AUSTIN (July 11, 2013)--The Texas Senate Thursday approved key road building and criminal justice measures that have been overshadowed by the intense debate over abortion.
Lawmakers sent to the House a proposed constitutional amendment that would pump billions into road building from the state's cash reserve fund, which is supported by oil and gas severance taxes.
If approved by 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.
The Senate also approved 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.