2013 File Photo/The New York Times
A sign warns guests that students are testing, at Akins High School in Austin,.
AUSTIN — Over the last 139 days, lawmakers considered thousands of bills on dozens of topics. A small share made it to the governor’s desk. Here’s a look at the action — and inaction — on major issues this year:
What they did: Increased homestead exemptions on school property taxes by $10,000, to $25,000 per home, and cut business-franchise tax rates by 25 percent.
What they didn’t do: Link homestead exemptions to increasing appraisals, so their value remains constant, exempt businesses with $4 million a year or less in receipts from franchise tax, or change the sales tax rate.
What they did: Passed open carry, which allows licensed Texans to openly carry holstered handguns. Passed campus carry, which allows licensed Texans to carry concealed handguns in most university buildings.
What they didn’t do: Give tea party Republicans everything they wanted. Lawmakers stripped one key open carry amendment because of police opposition. And they gave public schools added campus carry flexibility.
What they did: Beefed up law enforcement at the Texas-Mexico line. Lawmakers approved $800 million in border security spending over the next two years, which will solidify the state police’s presence there.
What they didn’t do: Repeal a law that allows some students who are in the country illegally to pay in-state college tuition or ban sanctuary city policies, under which police can’t ask those they stop about their immigration status.
What they did: Passed a bill saying that Texas pastors, churches and religious institutions can’t be sued by private parties or penalized by government for spurning gay weddings.
What they didn’t do: Try to nullify a possible Supreme Court edict that same-sex marriage is a 50-state right, by barring county clerks from issuing or recognizing other states’ gay-marriage licenses.
What they did: Added more than a dozen restrictions to the process that abused and neglected minors use to get abortions without parental consent, and required abortion clinics to undergo human trafficking training.
What they didn’t do: Ban abortion coverage from private insurance plans or plans purchased in the federal health care exchange.
What they did: Found money, without raising taxes or fees, for a …Read More