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The Brief: House panel takes up Convention of States

Lawmakers on a Texas House select committee are expected to consider today a resolution calling for a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution.

Gov. Greg Abbott prepares to deliver his State of the State address, flanked by (l.-r.) Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, state Sens. Donna Campbell, R-San Antonio, and Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, and House Speaker Joe Straus.

Happy Thursday! 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

• We spoke to five transgender Texans about what goes into making decisions about using public restrooms. For them, this decision is already complicated. 

• Some sexual assault survivors and advocates are clashing with a Texas senator over the best way to combat sexual assault on college campuses.

• From Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar: The rainy day fund was set up like "burying the money in a hole on the Capitol lawn." 

• The Texas Senate's chief budget writer is asking Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton whether a $2.5 billion budget trick is constitutional. 

• An Austin fight over the demolition of a 1910 house has escalated to a statewide battle over what makes a building historic — and who gets to decide. 

• The state's top alcohol administrator received "hazardous duty" pay while attending alcohol industry conferences in Hawaii, Florida and California, state records show

• A House committee approved a scaled-down version of a "sanctuary cities" bill that would only allow peace officers to ask people about their immigration status if they are arrested.

• A nonprofit is teaming up with high-profile business and real estate groups to push for changes to how Austin regulates land use. 

• More than 200 children living in the Brazos Valley are set to lose a provider offering speech, physical and occupational therapy at the end of August. 

What you need to know

Lawmakers on a Texas House select committee today are expected to consider a resolution calling for a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution. As the convention measure inches ahead in Texas, it faces a steep road nationally.

• A national convention will only happen if 34 states sign onto the idea, and amendments proposed at the convention would only be ratified with the support of 38 states. In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott has made a convention measure one of four emergency items this session. 

• The House resolution, carried by state Rep. Rick Miller, R-Sugar Land, includes amendments that would place fiscal restraints on the federal government, check federal government power and enact term limits for U.S. officials. The Senate passed convention of states legislation in February.

 The battle lines: Supporters say the federal government has overstepped its authority and point to Article V in the Constitution as clearly defining states' authority to assemble, propose and ratify amendments; skeptics say they're weary of how much jurisdiction delegates at the convention would have. For updates today, follow Texas Tribune reporter Cassi Pollock

What we're reading

Links below lead to outside websites; we've noted paywall content with $.

Trump eyes climate skeptic for key White House environmental postPolitico

How Trump's Republican critics fare back homeMorning Consult 

H-E-B now largest private employer in Texas with 100,000 workers, The Midland Reporter-Telegram 

Pipeline executive Kelcy Warren's agency posting met with opposition, Austin American-Statesman ($)

Texas House considers bills to erode press protection, expose journalists, bloggers to more lawsuitsThe Dallas Morning News ($)

After campaign exit, Manafort borrowed from businesses with Trump tiesThe New York Times ($)

For your calendar

On April 24: Join us in Austin or on our livestream as the Texas Tribune talks about what "Repeal and Replace" could mean for Texas. This is the beginning of a three-part conversation series on health care. RSVP

On May 21: Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith hosts a Texas-centric trivia night at The Highball in Austin at 6 p.m. RSVP

Photo of the day

Lily Pando, a 16-year-old sophomore, used to deny herself water to avoid the discomfort of using public restrooms as a transgender person. Lily is among five transgender Texans who explained to the Tribune what goes into making decisions about using public restrooms. Listen to their stories. Photo by Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune. See more photos on our Instagram account

Quote to note

"They just wanted to be peace officers so they could drive a car and carry a gun.”

— Darryl Darnell, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's former inspector, about the state agency's controversial practices

The Brief is written and compiled by your morning news baristas, Bobby Blanchard and Cassi Pollock. If you have feedback or questions, please email

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