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Analysis: One (Texas) official to rule them all
If you got the states together to take power away from the federal government, as Greg Abbott hopes to do, and if you increased the state's powers over laws passed by cities and counties and local voters, the most powerful office in the state capital would really be something.
House panel hears bills for open carry without permit
Two measures that would make it easier for Texans to access guns were up for consideration by the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee on Tuesday.
Congress passes bill rolling back internet privacy rules
House Republicans passed a bill Tuesday that will allow internet service providers to continue to sell users' browsing habits to advertisers.
Steve Stockman, former aide indicted on fraud charges
The case against Steve Stockman is growing.
Texas GOP welcomes Trump order repealing climate regulations
Texas Republicans and fossil fuel champions are celebrating an executive order signed by President Trump on Tuesday aimed at curtailing Obama-era climate regulations, calling it a win for utility customers and the state economy.
After immigration and bathroom fights, House votes to keep Railroad Commission functioning
Immigration and bathrooms took over a good chunk of a floor debate on whether to keep the Texas Railroad Commission functioning until 2029. In the end lawmakers voted unanimously to tentatively send the bill to the Senate.
Ted Cruz on health care overhaul: "We have got to get it done"
"That's had a rocky few days," U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz told members of the Federalist Society, referencing the House GOP's failed attempt to repeal the law. "But it's important to keep in mind, No. 1, we have got to get it done."
Bills to plug public information "loopholes" breeze through Senate
The legislation pushes back against two 2015 Texas Supreme Court rulings that have enabled private companies involved with government contracts to keep parts of those contracts secret.
Abbott looks to conference committee to sort out pre-K dispute
Gov. Greg Abbott is looking to the budget conference committee to sort out a dispute over his prekindergarten initiative as it becomes clear he cannot rely on the House and Senate to fully fund the program in their spending plans.
Phillip Huffines files to run for Texas Senate
Phillip Huffines, whose twin brother Don already serves in the Senate, submitted paperwork to begin raising money for a campaign for Senate District 8.
Former UT System administrator Woodley to lead UT-Permian Basin
Sandra Woodley, The UT System's former vice chancellor for strategic initiatives, will take over as president of the growing University of Texas of the Permian Basin at the end of August.
Texas Senate approves its budget, shifting school costs to local taxpayers
The Texas Senate passed budget that would shift $1.8 billion in public education costs to local taxpayers.
Supreme Court says Texas can’t use old medical standards for death row inmates
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Texas death row inmate Tuesday, sending his case back to the appeals court and invalidating the state's method of determining if a death-sentenced inmate is intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible for execution.
House committee approves $1.6 billion school finance measure
The House Public Education Committee voted 10-1 to approve Chairman Dan Huberty's school finance bill, which would mean gains for most, but major losses for some.
What you need to know
A pretrial hearing for the securities fraud case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is happening later this morning inside a Collin County courthouse, serving as the latest event in the Texas official's legal saga. Here's what you need to know:
- Why is Paxton involved in a case? In August 2015, a Collin County grand jury indicted Paxton on three felony charges, alleging he had misled company investors before becoming attorney general. Paxton has denied any wrongdoing. In April 2016, Paxton was charged in federal court with similar allegations, but a federal judge dismissed the civil case against him earlier this month.
- The special prosecutors are expected to ask for a change of venue. In February, they wrote in a filing: "Over the course of almost the last two years ... Paxton's posse of spokesmen, supporters, and surrogates — a clique herein collectively referred to as "Team Paxton" — has embarked on a crusade clearly calculated to taint the Collin County jury pool."
Special prosecutors have also asked to delay Paxton's trial date until they could get paid. Prosecutors proposed moving the trial from May 1 to 60 days after a Dallas appeals court settled a payment dispute after the 5th Court of Appeals temporarily ruled Collin County couldn't pay outside prosecutors assigned to the case.
For updates today, follow Texas Tribune reporter Patrick Svitek. Reporters aren't typically allowed to tweet during court proceedings, but stay tuned for updates after.
What we're reading
(Links below lead to outside websites; paywall content noted with $)
McAllen denies drilling permit, The Monitor
Candidate for WISD school board carried out of Capitol by DPS troopers, lawsuit planned, Waxahachie Daily Light
Texas AG sues San Antonio store owner to stop synthetic pot sales, San Antonio Express-News ($)
Vapors shop owners and go head-to-head during hearing to raise smoking age to 21, Dallas Morning News ($)
Travis County to support suit against Trump's 'sanctuary cities' order, Austin American-Statesman ($)
For your calendar
Next Tuesday, April 4, The Texas Tribune will talk about legislative issues with experienced community organizers at the W Austin Records Room. The event is part of the Tribune's On the Record series, geared towards helping Texans be better, smarter citizens.
Photo of the day
State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, celebrates after the Texas Senate unanimously passes Senate Bill 1, the budget bill, March 28. Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera. See more photos on our Instagram account.
Quote to note
"My research on Texas capital jurors suggests that this legal misdirection leaves many with a heavy burden they carry with them after making a life or death decision. Shouldn't jurors who are forced to make a potentially life-ending choice be told the truth about their decision-making?"
— Robin Conley Riner, associate professor at Marshall University, about capitol jurors in Texas 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.