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Day 123 of the 82nd Texas Legislature

LINE OF THE DAY
“The last shall be first, and the first shall be last, and allow me to lay out my bill.”
—Rep. Paul Workman, R-Austin, appealing to higher powers to try and get his bill through before yesterday’s deadline for passing House bills.

OBSERVED
The biggest fight on the House floor last night, just hours before the deadline to pass House bills, was over payday lending. As Melissa del Bosque writes, the House passed two watered-down reform bills and only after a contentious debate with Rep. Gary Elkins. The strongest of the reform bills died. “At the beginning of the session, the payday industry already had 35 lobbyists on its payroll,” she writes. “Judging from the results of this week—the payday industry got what it paid for.”  

OBSERVED
Even as Texas endures a record drought, state lawmakers failed to pass a bill that would help fund the ailing state water plan. As Forrest Wilder reports the cost of the state’s water demand keeps rising, while water supplies keep dropping, and without investing in water infrastructure today, Texas may find itself high and dry in the future.  

BEST OF THE REST
Some major holes are appearing in the House’s spartan budget plan. As Peggy Fikac writes in the San Antonio Express-News, “The Texas House’s bare bones budget would run out of money for public schools by early 2013 and for Medicaid soon after unless lawmakers add money to the plan and revise education funding formulas.”  

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
Just 18 days remain in the session. After last night’s deadline to pass House bills on second reading through the House, both chambers will be back in session today. Meanwhile, the Senate redistricting committee may vote on its proposed map today.