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Day 81 of the 82nd Texas Legislature

LINE OF THE DAY
“We have cut all we can cut. There’s blood all over the floor,”
State Rep. Dee Margo, R-El Paso,  during yesterday’s budget debate.

FLOOR PLAY BY ABBY RAPOPORT
During yesterday’s budget debate, two conservative Republicans who challenged House Speaker Joe Straus back in December, saw their amendments brought down by veteran Democrats and anxieties from their own party. As Abby Rapoport writes, “If Democrats can exploit those anxieties, they can win some small victories. Or at least keep the hard right from winning further cuts to state services.” 

OBSERVED
During yesterday’s debate on HB 275—the bill that authorizes use of the Rainy Day fund for this fiscal year—Democrats tried to convince their Republican counterparts to spend $1.1 billion more of the fund to keep nursing homes open. They failed, and now, as Forrest Wilder repors, “a lot of Texas grandmas and grandpas will be booted out of their nursing homes.”

BEST OF THE REST
In non-budget related news, the decision to switch the one of the drug used in lethal injections may end up in a legal fiasco. As the Texas Tribune reports, two inmates filed a lawsuit against the state’s corrections department this week claiming that the drug decision was made behind closed doors and violated state transparency laws.  

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
The budget debate continues today as the House turns toward budget bill for the 2012-2013 biennium. The $164.5 billion budget proposal cuts $23 billion from current spending levels. Pack a lunch—and sleeping bag for that matter. With more than 400 pages of amendments filed on the bill, this debate will likely last into the weekend.