Quorum Report Daily Buzz

View By Date
Printable Version of This Page

May 27, 2017      10:17 PM

SAEN: Straus intends to run for Speaker again

“That’s my intention,” Straus, R-San Antonio, said in an interview with the Express-News when asked whether he will run for another term. “But I never make a big splash or statement at the end of a session."

The great Peggy Fikac has the scoop right here.

May 27, 2017      7:19 PM

Senate adopts conference committee report on SB 1, 30-1

Garcia, again, votes no

May 27, 2017      6:32 PM

HK: Was economic development the major casualty of this session?

Record low unemployment yet relatively flat sales tax could be a canary in the coal mine

Since this observer first started covering the Texas Legislature in 1989, following the worst economic crash since the Great Depression, “economic development” has been the mantra that drove the Capitol even when Democrats controlled state government.

This session is different however, exuding a cockiness if not a downright sense of entitlement that everyone wants to move their business to Texas. What is different this time is that Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has some of the best political antenna for GOP primary voters and has more than any other Republican been responsible for moving the epicenter of the party out of the board room and into the church.

In fact, it is one of the reasons that the belief he could challenge Governor Greg Abbott persists, denials notwithstanding.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Harvey Kronberg

May 27, 2017      6:12 PM

Updated: Texas House gives final passage to the budget on a vote of 135 to 14

“We’re keeping overall spending low while improving child protection and mental health care,” said Speaker Straus

After starting out the session with a large shortfall – brought on in part by the tax cutting of the 2015 session coupled with a downturn in the economy generally and in the energy sector specifically – the Texas House on Saturday passed a budget that balances but leaves some of the most vulnerable Texans in the lurch.

“We’re keeping overall spending low while improving child protection and mental health care,” said Speaker Joe Straus.

Noting that Gov. Greg Abbott made it a priority to improve Child Protective Services and the state’s foster care system, Straus’ office noted that this budget includes an additional $508 million for child protection.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Scott Braddock

May 27, 2017      5:12 PM

Press Releases: Remembering the fallen, pet projects, school food donations, and more

Click the Press Releases button above for the latest

May 27, 2017      2:47 PM

Despite prior declaration school finance is dead, Senate appoints conferees on HB21

Senate conferees are Taylor of Galveston, Bettencourt, Lucio, Hughes, & Campbell; Huberty maintains the House will accept NO form of school vouchers

May 27, 2017      1:44 PM

SB: Patrick bathroom ultimatum hinges on Hotze's war with Texas Medical Board

“It all comes back to Hotze” said one senior Capitol staffer; absent any demand by Gov. Greg Abbott to extend the life of state agencies, Patrick is in the driver’s seat

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s threat to force a special session over bathrooms, he said Friday night, comes down to extending the life of the agency that licenses medical professionals in this state, the Texas Medical Board.

There has been much chatter around the Capitol over the last 12 hours or so that the ultimatum now from Patrick – which followed the announcement by Speaker Joe Straus that the House would not appoint conferees on the latest iteration of bathroom language – is focused on the state agency that Dr. Steve Hotze has been at war with for years.

Other agencies are in the mix, as QR readers are aware, but the Medical Board was the one singled out by Patrick in his comments.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Scott Braddock

May 27, 2017      12:50 PM

Locals beat back another pre-emption fight overnight

“We have a new conference committee report that completely strikes that entire judicial relief section. TML and Urban Counties are aware, and are satisfied with the change”

Cities and counties fought back another round of pre-emption overnight, quashing language in a conference report that would give the state the right to overrule local regulations.

The language, believe it or not, was buried in a bill regarding the regulation of seeds, a bill that went through the agriculture committees. Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, carried Senate Bill 1172 in the Senate. Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, picked up the bill in the House.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Kimberly Reeves

May 26, 2017      8:15 PM

Defiant Patrick says Straus is forcing a special session on bathrooms

"It's Joe Straus who's causing the special session," Patrick says, blames the speaker for not bringing SB6-type language to the floor of the House

May 26, 2017      6:24 PM

Straus: The House will NOT appoint conferees on the latest bathroom bill

Straus says the Senate can take it or leave it on the bathroom language passed by the Texas House; the Speaker can't believe so much of lawmakers' bandwidth has been taken up with bathrooms while a school finance deal fell apart

May 26, 2017      5:47 PM

Lack of school finance solution could close some districts

An even tougher year for school finance with the absence of folks like Jimmy Don Aycock and Scott Hochberg while the Senate went out of its way to avoid finance runs that might favor one formula over another

Superintendent Devin Tate figures he has enough savings in Beckville ISD to cover about a year before he must shut down his East Texas district.

Last night, with no legislative vehicle in sight to save Beckville or districts like it, Tate was going to a high school baseball playoff game against Gunter. He sat in the stands and thought about what he’s going to tell his parents and students about the future of Beckville. Like many rural communities, the school is the hub of community activities.

“That’s who we are,” Tate said. “That’s what we live for. That’s what we do.”

Beckville, a rural school district outside Carthage in East Texas with 650 students, is in the pool of districts that needed financial help from the state when tax rates were compressed in 2006. It’s called Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction, or ASATR. As property values have grown over the last seven years – and because of a major infusion of cash in 2015 – most districts have rolled off the ASATR roll. Most districts still drawing down ASATR are the outliers: small and rural; wealthy and low taxing; often dependent on the oil economy.

That was the case for Beckville.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Kimberly Reeves

May 26, 2017      5:18 PM

House concurs on supplemental budget; cedes fight over medically fragile kids to Senate

Cuts to therapies for disabled children stay in place, "Show the chair voting aye" as the House concurs on HB 2 on a vote of 115 to 21

May 26, 2017      4:55 PM

Press Releases: Infrastructure week, CPS reform, ethics reform, and more

Click the Press Releases button above for all the latest

May 26, 2017      3:42 PM

House appoints conferees on Voter ID

Conferees are instructed to adhere to the House amendments in their entirety; conferees are Phil King, Fallon, Goldman, Laubenberg, Lucio

May 26, 2017      3:09 PM

As HB 5 heads to conference, House is concerned over limited liability for nonprofits in foster care

Raymond says it would give “unprecedented immunity to private vendors in the foster care redesign system.”

House Bill 5, the legislation to make the Department of Family and Protective Services a standalone agency, is headed to conference committee after a controversial amendment was tacked on in the Senate.

Texas House author Rep. James Frank, R-Wichita Falls, will lead the lower chamber’s conferees and explained to members that the bill came back in basically the same form but “with one large exception.” 

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Eleanor Dearman

May 26, 2017      3:05 PM

Smith: The Road to Barbarism; Fists First Instead of First Amendment

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith argues that democracy and our social fabric are endangered by the willful cruelty of the American Right. And it may be even worse in Texas

It’s meant as criticism of the Right here in Texas and around the country, but I’m no longer sure the culprits care. Some on the Right have set us on a road to barbarism, and if the forced march is not stopped it will be hell to pay.

What else do we think of a place where victims of sex traffickers are abandoned by a Legislature that cuts funds to help them? Meanwhile, hard-working mothers are forcibly detained while dropping their kids off at school, imprisoned, and then tossed across the border?

The full column by Glenn W. Smith is in the R&D Department.

By Glenn W. Smith

May 26, 2017      3:01 PM

Senate concurs on House amendments to SB 8

Abortion omnibus bill heads to Abbott

May 26, 2017      2:45 PM

Texas racing industry continues to struggle with loss of legislation

“This is new territory for …there’s no way for us to speculate for what’s going to happen.”

The Texas Racing Commission will be cashing in its chips, so to speak, to close out its current fiscal year, after a slew of bills to stabilize the industry failed to pass this session.

The Texas racing industry continues to limp along with the recent loss over historical racing and total wagering activity declining. Year-over-year wagering has dropped by 10 percent inside Texas and by a little over 5 percent, when betting in other states is included, agency officials told commissioners at the most recent meeting in April.

Early projections for the current fiscal year put the agency $125,000 to $130,000 in the hole. Spokesman Robert Elrod said that gap has closed, to some extent, and the commission’s rules committee will meet next week with stakeholders to outline a so-called cash call.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Kimberly Reeves

May 25, 2017      10:17 PM

You extra deserve it this year: Loco and Dissent Calendar coming Sunday

This year's edition promises to be a barn burner: "We are going to be less merciful than Dr. Hotze’s version of the Almighty."

You can see the motion to suspend the rules and set the Loco and Dissent Calendar by downloading it right here.

May 25, 2017      8:34 PM

Conference committee report filed on SB 1

Could be on the floor of both chambers by Saturday

May 25, 2017      6:40 PM

Sen. Burton revives language to make it harder for local governments to have a voice at the legislature

Despite hosting government lobbyists in her office and enjoying the contributions, Burton revives her push to regulate local governments’ participation in the legislative process

As part of her ongoing crusade against local governments, Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, has revived her proposal to further regulate the way in which cities, counties, and school districts use public dollars to hire lobbyists in Austin.

In a last-minute move – common at this point in the session – Sen. Burton added her regulations as an amendment to HB 2305. That bill by Rep. Ryan Guillen is a “transparency” bill that is not considered “must pass” legislation.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Scott Braddock

May 25, 2017      6:36 PM

Press Releases: CBO reactions, Trans-Texas Corridor Redux, CPS reform by Wu, Space exploration, and more

Click the Press Releases button above for the latest

May 25, 2017      6:20 PM

Greenfield: Two Thirds Through FY17 and Expenditures Still Declining

Our resident number cruncher Dr. Stuart Greenfield says so far this FY, Texas has experienced the “best” of all possible fiscal worlds, tax collections increasing at a rate on estimate, while expenditures are declining

Through May 2017 all funds state expenditures have decreased by 1.9 percent.  As shown in Figure 1, this rate is markedly less than the 7.7 percent increase in FY16.  This rate of decline would be the greatest decrease in state expenditures this century.

Even with the 1.9 percent decrease in all funds expenditures for FY17, total all funds expenditures for FY16-17 should total $227.3 billion, a 10.3 percent increase from FY14-15.  The LBB has projected that House all funds appropriations are $216.3, while Senate appropriations are $213.7 billion for FY18-19.  Assume the conferees split the difference and CSSB 1 appropriates $215.0 billion for FY18-19.  A $215.0 billion appropriations would result in a $12.1 billion (5.3 percent) reduction in expenditures from FY16-17.

The complete column by Dr. Stuart Greenfield can be read in the R&D Department.

By Dr. Stuart Greenfield

May 25, 2017      6:01 PM

Voter ID, SB5, heads to conference committee

Senate does not concur on House changes, including Moody amendment to decrease penalties for a false statement of why a voter does not have acceptable form of ID

May 24, 2017      8:01 PM

Down to the wire as advocates push for reinstatement of funding for treatment of disabled children

“…the Legislature still has a chance to make some important improvements in a conference committee on the supplemental budget."

The protest of a proposal to adjust fees, rates and charges for Medicaid therapy charges has concluded at the Health and Human Services Commission headquarters while others lobby for budget conferees to reverse cost-containment measures in the last budget.

“I’ve been in the field for over 20 years, and I think in the last two years, I have seen more changes that have impacted the clients that I and my therapists service than I have in my entire career,” speech-language pathologist Victoria Jackson told agency representatives this morning. “These changes have had enormous medical consequences for all.”

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Kimberly Reeves

May 24, 2017      8:00 PM

In animal cruelty debate, Tim Dunn-aligned House members telegraph campaign strategy of TRTL

Rep. Tinderholt threatened fellow Republicans with mail pieces showing animals paired with messages that say the member values gerbils more than aborted babies

House lawmakers on Wednesday were at first successful in undoing an abortion-inspired amendment by Rep. Tony Tinderholt on an animal cruelty bill, but the Liberty Caucus claimed victory – for now – in their fight to lessen penalties for people who do things like set puppies on fire.

Just this month, dogs were shot under mysterious circumstances in Victoria, a dog was bound and gagged with duct tape in Palestine, and Dozens of horses euthanized in a Montgomery County animal abuse case.

Nevertheless, Rep. Tinderholt – after much parliamentary maneuvering and hours of the House’s time – prevailed in attaching an amendment to substantially weaken current law. In fact, his amendment lessens penalties for *repeat offenders* who have been convicted of animal cruelty before.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Eleanor Dearman and Scott Braddock

May 24, 2017      7:19 PM

House members storm the Senate, have talks with Patrick described as productive

Amid tensions over local bills, more than 30 or so members of the House walked to the Senate floor and demanded to speak with Lt. Gov. Patrick. Several House members - Republicans and Democrats in the brief meeting in the Ramsey Room - described it as productive. "Some things are going to start moving," one member said.

May 24, 2017      5:56 PM

Straus slams the Senate for declaring HB 21 dead

“...we can't fix school finance by ourselves, and this hasn't been a priority for the Senate. The Senate has chosen to focus on sending taxpayer dollars to private schools," Speaker Straus said

May 24, 2017      4:22 PM

Despite effort to derail it, bill raising penalty for animal cruelty passes Texas House

Rep. Tinderholt had inserted an abortion-inspired amendment but Republicans led the charge to refocus the bill on punishing perpetrators of “horrific crimes”

Texas House members on Wednesday stripped an abortion-inspired amendment by Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, that had been added the day before to a bill increasing penalties for animal cruelty.

The bill, Senate Bill 762 sponsored by Rep. Joe Moody, ups the penalty for torturing, killing or seriously harming pets from a state jail felony to a third-degree felony. But Tinderholt – upset that these penalties were tougher than ones passed in the chamber for doctors who perform “partial-birth” or “dismemberment” abortions – proposed an amendment keeping the current state jail felony penalty intact.

Moody described Tinderholt’s amendment as essentially removing the purpose of the bill.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Eleanor Dearman

May 24, 2017      2:35 PM

House sends wind turbine bill back to the Senate

The bill focused on wind turbines near military bases is not anti-wind at all, says Rep. Frank; opponents say it infringes on property rights, will reduce revenue for some schools

A measure that limits the proximity of wind power plants to military bases is on its way back to the Senate after some changes were made in the House. The bill restricts certain property tax breaks for wind turbines built within 25 miles of a base.

On Monday when the bill was laid out for second reading, Rep. James Frank, R-Wichita Falls, said the bill’s goal is to “protect our military bases from encroachment.” The bill on second reading passed 76-65. The next day it passed 134-10 on third reading.

Rep. Frank attributed this shift in support to a third reading amendment by Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, exempting certain projects and efforts to explain what the bill does. Frank said the amendment was worked out with some of the wind industry folks.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Eleanor Dearman

May 24, 2017      12:54 PM

Texas House finally passes Voter ID 93-55

May 24, 2017      4:27 AM

SB: Patrick scams Hotze for two sessions in a row with anti-gay venom in county catch-all bill

With restrooms and rollbacks, Patrick is taking Harris County GOP politics statewide; a strategy that’s left the county solidly blue. If demographics represent opportunity, the GOP in Houston has blown it

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s office has refused to say how long it has been since he and Houston arch-conservative anti-gay activist Steve Hotze stopped being business partners. But they were for at least a decade.

Last session, Hotze was obsessed with passing a ban on taxpayer dollars being used to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. When the bill on that failed in the House, Patrick had Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville, insert the same language into the county catch-all bill carried by House County Affairs Committee Chairman Garnet Coleman, D-Houston. The bill then died after the sneak attack was discovered.

This session, same thing.

In a late-night move that was disgusting but not surprising to many Capitol observers, the Senate added bathrooms – Hotze’s latest obsession – and property tax rollback provisions to the county catch-all bill.

Your editor was asleep for two hours when Coleman’s office was scrambling to let us all know, of course, that the additions of anti-LGBT vitriol and property tax rollbacks would prompt him to kill his own bill.

Sincere apologies to Chairman Coleman for sleeping at 1am.

Dr. Hotze deserves an apology as well, but from Patrick.

Hotze has been on a 35-year anti-gay crusade and Patrick has helped when convenient.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Scott Braddock

May 24, 2017      3:17 AM

In desperation, Texas Senate attaches bathrooms and property taxes to county catch-all bill

Just like last session, Patrick tries to get Hotze's wish list through in county catch-all bill, but that means the bill is dead, according to bill author Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston

May 23, 2017      4:50 PM

After it was rushed through the Senate, thoughtful voter ID debate unfolds in the Texas House

Substantive changes made: Rep. Joe Moody attached an amendment lowering it from a felony to a misdemeanor for a voter to make an incorrect declaration about why they lack accepted ID

The Texas House on Tuesday afternoon began its debate on changes to the state’s voter identification laws, deemed discriminatory in court and now designated a last-minute emergency item by Gov. Greg Abbott. 

Among other things, the legislation at hand, Senate Bill 5, lets people who don’t have an approved method if ID vote, if they sign a “declaration of impediment.” There are seven reasons people could use the declaration of impediment. Among them, lack of transportation, work schedules and family responsibilities.

“I can’t think of any other situation that anyone would have that those 7 reasons for impediment cannot allow them to vote,” said Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, who is carrying the bill in the House.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Eleanor Dearman

May 23, 2017      4:48 PM

Press Releases: Trump budget reactions, settlements, fiscal discipline, and keeping good things going

Click the Press Releases above for the latest!

May 23, 2017      2:17 PM

Video: House anger at Senate boils over on the floor

Republicans and Democrats cheer Rep. Dutton as he says “When the Senate wont respect us, they need to expect us” - scroll to about 5 minutes in the video below

There was a mini-protest in the Texas House Tuesday afternoon against the Texas Senate.

House members in both parties sides stood and cheered, as representatives decried the Senate for not referring bills to committee that were passed out of the House chamber.

At one point the back doors of the chamber were even swung open so that senators could hear the shouts of “righteous indignation” from representatives, as one observer put it.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Eleanor Dearman

May 22, 2017      5:33 PM

Bresnen tells federal judge American Phoenix head Basel is trying to avoid jail time

In new filing, Bresnen’s attorney argues Basel is trying to get his case taken up by a federal court "115 days after he was served with the order to produce records" and is simply trying to avoid jail time for contempt of court

Attorneys for the veteran lobbyist suing the American Phoenix Foundation told a federal judge in Austin today that its founder Joe Basel is trying to get the case moved to federal court simply to delay the case and avoid jail time.

Basel – who founded the group that clandestinely filmed lawmakers, lobbyists, and others at the Capitol and around Austin last session – is in contempt of court after a judge ordered him to release the group’s financials as required by Texas law.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Scott Braddock

May 22, 2017      4:54 PM

After North Carolina ruling, Federal court suggests a special session on redistricting

“…the Court directs Defendants’ counsel to confer with their client(s) about whether the State wishes to voluntarily undertake redistricting in a special session in light of the Cooper (North Carolina) opinion.”

Here’s the order from the court in San Antonio.

May 22, 2017      3:35 PM

Budget conference documents now available on LBB website

Sen. Nelson urged members to check it out and said, “very soon we should be tying it up with a bow.”

Go here and check out the documents under Conference.

May 22, 2017      3:09 PM

Patrick unimpressed with House on bathrooms and property taxes, but does not threaten special session

Following maneuvers by Team Straus, Patrick said “There is still time for the House and Senate to address these concerns…”

Here is Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s full statement:

"I share Governor Abbott's concern about the lack of a rollback provision in Senate Bill 669 on property taxes. In terms of privacy, I had not seen the language on the "Paddie Amendment" on House Bill 2078 before it was voted on last night. I also have concerns about its ambiguous language, which doesn't appear to do much. There is still time for the House and Senate to address these concerns - which are both priorities for Texas voters - in a meaningful way."

Hat tip to Alexa Ura at the Texas Tribune, who tweeted Patrick’s statement.

May 22, 2017      12:53 PM

Texas House gives final passage to bathroom restrictions in schools

Bonnen argues it is intended “to be respectful and fair” but Moody says ‘This bill now hurts kids by exclusion and discrimination”

A version of the so-called “bathroom bill” was tentatively passed Sunday night in the form of an amendment to a bill dealing with school safety measures.

The amendment by Rep. Chris Paddie tacked onto the legislation is not as extensive as its predecessors Senate Bill 6 and House Bill 2899, excluding all entities other than public schools and open enrollment charter schools. It does require school board trustees provide a single occupancy bathroom for students who don’t want to use the bathroom of their “biological sex.”

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Eleanor Dearman

May 22, 2017      1:48 AM

Updated: With school vouchers added, Senate passes HB 21 on a vote of 21 to 10

it’s bound to end up something of a disappointment to both chambers, if it eventually passes at all

Republicans pushed a combined school finance and school choice bill through the Senate early this morning along a party line vote, 21-10.

As everyone remembers, the House gave the Senate the school finance package that the lower chamber wanted.

In exchange, the Senate gave the House its pared-down education savings account. The discussion that may now play out in a conference committee is whether each can accept the other’s gift in what will most likely turn into a twisted un-holiday version of O. Henry’s Gift of the Magi.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Kimberly Reeves

May 21, 2017      9:44 PM

Buckling to pressure from Patrick, Abbott adds Voter ID as emergency item

May 21, 2017      9:39 PM

Updated: Paddie bathroom amendment approved 91 to 50

Speaker Straus says “Representative Paddie's amendment will allow schools to continue to handle sensitive issues as they have been handling them."

A version of the so-called “bathroom bill” was tentatively passed Sunday night in the form of an amendment to a bill dealing with school safety measures.

The amendment by Rep. Chris Paddie tacked onto the legislation is not as extensive as its predecessors Senate Bill 6 and House Bill 2899, excluding all entities other than public schools and open enrollment charter schools. It does require school board trustees provide a single occupancy bathroom for students who don’t want to use the bathroom of their “biological sex.”

The amendment says “The board of trustees of a school district or the governing body of an open-enrolment charter school shall ensure that each school or school facility accommodates the right of each student to access restrooms, locker rooms, and changing facilities with privacy, dignity, and safety by requiring the provision of single-occupancy facilities for use by a student who does not wish to use the facilities designated for use or commonly used by persons of the student’s biological sex.”

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Eleanor Dearman

May 21, 2017      8:03 PM

Video: Rep. Thompson speaks about bathrooms being used to divide

Mrs. T reminds us that then-Sen. Barbara Jordan could not use the same restroom as everyone else in the Capitol when she served in the Texas Senate

May 21, 2017      7:09 PM

Bathroom debate begins in the Texas House

Rep. Paddie is carrying an amendment on school safety bill; it's focused on the ISDs and charters; allows the schools to make accommodations for transgender students

May 21, 2017      6:46 PM

Lawmakers may be close to the partial repeal of the Driver Responsibility Program

“Unfortunately, the most likely vehicle for the repeal of the DRP is looking like its solution could be worse than the disease.”

A bill to repeal the Driver Responsibility Program could hit the floor of the Senate tonight, but even those most supportive of the concept consider House Bill 2068 to be far from ideal.

But, as sponsor Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, told his colleagues on the House floor, it’s the best plan the state has got right now to reduce the footprint of the program and still fund trauma care. That’s the up side. The down side is that everyone getting a ticket in Texas soon could pay an additional $20 charge to fund trauma care, until other funding is found.

Sen. Borris Miles, D-Houston, is carrying HB 2068 in the Senate. In a post shared on the Grits for Breakfast criminal justice blog last Thursday, Attorney Emily Gerrick of the Texas Fair Defense Project said the bill will have limited impact without additional floor amendments.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Kimberly Reeves

May 20, 2017      10:03 PM

Updated: Conferees come to budget agreement, remaining issues at play including school vouchers

The Senate makes small concessions on Economic Stabilization Fund, House has choice ahead on vouchers

The budget conference committee has made its choices on the budget, but one decision still looms large: Will the House take vouchers in exchange for additional school funding?

This afternoon’s discussion of the decision docket, article by article, has stretched well into evening. Here are some things that we do know about the budget:

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Kimberly Reeves

May 20, 2017      5:39 PM

Conferees announcing a Texas budget agreement at this hour

"White smoke has emerged and we have reached a consensus" Chair Nelson said

May 20, 2017      4:58 PM

HK: Claims that Patrick controlled the end of the session may have been...overstated

Conferees reportedly have a budget agreement -- Is the Senate prepared to vote for a penalty-free automatic 4.99% annual property tax increase?

Ultimatums by the Lt. Governor notwithstanding, House leadership today executed two maneuvers that went a long way toward undermining Dan Patrick’s effort to engineer a special session that could have damaged both Governor Greg Abbott and Speaker Joe Straus while hot boxing the Freedom Caucus.

Earlier this week Patrick had threatened to blow up the budget and kill the Sunset Safety net bill thereby forcing a special session if the House did not pass his pet bathroom and property tax legislation.  He did hold out a fig leaf on one when he said that he could accept Rep. Simmon’s language for his “privacy bill”

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Harvey Kronberg

May 20, 2017      4:06 PM

RPT Chairman Tom Mechler resigns, effective immediately

The SREC will hold an election for an interim chairman on June 3

You can read Mechler’s letter regarding his resignation by downloading it right here.

May 20, 2017      2:56 PM

Updated: With the Bonnen version of SB 2 added, Texas House tentatively passes SB 669

House parliamentarians have ruled amendments on rollback rates are not germane to SB 669

The choice of Chairman Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, to attach the substance of the House version of Senate Bill 2 to another Senate bill has some Republicans aligned with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick furious with the idea they might have no chance this session to take a vote on rollback elections for cities and counties.

Both on the floor and on Twitter, Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, attacked Bonnen’s maneuver as failing to go far enough and ignoring the will of the voters.

That’s even though Stickland supported Bonnnen’s effort.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Kimberly Reeves and Scott Braddock

May 20, 2017      2:55 PM

House takes care of Sunset scheduling issue by extending five agencies under SB 80

May 20, 2017      2:15 PM

Chairman Bonnen is now offering his version of SB 2 as an amendment to a Nelson bill, SB 669

In exchange with Stickland, Chair Bonnen declines to say whether he will bring SB 2 back to the floor

May 20, 2017      1:41 PM

Sources confirm to QR Tom Mechler will step down as RPT chairman today

No explanation as of yet; Mechler is expected to send an email this afternoon giving his reasons