Agenda Texas: Water and Education Bills Take Next Steps (TT 6-12-13)

As those education measures came in for a smooth landing, a big public debate was just taking off ? and it?s all about water.

?It?s historic, it?s critical, it?s monumental. Texas needs it today and for years to come,” said Heather Harward, executive director of the H2O4Texas Coalition, which supports a constitutional proposition to spend $2 billion from the state?s Rainy Day Fund to jump-start water infrastructure projects. On Monday it launched its push to pass that amendment.

The group will now hit the streets to make sure people show up to vote in November?s constitutional election ? not an easy task. Those elections traditionally have turnouts of between 5 and 8 percent. But Laura Huffman, state director of the Nature Conservancy, thinks Texans have plenty of reasons to head to the polls.

?There isn?t a Texan out there that doesn?t intimately understand what drought means now,” Huffman said. “Not only did it affect our economy, but it affected people’s quality of life. And people in Texas are really looking at water differently, and I think understand that we?re going to have to fund our future when it comes to water.?

And with another dry, hot summer in the forecast, H2O?s Harward doesn?t see the concern over water diminishing.

?While we hate to endure and see that happen again, it does really embody exactly why we have to stay on top of this issue, and make sure that voters remember how essential water is to public health and the economy,” Harward said.

Tea Party and other conservative groups are not happy with the use of rainy day funds to help pay for water projects. And some organized opposition to the constitutional amendment is expected.

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