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Topics for the 84th Legislature

The Texas Legislature will consider a wide variety of topics when it convenes in regular session on January 13, 2015. Among other prominent issues, lawmakers are expected to consider proposals to modify taxes, consolidate health and human services agencies, revise criminal punishments, improve low-performing schools, manage groundwater resources, and fund highways, higher education, and border security operations. This report highlights many, although by no means all, of the issues the 84th Legislature may consider during its 2015 regular session.

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Constitutional Amendment on November 2014 Ballot

In the November 4, 2014, general election, Texas voters will be asked to approve or reject an amendment to the Texas Constitution to dedicate certain funds to transportation.

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Interim News: October 23, 2014

With the state's ongoing drought and rapidly growing population, desalination is one approach proposed to expand Texans' access to water. This report describes the potential obstacles to large-scale implementation of desalination and how recent developments may spur more interest and investment in the technology. It also examines proposals to lower criminal penalties for marijuana possession and recent changes to marijuana laws in other states.

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Online learning: Trends in K-12 education in Texas

As technological advancements increasingly affect public education, including how and where students receive instruction from kindergarten through high school, questions linger about the most effective ways for schools to employ technology and integrate online learning. This report examines the history of online education in Texas, related legislation considered by the 83rd Legislature in 2013, and issues that may affect future decisions on expanding online education, including school accountability, methods of funding, and availability of technology resources.

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Should Texas Expand Its DNA Arrestee Database?

As a growing number of states adopt or expand laws to collect DNA samples from those arrested for crimes, Texas lawmakers may consider proposals to do the same. Some of the laws adopted or considered in other states require or propose the collection of DNA from all those arrested for felonies, while others include those arrested for misdemeanors. Debate in Texas centers on how proposals to expand DNA collection might affect public safety, privacy, and resource allocation.

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Texas Budget Highlights: Fiscal 2014-15

This report highlights key provisions of SB 1 by Williams, the general appropriations act for fiscal 2014-15 and HB 1025 by Pitts, the supplemental appropriations act.

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Major Issues of the 83rd Legislature

During its 2013 regular session, the 83rd Texas Legislature enacted 1,437 bills and adopted 10 joint resolutions after considering more than 6,061 measures filed. It also enacted three bills during the first called session, two bills during the second called session, and one bill during the third called session.This report includes many of the highlights of the regular session and the three called sessions. It summarizes some proposals that were approved and some that were not. Also included are arguments offered for and against each measure as it was debated.

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Vetoes of Legislation: 83rd Legislature

Gov. Rick Perry vetoed 26 bills approved by the 83rd Legislature during the 2013 regular legislative session. This report includes a digest of each vetoed measure, the governor's stated reason for the veto, and a response by the author or the sponsor of the bill.

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Constitutional Amendments Proposed for November 2013 Ballot

This report examines the nine proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution that will be submitted for voter approval at the general election on Tuesday, November 5, 2013.

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