86th Texas Legislature

Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has put a hefty $1 billion price tag on the proposed installation of air conditioning in all of its uncooled prisons. But some lawmakers eyed the cost with skepticism Thursday as the department has a history of greatly overestimating cooling costs.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A wide-ranging voting bill in the Texas Senate “would sharply escalate an ongoing campaign of voter suppression” in the state, voting rights advocates say.

Tony Hisgett/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Lemonade stands aren't legal in Texas, but House lawmakers gave a preliminary OK today to a bill that would undo that legislative oversight that's dragged on for 85 legislative sessions.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

State Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, was on the floor of the Texas House in 2015 trying to convince her colleagues to open up the state to medical cannabis, and it was not going well.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

State senators are considering a bill that would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products in Texas from 18 to 21. 

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

After being rebuked by Gov. Greg Abbott for the state’s botched review of the voter rolls, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety took “full responsibility” Tuesday for providing data to the secretary of state’s office that included thousands of individuals whose citizenship should never have been in question.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

What started as seemingly simple state legislation hailed as good for Texas businesses is drawing skepticism from legal experts and outrage from advocates worried it would strike employment protections and benefits for LGBTQ workers.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A bill that would create more uniform policies on speech at Texas colleges and universities passed unanimously out of a Senate committee Monday.

Julia Reihs / KUT

With Texas House lawmakers unveiling their long-awaited school finance proposal Tuesday and the Senate's version likely close behind, teacher pay appears to be emerging as one of the biggest sticking points between the two chambers.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate on Monday unanimously passed a bill that would provide $5,000 annual pay raises for full-time classroom teachers and librarians, at a cost of $4 billion over the next two years.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Almost two-thirds of Texans think state lawmakers should expand Medicaid to cover more low-income uninsured people, according to a survey funded by the Episcopal Health Foundation.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas lawmakers on Thursday advanced a bill that would prevent a city from requiring private employers to give their workers certain benefits, such as paid sick leave.

Julia Reihs / KUT

The Texas Economic Stabilization Fund, often called the rainy day fund, is doing well. Really well, actually. By the end of 2021, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar projects, it will have about $15 billion in it. Lawmakers say the account needs to have a minimum of $7.5 billion to help the state maintain a top credit rating.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The '

After a contentious three-hour public hearing Monday, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously passed a bill that would provide annual $5,000 pay raises for all full-time classroom teachers in the state.

Jill Ament/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

As Texas lawmakers begin tackling one of this session's top legislative priorities – school finance reform – a state Senate measure proposes giving public-school teachers a raise. How much money is on the table and what difference would it make for teachers living paycheck to paycheck? It depends on whom you ask and where you live.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Texans would be able to take home beer directly from local breweries if a bipartisan bill before the Texas Legislature becomes law. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

From the campaign trail to election night victory speeches to promises in the halls of the Texas Capitol, property taxes are the top priority for lawmakers. Depending on which metric you use, the state generally ranks in the top 5 nationally for having the highest property taxes. Lawmakers say they have to do something to lower those bills.

But what is that something?

Todd Wiseman / The Texas Tribune

Olga Kauffman is tired of the politics surrounding Medicaid.

Kauffman, a San Antonio resident who works as a health specialist with Urban Strategies, a group that builds public housing and provides services to residents, says she sees families struggle every day because of lack of access to health care and insurance.

Julia Reihs / KUT

A bill in the Texas House of Representatives would make it a crime for telecommunications companies to impair mobile internet service in declared disaster areas. It comes after firefighters in California had their data plans “throttled” by Verizon during wildfires there.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Texas' election chief on Thursday defended giving prosecutors a list of 95,000 potential noncitizens on the state's voter rolls before vetting the information, which turned out to wrongly include scores of people who were naturalized before casting legal ballots.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott delivered his State of the State address today before the Texas Legislature. He kicked off the speech with a long list of platitudes about the state: from leading the nation in job creation to having the fastest growing economy in the U.S. to hitting its lowest recorded level of unemployment ever.

Martin do Nascimento for KUT

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will detail his legislative priorities for this session this morning in his State of the State speech.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

bill filed late last week in the Texas Legislature could allow liquor stores to sell on Sundays. 

Currently, stores are prohibited from selling then – as well as on Christmas Day, Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. House Bill 1100 from state Rep. Richard Peña Raymond would allow stores to sell from noon to 10 p.m. Sundays.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Thousands of people will rally at the Capitol today to call for more K-12 options as part of National School Choice Week. But inside the Capitol, the once-prominent conversation isn't happening.

Laura Skelding for The Texas Tribune

State Sen. Kel Seliger has been stripped of his post as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, in an escalation of a feud with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the upper chamber.

Announced Tuesday afternoon, the demotion caps a weekend spat between Seliger, an Amarillo Republican first elected to the Senate in 2004, and Patrick, who have found themselves at odds with one another after Seliger voted against two of the lieutenant governor’s priorities in 2017.

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.

Pages