The Texas Senate is expected vote Thursday on key road building and criminal justice measures that have been overshadowed by the intense debate over abortion.
State lawmakers are considering a constitutional amendment that would pump billions into road building from the state's cash reserve fund. That fund is supported by oil and gas severance taxes. If approved by the Senate and House, the measure would go to voters statewide in November.
Texas transportation leaders say the state needs about $4 billion more for roads per year. The measure before lawmakers would spend less than a quarter of that.
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The Senate also is considering a bill that would bring Texas in line with a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling banning sentences of life in prison for 17-year-old capital murder defendants.