Happy Thursday! Thanks for reading The Brief, The Texas Tribune’s daily newsletter that prepares you for the day ahead. If you have friends who might want to join our list, please forward this email. They can click here to sign up. – BB
What you need to know
The House is scheduled to take up a property tax bill today that could push the 85th legislative session into overtime if it doesn't pass. On Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick threatened to force a special session over Senate Bill 2, the tax bill, and the "bathroom bill" if they don't make it through the chamber. House Speaker Joe Straus has called Patrick's actions "regrettable" and hoped he would reconsider the ultimatum. Here's what you need to know:
• SB 2 by state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, a Houston Republican, was filed originally with the aim of providing Texans with relief from fast-rising property tax bills. But the two chambers view the bill very differently. State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, who is the chair of the House's tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, has said the bill should instead help Texans better understand how property tax rates are set, why tax bills rise and which taxing entities are charging them which amounts. The House stripped in committee the bill's provisions addressing when cities and counties must get voter approval for their tax rates.
• City leaders, county officials and first responders have rallied against the bill. They worry it imposes a revenue cap that restricts the local government's ability to fund essential services, including hiring police officers, building new parks and filling potholes.
• Want to watch the debates live today? Tune in on the livestream on our site here.
• UT Chancellor Bill McRaven is facing unfamiliar scrutiny from his board of regents about spending and staff levels as he nears the end of his three-year contract.
• Texans who live along the Rio Grande are conflicted in their responses to President Trump's possible border war. Some are afraid or angry. Others welcome the change with open arms.
• The Tribune visited four border counties to learn how people feel about a proposed border wall. Here's a snapshot of our journey.
• The Texas Senate advanced a bill that would crowdfund money from Texans to deal with a state backlog of thousands of untested rape kits. Its next stop: the governor's desk.
• Uber and Lyft are one step closer to a victory in the Texas Legislature. The Senate tentatively backed a proposal that would override local regulations on ride-hailing companies.
• Members of both chambers of the Texas Legislature say they are getting closer to agreeing on a budget for the next two years. But they still haven't come to a consensus on how to fund higher education.
• The Texas Senate tentatively approved a ban on straight-ticket voting, amid criticism that it could dilute the votes of minorities and Democrats.
• From Ross Ramsey: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick takes hostages — and control of the legislative session.
• A Texas Democrat wants Trump out. U.S. Rep. Al Green called for the president's impeachment from the U.S. House floor.
News from home
Registration for the 2017 Texas Tribune Festival is now open! Join us for three days of the best conversations in politics and public policy, Sept. 22-24. Register here.
What we're reading
Links below lead to outside websites; we've noted paywall content with $.
Sen. John Cornyn was top FBI choice for Trump, CNN
The empathy of David Brown, Texas Monthly
Texas state Sen. Uresti arrested, turns himself in to FBI, Laredo Morning Times
Municipal court judge on unpaid leave pending U.S. citizenship, Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Denton lays groundwork for handheld ban, Denton Record-Chronicle
Explore the weight of a border wall along the edge of Texas, The Dallas Morning News, KXAS-TV (NBC 5) and Telemundo 39 ($)
Child marriages: Are Texas lawmakers ready to stop underage unions?, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Robert Mueller, former F.B.I. Director, is named special counsel for Russia investigation, The New York Times ($)
For your calendar
May 19: Join us in person or on our livestream as we wrap up the end of the session with state Reps. Rafael Anchia, Geanie Morrison and Matt Rinaldi to assess how the House did.
May 25: Join us in person or on our livestream as state Sens. Konni Burton, Bryan Hughes and Royce West tell us how they think the Senate fared in the 85th legislative session.
Photo of the day
House Speaker Joe Straus gives a hastily-called press conference in the back of the House chamber Wednesday afternoon. Straus responded to comments by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who threatened to force a special session over property tax reform and the bathroom bill. Photo by Bob Daemmrich. See more photos on our Instagram account.
Quote to note
"For someone to just come and rip our dream away this way, it’s sad. This is ours, this is our life, this is our land, the people’s land."
— Maria Villareal, a Texan who lives along the Rio Grande, about fears she may lose her land because of the proposed border wall.
The Brief is written and compiled by your morning news baristas, Bobby Blanchard and Sanya Mansoor. If you have feedback or questions, please email email@example.com.
As a nonprofit newsroom, we count on readers like you to help power newsletters like this. Did you like what you read today? Show your appreciation by becoming a member or making a donation today.