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Day 136 of the 82nd Texas Legislature

“Every one of [the senators] are enemies of the Republic of Texas and the Republic of the United States.”
9-11 conspiracy theorist and radio show Alex Jones, who led angry protesters to the Senate gallery to oppose the blocking of the TSA anti-groping bill

The clock is ticking for House and Senate negotiators trying to come to an agreement on a school finance plan that will allow them to cut $4 billion from school districts. It doesn’t help that the system already suffers from vast funding inequities. With lawmakers compromising between two different plans, Abby Rapoport offers a guide to understanding the closed-door debate. 

Victims of sexual assault must often undergo an invasive and humilating process for to collect DNA for a rape kit that’s meant to be used to catch the perpetrator. But tens of thousands of kits have never actually been tested. But as Alexa Garcia-Ditta reports, a bill that’s already passed both chambers and awaits the governor’s signature will require agencies to take an inventory of all their untested rape kits—by October. 

Last night, the Texas Senate passed legislation that will require natural gas companies, like the ones drilling from the Barnett Shale in North Texas, to disclose the chemicals they use when fracking, also called hydraulic fracturing. Companies must begin disclosing the chemicals in September 2012. As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports, one senator tried to amend the start date to September 2013, but got shot down by North Texas senators. 

In one of the last chapters of this session’s budget saga, the budget conference committee will release and vote on its final recommendations this morning in a pubic meeting. Meanwhile, a school finance agreement is still in limbo, with a special session hanging in the balance.

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