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The Brief: Bill that would overhaul school finance is declared dead

After Rep. Dan Huberty said he wouldn't accept the Senate's changes to House Bill 21, the lower chamber voted to seek a conference committee. Sen. Larry Taylor, chairman for the Senate Education Committee, was not on board.

State Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, chairman of the House Public Education Committee, after his bill overhauling Texas' school finance system was approved on second reading on April 19, 2017.

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What you need to know

Sen. Larry Taylor, chairman for the Texas Senate Education Committee, said on Wednesday that this session's school finance overhaul "is dead." His remarks came after his counterpart in the House, Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, slammed the Senate's changes to House Bill 21 and said he would not accept them. The House voted to seek a conference committee with the upper chamber. Taylor said he would not appoint conferees to negotiate with the House. 

• HB 21 was the major school finance bill of the session. Its original purpose was to inject $1.5 billion into the state's public education coffers and simplify complex and outdated formulas used for allocating money to districts.

But the legislation looked different when it came out of the Senate on Sunday nightNot only did senators reduce the funding, but they also tacked on provisions for a "private school choice" program that would subsidize private school tuition and homeschooling for kids with disabilities.

Sen. Taylor has said he won't agree to a version of the bill without the private school choice program. Rep. Huberty has been outspoken on his opposition to school choice throughout the session, and he accused the senate of hijacking the bill. "The new version contains no method of finance," he said. "Ladies and gentlemen, the budget is closed. There is no money in the budget for that bill."

Tribune today

• While you slept, the Texas Senate approved a bill that would tweak a plan to grade school districts.

• Texas suburbs outside Houston and Dallas top a list of Texas' fastest-growing cities, according to new census figures.

• Nearly 40,000 children were married from 2000 to 2014 in Texas. One former child bride — who was forced to marry a 26-year-old ex-convict when she was 14 — is lobbying for a bill that could save others from her nightmare.

• Leadership at the embattled Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is still in flux. Steve Weinberg abruptly quit this week as commissioner of the agency, which recently came under fire for reports of extravagant spending. 

• The Houston pension bill now heads to the governor's desk, but firefighters are still mad. Meanwhile, Dallas leaders appear to have reached consensus on the Senate's version of that city's pension bill — a proposal that once divided the city's mayor and first responders.

• Rep. Helen Giddings succeeded in getting the House to pass a measure that targets "lunch shaming" in schools. Giddings said her measure is about taking care of hungry kids. The House Freedom Caucus disagrees.

• Attorney General Paxton tussles with prosecutors as his attempts to remove the judge in his securities fraud case continues.

• The Senate — still unhappy with the House's actions on the "bathroom bill" and property tax reform — tacked their original proposals onto unrelated county affairs legislation early Wednesday morning. The bill author said the legislation is now "dead" to him.

What we're reading

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

A Texas Republican Congressman just said something deeply irresponsible about Seth Rich's murder, CNN

Murphree faces criticism for Facebook reaction to Manchester bombingDenton Record-Chronicle

Mother of unarmed man shot by Laredo police officer says authorities are lyingLaredo Morning Times

Midland College wants dismissal of Title IX lawsuitMidland Reporter-Telegram

Mentally ill languish in Texas jails despite funding hike, The Associated Press

Texas bill could send people to jail for driving a woman to an abortion, lawmaker says, Texas Observer

In Dallas' Hispanic communities, fear seeps into everyday routinesThe Dallas Morning News ($)

G.O.P. health bill would leave 23 million more uninsured in a decade, C.B.O. says, The New York Times ($)

For your calendar

Today: 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

Clouds loom over the Texas Capitol during sunset Tuesday evening. Photo by Bob Daemmrich. See more photos on our Instagram account

Quote to note

“A child should be a child for as long as they can. Children are not psychologically nor physically capable of taking on the responsibilities of being a spouse. It’s important children have a safety net.”

— Trevicia Williams, a former child bride, about legislation that seeks to ban the practice in Texas.

The Brief is written and compiled by your morning news baristas, Bobby Blanchard and Sanya Mansoor. If you have feedback or questions, please email

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