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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.

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.

Screenshot

There are going to be a lot of new faces wandering the halls of the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. Nearly 100 newly elected lawmakers are coming to the House and Senate — including those representing the 40 seats the Democrats picked up to sweep their party back into power in the House.

James Doyle / NPR

One of the 100 congressional freshmen starting work today is from Central Texas.

Republican Chip Roy is now representing the 21st Congressional District, which stretches from San Antonio to Austin and up into the Hill Country. Roy is replacing Republican Lamar Smith, who retired after holding the seat since 1987.

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

Julián Castro is taking another step toward a 2020 presidential campaign.

The former U.S. housing secretary and San Antonio mayor announced Wednesday that he has formed an exploratory committee to consider a bid and will make an announcement Jan. 12 in Texas. The committee is called Julián for the Future.

Salvador Castro for KUT

You're not done voting yet. There are several Austin City Council races, an Austin ISD board race and a runoff for the Austin Community College board. None of the candidates in those races got 50 percent of the vote on Nov. 6, so the top two finishers are in a runoff. Election Day is today, and ballots open at 7 a.m.

Cameron Pollack / NPR

Former President George H.W. Bush is being honored with funeral services at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.

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. 

Liam James Doyle / NPR

The body of former President George H.W. Bush is lying in state this week at the U.S. Capitol. The forty-first president died on Friday. Watch the remembrance ceremony live.

Former President Barack Obama speaking at Rice University's Baker Institute on Tuesday.
Andrew Schneider / Houston Public Media

Former President Barack Obama visited Houston Tuesday night. He spoke at Rice University’s Baker Institute at an event marking the think tank’s 25th anniversary.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

Beto O'Rourke, coming off a closer-than-expected race against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is no longer ruling out a 2020 presidential run.

Julia Reihs / KUT

By most measures, Republicans are still dominating in Texas.

In this past election, the party won every statewide office – just like it has in the past two decades. This time around, however, the margins were close. So close, in fact, some Texas Republicans say they are nervous ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

A federal court in San Francisco has temporarily blocked the Trump administration's new asylum ban, saying it violates existing law and would cause irreparable harm to immigrants.

Earlier this month, President Trump issued a proclamation saying anyone crossing the U.S. southern border without doing so through an official port would be ineligible for asylum.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Center for Constitutional Rights and others quickly filed lawsuits seeking to block the order.

Election after election, pundits predict that Latinos will be a powerful voting bloc. And Latino voters consistently underperform those expectations by failing to turn out at the polls in big numbers.

But this year's midterm results in Nevada, Arizona and other states suggest that Latino turnout is up dramatically — a development that could reshape the electoral landscape for 2020 and beyond.

Mikala Compton for The Texas Tribune

As the dust continues to settle after last week’s election, Hays County has been left to grapple with a bit of a political identity crisis: Is it red or blue?

Updated at 8 p.m. ET

As confusion continues over the outcome of multiple Florida elections, a hand recount has been ordered in that state's narrow Senate race between Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott. Meanwhile, in the gubernatorial contest, Republican Ron DeSantis appears headed to victory over Democrat Andrew Gillum after a machine recount did not significantly narrow the margin in that race.

The holiday dinner conversations are going to be intense in several high-profile Democratic households in the coming weeks, as potential candidates near decisions on whether to run for president in 2020.

Even as their staffs and political advisers have already begun scouting out office space, interviewing potential aides, and plotting out strategy for the 2020 presidential election, most haven't completely made up their minds about entering what's expected to be one of the most crowded primary contests in history.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The top three elected officials in Texas are the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House. But you didn't find that last official on the Nov. 6 ballot, because we, the voters of Texas, don't get to vote for speaker.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Texas Senate race was very, very close – closer than any statewide election in recent history – and Latinos could be part of the reason why.

“Latinos are becoming a political force to be reckoned with in the state,” said Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez, the executive director of Jolt, which works to get young Latinos, in particular, politically engaged.

Rachel Zein for The Texas Tribune

It wasn’t Beto O’Rourke.

But in the sleepiest branch of government — the judiciary — Texas Democrats cleaned up on Election Day, flipping the four influential state appeals courts that serve Austin, Houston and Dallas. Democrats now hold majorities on seven of the state’s 14 appeals courts. Before Tuesday, they held seats on just three.

Are Texas Suburbs Slipping Away From Republicans?

Nov 7, 2018
Pu Ying Huang for The Texas Tribune

By the end of Election Day, the political maps of the state’s suburban and swing counties had a peculiar blue tint.

The blue washed over the Dallas-Fort Worth area and crept up on suburban counties in North Texas. It spread from Houston — in a county that was once a political battleground — and crested over some of its suburban communities. And it swept through the Interstate 35 corridor from Travis County to its neighbors to the north and south.

Updated at 5:34 p.m. ET

Jeff Sessions, the president's earliest and most fervent supporter in Congress, resigned under pressure as attorney general on Wednesday after brutal criticism from the president, bringing an abrupt end to his controversial tenure as the nation's top law enforcement officer.

Sessions noted in his resignation letter to the president that he was stepping down "at your request."

Julia Reihs / KUT

Austin voters gave the OK to seven bond propositions that total more than $925 million this election, while two propositions fueled by citizen petitions – Propositions J and K – failed.

Emree Weaver for KUT

With less than a percentage point separating them, Natasha Harper-Madison and Mariana Salazar will advance to a December runoff election for East Austin’s District 1 seat.

As of 1:26 a.m., Salazar had 5,673 votes (or 26.01 percent). Harper-Madison was 204 votes behind at 5,469 (25.07 percent).

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/ KUT News

Council Member Pio Renteria finished way ahead of his multiple opponents in his bid for re-election in East Austin’s District 3, but is heading to a runoff against his sister, Susana Almanza. 

Renteria won roughly 48 percent of the vote. Almanza came in a distant second place, with about 22 percent.

NPR reporters will be posting results and offering analysis through Tuesday night.

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KUT

Five seats on the Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees are on the ballot. The role of the school board is to oversee the AISD superintendent and district administration. Members serve four-year terms.

District 1 | District 4 | District 6 | District 7 | District 9

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