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Day 130 of the 82nd Texas Legislature

“If this bill ever makes it to the floor again, I want you to wear a cat suit.”
Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer, D-San Antonio, to Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, on the many lives of Eissler’s education reform bill.

With only ten days left in the session, budget negotiations between the House and Senate are down to a fight over $800 million in higher education funding. That leaves another key measure, “fiscal matters” bill SB 1811, as the biggest barrier standing in the way of a budget deal. The bill provides dollars that budget writers are counting on—but there’s no guarantee of smooth sailing.  

You might not have seen it coming. Midway through the debate over Senate Bill 23, a major “fiscal matters” bill to create Medicaid savings, things suddenly took a turn—towards yet another abortion debate. As Alexa Garcia-Ditta reports, after whole lot of argument, Tea Party freshman Jim Landtroop tacked on his anti-abortion amendment. 

While most Texas politicos have had their eyes firmly fixed on the legislative proceedings, it’s hardly stopped the rumors about Gov. Rick Perry’s future plans. Perry has repeatedly said he’s focused on Texas, and has no interest in running for president. The Texas Tribune’s Ross Ramsey tries to explain why no one believes him. 

Budget negotiations continue today as the clock is ticking. Senate Bill 1811, a key “fiscal matters” bill, which allows budget writers to include around $2.5 billion more in the budget and is crucial to negotiations, is scheduled to come up again today after getting postponed twice in the last two days. Meanwhile, make no plans for the weekend—the House will be in session Saturday and Sunday.

Alexa Garcia-Ditta is an Observer reporter (and former intern) covering women's health, reproductive health and health care access across the Lone Star State. Before joining the Observer, she was a staff news writer at the San Antonio Current. She holds an MA in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and BA in journalism and Spanish from UT-Arlington, where she worked for three years on her college newspaper. After graduate school, she dipped her toe in public policy communications at the Center for Public Policy Priorities. When she's not at work, she's probably training for her next marathon.