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Texas lawmakers begin their 83rd legislative session with pressing issues

By Jennifer Kendall, jkendall@ktxs.com
Published On: Jan 08 2013 07:44:14 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 08 2013 07:50:56 PM CST
AUSTIN, Texas -

Texas lawmakers gathered in Austin Tuesday, for the first day of the 83rd Texas Legislative session.

Texas is one of only four states where the legislature meets every two
years. The other 46 states meet yearly.

This year there are more freshman in the House of Representatives than
there have been in four decades and experienced representatives said that could make it a very unpredictable session.

"Well we have 70 odd freshman and sophomores that are starting out in
the House of Representatives, so that's going to be interesting how all
the dust settles," said Rep. Jim Keffer (R), District 60.

Many have said this year's group of freshman lawmakers will move a republican
dominated legislature even farther right.

"I would definitely say its more conservative, which will translate to
people to 'live within our means.' Which you hear a lot and that means they will focus on trying to trim things down and be fiscally responsible," said Rep. Susan King (R), District 71.

Lawmakers likely start this year's 140 day session with a budget surplus of about $8 billion, but senators say that money could disappear quickly.

"Now that we have some revenue how do we invest that revenue in such a
way that we have a long term solution to meeting the growth of this
state," said Sen. Robert Duncan (R), District 28.

Lawmakers agree as the Texas population multiplies so do issues of ifrastructure.

"All these people coming to Texas, we've gotta have drinking water for
them. When they flip on the light switch they've gotta have electricity and
they want roads to drive on," said Sen. Troy Fraser (R), District 24.

That's why this year water, roads and electricity are on everyone's agenda.