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The Brief: While you slept, the Texas House tentatively passed a sanctuary cities ban

After more than 16 hours of emotional debate — which left some lawmakers in tears — the Texas House tentatively passed a controversial bill that would ban "sanctuary" policies in Texas.

State Rep. Veronica Neave, D-Dallas, gives an emotional speech as a picture of her father is held up during the debate on SB4 — the "sanctuary cities" bill — on April 26, 2017.  

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Tribune today

• Dozens of clinics shut down after Texas passed a restrictive abortion law in 2013. After a Supreme Court ruling struck those regulations down, Whole Woman's Health decided to reopen in Austin.

• The tight budget for public schools may get even tighter. The Texas House will debate a tax cut Thursday that could take future money away from classrooms and other government programs.

• Local ordinances are under attack again at the Texas Legislature. This time, it's about payday lenders.

Texas is fighting back after the federal government denied the state's attempt to import execution drugs.

• Dallas police officers and firefighters are not OK with how the mayor has been handling the pension crisis. They say he could make the shortage of first responders even worse.

• President Donald Trump said he won't pull out of NAFTA just yet, dispelling fears in Congress.

• Former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman's trial on federal corruption charges will no longer start in June. The date has been pushed back to next year.

• A&M Chancellor John Sharp is not amused by what he says are "goofy rumors" and has asked that a vote on his contract extension be delayed.

• Buckle up students. The Senate has approved a bill that would require seat belts on school buses.

• We asked five community organizers how they rally people around issues like school funding, abortion and the environment. Here's what they had to say.

• We want to know how Texans organize around policy issues. What's your game plan? What have you heard? Tell us.

What you need to know

After more than 16 hours of emotional debate — which left some lawmakers in tears — the Texas House tentatively passed a controversial bill that would ban "sanctuary" policies in Texas. More than 170 amendments were filed to the bill, but the amendment process was cut short around 3 a.m. when lawmakers agreed to end debate. 

At that time, there were more than 100 amendments remaining. Here's what you missed:

Lawmakers recounted personal experiences and delivered emotional testimony on the bill. Rep. Mary González told her colleagues that she was once a victim of sexual assault. She said immigrants would fear reaching out to police should something similar happen to them. Rep. Ana Hernandez spoke, in tears, about how she was undocumented for years and the fear this instilled in her family. Rep. Victoria Neave said she received hate mail telling her to "die" and "starve" after announcing she would fast in protest of the bill.

• Tensions frequently bubbled to the surface. Rep. Eddie Lucio III warned Republicans: "Do not mess with us today." Democratic Rep. Rafael Anchia grilled Republican Rep. Jason Villalba after Villalba said the bill was commonsense policy. Gonzalez told lawmakers who voted for a particular amendment on SB4, "I hope you never talk to me again."

That particular amendment allows police officers to question the immigration status of people who are detained, not just under arrest. The debate was stalled for hours as lawmakers debated this amendment and tried to work out a deal. But attempts at a compromise failed — and lawmakers are now pointing fingers

The bill will get a final vote on third reading today. Bookmark our livestream to watch when the Texas House reconvenes at 10 a.m.

What we're reading

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

FBI, DPS raid several city, county government buildings in LaredoLaredo Morning Times

House committee mulls changes to mail-in ballotsThe Monitor

U.S. chief justice alarmed at Trump administration immigration case stanceReuters 

Texas farmworkers face a housing crisis. Will the Legislature ignore them?, The Texas Observer

Jeff Sessions likened El Paso to a war zone, Texas Monthly

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick vows to push for charter school funding, Austin American-Statesman ($)

Trump launches new office to assist victims of 'criminal aliens,' San Antonio Express-News ($)

Report compares Texas' solitary confinement policies to tortureThe New York Times ($)

For your calendar

On May 2: Join us in Austin for our final "On The Record" event of the session – a happy hour event series breaking down how you can make your voice heard at the Texas Legislature.

On May 10: Join us for coffee and a conversation with author and political strategist Matthew Dowd at The Austin Club.

Quote to note

"We want to make sure the citizens, the people in the United States, know that Dallas is not being run the way they thought it was after July 7."

— Dale Erves, a 33-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department who retired in 2015, about the mayor's handling of the pension crisis.

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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