Ed Sterling

AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry on Nov. 24 urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency not to pass a proposed framework that would toughen regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

Examples of greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, ozone and methane. Perry said the EPA is planning to reinterpret the federal Clean Air Act in ways that would “cripple the Texas economy.”

Concerned that the EPA will take action before President George W. Bush’s term of office ends in January, Perry and a group of other governors scheduled a Dec. 2 meeting with president-elect Barack Obama to discuss regulatory concerns.

Perry on Nov. 24 proposed:

• Making alternative energy technologies less expensive to encourage commercial use.

• Removing barriers to innovation and competition.

• Modernizing the national energy grid to support wind and solar energy transmission.

• Facilitating investments in the development of carbon capture and sequestration technologies.

• Removing barriers to investment in nuclear generation that would reduce carbon emissions.

• Encouraging competitiveness, innovation and growth in alternative energy sources.

Filing of early bills continues Jan. 13 is the start date for the 81st session of the Texas Legislature and March 13 is the deadline for the filing of major bills, so there is plenty of time for every Texan’s state rep and senator to attempt to make new laws or repeal or amend existing ones.

As of Nov. 30, Texas lawmakers had filed more than 700 bills to be considered in the coming session. Here are a couple of bills that were filed Thanksgiving week.

SB 321 by Elliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, would require the filing and posting on the Internet of reports of school board candidates’ political contributions and expenditures.

HB 345 by Gary Elkins, R-Houston, would require businesses to do more to protect sensitive personal information contained in customer records. SB 327 by Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, is the same as HB 345.

Board limits state budget

The Texas Constitution requires the Legislature to pass a state budget that does not exceed the projected growth of the state economy. In mid-November, the 10-member Legislative Budget Board unanimously adopted a rate of 9.14 percent for fiscal 2010-11.

The rate reflects the estimated growth rate in the state economy from the 2008-2009 biennium to the 2010-2011 biennium as projected by the Texas Comptroller.

The LBB is required to meet and set the constitutional spending limit prior to every legislative session. It is co-chaired by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Tom Craddick, and includes certain automatic appointed members.

They include Steve Ogden, R-College Station, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Warren Chisum, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and Jim Keffer, chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means; and appointed members, Sens. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, John Whitmire, D-Houston; and Reps. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, and Sylvester Turner, D-Houston.

TEA chief joins task force

The Texas Education Agency announced Nov. 25 that Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott has been selected to serve on a 10-member presidential transition task force to develop education recommendations that could be carried out during the first 100 days of the Obama administration.

The task force was created by the Council of Chief State School Officers, a geographically and politically diverse group that will forward its recommendations to the next U.S. secretary of education.

Mattox buried in state cemetery

Former Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox, 65, died of a heart attack in his sleep at his home in Dripping Springs on Nov. 19. His body lay in repose in the Texas House Chamber on Nov. 24, and thousands paid their respects. Mattox was buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin on Nov. 25.