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00000175-b316-d35a-a3f7-bbdeff690001Agenda Texas is KUT's weekly report on the Texas Legislative session. Each week we'll take a deeper look into the policies being considered and explain what they could mean for you and your life. From transportation to education to the environment and everything in between.It's KUT's political podcast that lets you know what's happening under the dome and explains how it hits home.

Agenda Texas: 2014 Elections Drive the 2013 Session

Election Day is Saturday for several Central Texas cities and school districts.
Photo by KUT News
Election Day is Saturday for several Central Texas cities and school districts.

We’ve still got a few weeks left in the Texas Legislative session. And while the bills have begun to fly around the Capitol, Spring is also the time when a young lawmaker’s mind turns to other things: the next election.

But is it too soon to be thinking about 2014 and beyond?

"Well the reality is that every legislative session plays out against the backdrop of whatever the next election cycle is," Texas Tribune CEO and Editor in Chief Evan Smith said.

The big election question this session isn't necessarily who is voting for or against what, but whether or not Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Attorney General Greg Abbott move on to different positions.

"A number of ambitious and smart and hungry Republicans have been made to stand to the side," Smith said. "It's kind of like the pressure in a bottle that's going to push the cork out and skyward."

The cork, in this case, represents Gov. Perry. All eyes will be on him in June, as he announces his future plans. Smith is still betting he will not run for governor in 2014, and will instead focus all his energies on running for President again in 2016.

Oh, and if you want even more proof that politicians always have the next election in the back of their mind, you got it Thursday. The Senate Finance committee passed a proposed constitutional amendment that would spend $6 billion on water infrastructure and roads out of the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund, better known as the Rainy Day Fund.

But was the new plan to fund road and water projects needed?

Governor Rick Perry talked about spending money on Water and Transportation in hisState of the State address. Today he even proposed sending billions in future motor vehicle sales taxes to pay for roads.

The House already appeared to have more than enough support to spend billions from the rainy day fund for water projects. And yet this proposed amendment, sending the question to the voters, has come forward.

That may be because one of several things the proposal does is provide cover to Republicans worried about casting a vote themselves to increase state spending, and spending down the state’s piggy bank.  Doing either tends to bring an opponent in the next GOP primary.
@Agenda Texas

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.
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