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Hot List: Day 52

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Day 52 of the 82nd Texas Legislature

“I’d rather go to jail than die in a nursing home.”
Bob Kafka, state leader of disabilities rights group ADAPT, reciting one of the chants activists yelled while camping outside Gov. Rick Perry’s office in protest to budget cuts.

We love when representatives bring props to the House floor, and perhaps the highlight of yesterday’s pre-abortion sonogram bill debate was when one Democrat whipped out a vaginal probe to help her squash the legislation. But it was a procedural technicality rather than the probe that helped the Democrats delay the sonogram debate—by one day. 

While University of Texas president Bill Powers offered the university’s proposed budget to the Senate Finance Committee, over 100 students took to the capitol hallways to protest. They argued against the Legislature’s proposed cuts to higher ed, and Powers’ particular choice of cuts in liberal arts and language programs. 

After the House had a long morning discussing but ultimately stalling the sonogram bill, State Affairs Committee members turned right around and headed for a long night taking up “sanctuary city” legislation. As the Dallas Morning News reports, emotional testimony lasted into the night regarding bills that would allow local law enforcement officers to ask for immigration status, something critics believe will inevitably lead to racial profiling. 

After a delay for a technicality, representatives will have it out today over the most stringent pre-abortion sonogram legislation filed this session. Supporters say the bill just heightens existing informed consent law, while critics call the procedure invasive, unnecessary and governmentally intrusive. Expect fireworks.

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.