The Texas House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a supplemental budget bill that could send more than $10 million to Santa Fe Independent School District.

The money is a portion of a $9 billion budget bill, Senate Bill 500, that passed the Texas Senate on March 13, although in a different form that proposed $6 billion in spending.

The House’s version of the bill proposes the state take $4.3 billion from its economic stabilization fund, more commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund.

The same bill would send $2 billion to school districts and state agencies to reimburse costs incurred after Hurricane Harvey and $658 million to retired Texas teachers for a one-time pension bonus payment.

Santa Fe school officials have spent significant time in Austin this session asking legislators to support measures that would allocate money to school districts that have spent millions on security upgrades since a May 18 mass shooting at the district’s high school.

During testimony to the House Education Committee on Tuesday, Santa Fe ISD board President J.R. “Rusty” Norman and Superintendent Leigh Wall told legislators the school district was budgeted to spend $500,000 annually just to man the metal detectors the district installed after the shooting.

In addition to security staff, the school is relying on grant money for mental health counseling, grief counseling and social media monitoring, Norman said.

“We don’t have a good feel right now for how long we will need those things, but we know we’re going to need them for a significant amount of time,” Norman said.

The supplemental bill will now be sent back to the Senate, which must try to reconcile the spending differences.

PORT WAITS ON PILOT ISSUE

The Galveston Wharves Board of Trustees on Tuesday decided the best way to convince state leaders to make a change to the way pilot ship tariffs are handled is to wait a little longer.

Earlier this month, state Sen. Larry Taylor filed a bill that would add the directors of both the ports of Texas City and Galveston to the Board of Pilot Commissioners for Galveston County as non-voting, ex-officio commissioners.

That proposal doesn’t fall in line with what the wharves board was hoping for: the ability to approve or disapprove of changes to the amount of money local pilots charge to ships they guide into the port.

Local port officials said such a change would put Galveston on equal footing with most other Texas ports, which are able to vote on rate increases. (Unlike some ports, Galveston’s wharves board and pilot board are separate entities.)

With the session now getting to the point where legislators are debating and approving bills, Galveston Mayor Jim Yarbrough said it might be better to ask Taylor to back away from his measure, rather than pursue an idea that doesn’t do what the board had hoped for.

”I don’t want to get this ex-officio position and then come back two years later and say ‘We really want parity,’” Yarbrough, who also is a wharves trustee, said. “I want to pull it all off the table and wait two years and do it again.”

The board directed port Director Rodger Rees to advise Taylor on the port’s new stance on the bill.

NOTEBOOK

After U.S. Attorney General William Barr released his four-page letter about the Mueller Report, U.S. Rep. Randy Weber said: “The report is over, and it confirmed something we knew all along: Special Counsel Mueller concluded there is no evidence of collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia. That’s that.” ... There are 60 days remaining in the Texas Legislative session. ... There are 37 days remaining until the May 4 local election. The last day to register to vote in that election is May 4.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

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(4) comments

Louis Wortham

The last day to register to vote in local elections on May 4th is April 4, 2019.

Carrie Wortham

Diane Turski

Since Randy Weber claims that he believes Barr's letter, then how soon will Weber call for release of the full Mueller Report to the public?

George Croix

From the Brookings Institute, not exactly the conservative's best friends, regarding the reports of Special Counsels:

"As for the Attorney General’s own release of a report, the regulation provides (section 600.9(c)) that “[t]he Attorney General may determine that public release of these reports would be in the public interest, to the extent that release would comply with applicable legal restrictions.” Presumably, the major but not exclusive constraint on public release would be the restriction in Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure on release of grand jury information. Under section 600.9(c) of the regulations, the special counsel is not authorized to release information apart from “generally applicable Departmental guidelines concerning public comment with respect to any criminal investigation, and relevant law.”


"......comply with applicable legal restrictions."

Something the 'resistance, and the folk might want to turn both faces toward.....[whistling]

There are sections in the Brookings write up about not releasing sources and methods and not releasing information relevant to national security issues, too, but I left them out because unless anyone is interested in the basic legal issues, then why confuse them with additional facts....[rolleyes]

George Croix

Regarding the article itself,

"The supplemental bill will now be sent back to the Senate, which must try to reconcile the spending differences."

The followup after that is resolved in the Senate then signed into law will tell us what if anything Santa fe will be getting to aid with their security issues. Looks like Rusty's been working to set the lowest marker at a half mil a year......

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