The Brief: "BOOM," says Abbott, after Texas House passes call for convention of states

The Texas House on Thursday passed a call for a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution, pushing one of Gov. Greg Abbott's four emergency items this session a step further in the legislative process.

After only a short debate, the Texas House voted on May 4, 2017, to pass a resolution calling for a Convention of States. Rep. Rick Miller, R-Sugar Land, who carried the proposal in the House, debates Rep. Chris Turner, D-Arlington, on the issue.

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Tribune today

• A program in Texas is reimagining how to provide health services for low-income women without abortion providers. Critics say not enough women are aware of the program.  

• From Ross Ramsey: Do you think Texas has a weak governor? Not in the month of May

• A bill to crack down on “sanctuary” policies in Texas was a must-pass for Abbott this session, and Republican lawmakers delivered on the controversial legislation this week. 

• The Texas House unanimously approved an overhaul to Dallas' failing police and fire pension system. 

• It's just a matter of time a lawsuit over the "sanctuary cities" bill lands in court, opponents say

• The Texas Senate gave its blessing to a bill that would eliminate most vehicle safety inspections in the state. 

• The U.S. House narrowly passed a GOP-backed health care reform bill on its second try

• After a measure that sought to guarantee a set amount of funding to state parks was upturned in 2015, lawmakers and advocates are hoping a similar bill will stick this session. 

• The state needs to act after a black teenager was killed by police, the Texas Legislative Black Caucus said Thursday. 

What you need to know

A call for a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution passed the Texas House on Thursday along a party-line vote, pushing one of Gov. Greg Abbott's four emergency items this session a step further in the legislative process.  Here's what you need to know:

Thursday's debate on Senate Joint Resolution 2 was mild. "This should not be a partisan issue," said State Rep. Rick Miller, R-Sugar Land, who carried the proposal in the House. The harshest opposition came from Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat from San Antonio, who said, “Ronald Reagan is long gone and dead in the Republican Party, and he’d be rolling in his grave," he said. 

• If the state adopts SJR 2, Texas would be the 11th state to call for a national convention. A national convention could only happen if 34 states back the idea, and Miller said another 10-12 states would follow if Texas leads the way, potentially bringing the tally to 23 votes. 

• The House also approved the other two related measures without debate. Senate Bill 21, which outlines the duties and limitations of Texas delegates at a national convention, was approved Thursday. And on Wednesday, the lower chamber adopted SJR 38, which would cancel all but one of the Legislature's prior calls for a convention.  

"BOOM," Abbott tweeted after the House passed SJR 2. And in a statement shortly after, the Texas governor said the lower chamber's adoption of the resolution marked "an important step toward restraining a runaway federal government and returning power back to the states and their respective citizens as our Founders intended." 

What we're reading

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

A battered Paul Ryan notches the win of his speakership, Politico

New turbines keep Lake Whitney in hydropower business, Waco Tribune-Herald 

Arrington: House vote repealing Obamacare is 'relief for our middle-class families'; Lubbock Dems respond, Lubbock Avalanche Journal 

Trump signs order seeking to allow churches to engage in more political activity, The Washington Post ($)

'Marijuana refugees' fly back to Texas in support of medical cannabis bill, San Antonio Express-News ($)

Houston mayor wants voters to lift revenue cap in November, The Houston Chronicle ($)

For your calendar

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

Quote to note

"If this bill is passed I am going to have trouble sleeping. I mean that. Why are you willing to place yourself and Texans in danger by passing this bill?”

State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. about a bill that would eliminate most vehicle safety inspections

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

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