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The Brief: Here's how the school choice bill has changed

Lawmakers in the Senate could begin debate over the "school choice" legislation on the floor Thursday. If they do, they're expected to be discussing a very different bill than what was heard in committee.

State Sens. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood (center), and Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville (right), during a Senate Education Co...

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Legislative staffers Tuesday received a one-page report detailing changes to Senate Bill 3, which would exclude rural counties from participating in the private school subsidy programs and limit overall participation.

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What you need to know

Lawmakers in the Senate could begin debate over the "school choice" legislation on the floor Thursday. If they do, they're expected to be discussing a very different bill than what was heard in committee. 

Here's what you need to know:

  • The changes aim to exclude rural counties from participating and limiting the overall number of students who can take advantage of the program. The changes seem to be in response to criticism that the bill would suck money away from public schools.
  • Rural legislators have been outspoken on their opposition to the bill. Their constituents do not have access to many private schools. 
  • The Senate could begin debate on the bill today. Watch online here and follow Texas Tribune reporter Aliyya Swaby for updates.

To get more education news in your inbox, subscribe to Trib+Edu: Your guide to state and regional education policy news and events.

Other stories we're watching today:

  • A coalition of conservative groups is sending a letter to state leaders today asking them to support direct car sales in Texas. A proposal has been introduced in the Legislature that would let manufacturers — like electric car maker Tesla — sell directly to Texans, who currently have to buy vehicles through dealerships. Read the letter, which is signed by 26 activists. 

What we're reading

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

Energy Department climate office bans use of phrase 'climate change,' Politico

Lyft allowed to operate without regulations in LaredoLaredo Morning Times

TxDOT approves $163 million for Nueces County projects, Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Zinke: Border wall 'complex,' faces geographic challenges, The Associated Press

Should local governments lend startups a helping hand?, The Houston Chronicle ($)

Ben Carson in Fort Worth: other funding can fill in holes left by budget cutsFort Worth Star-Telegram ($)

To promote Texas' bathroom bill, Dan Patrick turns to anti-LGBT groupsThe Dallas Morning News ($)

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. 

Quote to note

"Texas has demonstrated that we can reduce imprisonment and strengthen our justice system, without compromising public safety. It’s time for the rest of the nation to follow our lead."

— Jody Lay, police chief in Terrell, about criminal justice and safety via TribTalk

The Brief is written and compiled by your morning news baristas, Bobby Blanchard and Sanya Mansoor. Patrick Svitek contributed to today's edition. If you have feedback or questions, please email thebrief@texastribune.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.

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