Hot List: Day 114 of the Legislature


The Lead:

Payday loans in Texas tend to have astronomical interest rates and send poor families deep into debt. Lawmakers have made several efforts this session to curtail such practices and impose some restrictions on an influential industry.

But, after a wild committee hearing that lasted well into Monday night, payday reform this session may be dead, as the Observer’s Forrest Wilder reports. Industry insiders milled about the meeting late Monday night, and it appeared that only one member of the House Investments and Financial Services Committee—Rep. Mike Villarreal, author of the reform bill—was in favor of cracking down on payday establishment. With the rest of the committee apparently siding with industry, the reform bill’s prospects look bleak.

Yesterday’s Headlines:

1. The House passed a bill aimed at reining in the power given to Pearson, the English company that supplies many of the materials in Texas schools, as the Texas Tribune reports.

2. A multitude of gun rights bills were filed this session following the many mass shootings. However, only a few have any chance of seeing the light of day, the Austin American-Statesman writes.

Line of the Day:

“It is folly to kid ourselves into believing that if a person works hard enough, they’re going to make it. My mom works 60 to 70 hours a week. … She should be able to afford amazing things in life. Yet, she can’t even afford health care.” —Luis Veloz told lawmakers about Medicaid expansion.

What We’re Watching Today:

1. The House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee will hear invited testimony about the tragedy in West.

2. The House is scheduled to debate the biennial anti-salvia bill. It would add salvia—which can have similar effects as marijuana—to the list of banned substances.

3. And if you’re more interested in the real thing, Rep. Elliott Naishtat’s medical marijuana bill will be heard in the House Public Health Committee today.