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The Brief: It's bill-killing season at the Texas Capitol

The 140-day clock at the Texas Capitol seems to be ticking faster than ever, and bills are dying inside both chambers. Bill-killing deadlines may stop a bill from being heard on the House or Senate floor this session, but that doesn't necessarily mean the issue is dead.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick signs bills on last day of 84th Legislative session June 1, 2015

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Tribune today

• Texans pay $2 on their car insurance to fund auto theft prevention every year, and more than half of that money goes toward balancing the budget instead of the prevention agency. 

• Here's what's at stake for Texas colleges in the Legislature's budget fight

• A measure that would penalize principals and superintendents who purposely hide incidents of teachers having sexual or romantic relationships with students passed the Texas House. 

• Houston’s problematic pension funds, which have caused financial woes and spurred political battles for years, just moved closer to getting a massive makeover.

• The Texas House voted to strip pensions from elected officials who commit serious acts of public corruption, moving a major piece of ethics reform toward the governor's desk. 

• Gov. Greg Abbott signed a ban on "sanctuary cities" into law. Here's what you need to know about how the bill will affect Texans. 

• Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison played a key role in shepherding U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson through his Senate confirmation in January. Now she's a leading contender for his department. 

• Texas House lawmakers gave initial approval to a bill that would streamline how courts work with the state's child welfare agency. 

• Despite bipartisan support, a bill that would expand the medicinal use of marijuana likely won't reach the Texas House floor. 

• Attorney General Ken Paxton is looking to get ahead of an anticipated barrage of legal challenges to the "sanctuary cities" bill in Texas. 

• President Donald Trump tapped Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne, the Republican known for speaking out against illegal immigration, to oversee housing and urban development for five states.  

What you need to know

The 140-day clock at the Texas Capitol seems to be ticking faster than ever, and bills are going to start dying inside both chambers. Bill-killing deadlines may stop a bill from being heard on the House or Senate floor this session, but that doesn't mean the issue is dead. Here's what you need to know: 

• Most bills die. By May 29, the last day of this year's legislative session, around four of every five bills will have failed, most as a result of inaction rather than action

• But that doesn't mean the issues are dead — yet. For example, a House committee missed a key deadline Monday to vote out a proposal that would nix cities and school districts' trans-inclusive bathroom policies. But state Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, the bill's author, indicated he could bring the issue back by tacking it on as an amendment to another piece of legislation. "I still am confident we will have an amendment opportunity," he said

• More deadlines are coming this week. Tonight marks the deadline for the House Calendars Committee to distribute a calendar for House bills, and Thursday is the last day House-originated legislation can receive tentative approval in the lower chamber. Deadlines are deadlines, but lawmakers will try anything from amendments to parliamentary magic to bring their issues back to life

News from home

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What we're reading

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

These federal agencies agreed to conceal their communications from the public, Buzzfeed

County opposes bill nixing straight-ticket voting, El Paso Times 

Registry would help GIs exposed to toxic burn pits, Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Cropped out: Despite fewer farmers, ranchers, Denton farm store thrives with urbanized inventoryDenton Record-Chronicle

Judges no longer hearing cases at South Texas family detention centers, San Antonio Express-News ($)

Federal probe into Uber now includes operations in Austin, Austin American-Statesman ($)

No media, no problem: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott takes his message straight to the masses, Dallas Morning News ($)

For your calendar 

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

Photo of the day

State Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, leads a rally at the Governor's Mansion on May 8 after Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 4, the "sanctuary cities" bill. Photo by Bob Daemmrich. See more photos on our Instagram account

Quote to note

"This isn’t something that’s cooked up in a lab. It’s made like olive oil and it's administered under the tongue. It just seems absurd that we can’t give patients the freedom to use this because there’s so many stigmas around the word ‘marijuana.’”

— State Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, about a bill that would expand the medicinal use of marijuana

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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