2017 Legislative Session

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The 2017 regular session of the Texas Legislature was one of the most contentious in recent memory. It had plenty of protests, some infighting, a few filibusters and even a death threat. Now, after all that drama, lawmakers are headed back for more.

Lawmakers File Dozens Of Bills As Abbott Officially Calls Special Session

Jul 10, 2017
Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a declaration for a special session of the Texas Legislature on Monday, formally inviting lawmakers back to Austin to pass “sunset legislation” that will keep several key state agencies open.

The long-awaited procedural move allows lawmakers to begin filing bills for the special session set to begin July 18. 

Jon Wiley/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

What The New York Times is calling one of Texas’ “most tumultuous political moments in decades” is set to play out in a special session announced by Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday.

Lawmakers will return to the Capitol on July 18 for a 30-day special session, the first one Abbott has called during his time as governor.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott's announcement on whether he will call a special session is not expected to happen before next week.

On Monday, Abbott said he would share his verdict "later this week." On Friday, his office said he would not make the announcement Friday or over the weekend. 

LoneStarMike / via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 3.0)

From Texas Standard:

Texas has more than 150 state agencies -- everything from the Affordable Housing Corporation to the Workforce Commission. Do these agencies provide too much oversight and bureaucracy? That's what the Sunset Commission is tasked with finding out. A group of lawmakers from the Texas House and Senate, along with two members of the public, do periodic reviews to make sure state agencies are needed and that they're operating as they should.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

The end may be near for straight-ticket voting in Texas. House Bill 25, which would ban the practice, passed out of the Senate on Thursday. It's got one more stop in the lower chamber before heading to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk. Prominent Democrats are decrying the bill – saying it would dilute Democratic votes.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News.

From Texas Standard:

With the legislative session set to end on May 29, time is running out to pass a state budget, and resolve the avalanche of other bills that are still moving between chambers of the Legislature. And then there are the governor's priority items, some of which are still stuck, because lawmakers can't agree how to pay for them.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News.

Some urban school districts across Texas, including Austin, have banned out-of-school suspensions of pre-K through second-grade students, but a bill before the House Public Education Committee on Tuesday would ban out-of-school suspensions statewide for pre-K through second-graders. 

Terry Canales/Flickr

From Texas Standard:

What's in a name? It turns out that question has relevance long after Shakespeare's time. In fact, it's at the center of a bill before the Texas Legislature this session.

 

Via XCONOMY

A statewide ban on texting while driving was unanimously approved Monday by the Senate Committee on State Affairs and is now headed to the full Texas Senate.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Texas Legislature gaveled in just a few short weeks ago. And, while lawmakers typically wait until the waning weeks of the session to get anything done, we're answering some of your questions about what goes on under the granite dome for our TXDecides project.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Texas lawmakers are still referencing a highly edited undercover video from 2015 purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials selling fetal tissue.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

If you've never watched the Texas legislative process before, heading to the Capitol for the first time can be daunting. Connecting with existing groups could be the best way to get involved with the process.

“Don’t feel like you have to become an expert yourself,” said Ann Beeson, director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, a left-leaning state policy think tank. “There are lots of organizations out there that that’s their job, and they can help you both really understand policy issues and develop talking points.”

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Texas Legislature gaveled in just a few short weeks ago. And, while lawmakers typically wait until the waning weeks of the session to get anything done, we're answering some of your questions about what goes on under the granite dome for our TXDecides project.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Gov. Greg Abbott delivers his State of the State address in the House chamber at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Reporters from KUT and other public radio stations across Texas will be annotating his remarks.

Via Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune: State Rep. Dawnna Dukes confirmed to The Texas Tribune in an email Monday that she is not resigning from her post representing House District 46. The confirmation comes two days after news reports surfaced indicating she had changed her mind.

Bob Daemmrich for Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune: Facing sluggish economic forecasts amid low oil prices along with billions in tax revenue already dedicated to the state highway fund, Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced Monday that lawmakers will have $104.87 billion in state funds at their disposal in crafting the next two-year budget, a 2.7 percent decrease from his estimate ahead of the legislative session two years ago.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

This legislative session, Texas lawmakers have some tough discussions ahead of them about how Texas funds its public schools, but some are asking how lawmakers can have those conversations without an updated look at how much it actually costs to educate kids.  

Images Money/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Citizens and journalists requesting Texas public records won’t have a lot of luck getting government contract information right now. Requests for information on nonprofits getting state funding also will come up short.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT News

From the Texas Tribune: A hotly contested legislative session in 2015 led to two controversial gun laws: One that allows for the open carry of handguns and another that permits the concealed carry of handguns on Texas college campuses. 

Beth Cortez-Neavel/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard

Federal law doesn't allow states to drug test food stamp recipients, but there is no such law for another program that gives federal grant funds to states to provide families with financial assistance and other support services. Nine states currently require either screening or drug testing for adults seeking to receive the federally funded Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Now Texas wants to join them.

KUT News

The divide over how Texas should educate its 5.3 million public school students will become clear during the 2017 legislative session.