2017 Texas Legislature

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

The forces arrayed against Alabama judge Roy Moore are mounting. A fifth woman has come forward with sexual misconduct allegations against Alabama’s Republican candidate in the U.S. Senate race. Lawmakers in Texas may have to focus on problems closer to home, though, based on reports that are now coming to light.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Voters added seven amendments to the Texas Constitution yesterday. Adding amendments is standard operating procedure for the Texas Legislature: The document, which was ratified in 1876, now has almost 500 amendments.

But why?

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

As Texans brace for the damage done by Tropical Storm Harvey, a new law is set to take effect Friday that limits damages insurance companies are responsible for if there’s a dispute with a policyowner.

Pavel Mezihorak for KUT

The special session of the Texas Legislature began with an announcement by Gov. Greg Abbott in June, pushing — among other priorities — property tax reform. But that call to action fell short of producing a bill in the 30-day session. And no change in property tax law might be OK, because Texans may not be as overburdened by property taxes as they believe.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday put blame on the House — particularly Speaker Joe Straus — for the shortcomings of the special session and left the door open to calling another one.

Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

The Texas Legislature closed out the special session Tuesday night amid a stalemate on property tax reform, leaving unfinished Gov. Greg Abbott's top priority.

Abbott Signs Bill Restricting Insurance Coverage Of Abortion

Aug 15, 2017
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed a bill that will require Texas women to pay an extra health insurance premium for non-emergency abortions, one of three abortion-related items the governor placed on lawmakers' agendas for the special session. 

The measure, House Bill 214, does not include exceptions for instances of fetal abnormalities, rape or incest. 

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Legislation that would allow Texans to vote on whether cities in large counties can annex areas outside of their limits — a contentious issue that prompted a filibuster in May — got one step closer to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk Friday. But significant obstacles remain. 

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The Texas House tentatively approved two bills Thursday that will keep several state agencies from closing, including the Texas Medical Board. If the chamber gives the measures final approval on Friday, they could be the first bills of the special session sent to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus had their first meeting in months on Monday. 

"The Speaker and I had a substantive meeting today where we discussed a lot of issues. We are still talking," Patrick said in an emailed statement.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The Texas House passed a package of bills Friday that would put $1.8 billion into public schools and help out struggling small, rural school districts.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The rules of a special legislative session are pretty simple: The governor rules. Only the governor can call a special session, and only the governor can set the agenda. That's why it was a little curious when three bills dealing with groundwater popped up in the Texas House on Thursday.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

House Speaker Joe Straus has made himself enemy No. 1 among the state’s most conservative voters. His crime? His management style.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The Texas House has approved taking money from a state emergency savings fund to pay to temporarily bolster the state-run health insurance program for retired teachers.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

The Texas Senate has been moving quickly on many of Gov. Greg Abbott’s priorities for the special legislative session. But one item has seen little movement: a spending cap on city and county budgets in the state.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The Texas House has given early approval to a bill requiring physicians and health care facilities to report more details on abortions complications to the state — and fine those that do not comply.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Retired Texas teachers are closer to seeing some relief from higher health care deductibles, and current teachers may be seeing more money in the near future, too. But some teacher groups are worried the push to help teachers is more political than substantive.

Tim Park for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate on Wednesday gave tentative approval to a measure that pre-empts local ordinances on drivers’ mobile phone usage, effectively rolling back safety laws in the 45 Texas cities where local governments enforce stricter regulations than the state. 

Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Texas women would have to pay a separate health insurance premium to get coverage for non-emergency abortions under a bill tentatively passed by the Texas Senate on Wednesday.

State Sen. Brandon Creighton, the Conroe Republican who is the lead author of the bill, said opponents of abortion should not be forced to pay for the procedure through their insurance plans and employers should be able to choose whether to include abortions in their health coverage.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

During a recent committee hearing on a property tax bill, a state lawmaker made an unusual comment: He praised Travis County.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera

As part of Republican efforts to revive the controversial "bathroom bill," the Texas Senate on Tuesday gave approval to another version of the legislation.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Law enforcement officials from across the state spoke out today at the Texas Capitol against proposed legislation that would restrict bathroom access to transgender people. Senate Bill 3, known as the “bathroom bill,” would restrict access to restrooms in government buildings to the sex listed on a person’s birth certificate.

Chiefs and other high-ranking law enforcement officers were uniform in their condemnation of the bill, which is a priority item during the special legislative session.

Bas Silderhuis

State senators on Monday tentatively approved a bill that would give a state task force more time to study why an alarming number of Texas mothers are dying less than a year after childbirth.

Spc. Carlynn Knaak/Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

A Texas Senate panel approved legislation Sunday afternoon aimed at cracking down on mail-in ballot fraud by imposing steep criminal penalties.

Proponents of the bill say Senate Bill 5, which was one of the 20 items the Gov. Greg Abbott included on his call for a special session, would curb an ongoing problem in Texas.

“The bill is long overdue,” Alan Vera with the Harris County Republican Party told lawmakers.

Texas Senate Panel Approves Teacher Bonuses, Retirement Benefits

Jul 22, 2017
Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

The Senate Finance Committee on Saturday approved a proposal Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick listed as a priority for Texas education: providing bonuses and pay raises for long-term teachers, and reduced health-care costs for retired teachers.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

As part of state lawmakers’ second attempt at passing a bathroom bill this year, a panel of Senate lawmakers voted Friday to advance two measures that would restrict bathroom use for transgender Texans.

Mengwen Cao / KUT

The special session is underway, and of the 20 items Gov. Greg Abbott says he wants lawmakers to tackle, one is getting a lot of attention from teachers.

"I want legislation on my desk that increases teacher pay by $1,000,” Abbott said. “To achieve that, Texas doesn’t need to spend more, it just needs to spend smarter.”

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

Today, the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee will hear testimony on two bills that would restrict bathroom access based on the gender given to someone at birth.

Senate Gives OK To Must-Pass 'Sunset' Legislation In Midnight Vote

Jul 19, 2017
Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

A fast-moving Senate gave unanimous approval to critical “sunset legislation” Wednesday afternoon and early Thursday morning, using two bills to extend the life of five state agencies held political hostage at the end of the regular legislative session.

A photo posted to Facebook on Saturday by a trans woman from San Antonio gained national media attention about potential enforceability issues of the so-called "bathroom bill"

Pages