Joaquin Castro's Decision, Pot Bill's Fate, Barr's Mueller Report Testimony, Senator's Ted Cruz Prank

Good morning! Here are the top political headlines from Austin, Washington, the campaign trail and Dallas.Points from Austin1. David Pickup says moving to Texas was a no-brainer. A few years ago, he shuttered his family therapy practice in California and came home. Here, he says "business is booming." Here, it's so busy he's hired an intern. Because here in Texas, gay conversion therapy is still legal. Psychology professionals have largely rejected it as unproven and potentially dangerous. Governments, too, have cracked down, with more than a dozen states issuing bans. But Texas politicians have refused to even discuss whether to regulate the practice.Until now. On Wednesday, lawmakers debated whether to ban gay conversion therapy for minors.2. In anticipation of more showers and thunderstorms that could cause flooding in North Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott has deployed state resources to the area. That includes water rescue boats and crews, helicopters, 30 high-profile vehicles, eight ambulance buses, eight ambulance strike teams, a medical unit and support teams, according to his office.3. A massive property tax overhaul -- one lawmakers say will help home and business owners who are buried by skyrocketing tax bills -- is nearing its final approval, much to the dismay of city leaders who have for months warned the legislation will hurt public safety funding.The Texas House on Tuesday evening passed Senate Bill 2, which slows how fast property tax bills increase by limiting how much local governments can collect in revenue. The bill is likely headed to a conference committee for the chambers to hammer out the differences.But as the House author presented the bill Tuesday, he stressed an important reality: This legislation will not make property tax bills smaller.4. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has announced his opposition to a bill that would lessen the repercussions for people caught with less than an ounce of marijuana. Patrick, who serves as president of the Texas Senate, said the legislation would not survive in his chamber. Does it still have a chance? Sen. John Whitmire, the Houston Democrat who chairs the Committee on Criminal Justice, which the bill would need to pass to reach the Senate floor, said that he would be "pulling" members on his committee to support the bill but that "it becomes a real challenge when the lieutenant governor makes his announcement."5. A Senate education committee on Wednesday reluctantly advanced a sweeping bill to fund Texas schools, increase teacher pay and lower property taxes. But there's one big problem. The Senate's version of the school bill is currently more expensive than the state can afford.As written, the bill doesn't identify a funding source to cover billions of dollars worth of property tax cuts that are a priority for top Republicans, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.6. Big businesses, including American Airlines and IBM, are making their voices heard when it comes to preserving LGBT nondiscrimination laws that the companies fear could be nullified by bills making their way through the Texas Legislature.The four bills would prevent municipalities from requiring private businesses to provide paid sick leave and other benefits to their employees. A House committee was still debating the legislation late Wednesday night.7. Daylight Saving Time has forced Texans to change their clocks twice-yearly for decades, but some Texans are ready for a permanent change. House Joint Resolution 117, a proposed constitutional amendment in the Texas House this month, would let the Lone Star State choose to stay year-round on either Daylight Saving Time or Standard Time.One of our readers wanted to know why Daylight Saving Time was introduced, so Curious Texas did a little research.8. 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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