86th Texas Legislature

Spencer Selvidge for KUT

If you're feeling lazy and you're looking for booze this holiday season, you're in luck. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission announced Thursday it's going to allow third-party delivery of alcohol from restaurants, liquor stores and grocery stores.

The Bent Tree via Flickr/CC by NC 2.0

When Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 3 into law earlier this summer, in addition to increasing school funding and approving teacher raises, he also approved a requirement for all Texas high school seniors to fill out an application for federal or state financial aid for college.

Texas Monthly

From Texas Standard:

Now that the 2019 legislative session is over, it's time to reflect on the legislators who impressed and those who disappointed. Texas Monthly was paying close attention all session and just published the 23rd edition of its Best and Worst Legislators list.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Heading off the prospect of anyone in Texas being able to call themselves a plumber, Gov. Greg Abbott extended the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners until 2021 Thursday via an executive order.

Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott signed four bills into law Thursday aimed at bolstering the state’s emergency preparedness and disaster relief programs, including framework that provides more than $1.6 billion for flood control projects and repairs across the state.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law one of lawmakers' biggest achievements this year, a massive overhaul of Texas' long-beleaguered school finance system.

Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune

Capping off a yearslong effort to prevent another school shooting like the Santa Fe High tragedy, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a series of bills into law Thursday that would, among other things, strengthen mental health initiatives available to children and allot money to school districts that can go toward “hardening” their campuses.

Gov. Greg Abbott
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott claimed Tuesday he can keep Texas' plumbing board alive without calling a special legislative session, as he reassured plumbers who were worried their profession will no longer be subject to state regulations.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

When lawmakers ended this year’s legislative session, they had addressed their biggest goals: They tamped down property taxes, overhauled school finance laws and gave teachers a pay raise. By various measures, the session was a success.

To health care advocates in the state, however, it was a missed opportunity.

Wind turbines
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The 2019 legislative session saw fights over renewable energy, climate resilience and pipeline construction. Now that the dust is settling on the field of battle, what do the results tell us about Texas lawmakers' priorities for energy and the environment?

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

For the last handful of legislative sessions, the Texas Legislature has had it in for Austin and other cities.

GOP lawmakers who regularly thumb their noses at "big government"-minded efforts in D.C. have filed bills targeting city laws regulating everything from plastic bag usage to how residents preserve trees, arguing city laws in Austin create a so-called patchwork of onerous regulations.

Marijuana on top of a Texas flag
KUT

Sixty-three bills related to marijuana or hemp were filed at the beginning of the 86th Texas legislative session in January. Four measures passed out of the House, including bills that would establish a hemp market in Texas, reduce penalties for low-level marijuana possession and expand the list of Texans who can access medical marijuana.

Montinique Monroe for KUT

"I think the bright spots weren't so much affirmative bright spots as that we avoided some bad things," Austin Mayor Steve Adler says of the 2019 Texas legislative session, which wrapped up Monday.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Plumbers in Texas will no longer be subject to state regulations after lawmakers this week flushed the state plumbing code and the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners, a state agency that employed dozens and generated $5.2 million in revenue in 2017.

Julia Reihs / KUT

The Texas Legislature usually finds a theme that emerges during the 140-day session. Two years ago, many people would call it the session of the “bathroom bill.” Even though an effort to restrict restroom access for the state’s transgender population did not become law, the debate around the subject took up much of the oxygen under the dome.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A bill that aims to prevent violence in Texas schools – one of Greg Abbott's legislative priorities – is on the governor's desk.

Senate Bill 11 would require schools to teach lessons on mental health, substance abuse, coping mechanisms and suicide prevention. The bill is a compromise of House and Senate efforts to keep schools safe after 10 people were killed in a shooting last year at Santa Fe High School.  

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Texas Secretary of State David Whitley, who was behind the botched effort to remove alleged noncitizens from the state’s voter rolls, reportedly resigned Monday as the 86th Legislature came to a close.

Lynda Gonzalez for KUT

Lawmakers in gun-loving Texas have quietly gone around the National Rifle Association by slipping language into a massive spending bill that would fund a $1 million public safety campaign on gun storage.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

The Texas Legislature on Sunday advanced a $250.7 billion two-year budget, ending weeks of deliberation over how much money to spend on the 2019 legislative session’s two highest priorities: public school funding and property tax relief.

House Speaker Dennis Bonnen
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Days after top Republican leaders announced they had a deal on a school finance bill long in the making, the Texas House and Senate on Saturday approved the final legislation, bringing mandated teacher pay raises and property tax cuts one step closer to becoming law.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

A sweeping property tax reform bill that aims to slow rising property tax growth will soon head to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for approval, capping a yearslong effort to address a pocketbook issue that has animated Republican leaders and angered their voters.

State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, has tried to kill several bills this session.
Juan Figueroa / The Texas Tribune

A major mental health bill prioritized by the state's top leaders as a way to help prevent school shootings was partially revived late Tuesday night hours after it appeared to have been abruptly killed on a technicality during a dramatic night in the Texas House. 

Spencer Selvidge for KUT

A surprise medical bill may be a thing of the past for many Texans. In a unanimous vote, the Texas House approved a Senate bill banning health care providers from sending steep medical bills to insured Texans in emergencies.

Miguel Gutierrez / Texas Tribune

Over the tearful opposition of the Legislature’s first-ever LGBTQ Caucus and several failed attempts at a procedural block, the Texas House passed a religious liberty bill Monday that LGBTQ advocates fear would license discrimination against their communities.

Montinique Monroe for KUT

STAAR testing is just about over for this school year. The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness have been part of Texas students' lives since 2012, but questions raised this year about the reading test have brought renewed attention to the efficacy of the test – and standardized testing in general.

Richard Overton at his East Austin home during his 112th birthday celebrations on May 11, 2018.
Montinique Monroe for KUT

A bill dedicating part of Austin's Airport Boulevard to longtime Austinite and World War II veteran Richard Overton is awaiting approval from Gov. Greg Abbott. The measure passed the Texas Senate late last week, on what would have been the 113th birthday of the man who was once known as America's oldest veteran.

Juan Figueroa / Texas Tribune

After LGBTQ lawmakers in the Texas House killed a religious liberty bill they feared could be dangerous to their community, the Texas Senate has brought it back — and looks to be fast-tracking it.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Two weeks after a federal judge blocked the enforcement of a state law that prohibits government agencies in Texas from doing business with contractors who are boycotting Israel, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill this week narrowing the controversial law to exclude individual contractors.

State Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

State Rep. Dan Huberty, the top public education leader in the Texas House, postponed two items of legislation Tuesday that would pay for long-term, ongoing school district tax cuts by raising sales taxes — effectively killing any chance of passing the legislation this year.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

The Texas House on Monday advanced a bill that would expand the list of debilitating conditions that allow Texans to legally use medical cannabis.

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