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The Brief: Two major bills head to the full Senate

The Senate State Affairs Committee advanced two major pieces of legislation Thursday: a bill that would end most union payroll deductions for public employees in the state and a resolution that would put Texas in support of a convention of states.

Gov. Abbott delivers the State of the State address at the Capitol on Jan. 31, 2017.

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Tribune today

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What you need to know

The Senate State Affairs Committee had a busy Thursday. The committee advanced two major pieces of legislation: a bill that would end most union payroll deductions for public employees in the state and a resolution that would put Texas in support of a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution. 

  • Earlier this year, Gov. Greg Abbott declared a resolution for a convention of states an emergency item. Abbott wants the convention to amend the U.S. Constitution to restrain the federal budget, check federal government power and enact term limits for U.S. officials, among other things.
  • Meanwhile, the senate also passed a bill that would end the state's practice of collecting public employee membership dues for certain labor unions and other organizations through payroll deductions. During four hours of public testimony Monday, some argued the measure is discriminatory, while others said the bill is needed to end the state's involvement in the process. 
  • Both measures now head to the full Senate. Because the convention of states resolution is an emergency item, the Senate could vote on it as early as next week. 

News from home

Help us report on sex trafficking in Texas: Over the past five months, The Texas Tribune has investigated the hidden world of sex trafficking. Now, we want to hear about your experiences.

Ask Texas Tribune journalists Neena Satija, Morgan Smith and Edgar Walters about our investigation into sex trafficking in Texas by joining us for a Feb. 21 Reddit "Ask Me Anything" chat with a former child welfare investigator.

What we're reading

(Links below lead to outside websites; paywall content noted with $) 

Trump unleashes fury after four long weeks, Politico

Educator Shanna Peeples invites Education Secretary to AmarilloAmarillo Globe-News

Hispanic Democrats barred from meeting with ICE director amid increased raidsThe Dallas Morning News ($)

Muslim immigrants who were welcomed to Dallas decades ago worry for today's refugees, The Dallas Morning News ($)

State board to consider sanctions against Houston cancer doctor, The Houston Chronicle ($)

Samsung turns to local high schools to fill manufacturing jobs at its Austin plantAustin American Statesman ($)

For your calendar 

Join us online or in person for a conversation with state Reps. César Blanco, D-El Paso, and Brooks Langraf, R-Odessa, today at noon. 

Photo of the day

People who care for sex-trafficking victims have a common refrain: It's not if they'll run away, but when. Photo by Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune. See more photos on our Instagram account

Quote to note

"We need to do better. Two years ago, the Texas Legislature recognized the medical value of cannabis for epileptics, passing the Compassionate Use Act. Our compassion shouldn’t end there, and we should recognize the burden we’re placing on Texans who aren’t what any of us would normally think of as criminals."

— State Representative Joe Moody, D-El Paso, about the state's current marijuana laws via TribTalk

The Brief is written and compiled by your morning news baristas, Bobby Blanchard and Cassi Pollock. If you have feedback or questions, please email We're a nonprofit newsroom, and count on readers like you to help power newsletters like this. Did you like what you read today? Show your appreciation by becoming a member or making a donation today.

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