Monday, October 24, 2005 - House to review who pays Texas lobbyists - House to review who pays Texas lobbyists

House Speaker Tom Craddick wants two House committees to investigate the use by local governments and school boards of taxpayer money to lobby the Legislature.

Craddick blamed the education lobby for killing school finance bills that were proposed during this year's regular and two special sessions. He also criticized cities and counties for successfully fighting legislation to lower the cap on property appraisals.

The speaker last week announced the subjects that he wants House committees to study in advance of the 2007 legislative session.

He also charged the Public Education Committee with studying the controversial subject of vouchers by looking at "the impact of successful school choice programs on students, parents and teachers."

Craddick is a longtime supporter of a pilot program to allow families to use taxpayer-funded vouchers to attend private schools. The House killed a voucher bill earlier this year.

The Public Education and General Investigating committees will jointly conduct the review of lobbying.

Groups representing school superintendents and teachers were solidly opposed to school finance bills proposed by the House leadership. They said the legislation provided inadequate funding and intruded on local control.

Gov. Rick Perry, angry about the opposition, in August ordered school districts to disclose funds provided to any person or organization for lobbying or consulting.


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