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The Brief: The "sanctuary" bill is closer to Abbott's desk

After a marathon debate that went into the early hours of the morning on a bill that would ban “sanctuary” policies in Texas, the Texas House officially approved the measure along a party-line vote Thursday afternoon.

Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, speaks to Rep. Victoria Neave, D-Dallas, at the back mic in the Texas House during the debate on a bill that would ban "sanctuary" policies in Texas.

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Tribune today

• From Ross Ramsey: The Senate doesn't like the House's hit on the Rainy Day Fund. The House doesn't like the Senate's delay of a deposit into the state's highway fund. Neither wants to raise taxes. But all is not yet lost — unless they want to fight about it.

• The Texas House considered a bill late Friday night that would give students with disabilities online accounts of state money to use for private school tuition and certain homeschooling. 

• The early days of the Trump presidency have exhausted, exasperated and enthralled members and staffers in Texas' congressional delegation.

• The Texas House approved a proposal to phase out out an unpopular business tax that provides funding for public schools.

• The Texas Senate voted to give charter schools state money to build facilities, with a caveat: traditional public schools get a little extra, too.

• Another member in the Texas delegation publicly ended his ties to the arch conservative group in Congress, the Freedom Caucus.   

• “I think the trial is certain,” said Jose Garza, an attorney for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, a lead plaintiff in the years-long challenge of the state’s political boundaries.

• A Texas House committee considered a bill that would require parental consent for minors to join a labor union — a measure, the bill's author said, that was “common-sense policy.”

• In a huge win for environmental groups, a federal judge ordered ExxonMobil to pay nearly $20 million for spewing millions of pounds of excess air pollution from its Houston-area industrial facilities.

What you need to know

After a marathon debate that went into the early hours of the morning on a bill that would ban "sanctuary" policies in Texas, the Texas House officially approved the measure along a party-line vote Thursday afternoon. Here's what you need to know

Senate Bill 4 is a now a step closer to the version the Senate approved in February. After failed attempts at a compromise, House members voted to add an amendment onto the bill that would allow law enforcement to question a person's immigration status while detained, not just under arrest. The amendment, authored by state Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, was likened to "show-me-your-papers"-type legislation by Democrats and immigrant rights groups. 

• House Democrats warned their GOP colleagues they'd regret their vote. "If your goal was to use immigrants for political gain, you have succeeded," said state Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, Thursday afternoon before the final vote. "I hope you're satisfied." And state Rep. Mary González, D-El Paso, added, "I hope today you go home and you think, 'What am I doing here? Am I being a person of integrity?'"

• SB 4 now heads back to the upper chamber. Senators can either accept the House's version of the bill or call for a conference committee where members from both chambers could hash out their differences. But since the Senate version of the bill already included the detainment language, senators could potentially accept the House version of SB 4 and send it to Abbott's desk.   

What we're reading

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

Federal probe of Fox News expands, CNN 

Laredo mayor calls FBI raids 'embarrassing,' Laredo Morning Times

Bill seeks to prevent state regulation of VFDs, Abilene Reporter-News

How Texas avoided naming a stretch of highway after a murderer, instead of the state trooper he killed, The Dallas Morning News ($)

Crisis encounters: When policing the mentally ill turns deadly, Austin American-Statesman ($)

San Antonio state representative apologizes to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, San Antonio Express-News ($)

Lawmakers take aim at insurance plan changes to patients' medications, The Houston Chronicle ($)

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

"When you’re young and naïve, you need protection. And I didn’t need my parents there to tell me [joining a union] was the right thing to do." 

Joe Montemayor testifying against a bill that would require parental consent for minors to join labor unions.

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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