85th Legislature | KERA News

85th Legislature

The Texas Legislature has gaveled in for a 30-day session focusing on 20 items, but the battle to pass as little of that legislation as possible has already begun.

From Texas Standard:

The Legislature’s special session begins this Tuesday. It’s 30 days long with 20 items on the agenda and Gov. Greg Abbott is calling the shots.

State lawmakers are back in Austin to kick off some legislative overtime.

And, as it's been reported over and over and over again, the special session is needed because lawmakers couldn’t pass a bill to keep a handful of state agencies open and operating. That got some of our listeners wondering if lawmakers could’ve spend their time at the Capitol a little more efficiently.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT News

During the regular legislative session, Texas lawmakers meet every two years for 140 days. The special session is best described in two words: legislative overtime.

Wells Dunbar / Texas Standard

A day before the special session of the Texas Legislature begins, Dallas-Fort Worth CEOs are warning state leaders about the potential financial hit Texas would take over the so-called “bathroom bill.”

The 2017 regular session of the Texas Legislature was one of the most contentious in recent memory. It had plenty of protests, some infighting, a few filibusters and even a death threat. Now, after all that drama, lawmakers are headed back for more.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT News

The Texas Legislature’s special session starts Tuesday. At the top of Gov. Greg Abbott’s education agenda: school choice for special-needs students.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

With less than a week before the start of a special session of the Texas Legislature, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick laid out a proposal Thursday to give teachers bonuses and increase their retirement benefits, with plans to pay for both long-term using money from the Texas lottery. 

Tim Mattox doesn’t want to live in Austin, but soon he might not have a choice. Mattox has lived in the River Place neighborhood for 19 years. It’s a community of about 1,100 homes just northwest of the city near Lake Austin. In December, Mattox’s neighborhood is scheduled to be annexed by the city.

The Texas Tribune

DALLAS — A constant hum emanated from a small air-conditioning unit in the window of Noemi Pina’s living room on a recent June afternoon as she, her 81-year-old mother and 15-year-old son sat and talked about where they’re going to live next.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a declaration for a special session of the Texas Legislature Monday, formally inviting lawmakers back to Austin to pass “sunset legislation” that will keep several key state agencies open.

Among the 20 items Gov. Greg Abbott has asked legislators to tackle during the upcoming special session is a push to block all taxpayer funds from being sent to abortion providers.

From Texas Standard:

The upcoming special legislative session is likely to provide just as many fireworks as the regular session did. Among the most controversial issues on the table is the contentious debate between the House and Senate over "private school choice."

From Texas Standard:

An article by New Yorker staff writer and Texas resident Lawrence Wright makes the case that Texas is a political bellwether. In "America's Future Is Texas," Wright argues that, indeed, as Texas goes, so goes the nation — politically speaking, at any rate.

A federal judge in San Antonio is hearing arguments today in a lawsuit filed by several cities, including Austin, seeking to block enforcement of the state's new anti-sanctuary cities law, Senate Bill 4. 

From Texas Standard:

Making a list of the best and worst lawmakers after each Texas legislative session isn't quite as old as the Legislature itself, but it's still a time-honored tradition. Texas Monthly has put out such a list since 1973, and each one is an occasion awaited with bated breath by political observers, legislative aides and of course, the lawmakers themselves.

Matthew Martinez / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

About a hundred people gathered in front of Fort Worth City Hall Tuesday night to call on the city council to join a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 4.

From Texas Standard:

One measure among the dozens Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed last week was a bill that attempted to help Texas communities deal with the illegal dumping of scrap tires.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott has vetoed 50 bills that were passed during the regular legislative session, his office announced Thursday.

Graphic by Todd Wiseman

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the state’s two-year budget Monday, giving his approval to the $217 billion document crafted by the Legislature.

Courtesy of J. Parker

The 85th regular session of the Texas Legislature ended dramatically last week, and the drama's not over: Lawmakers will return to Austin next month for a special session. Two members of the state House, Democrat Rafael Anchia and Republican Jason Villalba, stopped by KERA to talk about a session they say was unlike any other.

From Texas Standard:

What The New York Times is calling one of Texas’ “most tumultuous political moments in decades” is set to play out in a special session announced by Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday.

Lawmakers will return to the Capitol on July 18 for a 30-day special session, the first one Abbott has called during his time as governor.

Gov. Greg Abbott Signs Statewide Ban On Texting While Driving

Jun 6, 2017
Illustration by Todd Wiseman / The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed into law a bill that creates a statewide ban on texting while driving.

Gov. Greg Abbott has called for a special session of the Texas Legislature to begin July 18.

"Considering all the successes of the 85th legislative session, we should not be where we are today," he said. "A special session was entirely avoidable, and there was plenty of time for the Legislature to forge compromises to avoid the time and taxpayer expense of a special session."

Pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions based on their religious beliefs may soon be protected from disciplinary action thanks to a bill passed this legislative session. 

Last week, Texas made national news when state lawmakers got into a shouting match that escalated into shoving and even death threats.

But anger among politicians working at the Texas Capitol had been growing for weeks, and some lay blame for that at the feet of a small group of extremely conservative lawmakers. They call themselves the Texas Freedom Caucus

Governor Abbott Pushes Back Announcement On Special Session

Jun 2, 2017
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.

From Texas Standard:

While Texas lawmakers have left the state Capitol for now, plenty of their bills did not go anywhere. One piece of legislation that didn’t make it to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk was a measure that would have licensed immigrant detention facilities in Texas as childcare providers.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT News

The legislative session just ended. After 140 days of proposals, politicking and press conferences, we’re catching up on what actually passed and how it will change Texas.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment of Texas’s 85th Legislature was the demise of a bill that would have added more than half a billion dollars in funding for the state’s public schools.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr for KUT News

The 85th Texas Legislature is over. And while the threat of a special session looms, most of us are still trying to figure out what actually made it across the finish line.

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