Marijuana Bill's First Hurdle, Bump Stock Ban, Dallas Diaper Duty, Reality Check for Beto O'Rourke?

Good morning!Here are the top political headlines from Austin, Washington, the campaign trail and Dallas.Points from Austin1. Are we headed for an overtime session in Austin this summer? If lawmakers don't enact "substantial" property tax relief, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says yes.But Gov. Greg Abbott and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen both said there's time enough to finish their work before lawmakers are scheduled to gavel out on May 27. Here's a look at the property tax proposals on the table.2. Patrick prides himself on being thought of as one of the most conservative leaders in Texas, but some of his allies are criticizing him for being too moderate.The lieutenant governor has abandoned some of his red-meat priorities, they allege, and supplanted them with middle-of-the-road proposals popular with more moderate and even liberal voters. Read our story to find out which of his ideas have small-government types scratching their heads.3. Four female House Democrats bailed Monday on a meeting of a committee that was about to hear an anti-abortion bill from Plano Rep. Jeff Leach. With GOP Rep. Morgan Meyer on morning child-care duty in University Park, the five absences denied the nine-member panel a quorum and frustrated Leach, its chairman.Here's why the four women, including three from the Dallas area, said they skipped the hearing.4. Texans caught with small amounts of marijuana would be subject to a fine instead of jail time under a bill that passed its first hurdle in the state Legislature on Monday.5. As lawmakers rally around plans to give Texas teachers raises, support staff say they feel underappreciated and concerned about their paychecks. "It brings down the morale when you are talking about giving teachers a $5,000 across-the-board raise. When that first came out, the rest of the staff asked, 'Well, what about us?'" said Rachel Melancon, a teacher's aide at Spruce High School in Pleasant Grove. "There's no way you can do that and not include teachers' assistants."You're going to pit us against one another."6. Major improvements to a foster care system that a federal judge has said fails Texas kids aren't likely to happen anytime soon, according to child advocates who say they regret their inflated expectations."In the beginning, we'd hoped there was some chance there'd be a settlement and an agreed order," Mike Foster said. "I was very naïve to think that." Here's more about what's causing the stalemate.7. Torture. Intolerable. A death sentence. These are some of the words used to described the conditions inside state jails and prisons in the summer months, when the hot Texas sun can push temperatures past 130 degrees. "These people are not animals and we're treating them like animals," Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, told his peers on the House Committee on Corrections. "It's crazy. It's twisted. It's sad. And it's not who we are."But will lawmakers invest millions to fix it?8. Whenever a natural disaster hits North Texas, ravaging homes and causing other damage, the phones at Southlake Rep. Giovanni Capriglione's office start ringing.Many of those calls are from homeowners who have paid thousands of dollars to have their damaged roofs repaired only to see contractors take off with their money after leaving repairs incomplete or poorly finished. And now, Capriglione has filed a bill to help protect consumers from this predatory practice.9. At 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.Bob's breakdownBob Garrett is the Austin bureau chief for The Dallas Morning News. A fifth-generation Texan, he has covered state government and politics for decades. Here, Bob offers his take from the Capitol. Is a special session going to be needed to deliver "substantial property tax reforms?" Patrick's warning that the "majority" of lawmakers "understand" they have to do big stuff on property taxes "before we go back home - whether that is at the end of May, or as many special sessions as it takes" is reminiscent of 2017, when he also talked of special sessions before the regular one was done. That year, there indeed was a special. But it led to very mixed results - with no bathroom bill or property tax revenue caps. Abbott and Bonnen, who sought to dampen speculation about an overtime session, are busy, busy this week. Abbott will be keynote speaker at two Lincoln Reagan Day dinners - in Houston and Las Vegas (where he's also appearing at a Republican Jewish Coalition conflab). On Wednesday and Thursday, Bonnen will preside as the House slogs through the state budget. Points from Washington  Continue reading...

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