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Legislature Roundup – Day Two

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A woman takes a photo of the Texas Senate chamber during the 82nd Legislative session. (credit: Ben Sklar/Getty Images)

A woman takes a photo of the Texas Senate chamber during the 82nd Legislative session. (credit: Ben Sklar/Getty Images)

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AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) – Here are some of the stories making news today in Austin:

Making The Budget Work

The leader of the Senate Finance Committee has some ideas on making the budget work.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Steve Ogden says there will be cuts but there also needs to be permanent fixes to Medicaid and school finance and those permanent fixes will mean saving money. “So there’s where your hole is, four and a half billion in Medicaid and five and a half billion in the Foundation School program. We have got to fix that.”

Ogden says you could go to a Medicaid managed care system and save and he says we just need to look at school finance a new way that will manage growth without breaking the bank.

Perry Targeting Sanctuary Cities

Governor Perry says there are some cities that need to change their policies on dealing with illegal immigrants and that’s why the elimination of sanctuary cities is an emergency.

Perry isn’t naming specific cities. “I consider a number of cities in this state to be out of compliance with what the citizens of this state want to see in regards to making sure that our citizens are kept safe.”

During the campaign he said Houston, under Bill White’s leadership, was one. He isn’t saying the specifics of what policies he wants changed. Does that mean he wants immigration status checked? He says he isn’t writing the bill today.

State Sales Tax Collections Up

The Comptroller’s office says state sales tax collections were up again by 9.4 percent last month.

That makes nine months in a row that they’ve gone up says spokesman R.J. DeSilva. “We pay attention to big sectors like the oil and natural gas industry, and manufacturing, and retail trade, and all those sectors saw gains.”

DeSilva says one thing to remember is that these numbers are compared to 2009, which was a terrible year for sales tax collections. He says it will be really good news is we are still seeing increases in March which will make a year since we first started seeing collections go up.

Banning Fake Pot

A statewide ban on synthetic marijuana appears to be on the way.

Senator Florence Shapiro files her bill that would stop the sale of K-2 and make possession the fake pot illegal as well. It would be the same punishment as having methamphetamine, a felony, which is actually tougher than having real marijuana.

“There is mounting anecdotal evidence that K-2 is dangerous. In fact experts claim that the health effects of this substance is even more harmful than marijuana.” Shapiro says while it’s good that some cities have banned the drug a statewide ban is needed to get the drug out of all Texas stores.

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