Dispatches from the Dome


The bill would require lawmakers to disclose any government contracts in which they or any family members own a majority stake.

Capriglione was chastised in the House State Affairs committee for the bill by senior members, who demanded to know if he thought they were unethical and accused him of carrying out a "vendetta" against the popular former Rep. Vicki Truitt, who lost to Capriglione in the Republican primary last year.

Without explaining how a person might carry out a vendetta against someone over whom they were victorious, the committee members all but promised Capriglione that his legislation would not see the light of day.

But a groundswell of support for Capriglione from taxpayers groups and backers on social media, who say his bill is good policy long overdue, has buoyed the freshman lawmaker. Now he appears to be reaching a compromise to get his bill out of committee, though his bill still faces multiple roadblocks before it could become law.

Addressing bigger issues

The House and Senate have begun addressing some of the biggest priorities of the session, with the Senate passing its version of the 2014–15 budget and the House readying for debates next week on a state water plan and public school accountability testing—both named top issues by Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus.

Horseshoe Bay Republican Sen. Troy Fraser leads the Senate Natural Resources Committee and is carrying the Senate's version of the water bill, which seeks to ensure that the state has funded water projects during the next 50 years.

The bill uses $2 billion from the state's rainy day fund to create the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas. The House version hits the House floor next week, and Fraser will then shepherd the issue through the Senate.

Drawing back the curtain

Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D–Austin, and Fort Worth Sen. Wendy Davis have filed joint legislation intended to unveil the third-party lenders who bankroll payday lending operations they say take advantage of low-income people.

The bill would allow the Office of the Consumer Credit Commissioner to disclose the names of the secret financial beneficiaries of these loans.

"We've been trying to find out who the big-money interests are that benefit from these lenders' predatory practices," Rodriguez said. "Until we know who is really behind the curtain, we won't make legislative progress to rein in the worst abuses."

Quote of the week

"Plastic bags were banned in Austin. I can see the icecaps already growing back." —Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, on his Facebook page
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