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Other than that, how was the session, Travis County?

Thursday, June 1, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

Travis County and other local governments heaved a huge sigh of relief at the closure of the 85th Texas Legislature’s regular session on Monday. While lawmakers dealt a number of blows to progressive causes and local control, they never came to an agreement on new revenue caps that would harshly restrict the ability of local jurisdictions to raise their property taxes. In his final regular session report on Tuesday, Travis County Intergovernmental Relations Coordinator Deece Eckstein told the Commissioners Court that the Senate had passed a bill with the new caps in it, but that provision was pulled out by the House. Both chambers were then unable to work out a compromise and that bill died. “And with it died any opportunity for revenue caps during the regular session,” Eckstein said before noting that Gov. Greg Abbott is highly likely to call a special session in June and the threat of revenue caps could very well reappear. As for the rest of the county’s legislative agenda, Eckstein reported that Abbott has already signed one court-endorsed bill into law. Senate Bill 988 clarifies that county judges can video conference themselves remotely into Commissioners Court meetings. County Judge Sarah Eckhardt promised she would use the privilege judiciously. “We may use the technology, but it will only be in circumstances where we’re fully vetted,” said Eckhardt. Other county-supported bills, including one that creates a new civil district court and criminal district court in Travis County, are waiting for Abbott’s signature, Eckstein said.

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