DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – State lawmakers are sending Gov. Rick Perry a slew of new bills to sign, after pushing through several proposals before the end of the regular legislative session.
The changes are being viewed as a plus for education, a smaller reach for people who use Medicaid, and the right for students to keep guns in their cars on college campuses.READ MORE: Burleson Police Officer Joshua Lott Recovering After Being Shot Multiple Times, Suspect In Custody
With Texas lawmakers closing out the 83rd legislative session–the only bill they are required to pass is a state budget, which they did to the tune of more than $94 billion.
The two-year spending plan restores large portions of historic spending cuts made in 2011–including to education.
Two years ago $5.4 billion was slashed from education, but lawmakers voted to restore $3.9 billion of that.
Ed Orlandi, father to a fourth grader, says it’s a step in the right direction.
“I’m happy to get whatever funding back that we can its obviously great news that they’re going to restore almost four billion dollars,” he said.
Lawmakers also passed House Bill 5, which will dramatically change high school testing. It cuts the number of standardized tests high school students must pass to graduate from 15 to five.
Tony Olvera has a son, Daniel, in ninth grade.
“I think the exam numbers were high. I think it’s if their testing the right things and that they’re not focusing on tests but on if the kids are learning or not,” he said.READ MORE: Irving's MacArthur High School Was On Lockdown Due To 'Possible Threat Of Student With Gun'
The other major proposal for education is Senate Bill 2, which will increase the cap on charter schools. There are currently 209 of them, but new legislation will increase that number to 305 by 2019. Supporters say it’s all about giving students and parents more choices.
Lawmakers also took a strong stance against Obamacare, passing a bill that bans Medicaid expansion in Texas.
They also approved a measure that will allow students with proper licenses to keep guns in their cars on college campuses.
Student Randi Cook says that proposal is a bit unnerving.
“I’m not going to bring my gun with me just because this law is passed. It’s not going to make me feel any safer. Plus, I don’t want that responsibility,” he said.
Lawmakers did not pass any new abortion restrictions.
They did, however, agree on a $2 billion plan to make sure the state has enough water for the next 50 years. Voters must ratify the proposal in November in order for it to go into effect.
Gov. Perry has called a special session to tackle the issue of redistricting. It’s possible that he may also direct lawmakers to reconsider the budget. He wanted $1.8 billion dollars in tax cuts, but lawmakers met him only part way.
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