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Lawmakers cooperate to tackle priorities as deadline looms

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TWC News: Lawmakers cooperate to tackle priorities as deadline looms
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Just two weeks away from the end of the legislative session, state lawmakers still have a lot of work to do.

When it comes to priorities of the 83rd Legislature, it doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you ask. Bipartisan cooperation has been more prevalent as the end of session deadline looms.

"Water needs of Texas, transportation, education," Democratic Senator John Whitmire said. “We're still not clear how we're going to fund those."

Governor Rick Perry has said he wants lawmakers to spend $2 billion to fund the state's water needs and he wants lawmakers to come up with $1.8 billion in tax breaks.

"Tax relief is a major concern for many of us, also for the governor, and we haven't seen a whole lot of that yet, so we've still got some work to do,” Republican Rep. Bryan Hughes said.

But Senator Whitmire says that's a lofty goal.

"We're not—in my judgment—in a position to return taxpayers’ money because those same taxpayers that he would return money to are also demanding more services," he said.

With a laser focus on the budget, water, transportation and education, little has been debated on issues known to stir controversy like immigration, redistricting and abortion.

"Many people in the House and Senate run on the pro-life issue, folks back home send us here to do something about that,” Rep. Hughes said. “None of those bills have come to the floor so folks are frustrated about that."

The state's top priorities aside, many lawmakers are still hopeful their policy issues will get pushed through in the coming days.

A possible special session could also make way for additional legislation.

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