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Texas Legislature

Dr. Alma Arredondo addresses the State Preservation Board at the Capitol on Jan. 25, 2015. Arredondo argued the state erred in removing a Confederate plaque that said the Civil War wasn't over slavery.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr., The Texas Tribune

 

A view of the house floor during the second day of the 86th legislative session.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / Texas Tribune

 

Thousands of people will rally at the Capitol today to call for more K-12 options as part of National School Choice Week. But inside the Capitol, the once-prominent conversation isn't happening.

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.

Should Texas Eliminate The High-Stakes STAAR Test?

Jan 22, 2019

From Texas Standard:

Stakes can be high for students and teachers in Texas when it comes to standardized testing – specifically, STAAR testing. Students usually need to pass to advance to the next grade, and eventually, to graduate. Families, teachers and teacher groups have been vocal in the past about how stressful the tests can be. They're concerned that spending the entire school year on preparing for the STAAR takes away from other learning opportunities.

Now, a Republican lawmaker has filed a bill in the House that would repeal STAAR testing.

Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo
Associated Press

State Sen. Kel Seliger has been stripped of his post as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, in an escalation of a feud with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the upper chamber.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, announced Tuesday his 2020 campaign manager will be John Jackson, who led Gov. Greg Abbott's successful re-election bid last year.
Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

 

Cornyn announced Tuesday his campaign manager will be John Jackson, who led Abbott's successful re-election bid last year, an early hire that suggests the state's senior senator is not taking 2020 for granted.

The 86th Texas Legislature is underway and many are wondering if this is the session when overdue repairs are made to the Public Information Act, including closing one loophole that helps police departments hide what happens when a suspect dies while in custody.

 


Commission member Todd Williams of Dallas, left, meets with TEA Commissioner Mike Morath and State Sen. Royce West at the Texas Commission on Public School Finance on Jan. 23, 2018.
Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

 

Lawmakers returned to Austin this month for the first time since the Santa Fe High School shooting, and they have repeatedly assured that school safety will take center stage during the legislative session.
Associated Press

 

Following a deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School in May that left 10 dead and 13 others wounded, Gov. Greg Abbott released a 43-page school safety plan outlining suggestions for bills the Legislature could pass this session to reduce the threat of gun violence in Texas schools.

New legislation is brewing in the state Capitol that would allow Texans to buy beer-to-go from craft breweries.

State Sen. Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway, and state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, have filed bipartisan companion bills (SB 312 and HB 672) that would allow craft breweries to sell packaged beer products at their taprooms for "off-site" consumption.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott took his oath of office on Tuesday. In his speech he promised lower taxes and school funding overhaul.
Associated Press

Republican Greg Abbott began a second term as Texas governor Tuesday by promising lower taxes and a school funding overhaul but without mentioning a national policy dispute that weighs heavily on his state: President Donald Trump's demand for a border wall.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

As Texas’ Republican leadership calls for property tax cuts and a school finance overhaul, the Texas House on Monday pitched a bold proposal: Pump roughly $7 billion more state funds into public schools — but only if lawmakers can satisfactorily overhaul the school finance system to slow the growth of property taxes.

A Texas Senate bill aims to help people whose abusive partners coerce them into taking on debt by threatening violence.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

No matter how many hours Sherry worked in the Corpus Christi retail store she and her husband owned, she never got a paycheck.

Her husband decided when she got money. He bought all her clothes, dictated which brand of lunch meat she purchased and made her prove how every dollar he did give her was spent for the benefit of the entire family.

From Texas Standard:

Texas Standard has been inviting new members of the Texas delegation on Capitol Hill for on-air meet-and-greet sessions. Recent news has made these conversations especially timely: earlier this week we spoke about the shutdown and the situation at the border with a newly minted Democratic representative, Colin Allred. Now it's Lance Gooden's turn; he's the Republican freshman elected in November to take the place of Jeb Hensarling representing District 5, which covers parts of Dallas and East Texas.

Gooden says he supports President Donald Trump's idea to declare a national emergency in order to secure funding for the border wall. He says Trump would need to do that "especially if he wants to get what he wants because I don't think he's gonna get it in Congress."

Union members and other federal employees stop in front of the White House in Washington during a rally Thursday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

A plaque honoring the Confederate States of America in the Texas Capitol will be taken down after a vote from the Texas State Preservation Board.

In a meeting that lasted all of three minutes, board members unanimously approved the measure to remove the plaque, which was installed in 1959, though it's unclear when exactly it will be taken down. 

A Nov. 16, 2018, meeting of the Legislative Budget Board included then-state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound.
Bob Daemmrich/BDP Inc.

A group of state leaders with huge influence over what public services receive funding said Friday they were prepared to make a significant withdrawal from the state’s savings account.

Keeping track of federal court cases can be confusing even for reporters whose job it is to follow this stuff, let alone the general public.

Under the Texas Capitol dome in the Rotunda.
State of Texas

Texas lawmakers are expected to look at a range of criminal justice issues during the 2019 legislative session. Criminal justice reforms have been a bipartisan bright spot for a decade in Austin, as conservative and liberal lawmakers have sought to reduce the number of people behind bars, increase public safety and cut costs.

After failing to pass legislation to reform public school funding in 2017, state leaders have pledged to make it a top priority this legislative session.

The Texas Public School Finance Commission spent 2018 creating a roadmap for lawmakers to enact that reform, but key questions remain.

Since 2007, Houston Democratic state Rep. Garnet Coleman – and others – have tried in vain to get just five words into Texas' hate crimes law: "or gender identity or expression."

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A plaque honoring the Confederate States of America in the Texas Capitol could come down Friday with a decision from the Texas State Preservation Board.

The board is meeting at 10:30 a.m. to discuss removing the plaque, which was installed near the Capitol rotunda in 1959.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, sits next to Gov. Greg Abbott as he speaks during a press conference at the Governor's Mansion on Wednesday.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / Texas Tribune

 

The “bathroom bill” won’t be back this session, its loudest champion suggested Wednesday morning.

At a Governor’s Mansion press conference on the second day of this year’s legislative session, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — who last session was the top state leader championing the measure, which would have regulated the use of certain public facilities for transgender Texans — suggested there’s no need to bring back the divisive proposal that headlined the last legislative year in 2017, but failed to reach the governor's desk.

Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen hold a joint press conference on the lawn of the Governor's Mansion on Jan. 9, 2019.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / Texas Tribune

 

Texas' top three elected leaders are looking to show a united front as the 2019 legislative session begins — and start fresh after the drama of last session.

The House Chamber at the Texas Capitol.
Austin Price / The Texas Tribune

 

Amid continued scrutiny over how lawmakers handle reports of sexual misconduct by their colleagues, members of the House on Wednesday approved a measure that will strengthen the way the chamber addresses complaints of sexual harassment.

State lawmakers were back in Austin on Tuesday as the 86th regular session of the Texas Legislature convened. The day was mostly a big opening party: Family and friends of lawmakers flooded the Capitol for swearing-in ceremonies and celebrations.

Border Wall Money Would Be Better Spent On U.S. Infrastructure, Colin Allred Says

Jan 8, 2019
Rep. Colin Allred is among nine Texas freshmen in Congress. He represents the 32nd Congressional district in North Texas.
Bill Zeeble / KERA News

It’s a fraught time for these newly-elected members of Congress to come to Washington, including for Dallas Democrat Colin Allred.

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.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick speaks at the Republican Party of Texas convention in San Antonio on Friday, June 15, 2018.
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

 

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick missed the first day of the Texas Legislature on Tuesday to attend a border security meeting at the White House.

Patrick, who attended a pre-session social event Monday evening in Austin and is scheduled for two public addresses on Wednesday, “is not going to be able to join us today,” said state Sen. Jane Nelson, a Flower Mound Republican, who took the dais in Patrick’s stead.

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