New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 11, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas
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The Texas House approved a draft school finance law on Friday that could soften a $4 billion blow to the state's public schools.
An amendment to the law, proposal by Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, would allow the state comptroller to spend money collected unexpectedly by the state on education instead of sending it to the Rainy Day Fund. The comptroller forecasts the fund would be worth $9.8 billion by the end of 2013, but if oil prices remain high, that total could reach $12 billion or more.
The draft school finance bill goes to a conference committee, where senators and representatives will work out the differences between their two versions of the bill.
Republicans have insisted the overall 2012-2013 budget should stay within the currently available revenue. That means a cut of $27 billion worth of services from what the state currently provides, including a $6.6 billion cut that would maintain the current level of school funding.
Democrats wanted to spend $4 billion from the Rainy Day Fund to ease cuts, and Howard's amendment was seen as a compromise.
The comptroller could only use money beyond what was expected, and the amount would be capped at $2.2 billion. That equals the amount experts predict the state neeas to cover the growing number of students over the next two years.
"It is contingent on the funds being there, but if they are there, and the (student) growth is occurring, then we will have it available," Howard said.
Conservatives condemned the measure as soon as it passed with bipartisan support Thursday night, sending out e-mails and Twitter messages calling the move a betrayal of the pledges some Republicans made not to use more than $3.2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund.
Berkman rediscovers his stroke in St. Louis
By Chris Hoffman
There is word on the street in Houston that a "Bring Back Lance" petition is circulating among Astros fans.
And with the All-Star season the 13-year veteran is having, who would blame them for wanting to bring back one of their own?
Longtime fan Eric Daniels, 53, pointed up to where Berkman's mural draped over Minute Maid Park along Milo Hamilton Way.
"He should still be up there," Daniels said Thursday. "I don't think I'll ever get use to him being with St.
VOTE FOR LANCE St. Louis OF Lance Berkman
has 1,382,436 votes for the 2011 All-Star Game, third among NL outfielders. Go to herald-zeitung.com/sports to
vote for him.
Louis. He'll always be an Astro."
Now, almost a full year since Berkman was shipped to the New York Yankees at the trade deadline, Berkman is finally at peace with his return to where it all began.
The shock of playing at his old stomping grounds at Minute Maid
fork in a Cardinal uniform has worn off — although he was puzzled at being booed after breaking up Bud Norris' no-hitter with a solo homer in the seventh on Wednesday.
"I did hear some boos, but I think maybe they were for Albert (Pujols)," Berkman joked in the clubhouse before batting practice. "I think they didn't realize that I was up to bat. It might have just been some carry over."
At home at Minute Maid Park
There is no doubt the Canyon High School standout loves to play
See LANCE, Page 10A
Wentworth’s redistricting plan up for hearing
By Greg Bowen
A public hearing has been set for Monday on New Braunfels' Sen. Jeff Wentworth's Senate Bill 22, which would create an independent redistricting commission to draw congressional seats for Texas.
The bill was filed by Wentworth, R-San Antonio, on June 1.
The hearing will be conducted by the Select Redistricting Committee at 1:30 p.m. Monday in Room E1.036 at the state Capitol in Austin.
Under Wentworth's plan, a new Texas Congressional Redistricting Commission would be created to draw district lines for congressional districts, taking the direct redistricting process out of the hands of the legislature and delegating it to an independent panel.
The bill provides that the nine-member commission would be comprised of four members selected by
House and Senate Republicans, four members selected by House and Senate Democrats, and a non-voting presiding officer selected by the commission members.
Wentworth has said his plan would bring to an end the divisive and highly partisan exercise of redistricting "that always results in bad blood, expensive lawsuits, and gerrymandered Congressional districts, which are a disservice to Texans."
"Thirteen other states already do something similar, and it works."
300 rounds exchanged during border shootout
SAN ANTONIO (AP)
U.S. law enforcement officials exchanged about 300 rounds of gunfire with suspected drug runners during a pre-dawn shootout across the Rio Grande, but only about six came from the suspects, authorities said Friday.
The Texas Department of Public Safety, whose Rangers were involved in the shootout, said such an overwhelming response was standard given the United States' zero tolerance policy when guns are pointed at its authorities. Department officials previously said
the Americans were under "heavy fire," but they've since backed away from that.
The incident began about 6:30 a.m. Thursday, when U.S. Border Patrol agents spotted a Dodge Durango near the lightly populated border town of Abram, said Steve
McGraw, director of the Department of Public Safety Director.
Agents who gave chase found the truck abandoned on the banks of the Rio Grande, and a group of people on the Mexican shore unloading bundles of marijuana from rubber rafts.
EMILY JONES SEELE ELEMENTARY
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Vol. 158 I No. 182 2 sections, 20 pages
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