2019 Texas Legislature

Image via Flickr/Texas Comptroller (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

When Texas lawmakers arrived in Austin Tuesday, they were probably at their most optimistic – the process of debating and passing legislation will be tough, but there's possibility that great things can happen. While many things are still unknown about the 86th legislative session, one thing is clear: lawmakers know the limits of the state's budget because Comptroller Glenn Hegar has already released those details. The legislature will have $119 billion to work with, Hegar says.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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

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.

Austin Price for The Texas Tribune

Amid continued scrutiny over how lawmakers handle reports of sexual misconduct by their colleagues, members of the House on Wednesday are expected to consider a proposal to strengthen the way the chamber addresses complaints of sexual harassment.

Julia Reihs / KUT

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.

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 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.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) is the new speaker of the Texas House. The 150-member body selected him 147-0 shortly after being sworn in for the 2019 legislative session Tuesday.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Texas Legislature heads back to work today. While you may know the body's main objective is to pass laws – especially the next state budget – you might not know much else.

That's not a criticism! The legislative process can be complex, so let's go over the basics of what the Legislature is and how it works.

The Texas Tribune

At a time when legislators are vowing to spend more money on public schools and slow the growth of Texans’ property tax bills, the state should have enough money at its disposal to do just that.

That is, if its newest predictions hold true.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

After facing sexual harassment allegations, state Sen. Charles Schwertner has told the Senate's leader he no longer wants his post as chair of the powerful health and human services committee.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

State lawmakers filed dozens of bills about educating kids ahead of Tuesday's start to the legislative session. The most interesting discussion at the Capitol will likely be around school funding.

It’s something the Legislature brings up every session, but bills aren't always passed. Lawmakers typically pass school funding bills only when they're forced to act because of a lawsuit.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Texas is not a state known for strong environmental protections. The fact is, many green groups head into legislative sessions more concerned about stopping bills that might do harm than supporting bills that might help.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

When the Texas Legislature reconvenes Jan. 8, lawmakers will already have on their desks bills aimed at undoing City of Austin rules.

The city-state conflict is nothing new. Last time they met in 2017, state lawmakers passed bills overturning Austin ordinances affecting ride-hailing companies, like Uber and Lyft, and passed a "sanctuary cities" bill.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

An early estimate shows Gov. Greg Abbott's proposal for a school finance fix would provide three times more dollars for property tax relief as it would additional money for school districts in 2020.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

During the weeks leading up to next session of the Texas Legislature, we're examining some of the state's most pressing issues – and the bills lawmakers have filed to address them.

First up, guns.