80th Texas Legislative Session Ends After Dramatics

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The Texas Legislature adjourned Monday night after last-minute budget squabbles and uproarious rebellion against Republican House Speaker Tom Craddick.

The Senate adjourned early in the evening, and the House went until the midnight deadline in the 140-day session. The House had a last-ditch round of debate over water, border security and electric deregulation.

The embattled Craddick finished the session as the man in charge of the House. Opponents from both political parties tried all weekend to oust him from power, with no success.

House members who'd walked out to protest Craddick returned by Monday afternoon to pass more bills. Those included mandatory high school steroid testing; required daily physical exercise for middle school students; and strengthened protections for foster children.

Lawmakers also approved the stage budget, the one bill they are legally required to pass. Despite some 11th hour fights and threats in the Senate to filibuster the budget bill, the House and Senate signed off late Sunday night and early Monday on a compromise $153 billion two-year spending plan. It's the state's largest ever.