2013 Legislative Sesssion
9:05 am
Wed April 10, 2013

At the Capitol: Three Bills Gov. Perry Should Be Watching Today

Three bills related to Gov. Rick Perry are getting a vetting today.

The Texas Senate is set to hear two bills scrutinizing the use of money from the Texas Enterprise Fund. The Texas Enterprise Fund is Perry’s economic development program that gives taxpayer money to private business. Some Austin recipients include Apple and Visa.

SB 1390 will audit the efficiency and effectiveness of the Texas Enterprise Fund – the Governor’s signature economic program. It will determine whether the fund’s endowments comply with all Texas mandates, as well as ensure accountability for the proper use of the disbursed money. The bill will require the state auditor to prepare a report of the audit no later than January 1, 2015 with a detail of past and present grant recipients. The Senate Committee on Economic Development passed the bill. It now heads to the full senate.

SB 1496 will encourage the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Emerging Technology Fund to issue grants encouraging the development of “historically underutilized business” within the state. According to the bill, “historically underutilized business” means a corporation where the majority stakeholder is an economically disadvantaged person. The committee also passed this bill. Now, it will be taken up on the senate floor.

The Texas Enterprise Fund has granted over $485 million to companies since 2003 and has never been audited for accountability or efficiency.

The Texas House State Affairs Committee will hear a bill lauded by Governor Perry and the Legislature’s conservatives. HB 2364 would ban abortions after 20 or more weeks of pregnancy, unless deemed a medical emergency. That hearing is at 1 p.m.

Anti-abortion activists argue that 20 weeks is the point when a fetus can feel pain. Abortion rights activists say no scientific studies support this claim. The federal government currently allows bans on abortions after 24 weeks, but those between 12 and 24 weeks fall under state regulation.