Jason Villalba | KERA News

Jason Villalba

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.

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Texas allows parents to have their kids opt out of vaccinations for measles, mumps and other diseases. Two years ago, California stopped allowing those exemptions; a similar Texas effort fell short. This session in Austin, the sponsor of that bill isn't trying to end the "conscientious" exemption. His allies are using a different strategy.

Election Dealt Some Setbacks To Texas GOP's Modest Diversity

Nov 25, 2016
Gabriel Cristóver Pérez for The Texas Tribune

On the eve of the Nov. 8 election, Gov. Greg Abbott found himself onstage at a San Antonio barbecue joint proudly pointing to three lawmakers he described as the “face of the current Republican Party.”

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When Ted Cruz dropped out of the presidential race this week, and essentially locked Donald Trump as his party’s nominee, State Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) responded. His searing column in the Texas Tribune carried the headline “Donald Trump is the death of the Republican Party.”

Krystina Martinez / KERA News

The Texas Legislature wrapped up its session, and lawmakers have returned to their districts. Jason Villalba represents much of North and East Dallas in the state House, and he’s often a singular voice in a deeply conservative Republican party.

American Civil Liberties Union of Washington

As a bystander's video of a South Carolina cop shooting and killing an unarmed black man reignites a national debate over police brutality, Texas lawmakers are set to discuss police body cameras in a public hearing.

Texas Republican Calls For Limiting Vaccine Exemptions

Feb 6, 2015
Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

A North Texas Republican is taking aim at a provision in state law that allows parents with personal or religious objections to vaccines to opt their children out of school immunization requirements.

Callie Richmond / Texas Tribune

State Rep. Jason Villalba, a Republican from North Dallas, wrote an open letter Tuesday to his GOP colleagues running for lieutenant governor. The topic? Immigration. The tone? Well, read on...

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: a pregnant woman who's believed to be brain dead is forced to stay on life support; Texans really want the company that makes Sriracha hot sauce to move to the Lone Star state; Jaap van Zweden stars in a Dallas Symphony video, and more.

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Will Sriracha start doing the Texas two-step?

Sriracha, the popular hot sauce with a strong taste and an even stronger following, has been in lots of trouble in California. So now Texas is trying to woo Huy Fong Foods, the company that makes the sauce.

The plant that makes the sauce produces a strong odor. Neighbors aren’t happy. Huy Fong had to shut down part of its operation after the city of Irwindale, Calif., filed suit.

Office of Rep. Villalba

State. Rep. Jason Villalba, a Dallas Republican, has identified a key change he says is needed before the Texas House will pass new transportation funding.

Chief Miller worries teachers with just a few weeks of weapons training is too little for safety and security, especially when full time officers receive updated training on a regular basis. McKinney's superintendent also worries that teachers with weapons could be confusing and dangerous to police arriving at an active weapons call on a campus.

Office of Texas Attorney General

One of the bills awaiting Gov. Perry’s signature, House Bill 1009, would allow trained school employees to use firearms to respond to threats.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Newly elected lawmakers sometimes blend into the woodwork in Austin. But that’s not likely to happen to Republican Jason Villalba whose District 114 includes parts of North Dallas, Preston Hollow and Lake Highlands.

In the first week of the session Villalba is already gaining a reputation as an independent voice who wants to tackle big problems. 

Office of Rep. Villalba

Incoming North Dallas Representative Jason Villalba wants school teachers or staff to carry handguns as a “last line of defense.” But  opponents think that’s a bad idea.

The race for the new House District 114 in Dallas County is among the most competitive state legislative races in North Texas. Former State Representative Carol Kent is facing business attorney Jason Villalba