post

UPDATE: I can't stand being wrong. It wasn't a conservatorship, just a conservator. See the DMN's analysis of the compromise.

UPDATE #2: See Vince's post on why Kimbrough is the wrong man for the job


News updates

I'm wrapped up in budget stuff at the moment, so I'll forward you on to a few other posts:

Grits for Breakfast has a good post about the case of Shaquanda Cotton, an African-American female sent to TYC for shoving a hall monitor. Hmm, I'm pretty sure I did the same thing in my youth...

Capitol Annex has a post about Top Ten and how it helps rural kids. I actually had a similar post last session. Unfortunately, most of the links to news stories are dead, but the UT Watch factsheet still appears active.

Off the Kuff noted that the Senate unanimously passed SB 558 by Sen. Ellis to cloose the Bill Ceverha loophole. Thank goodness, I guess my laptop carry case to Rodney paid off..

(Note: This a joke, so please don't investigate me. Unless you're the Texas Ethics Commission, since then I wouldn't be worried one way or the other)