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The Brief: April 7, 2015

A Senate subcommittee hearing legislation that would repeal the state's 2001 law offering in-state tuition to certain undocumented Texas high school graduates lasted well past the midnight hour as dozens of witnesses testified against the bill.

Dreamer Jesus Trevino, waits his turn to testify  during the Senate committee hearing on April 6th, 2015

The Big Conversation

A Senate subcommittee hearing legislation that would repeal the state's 2001 law offering in-state tuition to certain undocumented Texas high school graduates lasted well past the midnight hour as dozens of witnesses testified against the bill.

The bill's author, state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, argued that the growth of the population served by the law — it is about 25,000 currently — means that the promise of in-state tuition now serves as a magnet that encourages illegal immigration, reported the Tribune's Julián Aguilar.

That argument wasn't supported by other committee resource witnesses, including Higher Education Coordinating Board Commissioner Raymund Paredes.

It was also noted by others at the hearing that the state's higher education institutions have benefited from undocumented students paying tuition and fees to attend. In 2013, that totaled $51.6 million, Aguilar wrote.

Trib Must-Reads

Uncertainty Haunts Health Commissioner Kyle Janek, by Edgar Walters — Two reports have criticized Health Commissioner Kyle Janek’s leadership. Three state lawmakers have called for his resignation. And a contract awarded to a vendor on his watch is under investigation. What's a new governor to do?

House Panel to Weigh Private Property, Gun Rights, by Ryan McCrimmon — Business groups are weighing in on gun legislation, trying to preserve a business owner's rights to ban guns from private property. A House committee is set to take the question up Tuesday.

Bill Would Untangle Hair Braiding Regulations, by Ryan McCrimmon — For nearly two decades, the state of Texas has been trying to shut down Isis Brantley's hair braiding business. Prodded by a federal court, state lawmakers are now considering exempting hair braiders from regulation and leaving Brantley alone.

Rand Paul Keeping an Eye on Texas, by Abby Livingston and Patrick Svitek — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is readying his presidential campaign — and his political play for the Lone Star State.

At Citadel, Perry Fuses Foreign Policy With Biography, by Patrick Svitek — Former Gov. Rick Perry visited South Carolina's military college on Monday in a bid to show that his military background undergirds his foreign policy.

Senate Panel Advances Sanctuary Cities Bill, by Julián Aguilar — A bill banning so-called sanctuary cities in Texas – the common term for local entities that do not enforce immigration laws — advanced out of a Senate subcommittee on Monday.

UT Regents Call Special Meeting on New Wallace Hall Requests, by Matthew Watkins — The meeting comes after UT System Regent Wallace Hall asked to visit with one of the investigators from Kroll Associates, which found that UT-Austin President Bill Powers helped secure admittance for some students over the objections of the admissions office.

The Day Ahead

•    The House convenes at 10 a.m.; the Senate convenes at 11 a.m. The House is expected to consider a constitutional amendment that would address what happens when the Rainy Day Fund hits its constitutional cap, dedicating those excess funds to debt repayment.

•    House Business & Industry meets on final adjournment to take up a series of bills that would raise the minimum wage (E2.016). A Center for Public Policy Priorities report out today breaks down who would benefit from a higher minimum wage, including county-level data for some of the largest counties in Texas.

•    House Environmental Regulation meets at 8 a.m. with a set of bills up for consideration on the storage and regulation of hazardous chemicals, including ammonium nitrate, the source of the explosion that devastated West two years ago (E1.026).

•    Senate Education Committee meets at 9 a.m. Up for consideration are proposals related to Achievement School Districts, a part of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's school reform agenda (E1.028).

•    State Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, and state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, are joined by Texas Association of Business CEO Bill Hammond for a 9 a.m. press conference at the Capitol warning against bills under consideration that would update the state's religious freedom law to, they say, protect discrimination against gays and lesbians.

•    Tribune CEO and editor-in-chief Evan Smith interviews the Legislature's transportation chairmen — state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, and state Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso. The 8 a.m. conversation at the Austin Club will be livestreamed for those unable to attend in person.


Texas House apparently headed in different direction on illegal immigration issue, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Sex offender program's housing crisis worsens with school expansion, Houston Chronicle

Texas lawmakers want to close 'bypass' for teen abortions, The Associated Press

Texas House panel OKs bill letting school districts exceed debt cap, Austin American-Statesman

Anti-testing push continues at state and local levels, Houston Chronicle

Texas renewable energy requirement in cross hairs at Capitol, Austin American-Statesman

Perry presses for quick end to criminal case, San Antonio Express-News

Ted Cruz and Rick Perry share political donors in race for president, The Dallas Morning News

Rand Paul Has a Daddy Issue, Politico

Quote to Note

“The joke is that at the Thanksgiving dinner table they throw turkey legs at each other.”

— Former Ron Paul as a travel aide Eric Dondero on the extent of disagreements between Ron and Rand Paul

Today in TribTalk

Battleground Texas' bleak future, by Dave Carney — Battleground Texas sold a bill of goods the first time around, and as 2016 approaches, Democrats willing to invest in it again deserve to lose their money.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With Sen. Kevin Eltife on April 9 at The Austin Club

•    Transportation: The Next Five Years on April 10 at Austin College in Sherman

•    A Conversation With Sen. Kel Seliger and Rep. John Zerwas on April 16 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation With John Sharp on May 7 at The Austin Club

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