AUSTIN (KXAN) - It is crunch time at the State Capitol. Texas lawmakers have just two weeks left until the end of the session on Memorial Day.
Hundreds of bills will fly through both the House and Senate in a mad dash to get important pieces of legislation to Gov. Rick Perry's desk.
"The biggest issue's still the budget," said Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin. "I'm working with members of the conference committee to make sure we get this done."
Watson explained the budget – the only piece of legislation lawmakers are constitutionally required to pass – has an effect on several other crucial items – especially education, water infrastructure, transportation funding and the state's employee retirement system.
"This morning, I think when everybody rolled out of bed, they realized that they were in a different gear," he added. "We're at that point in the session where you're starting to be able to count the lost opportunities, but hopefully we'll be able to get the key work done here in the last two weeks.
Freshman Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, said her first session has taught her the legislative process is not a speedy one.
"I have an emergency room personality," Campbell said. "That's why me being a physician in the emergency room fits so well. I'm used to things moving fast and seeing productivity in the emergency room quickly. Then I come here to a government job and you stop."
This year lawmakers filed more than 6,000 pieces of legislation. So far fewer than 200 have passed.
"I like that there's good legislation," said Campbell, who worked to pass high-profile abortion- and gun-related bills. "Yet I don't like it in that it takes so long to get through the process."
Like last session, lawmakers might have to remain in Austin for part of the summer. The governor has threatened to call a special session if they do not figure out a plan for the budget, water issues and tax relief.
"I still hold out the belief and hope that we can achieve the goals that we need to achieve," said Watson.
An armed robbery in South Austin set off a search for two men with guns early Friday morning.
Two school buses and a car crashed on eastbound Parmer Lane near Ranch Road 620 on Friday morning but there were no reports of injuries.
A local road project more than two decades in the making won't save drivers as much time as many had hoped.
The University of Texas Board of Regents adjourned Thursday without taking action on the job status of embattled UT President Bill Powers.
Longhorns coach Mack Brown talked with reporters Thursday for the first time since reports surfaced this week that he could be stepping down.
Patchy light rain is forecast in Central Texas on Friday as an upper level disturbance moves across the state. Rainfall totals are expected to be very light, and showers will end by Friday night. Sunshine, but breezy and cool conditions …