• March 16, 2011



STATE CAPITOL NEWS AND NOTES 150 150 Elect Todd Hunter


The following is a collection of news and notes from your State Capitol involving issues that affect House District 32.


March 11th marks the end to the first sixty days of the 82nd Legislative Session for the Texas Legislature. The ending of the first sixty days of session marks a significant turning point for the legislature, in part due to the deadline it brings for filing bills. In the week leading up to March 11th, Legislators and their staff worked in earnest to get their bills filed with the Chief Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate’s respective offices.

In addition to the end of the first sixty days bringing about the deadline for bill filing, it also marks the point in which the Texas Legislature can take up non emergency items in the Texas House and the Texas Senate. During the initial sixty days of the session, only those issues that were designated as emergency items by the Governor were eligible to go to the House and the Senate to be voted upon. The ability for the House and the Senate to now take up non emergency items means that the pace of the session will now kick in to high gear.


On March 7th, the Texas House in a 107-42 vote passed House Bill (HB) 15 otherwise known as the “Sonogram Bill”. HB 15 represents the House’s version of the Sonogram bill which has several key differences than the version that passed out of the Senate. On February 17th, the Texas Senate in a 21-10 vote passed out Senate Bill (SB) 16. Under both Sonogram bills, doctors will be required to provide a pregnant woman with the option to view the images of the sonogram along with the ability to listen to the audio of the heartbeat. There are however key differences between the two bills. Under the Senate version, a pregnant woman is required to have a sonogram within two hours of the procedure, and under the House version a pregnant woman is required to have a sonogram in not more than 72 hours or less than 24 hours from the time of the procedure. HB 15 has now been sent to the Texas Senate.


The Voter ID bill otherwise known as Senate Bill (SB) 14 went before the Select Committee on Voter Identification and Voter Fraud on March 7th. Receiving a vote of five yeas, two nays and two absent, SB 14 as substituted was passed out of the committee. Under the House substitute version of SB 14, several exemptions which had been placed on by the Senate were removed. SB 14 has been received by the Calendars Committee in order to be placed on the General Calendar.

If you would like to start following any of the bills that have already been reported out of committee or any of the other bills which have been filed and referred to other committees, these websites serve as a great resource:
The Texas Legislature
The Texas House of Representatives
The Texas Senate

If you have questions or comments regarding any of the information mentioned in this article or any bills which have been filed, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).