The Texas Senate passed a budget this week for the next biennium, but only after they nearly suffered a meltdown. This is unusual for a chamber known for being more insulated and collegial than the 150-member House. For the first time this session, Senate Finance Chair Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, said outside groups have been able to intervene in the upper chamber's process in a way they never have before. The budget bill they passed along straight party lines on Wednesday may be a reflection of that growing influence. 

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