AUSTIN, Texas — State lawmakers worked to pass any remaining bills ahead of the end of the legislative session – which comes to a close on Memorial Day.
Sunday night, lawmakers passed the one bill they're constitutionally required to pass, the state's two-year budget, which is House Bill 1.
Both chambers praised their colleagues for passing a budget that they call conservative, yet meets the needs of the Lone Star State.
"This is a responsible, forward-thinking budget that meets our needs," said Jane Nelson, the State Senator for District 12, who also served as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which shapes the state's budget.
Another big bill that was passed by both chambers was Senate Bill 11, the school safety bill. It sets aside money to ensure school buildings are secure and for programs to better identify students who are at risk of hurting themselves or others.
Senate Bill 12 was also passed by both chambers. It puts more money into the teacher retirement system and gives retired teachers a "13th check" which is a one-time extra monthly payment of $2,000.
The last bill the Senate passed Sunday night was House Bill 1177. It lets Texans carry concealed guns – with or without a permit – for a week after any declaration of disaster. That bill passed on a very tight vote of 16-15.
On a lighter note, the Senate also passed House Bill 234, which they jokingly called the "Save Our Lemonade Stands" Bill. It bans cities, counties and homeowners associations from passing ordinances and permit requirements aimed at stopping children from selling lemonade. Now, they're free to set up shop as long as they have permission from the property owner.
Saturday night also saw a few big bills pass.
Both chambers passed House Bill 3, the school finance reform bill. Under the bill, the state plans to increase its share of funding public schools from 38% to 45%. It also increases the basic allotment per student and has money for teacher raises.
Senate Bill 2, the property tax reform bill, also passed through both chambers. It would reduce the amount cities and counties can increase your property taxes without voter approval from 8% to 3.5%.
For school districts, it would reduce from 8% to 2.5%.
The last day of this session begins Monday morning, Memorial Day.
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