Lobbying for Education Funding
Educators made their case for more school funding, today. It was the bi-annual school lobby day at the Texas State Capitol. Dozens of teachers and administrators filled the halls of the Capitol. They are asking lawmakers to restore some of the cuts made last legislative session.
"If teachers are wiling to put in, if teachers are willing to take a very low salary to teach the children of Texas, why aren't the legislators willing to ante up?" Thomas Nichols with the Texas Classroom Teachers Association said.
Meanwhile, another organization was at the Capitol Thursday, pushing for education reform. The group "Texans Deserve Great Schools" wants stricter rules for failing schools and expanded online options. Members are also studying ways to give parents more options when it comes to where their children go to school.
Senate Education Committee Chairman Dan Patrick supports the group's philosophy.
"Reforming Texas education isn't a simple one answer solution it's a multi-prong approach to choices," he said.
Senator Patrick is also a supporter of expanding charter schools and a voucher system that would allow parents to use state issued vouchers to send their children to private schools.
Cutting CPRIT funding
Should the embattled Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas continue to receive state money? And if so, where should it come from? State Sen. Kevin Eltife filed a measure Thursday to put the issue on the November ballot. He's proposing cutting off bond funding to the state agency.
"In my opinion if it's worth funding it should come out of general revenue and fund it on a yearly basis," Eltife said. "To go $3 billion in debt, makes no sense to me."
CPRIT is under criminal and civil investigation for an $11 million grant given to start-up company, Peloton Therapeutics. An internal review found the Peloton application did not go through proper scientific and commercial review. At the request of Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus, a moratorium has already been placed on future grants. Both the House and Senate budget drafts also cut off funding to the agency.
Turning Texas Blue
Could the Lone Star State be the next Battleground State? The Democratic party might be getting the funds to help it happen. A new independent group called “Battleground Texas ” will focus efforts - and importantly - money here in Texas.
The organization is being run by former Obama campaign National Field Director, Jeremy Bird. In a statement to Politico Friday, Bird said “Battleground Texas” would be “a grass-roots organization that will make Texas a battleground state by treating it like one.”
Click the video link below to hear reaction from Texas Democratic Party Communications Director, Tanene Allison.
Next, hear from our political strategists, Harold Cook and Ted Delisi.
Nearly one week after President Obama unveiled a plan to reduce gun violence, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California proposed legislation to ban gun legislation.