WEEK IN REVIEW
PERRY OPTIMISTIC IN STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS
(AUSTIN) — Texas is poised better than any other state in the nation to bounce back from the recession, according to Governor Rick Perry as he delivered his State of the State address on Tuesday. Perry said that conservative principles of low taxes and low spending have brought more companies, jobs and people to Texas than anywhere else. "The core elements of our economy are strong, and Texas is still the envy of the nation," he said. He wants legislators to stick to these principles as they work on dealing with the $27 billion budget shortfall, balancing the budget without raising taxes or dipping into the state's Rainy Day Fund.
The biennial address gives the governor the opportunity to set policy priorities for the session. Perry says the biggest obstacle facing Texas is an intrusive federal government. He called on lawmakers to tell Congress to secure the border with Mexico, to balance the national budget and to stay out of state business. "Texans can run Texas better than bureaucrats in Washington D.C.," Perry told the joint session of the legislature.
Also this week, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst announced that the Senate will investigate the rolling blackouts that happened during the last week's cold snap. The Senate Business and Commerce Committee and Natural Resources Committee will meet jointly to ask power companies why their facilities were not prepared for the arctic conditions that hit the state last week. Though another cold front hit Texas later in the week, citizens weren't forced to go without power as generators struggled to keep up with demand. Dewhurst said the Senate will take the steps necessary to make sure that more blackouts won't occur in the future.
The Senate passed a bill Wednesday aimed at protecting private property owners during the eminent domain process, where the government can take private land in order to build public projects. SB 18, by Wichita Falls Senator Craig Estes, would codify the bidding process, requiring a taking entity to offer a fair price for a piece of private property, backed by an independent appraisal. It would also give property owners a chance to buy the property back from the government in 10 years if nothing has happened with the land in that time. Finally, it requires government entities that have eminent domain authority to register with the Secretary of State, or lose that authority. This bill now heads to the House for consideration.
SB 16, the sonogram bill, by Houston Senator Dan Patrick passed out of the Senate State Affairs committee, with amendments on Wednesday.
The Senate will meet Monday, February 14 at 1:30 p.m.