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Who? What? When? Where? How Much? LBJ's Experts Provide Perspective, Insight as the 81st Texas Legislative Session Begins

AUSTIN, Texas, January 15, 2009—With the beginning of the 81st legislative session this week comes a host of new issues, challenges and questions facing Texas lawmakers. Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs faculty Jacqueline Angel, Michele Deitch, David Eaton, Sherri Greenberg, Cynthia Osborne, David Warner, Pat Wong, and the LBJ School's Center for Politics and Governance (CPG) Director Veronica Vargas Stidvent have the insight and the expertise to assist in coverage of the 81st.

Jacqueline L. Angel, 512-471-2956,

  • Medicaid: Can we expect any changes to Medicaid benefits?
  • Older Texans: Will there be any legislation that will affect older adults?

Gary Chapman, 512-471-8326,

  • Will there by any changes to science and technology policy?
  • What is the future of telecommunications and Internet policy in Texas?

Michelle Deitch, 512-328-8330,

  • Criminal Justice: What will happen with the Texas Youth Commission?
  • Criminal Justice:  What will be the other major criminal justice issues?

David Eaton, 512-471-8972,

  • Water Conservation: What efforts will the State take towards conserving water?
  • Water Investment: How will the State invest in water and waste water infrastructure?
  • Water Investment: What issues may arise with inter-basin water transfers?
  • Water and the Border: What issues may arise around the shared water across the Mexico-Texas border?

Sherri Greenberg, 512-656-6592,

  • The new Speaker:  What to expect with the new Speaker?
  • Committees:  How will Committee Chairs and Committee Members be selected?
  • The budget: What to expect with the Comptroller’s new revenue estimate today which is $9 billion less than last time?  Also, lottery sales are down.
  • How will the State continue to fund the Texas State Schools for Persons with Developmental Disabilities?
  • Higher Education:  Will there be changes to the top 10% rule?  Will the legislature re-evaluate tuition deregulation?
  • Public Education:  Will public education receive much attention this session?
  • Tax Reform:  Will we see changes to the Margins Tax this session?
  •  Transportation:  Will the Legislature implement the Sunset Commission recommendations?  What will happen with toll roads?
  • Campaigns & Elections:  Will there be any major legislation?
  • Contracting Out:  What will happen with the Data Center Consolidation and the Benefits Eligibility System?
  • Environment:  Is there an opportunity for major renewable energy and environmental legislation? Will the federal stimulus plan help?
  • E-government: What is e-government? How is Texas using the Internet and other technologies to transform its infrastructure? What are the security and privacy issues that come along with e-government?
  • Urban Issues: How has housing in Texas been affected by the financial crisis? What kinds of economic developments can we expect to see?

David Warner, 512-471-6277,

  • Healthcare:  Will potential federal healthcare legislation have an affect on Texas?

Pat Wong, 512-471-8962, and Cynthia Osborne, 512-471-9808,        

  • Will there be any major children’s legislation?
  • Will there be any major welfare legislation?
Veronica Vargas Stidvent, 512-417-2760, and Sherri Greenberg, 512-656-6592,
  • Immigration: What are the general issues?
  • Immigration:  What will happen with Drivers License checkpoints?
  • Immigration:  Will any of the unsuccessful bills from last session prevail this time?

Press Breaks

Sherri Greenberg - The Daily Texan - House takes steps to up state budget - 1/9/2009

Sherri Greenberg- Austin American Statesman - 2009 Legislature: Political ambitions will tint legislative session- 1/12/2009

Sherri Greenberg - Austin American Statesman - Riding herd on state contractors isn't easy; Lawmaker says contracting likely to get closer look - 1/25/2009

Sherri Greenberg - KXAN - Legislation 101: How to take part - 1/25/2009

 Sherri Greenberg - The Daily Texan - Lessons from the Lege: House to consider changes for speaker, committees - 1/27/2009