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How Will The Elections Affect Business At The Texas Capitol?


Tuesday's Republican sweep added a new layer of conservatism to state government in Texas.

KERA’s Shelley Kofler talked with Ross Ramsey with The Texas Tribune about how that might play out at the Texas Legislature.

Ramsey believes new tea party Republicans and a more conservative lieutenant governor could produce legislation in the Texas Senate that more moderate Republicans and Democrats have previously rejected.

Interview Highlights ...

Tougher Immigration Laws

Tougher immigration measures to add more law enforcement on the border and to repeal the Dream Act might be on the table, Ramsey said. The Dream Act, passed in 2001, gives in-state tuition to undocumented students who graduate from Texas high schools.

School Funding

Democratic candidates talked a lot about restoring public education funding state lawmakers cut in 2011.  The Legislature also faces a judge’s ruling that says the state’s school finance plan is “unconstitutional” because the state isn’t spending enough for students to meet standards Texas has set. Ramsey believes legislators will postpone questions of increased school spending until the state’s appeal of the judge’s ruling is heard by the Texas Supreme Court. That could be a year or two away. In the meantime, significant new school funding is unlikely.

A Texas Solution On Medicaid

Some Republicans and Democrats in the Texas Legislature have said they want to again try to come up with a Texas plan to draw down the $100 billion in federal Medicaid money the state gave up when it rejected Obamacare. Ramsey believes this election makes it less likely lawmakers will back a solution to expand Medicaid and bring those dollars to Texas.

As for what kind of voice Democrats will have at the Capitol?

“Elections have consequences,” Ramsey said.  “It’s going to be tough on the Democrats for a while.”

Former KERA staffer Shelley Kofler was news director, managing editor and senior reporter. She is an award-winning reporter and television producer who previously served as the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.