Sine Die: Texas Legislature adjourns

Sine Die: Texas Legislature adjourns

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The Texas Legislature is adjourned until 2021. 

This weekend was a flurry of conference reports and final approvals from both chambers. A stack of bills now sits on Governor Abbott's desk.

Among them: the school finance reform plan and capping your property taxes. This combination, the "Big Three" say, will change the state's future. They said both were in desperate need of overhaul.

With those accomplished, Governor Abbott says there will be no special session.

Budget

The governor now has the opportunity to line-item veto the budget. The $250 billion plan most revolves around property taxes and school finance.

It includes more than $94 billion for the state's public schools and universities, an increase of 10 percent over the budget approved two years ago.

Lawmakers cut $900 million from the Medicaid program, and mandate agencies find more cuts to make.

The plan does not dip into the "rainy day fund" for actual appropriations. It sets aside more than $6 billion for large-scale infrastructure projects and Hurricane Harvey relief.

Mental health

Buried deep in the budget is $5 million to the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center specifically for its TWITR program. It stands for Telemedicine, Wellness, Intervention, Triage and Referral initiative. 

It's an integral part of the state's planned Mental Health Consortium, lined out in its school safety plan.

TWITR will connect rural or poor school districts with trained mental health experts who can identify dangerous students and get them treatment.

The Mental Health Consortium is intended to connect all the medical schools and hospitals in the state, to provide as much coverage and support as possible.

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