State Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, and State Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, during House budget debate Mar. 31, 2015.  Both were no votes on the budget bill HB 1 after 17 hours of debate.
State Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, and State Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, during House budget debate Mar. 31, 2015. Both were no votes on the budget bill HB 1 after 17 hours of debate.

House Signs Off on Two-Year Budget, Approves Boost to Current One

After an 18-hour marathon Tuesday night to sign off on a $210 billion two-year state budget, lawmakers were back in the Texas House on Wednesday afternoon for a bit of unfinished business: plugging holes in the current budget.

 

 
Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller at Texas Republican Convention in Fort Worth, June 5th, 2014.
Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller at Texas Republican Convention in Fort Worth, June 5th, 2014.

Sid Miller Backed, Then Nixed, Ag Agency Remodel

Hand-scraped wood floors. Custom ceiling tile. A shower. Those items may not sound like upgrades a cash-strapped agency would need, and new Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller ultimately didn't think so, either. After initially supporting a big renovation at the agency, Miller decided to nix it, officials say.

Sid Miller Backed, Then Nixed, Ag Agency Remodel

Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller at Texas Republican Convention in Fort Worth, June 5th, 2014.
Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller at Texas Republican Convention in Fort Worth, June 5th, 2014.

Hand-scraped wood floors. Custom ceiling tile. A shower. Those items may not sound like upgrades a cash-strapped agency would need, and new Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller ultimately didn't think so, either. After initially supporting a big renovation at the agency, Miller decided to nix it, officials say.

 

Aiming for Upset, Cruz Brings Presidential Campaign Home

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz speaks to supporters with his father Rafael, his wife Heidi and their children outside his new presidential campaign headquarters in Houston on Tues. March 31, 2015.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz speaks to supporters with his father Rafael, his wife Heidi and their children outside his new presidential campaign headquarters in Houston on Tues. March 31, 2015.

Ted Cruz returned home Tuesday evening to a hero's welcome, rallying hundreds of supporters outside the headquarters of his week-old presidential campaign with an impassioned plea to replicate the energy that propelled him to Congress in 2012. 

Analysis: Budget Debate is About More Than Money

House Appropriations Committee chair John Otto, R-Dayton,l, and State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Gainesville, listen to amendments on the budget March 31, 2015.
House Appropriations Committee chair John Otto, R-Dayton,l, and State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Gainesville, listen to amendments on the budget March 31, 2015.

The House is working on the budget, the only bill lawmakers have to pass. And that's why there are 354 proposed amendments: If you can get your idea attached to the only bill that has to pass, your chances get much better. 

Poll: Cruz in "Top Tier" of GOP White House Hopefuls

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz speaks to supporters with his father Rafael, left, and wife Heidi, back, outside his new presidential campaign headquarters in Houston on Tuesday, March 31, 2015.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz speaks to supporters with his father Rafael, left, and wife Heidi, back, outside his new presidential campaign headquarters in Houston on Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

A week after becoming the first major candidate to announce he's running for president, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has risen to the "top tier" of Republican White House hopefuls, according to a poll released Wednesday. 

 

The Brief: April 1, 2015

State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, carries literature laying out House Bill 1 as he prepares to discuss the appropriations bill on the House floor March 31, 2015.
State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, carries literature laying out House Bill 1 as he prepares to discuss the appropriations bill on the House floor March 31, 2015.

It took more than 17 hours, but the House gave preliminary OK to a budget. Anticipated fights over vouchers and in-state tuition for undocumented students failed to materialize.

School Funding, Incentive Programs Are Hot Topics in House Budget Debate

State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, carries literature laying out House Bill 1 as he prepares to discuss the appropriations bill on the House floor March 31, 2015.
State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, carries literature laying out House Bill 1 as he prepares to discuss the appropriations bill on the House floor March 31, 2015.

With more than 350 proposed amendments before then, the Texas House is likely to go well into the evening before getting to a final vote on the $210 billion budget. Early discussions addressed school funding and incentives programs.