The Lead
8:52 am
Tue January 8, 2013

The Lead: It's Opening Day at the 83rd Texas Legislature

Good morning. Wet weather is making some Austin commutes difficult this morning. With heavier storms forecast this afternoon, you can read these wet weather driving tips from AAA Texas.

Lead story: They’re heeeeeere!

The 83rd Texas Legislature convenes at noon today. And aside from doing its part to boost the local economy, via JoS. A. Bank sales and steakhouse receipts, it’ll try to get a little governing done too.

One big issue the 83rd faces is setting the budget. It will also consider using the state’s Rainy Day Fund for infrastructure improvements for water and roads.

Funding for education will also be important. More than 600 Texas school districts are suing the state because of the way Texas funds schools. And against that backdrop, a program to incentivize business support of private schools is also on tap.

And with Gov. Rick Perry calling the 83rd “the most conservative Legislature in the 28 years that I have served in Austin, Texas,” expect conservative red meat by the truckload: guns in schools, a late-term abortion ban, and more.

As for today, we’ll see a vote to elect the House Speaker. The Texas Tribune writes:

“House Speaker Joe Straus, seeking a third term at the helm, is the overwhelming favorite to win Tuesday's vote by House members. But he faces a persistent challenger in Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, a second-term conservative who says the incumbent’s administration is too opaque and too beholden to entrenched interests and political factions in Austin.”

Gallery watchers will also hear remarks from Gov. Perry, plus house and senate leadership.

You can watch the opening online (provided you have the circa-2000 app RealPlayer installed and “a 56K modem connection or higher.”)

Death on Austin roads: A collision this morning has lead to one death this morning. Austin-Travis County EMS reports this morning that a collision in East Austin has left one person dead.

No word at this time on the role this morning’s weather played in the collision. Heavier storms are expected to roll into Austin this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service, providing the city with a good soaking rain. Be careful.