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The Brief: A late-night blow to Texas "bathroom bill" compromise

Inching toward the legislative finish line and with the possibility of a special session looming in the distance, the Texas Legislature had another busy Tuesday.

Members of the clergy and others supporting LGBT rights gather outside the Texas House chamber May 3, 2017 to show support for the community affected by "bathroom bill" legislation pending at the 85th Legislature. 

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What you need to know

Inching toward the legislative finish line and with the possibility of a special session looming, the Texas Legislature had another busy night on Tuesday. From the Senate rejecting the House's "bathroom bill" compromise to the lower chamber passing a handful of important measures, here's what you need to know: 

The Senate said "no thanks" to the House's "bathroom bill" compromise. State Sen. Larry Taylor announced on the Senate floor he would reject a House amendment requiring school districts to provide single-occupancy bathrooms for students who don't want to use ones matching their "biological sex." Taylor suggested he would request the bill head to a conference committee, where lawmakers from both chambers could hash out the differences. 

The House spent most of the day on a voter ID overhaul. After a six-hour debate, the lower chamber tentatively signed off on Senate Bill 5, a Gov. Greg Abbott emergency item that would in some ways relax one of the nation's most stringent voter ID requirements. If the Senate approves changes to the bill and Abbott signs it, SB 5 would overhaul the 2011 voter ID law that courts have ruled discriminatory. 

The chambers passed other bills, too. Both the House and Senate approved measures seeking to help mothers before and after they give birth, with the former passing a bill that aims to lower the the number of pregnancy-related deaths in the state and the latter clearing another to curb postpartum depression. The House also approved a bill that would make it easier for poor people to satisfy traffic tickets with alternatives to payments; it now heads to the Senate for approval. 

Tribune today

• From Ross Ramsey: It's hard to get tougher ethics laws for politicians and officeholders through the Texas Legislature, but it can be even harder to figure out exactly who killed them.

• State lawmakers filed several bills exempting tampons and other menstrual products from sales taxes this session, but the measures didn't draw serious attention this year.

• A bill making attacks on police and judges a hate crime is headed to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk.

• A Texas legislative committee reinstalled a Senate provision in a bill that would only allow state lawmakers to serve as delegates in a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution.

• A grieving mom was "humbled" and "relieved" after the Texas Senate passed an autopsy bill. 

• Dozens of Gov. Greg Abbott appointees have surpassed the donor threshold targeted by a stalled "pay for play" bill. 

• Texas budget writers plan to spend another $800 million for border security over the next two years, matching what lawmakers allocated in 2015.

• Members of the Texas House on Tuesday issued a loud demand for the Senate to take action on their bills — or else.

• A state representative announced the launch of a donation page that allows the public to contribute money to clear the debt of schools that feed schoolchildren when their lunch accounts are empty.

News from home

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What we're reading

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

Top hacker conference to target voting machinesPolitico

Trump proposes slashing Gulf royalty payments to Texas, other statesThe Midland Reporter-Telegram

Baylor, former staffer resolve Title IX lawsuit alleging retaliation, Waco Tribune-Herald 

Shifting more state functions to non-profits raises transparency questions, The Houston Chronicle ($) 

Dan Patrick airs inaccurate $20,000 homeowner savings claim, Austin American-Statesman ($)

Fix for troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension System passes Senate, Dallas Morning News ($)

For your calendar

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.

June 1: Catch a conversation with UT System Chancellor William McRaven in person or on our livestream.

Photo of the day

State Rep. Helen Giddings, D-De Soto, announces the launch of a website that allows the public to donate money toward reimbursing schools for students whose lunch accounts are empty. Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera. See more photos on our Instagram account

Quote to note

"When the Senate won't respect us, they need to expect us. ... I don't know if they can see us, but would you have them open the door so they can hear us?"

— State Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, issuing a loud demand for the Senate to take action on House bills

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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