The Look Ahead: What to Expect at the Texas Legislature the Week of May 1

AUSTIN — Good morning, y'all, and welcome to The Dallas Morning News' weekly political preview: The Look Ahead. Join us here every Monday morning for a peek at the week to come in the Texas Legislature.It's May 1, which means we're one month away from Sine Die — the last day of the session. Remember how last week I told you things would be busy? This month things are going to be insane. What's the best way to stay up to date on what's happening at the Capitol, you ask? Following our team's work on The 85th, of course. Mark your calendars Gasp! It has finally happened. The House has officially scheduled a Saturday meeting to debate a bill aimed at revamping Houston's pension system. But lawmakers have a lot on their plates before they can even think about their weekend debate. On Monday, the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee will hear testimony on a bill that would let Texans get wine shipments from out-of-state companies. Dagney Pruner will have some grape tweets from the hearing, follow along here: @dagneydevlin. Looking for something a little stronger? Check out the House Public Health Committee on Tuesday, as they take up a bill that would legalize medicinal marijuana for people with certain medical conditions, including cancer, HIV, autism and post-traumatic stress disorder. I'll be bringing you updates. Follow along: @madlinbmek. You can also stick with me for updates from the House floor on Tuesday as lawmakers take up a bill that would lower the fee for getting a gun license — a proposal that's expected to cost the state $58 million over the next five years. The bill is a priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and a Senate version has already passed through the upper chamber. The House will also take up a slew of ethics bills, all of which are priority bills for Gov. Greg Abbott. You can read up on all the background at The 85th. Investigative reporter David McSwane will try his hand at live-tweeting, so you can follow along here: @davidmcswane. House members will debate a bill calling for a convention to change the U.S. Constitution on Wednesday, two weeks after the same proposal passed through the House Select Committee on State and Federal Power and Responsibility. The bill is part of a package of bills supported by Abbott, who (along with other lawmakers) has received considerable donations from mega-rich backers of a national movement for a convention of states. If you don't follow Brandi Grissom then you'll be missing out: @brandigrissom. The House will debate a bill that would change the state's A-F system for rating public schools. Grades are scheduled to be issued next year. Many superintendents have expressed outrage over the system and are worried it could promote pro-voucher ideology and have a negative impact on schools in poorer neighborhoods. You can catch the debate by following Eva-Marie Ayala: @EvaMarieAyala. Lawmakers in the House will also take up a bill that would ban guns at state psychiatric hospitals — an accidental omission from a law passed last year that allowed people to carry guns onto government property. Are you curious what lawmakers have to say? I've got you covered. Don't forget to check out the full calendars for the House, Senate and all of their committees. By the numbers: franchise taxLate last week the House approved a bill that would slowly eliminate the state's business-franchise tax,, which generates about $4 billion a year. Republicans argued that the tax is a burden on businesses. Democrats maintain that ending it would jeopardize funding for essential state services.   Continue reading...

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