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Hot List: Day 56

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Day 56 of the 82nd Texas Legislature

LINE OF THE DAY
“It would have a lot of implications for a lot of families. What are they going to do about child-sitting in days off?”
Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo, on a bill by state Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, to shorten the school week to four days

OBSERVED
“In a time of high unemployment, is it really necessary to stigmatize laid-off workers as addicts? Then again, balancing budgets by targeting the poor and downtrodden is a longstanding political tradition.” Eileen Smith explains HB 126 and HB 139 

BEST OF THE REST
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice spends nearly $1 million giving their employees perks—from free cell phones to $7-dollar haircuts to free and reduced rent. But as the Austin American-Statesman reports, that may not continue, as legislators examine ways to balance the budget this session. 

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
After weeks of invited and public testimony, the House Appropriations Committee will make its official budget recommendations to the Health and Human Services Commission and its four departments, while the full House will take its final vote on the sonogram bill. Something for everyone.

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.