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• Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick asked for a House vote on school choice. He got it.
• The Texas House voted to defund a controversial economic development program championed by Gov. Greg Abbott and shift those dollars services for vulnerable children.
• From Ross Ramsey: The state has a Rainy Day Fund with billions of dollars in it, but Texas lawmakers would rather use accounting tricks to balance their next budget.
• A 2012 upset win provides hints for U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke's 2018 Senate bid.
• Personal and business ties to Dallas and Houston's pension systems aren't stopping Texas lawmakers from considering legislation to fix both cities' pension problems.
• The Texas House swiftly rebuked most out-of-state travel funding for a state agency.
• U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and the rest of the Senate went nuclear Thursday morning.
• Texas legislators continue battling families with relatives in state-supported living centers about the facilities' future.
• A Texas congressman now has one of the most sensitive assignments in Congress.
What you need to know
It took 15-and-a-half hours, but the Texas House passed a two-year, $218.2 billion budget at about 1:30 a.m. That was earlier than some expected. Here's what you need to know:
• There were definitely some losers in the budget, like Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton. Abbott lost funding for an economic development fund, Patrick saw a no vote on private school choice and Paxton lost millions in his budget for lawsuits.
• The budget includes $2.5 billion from the Rainy Day Fund. This may be how the House's version of the budget differs most from the Senate, where lawmakers don't seem to have as much as an appetite to tap the state's savings account.
• There were plenty of moments of drama. A near-physical confrontation happened over a feral hog amendment and a conservative lawmaker gave an impassioned speech over procedure.
• Let the private negotiations between the House and Senate begin. Now that the House has approved its version of the budget, the two chambers will begin hashing out their differences.
What we're reading
Links below lead to outside websites; we've noted paywall content with $.
Senator Mitt Romney?, The Atlantic
Fired Baylor athletics staffer Shillinglaw drops libel lawsuit, seeks arbitration, Waco Tribune-Herald
Council looking at possible new smoking ordinance, The Huntsville Item ($)
Protection vs privacy: Parents of at-risk kids urge lawmakers to release schools' immunization rates, Dallas Morning News ($)
After four months and $94,500, Austin parts with police lab leader, Austin American-Statesman ($)
For your calendar
On April 10: Join us for lunch and a conversation with state Sen. Kirk Watson and state Reps. Gina Hinojosa and Donna Howard.
Quote to note
"What better way to discourage public and private investment in Texas than to pass laws that turn thumbs down on trains?"
— Peter LeCody, president of Texas Rail Advocates, about the passenger trains 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.
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