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TODAY'S BUDGET BRAWL: Today is an especially important day at the Legislature, because the House is debating its version of the budget bill. Burnt Orange Report can tell you what to watch for, and we're collecting tweets from key progressive organizations and Democratic representatives. The Texas Tribune also has a read-worthy preview of the day's discussion.
SCHOOL FUNDING: Speaking of the House budget, much of the additional $2.5 billion in school aid included by house budget-writers is targeted at property-poor school school districts receiving less per-student funding than their property-rich peers. State District Judge John Dietz ruled that the state's school finance system was unconstitutional in February.
PAYDAY LOANS: Sen. John Carona's SB 1247, which would introduce new regulations to payday and auto title loans to help consumers escape cycles of debt, is moving forward. The bill was passed by the Senate Business and Commerce Committee on Tuesday night by a 6-1 vote. SB 1247 would limit loan amounts to 20-30 percent of a borrower's monthly income and limit the number of times payday and auto title loans could be refinanced to four and six times, respectively.
Find out about Ted Nugent, pecan pie, and five important abortion measures below the jump!MAJOR EVENTS TRUST FUND: State Senators Robert Deuell, R-Greenbille, Kirk Watson, D-Austin, are working on bills that aim to limit the state's remimbursement for “structural improvements” (such as Jumbotron scoreboards for basketball arenas) for single events, and Wendy Davis is working on a bill that would audit the trust fund.
GAY RIGHTS DEBATED: Retired Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, the first recipient of the Purple Heart in the Iraq War, told legislators yesterday that he is worried employers will discriminate against him because he is gay while testifying in favor of a bill that would band workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill was authored by Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio.
ABORTION RIGHTS: Kaiser Health News has summarized the five “key proposals” to limit abortions being considered at the Texas Legislature.
STATE PIE: In a landmark legislative achievement, state Representative Marsha Farney, R-Georgetown, succeeded in passing a resolution naming the pecan pie Texas' official state pie on Wednesday. Legislators, “asked for amendments that only Texas pecans be used in pecan pies statewide, and that it formally be declared illegal to include chocolate when baking one.”
TED NUGENT: Detroit-born Rocker Ted Nugent, who has a difficult time refraining from racist, nutbag, violent, homophobic comments, made a surprise appearance in a state House committee hearing yesterday, where he delivered a charming, articulate speech in opposition to a bill that would require breeders to release their chemically-enhanced, bottle-fed deer at least 60 days before hunting season, instead of the required 10.