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The Brief: The House and Senate clash over cash

The House and Senate budgets have both allocated about $218 billion for the state. But crucial differences remain on how much each proposal funds important resources.

House Appropriations Committee chairman John Zerwas lays out the budget with an abacus as a prop. The plaque reads, "Sometimes All You Need Is A Billion Dollars."

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Tribune today

• Houston and Dallas leaders still haven't reached agreements on how they want lawmakers to deal with their respective pension shortfalls. 

• How do you know what days the bills on the Senate intent calendar will be brought up on the floor? The short answer is, you don’t. But here’s why.

• From Ross Ramsey: There's still a lot for lawmakers to fight over with only six weeks remaining between now and the end of this regular legislative session.

• State Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, may not allow for a hearing on a bill that would raise the age of adult criminal responsibility in Texas from 17 to 18 years old, effectively killing the proposal for this session. 

• The Trump administration has given the green light for a new $110 million detention center in Texas.

What you need to know

The House and Senate budgets have both allocated close to $218 billion for the state. But crucial differences remain on how much each proposal funds important resources, like public education, border security and health care. Here's what you need to know.

The two chambers don't agree on how to use the Rainy Day Fund. The House dips into the state's savings account to use $2.5 billion while the Senate refuses to touch it. Instead, the Senate is relying on an accounting trick involving transportation funds. 

• There is no consensus on border security, either. The House allocated enough funds to maintain the current level of deployment of state troopers, while the Senate budget includes enough funds to boost those levels even further. 

 But both the House and Senate have chosen to defund one of Gov. Greg Abbott's priority issues. They slash $118 million from the current budget for high-quality pre-kindergarten programs even though Abbott had requested that the Legislature double that funding. 

What we're reading

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

Immigration focal point at Trump protestThe Monitor

Health clinic's potential closure could bring grave consequencesDenton Record-Chronicle

Texas demographer has given the same speech for 25 years. Is anyone listening?, The Texas Observer

How rural lawmakers killed school choice legislation in Texas, Austin American-Statesman ($)

Groups hold town hall for 'missing' Ted Cruz, The Houston Chronicle ($)

Children sleeping in CPS offices spiked in March, mystifying Texas officialsThe Dallas Morning News ($)

Mike Conaway emerges from relative obscurity to lead house Russia inquiry, The New York Times ($) 

For your calendar

On April 20: Watch our livestream or join us in person at the Austin Club to hear state Reps. James Frank and Ina Minjarez talk about foster care with Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith. RSVP. 

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.

Quote to note

"The city staff and the city government tend to bend over backwards for development and developers at the risk of the people who live here."

Mary Ingle, president of the Austin Neighborhoods Council, about development and affordable housing in Austin.

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

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