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The Midday Brief: Top Texas Headlines for April 1, 2011

Your afternoon reading: abortion enters budget debate; close vote cuts millions from Arts Commission; Republicans practicing "tough love," they say

Rep. Rodney Anderson reviews budget information on House floor April 1st, 2011

We're back in the House chamber today to liveblog the debate over HB 1, the House version of the general appropriations bills for the next biennium.

Your afternoon reading:

  • "The Texas House is now debating an amendment to H.B. 1, the budget bill for the next biennium, that would take $4.2 million from state-funded family planning services and put it into alternatives-to-abortion programs." — Abortion-related discussion sneaks into budget debate, Postcards
  • "In a 67-61 vote, the House just agreed to Rep. David Simpson's amendment to strip $3.5 million from the Commission on the Arts to the Community Based Alternatives program that helps the elderly and disabled avoid going into a nursing home or large group homes. Seventeen members white-lighted — voted 'present not voting.' Five more were absent, only two of whom had excuses." — Fear of campaign attack ads drives sweep of arts agency's state money
  • "The House began debating a bare-bones budget for the next two years after a pre-emptive news conference by Republicans who say they expect to be painted as 'heartless' but that they're really practicing 'tough love.'" — House budget debate: 'Heartless' vs 'tough love,' Texas Politics
  • "House Democrats gathered a hand full of 'real folks' at midday Friday to illustrate the 'devastating' cuts that Republicans' 'slashing' of Texas' budget would cause. There was a veteran, a teacher, a nursing home resident. The takeaway, though, came from the politicians. They said state GOP leaders have neglected basic services that a 21st-century economy needs, and are too timid to re-examine a state tax code that is riddled with special-interest tax exemptions and loopholes, even when classrooms could become crowded and the frail elderly's loved ones might have to scramble to find them a new nursing home." — Democrats say Rs are whistling past grave fiscal ills — to 2012 collision, Texas Politics

New in The Texas Tribune:

  • If the signatures of state representatives on the hundreds of amendments to HB1 are any indication, possession of legible handwriting is not a prereqisite for holding elective office. — Budget Fun: Guess the Signature

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