The House Business and Industry Committee wasted no time approving the Senate bill that would open the door for Texas to get $555 million in federal stimulus money to expand unemployment eligibility.
SB 1569 landed in the committee yesterday and the members passed it out Tuesday afternoon in a 6-2 vote. Republican Reps. Wayne Christian of Center and Rob Orr of Burleson were the nays.
Time is of the essence, of course, since there is a good chance Gov. Rick Perry will veto the measure and the chambers could try to override that veto. Perry has not said he will veto the legislation, which passed the Senate last week, but he has repeatedly objected to taking the money.
One significant change made to the bill in committee would undo an amendment proffered by Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, that would make the eligibility changes contingent upon getting the federal money.
The U.S. Department of Labor, however, indicated that Texas would not get the money if that provision remained so the House committee stripped it.
Committee Chairman Joe Deshotel, D-Beaumont, said the bill could come to the House floor next week.