85th Legislature

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

Earlier this year there were fears that the 32-year-old health care system that covers hundreds of thousands of retired teachers was approaching a death spiral. The Teacher’s Retirement System’s TRS-Care was expected to experience a shortfall in excess of $1 billion.

Lawmakers came to the rescue with an infusion of cash – a temporary patch intended to shrink the system’s deficit to $700 million. But now, the Austin American-Statesman reports on another threat to the program – retired teachers are leaving it in droves.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

Gov. Greg Abbott made his first endorsement of a legislative challenger Monday. He said he would be supporting incumbent Republican State Rep. Sarah Davis’ GOP challenger Susanna Dokupil. That’s likely to cause more fraying among Texas Republicans.

Mike Ward, the Austin bureau chief for the Houston Chronicle, says the move is rare.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard

While news that Texas House Speaker Joe Straus wouldn’t be seeking re-election reverberated through the state capital last week, we got word of more turmoil in the Texas Republican Party – this time involving state Sen. Kel Seliger of Amarillo.

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal columnist Jay Leeson says the Panhandle is rumbling again.

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. 

Shutterstock

For patients visiting emergency rooms in Texas, surprise medical bills are common. In 2009, the Texas Legislature developed a mediation system for these hefty bills, but it was limited.

Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a law aimed at improving the system and expanding consumer protection.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

State Rep. Matt Rinaldi's scuffle Monday with Hispanic lawmakers is already putting a bright spotlight on his House district — and whether he can hold on to it in 2018.

Julian Aguilar/The Texas Tribune

The normally ceremonial last day of the legislative session briefly descended into chaos on Monday, as proceedings in the House were disrupted by large protests and at least one Republican lawmaker called immigration authorities on the protesters.

Alexa Ura / Texas Tribune

The Texas Legislature appears to be at a stalemate on a “bathroom bill” that could push the legislative session into overtime.

Refusing to go any further to regulate bathroom use for transgender Texans, House Speaker Joe Straus said Friday that the Senate can take or leave a proposed compromise it passed on Sunday — to which Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick later responded with a resounding no.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott is signaling support for House legislation that some hope will serve as an alternative to the Senate's "bathroom bill."

Bob Daemmrich

School principals and superintendents who fail to report teachers involved in inappropriate relationships with students could face criminal charges under a bill passed unanimously Wednesday in the Texas Senate.

With the measure scheduled for a committee hearing Tuesday, Texas Republicans are expected to offer a new version of the controversial “bathroom bill” with two significant changes.

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.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate, passing its first bill of the 2017 legislative session, unanimously approved an ethics reform package that watchdogs say will help curb conflicts of interest and shed more light on the private dealings of state elected officials.

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.

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

From Texas Standard:

The Texas House and Senate released their separate budget proposals for the next two years on Tuesday. There’s a nearly $5.3 billion difference between the two.

Texas State Library and Archives Commission/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Today marks the start of the 85th Texas legislative session. Lawmakers will have 140 days to pass bills and set the budget for the next two years. But the projected amount they’ll have to work with is 2.7 percent less than what they've been expecting.

Texas Tribune

From Texas Standard:

In this era of hyper-partisan politics, the denouement of the Democrat's house leadership fight on capitol hill today is an important reminder of something: not all the major battles are initiated by the other side.

Image via Flickr/Beth Cortez-Neavel (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

From Texas Standard:

The Texas legislature meets for 140 days every two years, but lawmakers are already starting to get to work. In 14 months, the 85th legislative session begins. Both Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker of the House Joe Straus have given legislators some homework before the start of the session. These interim charges suggest in-depth studies of what top state officials think are the most important issues for the next legislative session.