Texas Legislature

Gov. Greg Abbott talks with state Reps. Kyle Biedermann, R-Fredricksburg (left) and Poncho Nevarez, D-Eagle Pass
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

State Rep. Poncho Nevárez, an Eagle Pass Democrat and House chairman, turned himself in to authorities to be booked on felony drug possession charges Thursday evening and was released after posting his bond of $10,000, according to both the lawmaker and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

A memorial for victims of a mass shooting
Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio

Democrats in the Texas House are calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to convene a special legislative session to address gun violence — a move designed to place even more pressure on the state’s top GOP official to act in the wake of two deadly mass shootings just weeks apart.

Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Republican House Speaker Dennis Bonnen met with hardline conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan in his office earlier this summer, after the legislative session. State Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, was in the room too. No one denies the June 12 meeting happened — but their disagreement over what was said could have major implications for Texas, after two GOP lawmakers who heard the recording disputed Bonnen's account.

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.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

An investigation by the University of Texas into allegations that Georgetown state Sen. Charles Schwertner sent inappropriate texts to a grad student has found the senator did not violate university policy or Title IX.

The student alleged the Republican senator, who won re-election in November, initially engaged with her over LinkedIn after meeting at an event on UT campus. Schwertner, the accuser said, then solicited sex over text and sent an unwanted sexual image, what the sender called "proof of life."

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Days after a federal lawsuit was filed in Pflugerville, Texas faces another suit over its 2017 law requiring contractors to pledge they won't boycott Israel – this time from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

A Round Rock-based speech pathologist is suing the Pflugerville Independent School District over a 2017 state law that required her to pledge allegiance to Israel, which, she argues, violates her First Amendment right to free speech.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The U.S. Senate race is taking up almost all the oxygen in Texas politics, but there are some state Senate races worth consideration as well.

The Austin area has five Senate Districts. Since state senators have staggered four-year terms, only three of them are up for election this year.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The 2018 midterms have turned into one of the most competitive elections across the country, with more candidates running in more places. That's certainly been true in Texas, as the state's Democrats have come off the mat to field candidates in all congressional and statewide races.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

In the face of a sexual harassment allegation, state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, has hired two Austin attorneys and denied sending “any inappropriate texts as alleged” — “Period.” — in a new statement Wednesday from the attorneys.

Gallego: Bob Daemmrich; Flores: Campaign website

Republican Pete Flores defeated Democrat Pete Gallego on Tuesday night in the special election runoff for Senate District 19, a major upset in a Democratic-friendly seat.

With nearly 90 percent of precincts reporting, Flores was leading Gallego by 6 percentage points in the race to replace convicted former state Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio. Flores had 53 percent of the vote and Gallego 47 percent in unofficial returns.

Gallego conceded to Flores around 9 p.m., according to both campaigns.

Austin Price/KUT

From Texas Standard.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a long-running Texas redistricting case. The dispute goes back to 2011, when Republicans in the state legislature drew Congressional and state legislative districts in a way designed to favor GOP candidates, and to move as many Democrats as possible into a few other districts.

Robin Jerstad for The Texas Tribune

SAN ANTONIO— State Sen. Carlos Uresti was found guilty Thursday of 11 felonies, opening up the possibility of years in federal prison and millions in fines, and throwing into question his future as a Texas legislator.

The San Antonio Democrat was charged with 11 felony counts, including fraud and money laundering. The room was silent Thursday morning as the courtroom deputy read “guilty” verdict after “guilty” verdict. Uresti sat motionless and expressionless, his gaze directed at the deputy.

Nathan Bernier

From Texas Standard.

The content of this story may not be appropriate for younger listeners.

Annie’s List, which works to elect female Democrats in Texas, is calling for the resignations of two powerful Democrats – Sen. Borris Miles of Houston and Sen. Carlos Uresti of San Antonio.

The news comes after the Daily Beast published a story that will likely have major implications for Texas politics.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Top Texas lawmakers have called for reviews of sexual harassment policies at the state Capitol following reports detailing how current procedures offered little protection for victims. Proposed solutions have included better training aimed at preventing harassment and informing victims of their rights.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus says he will not run for re-election in 2018.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

State Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, has filed paperwork to run to be the next speaker of the Texas House.

"Over the past several months, many of my colleagues have encouraged me to consider running for Speaker," King said in a statement. "In order to have an open discussion concerning the future of our Texas House, I have filed the required paperwork to declare my candidacy for Speaker."

WATCH LIVE: The 86th Texas Legislature

May 11, 2017

WATCH LIVE: The Texas Senate

May 3, 2017

ErikaWittlieb/Pixabay (CC0)

From Texas Standard:

Texas is one of six states that tries 17-year-olds as adults. But a new bill wants Texas to follow the national trend of raising the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18.

House Bill 122, authored by Reps. Harold Dutton Jr. (D-Houston) and Gene Wu (D-Houston), passed the House last week and could be on its way to the Senate.


Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

State Rep. Dan Huberty succeeded at a difficult task Wednesday: getting the Texas House of Representatives to vote for legislation overhauling the funding system for public education, without a court mandate.


Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Editor’s Note: This is an updated version of a story that originally ran in January 2013.

The Texas Legislature is just now getting into full swing. We're more than two months into the session, but you might notice that things have been relatively quiet so far when it comes to actual law-making.

And while it might seem like a slow start to the every-other-year meeting, actually, it’s all part of the plan.

In musical terms, each session has its own rhythm and tempo.


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.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

School officials whose districts would lose money under a Texas House plan to revamp the public school funding system asked legislators on Tuesday to ensure there are as few "losers" as possible.

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.

Via Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune: State Rep. Dawnna Dukes confirmed to The Texas Tribune in an email Monday that she is not resigning from her post representing House District 46. The confirmation comes two days after news reports surfaced indicating she had changed her mind.

Bob Daemmrich for Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune: Facing sluggish economic forecasts amid low oil prices along with billions in tax revenue already dedicated to the state highway fund, Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced Monday that lawmakers will have $104.87 billion in state funds at their disposal in crafting the next two-year budget, a 2.7 percent decrease from his estimate ahead of the legislative session two years ago.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune: The members of the Texas Legislature may be elected to represent all corners of the state, but they’re not necessarily reflective of it.

White lawmakers make up almost two-thirds of the Legislature, but only 43 percent of the state population is white. Men make up half of the state’s population but hold almost 80 percent of the Legislature's seats. Just about any way you slice the numbers, the makeup of the Legislature is at odds with the state.

With the 85th Legislative Session set to gavel in Tuesday, here’s a look at the demographics of the Legislature by lawmakers’ race, gender, age, education and religion.

Campaign website

From The Texas Tribune: After being hit in the head with a bullet shortly after midnight on New Year's Eve, state Rep. Armando Martinez plans to file legislation aimed at reducing or preventing celebratory gun firings.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

People living in parts of South and Central Austin will be sending a new representative to the state legislature this month. 

Pages