Conservatives Want to ‘Save Chick-fil-A,' Sales Tax Increase Debated, Ted Cruz Mocks Disney

Good morning! Here are the top political headlines from Austin, Washington, the campaign trail and Dallas.Points from Austin1. Conservative Christians gathered at the Texas Capitol on Wednesday to urge support for two bills, backed by North Texas lawmakers, that would protect business owners who cite their faith to turn away certain customers.Dubbed "Save Chick-fil-A Day," the event was organized to protest the San Antonio City Council's decision to ban the fast-food chain from a local airport because of the business' stance on LGBT rights.2. A plan to increase Texas' sales tax as a means of lowering property taxes -- touted by the state's three most powerful Republican leaders as a priority -- has been under attack since the moment it was announced last week.Predictably, Democratic leaders rushed to criticize the policy for punishing the state's poorest families. But some of the most intense opposition has come from conservatives, who are asking why Republicans would champion a plan to increase taxes.3. On Wednesday, top Republicans and Democrats packed a small room at the Texas Capitol and said it was time to set aside the rhetoric and address the thousands of migrants streaming to the U.S.-Mexico border.Democrats urged unity. Republicans called for consensus. The parties made impassioned entreaties to the media. But neither side talked to each other.4. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Wednesday named five Republican senators, and no Democrats, to the House-Senate panel that will hash out the two chamber's differences on the two-year state budget.Patrick's move appeared to be a rebuke of Senate Finance Committee Vice Chairman Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, who voted against Patrick's top priority for this year. Read more about what sources are saying about Patrick's move.5. It was a good day for cops at the Texas Capitol on Tuesday, as separate bills to create a student loan payment assistance program for law enforcement officers passed both chambers of the Legislature. Two North Texas lawmakers are at the forefront of the push.6. The House has approved a bill from Dallas Rep. Victoria Neave that would tackle the state's rape kit backlog by creating a timeline for testing new kits and mandating an audit to determine the number, status and location of all rape kits in the state."This bill is for all the women who have waited for years for justice, for all the women who pursued justice and were not believed, for all the women whose rape kits sat untested," Neave said. "Sexual violence pays no mind to party, to wealth, to age or to color."7. The House also passed a bill that would require colleges to step up efforts to address sexual assault and dating violence on campus. A female student told officials she was sexually assaulted at the University of Texas at Arlington on Sunday, about two weeks after the university shut down nearly all Greek life on campus after a student nearly died of alcohol poisoning.8. A freshman at the University of Texas at Austin says he has lost his military scholarship because he is a transgender man. Map Pesqueira, a 19-year-old from San Antonio, said his financial aid is invalid under the federal government's new policy that bans many transgender troops from enlisting in the military.Pesqueira's case has already garnered widespread condemnation from LGBT rights groups and some elected officials.9. At our state politics coverage site, the Texas Tracker: Your Guide to the State Legislature, you'll find stories, analysis and more from the Capitol. If you're a Dallas Morning News subscriber, you can customize your feed. Sign in, click the issues you want to follow, and you'll see only posts matching those topics.Points from the trail  Continue reading...

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