Weatherford Democrat

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January 9, 2013

Estes, King have bills in hopper as session opens

Texas’ 83rd Legislature begins by re-electing Straus speaker


“I continually hear complaints from teachers, administrators, school board members and parents that our standardized testing has become excessive and not a true measure of how our children are performing. I am concerned that our educators are having to shift resources and valuable time to keep up with testing requirements and other state and federal mandates while our teachers are unable to provide the quality education that they are qualified and trained to do,” King said. “This bill simply allows districts the flexibility, if they so choose, to utilize other testing models and allows communities to have a role in student assessments.”

Additionally, King pre-filed a bill, HB 237, that would limit spending by the Texas Legislature to not exceed the population growth in Texas when indexed for inflation.

“Texas has done a good job of being fiscally responsible with its spending during the tough economic times we have faced over the past few years,” King explained,

“However, it is very important that we implement a conservative spending cap to ensure that even in the good times, Texas does not become irresponsible with its taxpayers’ dollars.”

Besides the bills filed by Estes and King, state lawmakers have their proverbial platters full this session as they deal with funding public education, dealing with a growing water crisis in the state and whether to drug test unemployment benefits recipients while hot-button issues like abortion and gun control are expected to receive attention from lawmakers.

There are 43 freshmen representatives in the 150-member House — the most in four decades.

Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst will again lead the overwhelmingly Republican-controlled Legislature. As they have for a decade, Republicans run the show in Austin with commanding majorities in the House and Senate.

“Two years ago we chose a fiscally conservative path that has led us here today by prioritizing and tightening our belts. This session is an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to the policies that have made Texas economically strong in the first place,” Perry said Tuesday. “When people keep more of their own money it’s better for them, it’s better for their families, and it’s better for the state. It’s time to take a hard look at providing tax relief.”

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