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Politics

Eager Texas Lawmakers File First Bills of 2013 Session

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Lizzie Chen for KUT News

Today is the first day Texas lawmakers can file bills ahead of the 2013 legislative session. The 200 or so early bills are usually a hodgepodge of political statements, second attempts and high priority legislation.

The first bill filed today was by San Antonio Democrat Trey Martinez-Fischer. HB 21 would create a central database of people who have committed crimes against children or involving family or dating violence. Three of Martinez-Fischer's first five bills are focused on sex crimes.

In the second effort category, multiple lawmakers filed a bill that would ban the use of cell phones and similar electronic devices while driving. That includes Midland Republican Tom Craddick. His bill banning texting while driving passed the legislature in 2011, but was vetoed by Governor Rick Perry.

Several first-day bills filed by Republicans in 2010 focused on illegal immigration, and efforts to curb it in Texas. Maybe because of Mitt Romney's poor performance among Hispanics (or maybe not), there were no immigration bills filed by mid-afternoon today.

Other bills of note: one creating a constitutional proposition to allow casino gambling, one to create a penalty for distributing or prescribing abortion-inducing drugs, multiple attempts to cap state spending, and several bills that would change or end the use of the state’s STAAR test used in the public school accountability system.

Around 7,000 bills are filed each legislative session. The next session begins on January 8, 2013.

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