Biggest issues in the 83rd Texas state legislature - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Biggest issues in the 83rd Texas state legislature

Amarillo, TX - Both the nation and the state of Texas are up for some major changes in the near future as lawmakers get set to tackle some highly contested issues.

In the last legislative session, Governor Perry designated five issues as "emergency" items, including eminent domain, abortion sonograms, sanctuary cities, voter ID laws, and of course, the budget.

Like every state these days, Texas is operating on a tighter budget than usual - we started this year off with a projected $27 billion shortfall.

But although that may sound like a lot, Texas actually has the lowest per-capita spending of any state, meaning there's not much fat to trim in the first place.

Another issue is "sanctuary cities," which are those cities with practices in which illegal immigrants can skirt federal law in terms of employment and housing, and police frequently lack the authority to detain them.

Legislators never reached a resolution on sanctuary cities last year.

Eminent domain was also designated a high-priority issue, as recent pipeline disputes have some asking for clarification of exactly under what circumstances it can be called into play.

Abortion sonograms are also one of the governor's high-priority issues, and last year mandatory sonograms before abortions were greenlighted by the judicial branch.

Some stipulations of the current state voter ID laws, which require identification for voter registration, took effect September 1st, and the rest of the changes take place today.

Lawmakers will take on these issues and more when they reconvene next Tuesday (Jan. 8th).

If you'd like to learn more about the state budget or current legislative issues, follow the links attached to this story.

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