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Top Morning Stories April 28, 2011

Texas_House_CROP.jpg
Photo by KUT News
The Texas House approved a redistricting map early Thursday morning.

Texas Budget Having Trouble in the Senate

Senate budget writer Steve Ogden (R-Bryan) hasn't been able to round up the votes he needs to get the Senate's version of the state budget to the floor for debate. Remember the Senate has what's called the two-thirds rule, which means each bill must get the support of two thirds of the chamber before lawmakers even get a chance to try to pass it.

The stalemate is bi-partisan. Most Democrats don't like the bill because even though is spends $12 billion more than the House - it still makes dramatic cuts to many social services and public education. And Republicans are getting pressure from outside groups to eliminate the $3 billion spent from the state's Rainy Day Fund.

The budget bill was expected to come up for a vote today.

Report Finds No Market Abuse During Blackout

From KUT's political reporting partner, The Texas Tribune:

A report prepared for the Public Utility Commission and released on Wednesday has found no evidence of market manipulation during the Texas rolling blackouts in February. The report, produced by a consulting company charged with independently monitoring activities in the Texas electricity market, also said the market "operated efficiently" during the eight-hour rolling blackouts, when wholesale prices for power rose by roughly 100 times as more than one-tenth of the state's power plants failed in abnormally cold weather. The blackouts and associated price spikes were "not the result of market manipulation or an abuse of market power," the report said.

Texas House Gives Initial Approval of Redistricting Map

And finally -- it took until after 2 this morning -- the Texas House has passed a redistricting map on second reading. Minority groups have opposed the map, saying it does not represent the growth of minority populations, specifically Hispanics, in Texas. The U.S. Census reports Texas gained about 3 million people over the last decade.  Hispanics made up two-thirds of that growth.

The Texas Senate is expected to take up its new Senate map after is passes the budget. (see above)