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Texas Station Collaborative

From Texas Standard:

After months of back and forth over how to fix what ails funding for Texas schools, lawmakers argued late into the night, Wednesday over a bill that would pump more state money into school budgets statewide. In the end, members of the House and Senate couldn't see eye to eye on what to leave in the bill to make school financing more equitable statewide.

From Texas Standard:

By now, most Texans are familiar with Sid Miller. Famous for his ever-present cowboy hat, the state agriculture commissioner – who's also a rancher and a Republican – has generated his share of controversy in recent months. But this week he's making news on his own terms with a commentary written for TribTalk, the editorial wing of the Texas Tribune.

Texas lawmakers are close to passing yet another abortion bill, roughly a year after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the state's last major abortion legislation.

The U.S. Census is out with new numbers on which cities grew the most and which cities grew the fastest last year. Texas leads the pack in both categories.

From Texas Standard:

"Dead on arrival" is how Texas senior senator, Republican John Cornyn, characterized the formal budget plan unveiled by President Trump. It puts 66 programs on the chopping block, and includes a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency, a 30 percent cut for the State Department and 20 percent from the Department of Agriculture.

With just days left in the Texas 2017 regular legislative session, the fate of a so-called “bathroom bill” is still uncertain.

Just after 1 a.m., state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) attached an amendment to a House bill in an effort to extend the life of the Senate’s controversial proposal.

Jen Rice / Texas Station Collaborative

At the Texas Capitol, being a rookie lawmaker is a lot like starting any new job. Your first week, you just want to find the right office without getting lost in an empty hallway.

As the 85th Texas Legislature starts its final full week, we asked two freshmen members of the Texas House of Representatives what they’ve learned about low bill numbers and high expectations.

From Texas Standard:

On its current path, the Dallas police and fire pension fund would run out of money in 10 years, leaving thousands of public safety pensioners in the lurch.

From Texas Standard:

The end may be near for straight-ticket voting in Texas. House Bill 25, which would ban the practice, passed out of the Senate Thursday. It's got one more stop in the lower chamber before heading to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk. Prominent Democrats are decrying the bill – saying it would dilute Democratic votes.

This may be the most anxious time of year for affordable-housing developers in Texas. In a few weeks, they'll find out whether their applications for low-income housing tax credits have been approved, and the decision could spell life or death for their proposed projects.

The end of this year’s legislative session is a little more than a week away, and health advocates say lawmakers are missing an opportunity to deal with a public health crisis in the state.

Last year, researchers reported a sharp spike between 2010 and 2012 in the number of women in Texas who died while pregnant or soon after giving birth, but they don’t know why.

From Texas Standard:

It was May 172015, shortly after noon in the parking lot of a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas. Little is known about what started it. Some say it was a fight over a parking space that led to a patron’s foot being run over. And suddenly in the mix – a flurry of gunfire.

Texas leads the country in wind energy production and, because of the way the state’s electric grid is set up, most of that power stays right here. But a plan that would allow the state to make money exporting wind and solar power is moving slowly. 

Government officials and community activists from across the state gathered outside the Texas Capitol on Tuesday to voice support for taking legal action to stop the so-called “sanctuary cities" law.

A month ago, President Donald Trump signed a measure that would allow state and local governments to deny federal funds to family planning clinics that also provide abortions. Texas may soon be the first state to test out that measure to defund clinics like Planned Parenthood. 

From Texas Standard:

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing arguments Monday in Seattle on whether President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban is a form of religious discrimination. The revised order limits travel from six, instead of seven Middle Eastern countries. Iraq is no longer included on the list thanks to the efforts of Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the former inspector general for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).

The Zika virus presents a lot of complications for public health officials, but according to a new study, one of the biggest problems is a knowledge gap.

There's a fight looming at the Texas Legislature: how to balance the state budget for the next two years.

The Texas House's version of the budget pulls $2.5 billion from the state's savings account, also known as the Economic Stabilization Fund, or Rainy Day, Fund.  Right now, there's more than $10 billion in that reserve.

The Senate, though, says it doesn't want to pull out any of that money.

But before that debate heats up, we got to wondering how all that money got there in the first place.

From Texas Standard:

With the legislative session set to end on May 29, time is running out to pass a state budget, and resolve the avalanche of other bills that are still moving between chambers of the Legislature. And then there are the governor's priority items, some of which are still stuck, because lawmakers can't agree how to pay for them.

From Texas Standard:

The firing of FBI Director James Comey is not just a matter of domestic politics. For a look at how it could affect foreign policy, Texas Standard host David Brown turns to Jeremi Suri – the chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Since Scott Pruitt has taken the reigns of the Environmental Protection Agency, the agency has rolled back regulations, scrubbed information on global warming from its website and dismissed members of a key science advisory board. But that isn’t enough for some climate change skeptics and fossil fuel advocates, who would like to see the EPA rescind its entire rationale for battling global warming.

From Texas Standard:

The cooler in your local gas station or grocery store is now a much more colorful place than it once was. Texans who like to bend the occasional elbow are still riding the wave of the craft beer boom.

From Texas Standard:

Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB 4 into law Sunday. It was expected that the measure regulating so-called "sanctuary jurisdictions" would prompt lawsuits. But it surprised many that the first to file a suit was Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Demonstrators gathered outside the Governor's Mansion this morning to protest the so-called sanctuary cities ban, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Sunday night.

Texas is preemptively suing the City of Austin, Travis County and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund to enforce the state’s newly minted “sanctuary city” law, Senate Bill 4.

From Texas Standard:

If people feel like their votes don't count – three pivotal elections across the state seem to prove otherwise.

Austin City Council Member Greg Casar sat on the floor, his back blocking one of the two main entrances to a state building on the Capitol grounds. He’d taken a seat as part of a sit-in Monday to protest Senate Bill 4

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives took another stab at repealing and replacing Obamacare on Thursday, passing the American Health Care Act.

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