Cassandra Pollock / The Texas Tribune | KERA News

Cassandra Pollock / The Texas Tribune

Cassandra Pollock is an engagement reporter for The Texas Tribune, which she joined in June 2017 after a stint as a fellow during the 85th Texas Legislature. She graduated in 2017 from The University of Texas at Austin’s School of Journalism. Cassi has previously reported for The Daily Texan, the university’s official student newspaper, and The Washington Examiner in Washington, D.C.

Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio

Democrats in the Texas House are calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to convene a special legislative session to address gun violence — a move designed to place even more pressure on the state’s top GOP official to act in the wake of two deadly mass shootings just weeks apart.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Whatever members of the Texas House think of the recent headlines involving Speaker Dennis Bonnen, the drama curdling the lower chamber has raised the stakes for Republicans and Democrats ahead of an already crucial election cycle — and it could undermine a recent warning the speaker issued about incumbents campaigning against colleagues in 2020.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

State Rep. Dustin Burrows of Lubbock has resigned as chair of the Texas House GOP Caucus, according to two people familiar with the matter. Burrows’ departure comes amid allegations that he, along with House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, planned to politically target members from their own party in the 2020 primaries — and it marks the largest fallout yet since the accusations surfaced.

Associated Press

Allen West, a former congressman from Florida, announced Thursday he is running for Texas GOP chair, challenging current party leader James Dickey for the position.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

The Texas House General Investigating Committee voted Monday to request that the Texas Rangers look into allegations against House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and one of his top lieutenants in the lower chamber.

Emree Weaver / The Texas Tribune

Texas Democrats are suing over a June 12 meeting House Speaker Dennis Bonnen had in June with one of his top lieutenants and Michael Quinn Sullivan, a hardline conservative activist, saying the three were engaged in serious campaign finance violations and demanding that Sullivan produce a full recording of the gathering that he has shared with only a small group of Republicans.

Speaker Dennis Bonnen, who chaired the tax-writing Ways & Means Committee in 2017, has tapped state Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, to fill his shoes.
Bob Daemmrich / The Texas Tribune

Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen has apologized to members for taking a meeting with hardline conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan that has since thrown the lower chamber into chaos.

Bob Daemmrich / The Texas Tribune

Two members of the Texas House who listened Wednesday night to a recording of a meeting that has shaken up the Legislature refuted House Speaker Dennis Bonnen's denials that he offered a list of 10 GOP representatives for a hardline conservative group to politically target.

Emree Weaver / The Texas Tribune

Republican Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen has launched a political action committee to help defend the GOP majority as Democrats push to take the lower chamber in 2020.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

State Rep. John Wray, a Waxahachie Republican, announced Wednesday he will not run for re-election to the Texas House in 2020.

Associated Press

State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, a firebrand conservative Republican from Bedford and one of the most vocal members of the Texas House, announced Monday he will not run for reelection in 2020.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday that the state will deploy 1,000 troops from the Texas National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border to aid the federal government with border security efforts.

Speaker Dennis Bonnen, who chaired the tax-writing Ways & Means Committee in 2017, has tapped state Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, to fill his shoes.
Bob Daemmrich / The Texas Tribune

 

State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond will again head the budget-planning Appropriations Committee, the House announced Wednesday. State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, will retain his post as chairman of the House Administration Committee.

The Texas State Capitol on the first day of the 86th legislative session.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

A gray fog descended on Austin Tuesday morning, but the scene inside the Texas Capitol was all colorful and festive to mark the first day of the 86th biennial legislative session.

And perhaps the loudest celebration took place in the Texas House, where lawmakers whooped and hollered after the unanimous election of state Rep. Dennis Bonnen as House speaker.

Left to right: Outgoing House Speaker Joe Straus, presumptive House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick at a Legislative Budget Board meeting in Austin on Nov. 16, 2018.
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

This time two years ago, the stage was already set for a political rumble.

Months before the 85th legislative session even began in January 2017, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had started laying out a hefty list of priorities, perhaps most notably the “bathroom bill,” a measure that would have restricted the use of certain public facilities for transgender Texans.

State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton
Photo Illustration by Emily Albracht / Robert Daemmrich and Anneke Els Paterson for the Texas Tribune

Ten votes.

That’s the razor-thin margin by which a young Dennis Bonnen — two years out of college — made it into the 1996 Republican primary runoff for House District 25.

football helmet
Tom Pennington

A Texas House member wants to bring back an annual football game between the state's two flagship universities: the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University.

The Texas Freedom Caucus in 2017 (clockwise from back): State Reps. Jonathan Stickland, Briscoe Cain, Matt Krause, Valoree Swanson, Mike Lang, Kyle Biedermann, Matt Rinaldi, Tony Tinderholt, Jeff Leach, Bill Zedler, Matt Schaefer, Matt Shaheen
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Despite prior differences, ten of the 11 returning members of the Freedom Caucus in the Texas House have publicly backed Angleton Republican Dennis Bonnen as speaker.

Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

State Rep. Dennis Bonnen announced Monday that he has support from 109 members to become the next speaker of the Texas House. That number, if it holds, is more than enough votes for him to win the gavel.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas Tribune

CARROLLTON — Julie Johnson squinted at a map on her iPhone before walking up to the next house on her list.

“Are you registered to vote?” Johnson, a Democratic state House candidate, asked a Hispanic woman standing in her driveway one morning in August. The woman wasn’t, she responded, but her mother was.

“Well, we wanna make sure she votes in November,” Johnson said. “I’m running against Matt Rinaldi — he’s the guy who called ICE on all the protesters.”

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Bob Daemmrich / The Texas Tribune

Several thousand Texans will descend on San Antonio and Fort Worth for the biennial Republican and Democratic conventions to hear from the state’s most prominent politicians, adopt new platforms and elect party leaders.

Laura Buckman for The Texas Tribune

After 10 people were killed by a student firing a shotgun and a .38 revolver at Santa Fe High School last week, Gov. Greg Abbott's re-election campaign has dropped a shotgun giveaway from his website.

drive.ai

The booming North Texas city of Frisco is reportedly set to get the nation's first self-driving car service.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Legislation by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, to strengthen the criminal gun background check system has been tacked onto a massive spending bill Congress is expected to consider this week in order to avoid another government shutdown, several news outlets reported Wednesday.

Lang: Twitter/Largent: Granbury ISD

Nearly a year ago, a dozen right-wing lawmakers in the Texas House dubbed themselves the Texas House Freedom Caucus, railing against the chamber's more moderate leadership and highlighting divides within the state GOP.  

Laura Buckman for The Texas Tribune

The state of Texas can use its revised voter ID measure for the 2018 November elections, a divided federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday. 

Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

Nearly three days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, more statewide resources were deployed to address rescue efforts in Southeast Texas Monday.

Texas A&M University

Texas A&M University's first openly gay student body president is set to take office next month, marking a milestone for the largest public university in the state. 

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