86th Texas Legislature

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Top Texas lawmakers this year are proposing allocating billions of more dollars for public schools, but a portion of those dollars will likely have strings attached. And some education advocates worry the strings will lead to an even greater emphasis being placed on standardized tests in the state.

Courtesy of Saint Arnold Brewing Company

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.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Leaders of the Texas Senate are proposing giving schools $3.7 billion to provide $5,000 pay raises to all full-time classroom teachers — on the heels of a House budget proposal that includes $7 billion more for public education.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / Texas Tribune

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who both won re-election in November, will kick off their second, four-year terms on Tuesday after being sworn into office on the steps of the Texas Capitol.

The inaugural ceremony will begin in the morning, with speeches from both Republicans — Patrick first, Abbott second — set to begin at 11 a.m. Check back on this page for a livestream of the event.

Travis Bubenik / Houston Public Media

If you want to cook up a battle over private property rights in Texas, here’s the recipe:

Take a handful of sprawling cities and growing populations that are expanding into once-rural areas, add a booming oil and gas industry with a desperate need for new pipelines to move record-high volumes of hydrocarbons, and sprinkle in the new electric lines needed to power both of those trends.

Julia Reihs / KUT

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.

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.

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

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.