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The Brief: Bathroom access? Border security? Abortion? It's all in the budget amendments.

Bathroom access? Border security funding? Abortion? You'll find these issues and more in the 400-plus amendments Texas House members have filed as they prepare to consider the chamber's budget.

Tourists wander through the state Capitol rotunda in Austin on Jan. 9, 2017, the eve of the 85th Texas Legislative Session.

Happy Tuesday! Thanks for reading The Brief, The Texas Tribune’s daily newsletter that prepares you for the day ahead. If you have friends who might want to join our list, please forward this email. They can click here to sign up. – BB

Tribune today

House budget amendments seek to ignite controversial topics
House lawmakers seek to force debate on controversial topics such as transgender rights, bathroom use, border security and abortion.

Outlook good for statewide texting-while-driving ban, key lawmakers say
Key lawmakers are optimistic about the passage of a bill that would ban texting while driving across Texas, despite failed attempts to get similar legislation signed into law over the last few sessions.

House committee considers bill that would allow lottery winners to remain anonymous
On Monday, the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee considered House Bill 59, which would allow lottery winners of $1 million or more to remain anonymous.

Houston foster child death spurs concerns over placement shortages
The death of a 15-year-old girl who ran away from a Houston Child Protective Services office on Sunday has advocates and legislators grappling with the worst-case scenario of the state's shortage of homes for abused and neglected children.

Bills that would regulate powdered alcohol sent to House floor
Despite pushback from some opponents, a House committee approved two bills Monday that would regulate the sale of powdered alcohol in Texas.

Supreme Court to hear another Texas death penalty case
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear the death penalty case of a Honduran national who was convicted for his role in the 1995 murder of 67-year-old Santiaga Paneque during a Houston home invasion.

What you need to know

Bathroom access? Border security funding? Abortion? You'll find these issues and more in the 400-plus amendments Texas House members have filed as they prepare to consider the budget. Lawmakers are set to debate these amendments for hours on end Thursday. Here are some amendments we're watching: 

Other stories we're watching:

  • Gov. Greg Abbott hosted a reception Monday evening for Texas business executives with Tom Farley, president of the New York Stock Exchange. Noting a new investment in Texas by Kubota, Abbott joked that the company's tractors can be used to build a wall in Texas "against the western edge with New Mexico so we can stop all these Californians" from moving to Texas.
  • The House Public Education Committee is hearing several bills on special education today. Watch here at 8 a.m. and follow Texas Tribune reporter Aliyya Swaby.  

What we're reading

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

Beto O'Rourke wants to end the war on drugs as we know it, Texas Monthly

ICE arrests 29 people in Laredo as part of 12-day enforcement action, Laredo Morning Times

PSJA expanding welding program through TEA grantThe Monitor

Slain deputy constable Greenwood told officials he felt 'threat' from corruption caseThe Houston Chronicle ($)

ICE agents arrest 153 in South-Central Texas, including 24 in Austin-Waco area, officials sayAustin American-Statesman ($)

Trump's budget would hit rural towns hard - but they're willing to trust him, The Washington Post ($)

For your calendar 

At 8 a.m. this morning, join us in person or online for a conversation on higher education in Texas with state Sen. Kel Seliger and state Rep. J.M. Lozano, the chairs of the higher ed committees in their respective chambers.

This evening, we'll 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

Mike McKim, founder of Cuvée Coffee in Austin, has been fighting the TABC since 2015 for the right to sell crawlers, aluminum cans filled with draft beer and sealed with a pull tab lid. Photo by Shelby Knowles. See more photos on our Instagram account

Quote to note

"Our Legislature loves to blame teachers for the mess lawmakers have created by underfunding public schools."

— Pastors for Texas Children, a non-profit organization, about Texas lawmakers letting teachers down, 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 As a nonprofit newsroom, we 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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