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February 24, 2015

The bill count is climbing and fast. The Texas House filed a flurry of bills last week — 28 percent more than what the House filed in 2013. Today, Texas Senate and House members have filed a total of 3,577 bills and joint resolutions. The House filed 2,599 bills, while the Texas Senate has filed 978. Bill filing is likely to continue at an accelerated pace, as the filing deadline for House bills is Friday, March 13.

The Senate Finance Committee Chair Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Sen. Charles Schwertner, MD (R-Georgetown), held a news conference this morning to unveil the Senate’ tax relief proposal. The tax relief package contains $4.6 billion in franchise and property cuts and consists of three bills: Senate Bills 1 and 7 by Senator Nelson, and Senate Bill 8 by Senator Schwertner. More details to come.

The Texas House is expected to release its tax relief package this week as well.

Meanwhile, the House Appropriation Subcommittees are reviewing higher education and health and human services spending today. Tomorrow, the full House Appropriations Committee will convene. It’s scheduled to hold meetings through Friday.

Joel Dunnington, MD, a former member of TMA’s Council on Public Health and Board of Trustee took the stand before the House Public Education Committee today. Testifying on behalf of TMA and the Texas Pediatric Society, he asked committee members to support House Bill 456 by Rep. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio), which would prohibit the use of e-cigarettes on school campuses.

FIRST TUESDAY IS BACK. Join your colleagues next week on Tuesday, March 3, for First Tuesdays at the Capitol. So far, nearly 200 physicians, medical students, and Alliance members have committed to be in Austin for the day. Register today.

The physician of the day at the Capitol is Georgeanne Freeman, DO, of Austin. Dr. Freeman graduated from Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons in Des Moines, Iowa. She is a member of TMA and the Travis County Medical Society.

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