Budget passes despite initial rejection by House

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The Texas House of Representatives first rejected, then passed the “must-pass Senate bill” that will balance the state’s 2012-13 biennium budget.

The Senate voted on the bill earlier in the day and passed it 21-9.

The House, which passed the bill two weeks earlier, first voted 64-79; potentially causing a second special session. After Republicans held a caucus, the House reconsidered the legislation and passed the bill with a vote of 80-57.

Rep. Phil King, R-Fort Worth, who was one of 32 Republicans who initially voted against the bill, said it was a hard vote but decided to vote for the legislation after discussing the legislation with other Republicans.

“The statement was made [before the first vote] that unfunded mandates would cost our small counties during the next budget cycle, but it has been checked back into, and that is not the case,” King said.

Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, said since none of the wording was changed in the bill, votes should not change either.

“The writing of the bill has not deviated at all. Regardless of what people think of SB 1 at this point, the wording will speak for itself,” Turner said.

A filibuster against the budget by Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, forced the special session to begin with, and some representatives are saying that poor leadership and time management put the House in this position.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst praised the bill earlier in the day after the Senate adjourned for sine die, saying it was a wonderful budget that Texans would be proud of.