The Texas Legislature starts session Tuesday with 140 days to figure out how to pay for public schools after slashing $5.4 billion from classrooms in 2011, whether unemployment recipients should be drug-tested and perhaps confront a water crisis under the strain of a rapidly growing population.
That says nothing about the significant political backdrop of the 83rd legislative session that is poised to renew hot-button issues over abortion access and gun laws.
Not only will this be among the most inexperienced Legislatures in recent history -- there are 43 freshman in the 150-member House, the most in four decades -- but Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst are out to reassert their power following failed runs for higher offices last year.