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.

Analysis: Budget Debate is About More than Money

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. Use our livestream to watch the House budget debate happening now. 

 
 

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. 

Contracting Overhaul Sails Through Senate

Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, confers with Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, during a March 11, 2015, committee hearing on state contracting issues.
Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, confers with Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, during a March 11, 2015, committee hearing on state contracting issues.

Amid an ongoing scandal over how the state awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to a private company, the Texas Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that would overhaul the state’s contracting processes.

 

The Brief: March 31, 2015

Rep. John Otto R-Dayton, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, during Tribune Conversation event on February 12th, 2015
Rep. John Otto R-Dayton, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, during Tribune Conversation event on February 12th, 2015

A busy day is on tap as the state's two-year budget comes up for debate on the floor of the Texas House and a special election takes place to fill the last vacancy in that chamber.

Senate Passes A-F Grading System for Schools

Then-state Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, is shown on the second-to-last day of the first-called special session during the 82nd Legislature on June 27, 2011. Taylor was elected to the Texas Senate in 2012.
Then-state Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, is shown on the second-to-last day of the first-called special session during the 82nd Legislature on June 27, 2011. Taylor was elected to the Texas Senate in 2012.

Public schools in Texas would begin receiving grades on an A-through-F scale to reflect their performance under a bill that won preliminary approval in the state Senate on Monday. The grading would begin in the 2017-18 school year.