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The Brief: May 6, 2011

Immigration legislation — mostly dormant so far this session — will see some action in the Legislature today.

Protesters march down Congress avenue towards to the Capitol for the Immigration rally on Feb 22, 2010.

The Big Conversation:

Immigration legislation — mostly dormant so far this session — will see some action in the Legislature today.

The chamber is set to take up Republican Rep. Burt Solomons' so-called "sanctuary cities" bill, which would prevent cities and other entities from adopting policies that prevent local law enforcement from enforcing federal immigration laws. Gov. Rick Perry at the beginning of the session declared the issue one of his five "emergency" legislative items.

Democrats, expected to line up in opposition, some over fears of racial profiling, have filed most of the 59 amendments set to be fired at the legislation. As the Tribune's Julián Aguilar reports, they'll likely try to appeal to the Republican majority by targeting the bill for its financial impact on local governments.

But the debate may prove trickiest for Hispanic Republicans, many of whom must balance the concerns of their constituents with those of their party. 

"One amendment will make it very clear that racial profiling will not be tolerated in the implementation of the bill," said state Rep. Aaron Peña, R-Edinburg.

On Thursday, law enforcement officials from across the state also spoke out against the bill, which they said would spread their forces thin.

Perry, according to the San Antonio Express-News, fired back: "My response is that they, I hope, were paying attention on the second day of November 2010 when the people of the state of Texas said pretty clearly that they wanted to have a sanctuary city prohibition in our statute."

Culled:

  • The House sent the abortion sonogram bill to the governor's desk on Thursday for his signature after a Down syndrome group's unsuccessful last-minute attempt to amend language in the bill it claimed "targets fetuses suspected of having a disability for easier abortion."
  • Wondering why the end of the legislative session sends lawmakers into such a scramble? This session, blame it on the puppies, this year's version of the "cheerleader booty bill," says the Trib's Ross Ramsey.

"I support our troops, but cannot support a resolution commending Obama's domestic handling of affairs." — State Rep. Randy Weber of Pearland, one of 10 House Republicans who voted Thursday against a resolution commending President Barack Obama for leading the effort to kill Osama bin Laden

Must-Read:

Programming Round-Up:     

  • Session '11 (Austin, KXAN, Sunday, 9:30 a.m.): Arlene Wohlgemuth, executive director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and Scott McCown, executive director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities
  • Inside Texas Politics (Dallas-Fort Worth, WFAA-TV, Sunday, 9 a.m.): U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington

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