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What you need to know
As speculation over a potential special legislative session has mounted this past week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott could be calling one later today. The governor is holding a news conference this afternoon at the Capitol, and while the topic of his presser is unknown, Abbott provided a hint or two last night during a Bell County GOP dinner. Here's what you need to know:
• Abbott said state lawmakers didn't properly address property tax reform. Abbott argued Monday night the Legislature left a "shortcoming" when it comes to property tax relief. "I think there is one challenge, one problem, that many Texans face that went unsolved," he said during a speech in Belton. "It’s complex, but it needs to be addressed, and that is the incredible rise in property taxes in this state."
• What happened to the issue during the 85th Texas Legislature? Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and other conservative lawmakers backed legislation that would have created automatic rollback elections when local property taxes rise by a certain amount. The Senate passed such a bill, but the House scrapped the automatic rollback election provision in its version of the legislation.
• What else could Abbott include in his special session call? The short answer is anything. The governor is the only official who can decide when to call a special session and what to include in his call. After the Legislature ended its regular session last week with a handful of key items unresolved, Abbott has faced pressure to bring lawmakers back to finish business on issues like passing a bill to prevent certain state agencies from shuttering and passing a "bathroom bill," a high-profile item long championed by Patrick that would regulate which restrooms transgender people can use.
• Follow today's news conference with us. Watch a livestream of Abbott's presser on our Facebook page, and follow Texas Tribune reporters Patrick Svitek and Alexa Ura for updates.
• Almost two years after The Texas Tribune and Austin American-Statesman revealed that a private Texas insurer had paid millions to government prosecutors to investigate certain fraud cases, the funding of the fraud unit is being changed.
Did the Texas Legislature boost funding for border security? What about public education? Did they dip into the Rainy Day Fund? Here’s a wide-angle look at what's in the $217 billion budget agreed upon by the two chambers.
• Before an amendment can become part of the Texas Constitution, it needs the support of the Legislature and a majority of Texas voters. Here are the seven constitutional amendments that will be on the November ballot.
• President Trump nominated Dallas real estate investor Ray Washburne to oversee an agency that the president had previously suggested he would like to eliminate.
News from home
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What we're reading
Links below lead to outside websites; we've noted paywall content with $.
White House: Trump will not assert executive privilege to block Comey's testimony, Politico
El Paso County Judge Escobar won't seek re-election, considers run for Congress, El Paso Times
West breaks ground on 'Fallen Heroes' explosion memorial, Waco Tribune-Herald
Amarillo ISD board's delay in electing president may have violated state law, Amarillo Globe-News
Trump plan for air-traffic control a concern for regional airports, San Antonio Express-News ($)
Morrow joins Travis County GOP race against Zimmerman, Mackowiak, Austin American-Statesman ($)
For your calendar
On June 10: Join us in Austin for a taping of KLRU's Overheard with David Brown, former Dallas police chief, and Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith.
Quote to note
"The collapse in college readiness does not mean that teachers have in one year mysteriously forgotten how to teach, nor that principals lost their leadership skills nor that students became less able to learn. Students became less likely to take a test, for the simple reason that no one made them take one anymore."
— Michael Marder, a physics professor at UT-Austin, about college readiness via TribTalk.
The Brief is written and compiled by your morning news baristas, Bobby Blanchard and Cassi Pollock. If you have feedback or questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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