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The 84th Texas Legislature: Conservative, But Complicated

Texas Tribune
House Speaker Joe Straus gavels out the 84th session of the Texas Legislature on June 1, 2015.

Gov. Greg Abbott got most of what he wanted out of his first legislative session as the state's chief executive.  However, not all Republicans share his enthusiasm.

Ross Ramsey, executive editor of the Texas Tribuneexplains why he views the just-ended session as a "conservative, but complicated" Legislature.

Highlights from Ross Ramsey’s interview…

Why it was a “conservative, but complicated” legislature:  “You look at this thing if you’re a …tea party voter and you come out of November and you say ‘We won all these races and elected all these statewide officials’ and you get to the end and realize you didn’t get a 100 percent of what you wanted. Some of the loudest complaints about the session are coming from people on the conservative end of the Republican party. That’s why it’s complicated. You throw these guys into the mix, you start to knock ideas around, and nothing ever comes out the way you think it might.

What conservatives didn’t get:  Repeal of the Texas Dream Act and in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants who graduate Texas high schools, live in the state for three years, and who apply for citizenship. Sanctuary cities legislation requiring local police departments to enforce federal immigration laws and check people’s immigration status when they’re arrested. But he (Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick) got plenty of other stuff: modest tax cuts, liberalized gun laws. You know a lot of things like that the Right was looking for went through.

Unresolved issues that could force a special session: Court decisions on school finance reform, the Texas Voter I.D law, and the state’s redistricting maps for Congress and the Texas House.

For more information

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Analysis: A Conservative But Complicated Legislature

Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.