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Day 98 of the 82nd Texas Legislature

“It’s the passing of an influence, as districts that only represent rural Texas are becoming fewer.”
State Rep. Tryon Lewis, R-Odessa, on the diminishing political power in West Texas

The reality of the budget crisis hit home for students at Katy ISD and Keller ISD last week, who rose up in support of their teachers by protesting district layoffs. As Abby Rapoport writes in her latest column, students across the state will get the news that their teachers have been let go, and we likely haven’t seen the last of their protests. 

In his latest post, Dave Mann looks at a Texas Forensice Science Commission report on the flawed arson conviction of Cameron Todd Willingham. The report, with 17 recommendations on how to reform arson investigations, represents some kind of end, Mann writes, but “if this was the end, it was a nebulous one.” 

Late Thursday night, Senate budget writers sent their slightly larger version of the budget to the printers, hoping for a vote on the bill this week. Peggy Fikac of the Houston Chronicle looks at the differences between the Senate and House budgets, and how the Senate plans to pay for theirs. 

It could be a big day in the Senate today as lawmakers could bring up the sonogram bill and a bill by Sen. Dan Patrick that would require a two-thirds vote on any tax legislation. Meanwhile, the Senate Finance committee will hear Sen. Eddie Lucio’s bill that would institute a soda tax. 

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Alexa Garcia-Ditta is a staff writer (and former intern) covering women's health, reproductive health and health care access.