Special Session | KERA News

Special Session

Mengwen Cao / KUT

The special session is underway, and of the 20 items Gov. Greg Abbott says he wants lawmakers to tackle, one is getting a lot of attention from teachers: pay increases for educators.

Will a statewide ban on texting-while-driving replace ordinances already on the books in cities across Texas? 

Today, the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee will hear testimony on two bills that would restrict bathroom access based on the gender given to someone at birth.

Clayton Harrison / Shutterstock.com

Across Texas, city officials are critical of the special session agenda set by Gov. Greg Abbott -- they say many of the items are basically an attempt by state lawmakers to influence what city leaders do at the local level.

The colorful scene melded two time-honored Texas traditions: political protest and the quinceañera.

With skirts flouncing, 15 young women ascended the steps of the Texas State Capitol in Austin on Wednesday morning to a traditional Mexican birthday song played in a mariachi style.

But there was no birthday to celebrate. Instead, the girls had gathered to protest a controversial immigration enforcement law that goes into effect September 1.

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.

Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott has a nearly $41 million war chest heading into his re-election campaign — and a special session in which he's looking to keep political pressure on lawmakers to pass an ambitious 20-item agenda. 

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.

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."

Texas Station Collaborative

The 85th Texas Legislature ended with dramatic flair last month, leaving key legislation in the balance and tensions high between the House and Senate.

And it’s not over: In July, lawmakers return to Austin for a special session. Texas has seen legislative overtime before, but nothing packed quite like this.

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.

Hundreds of people filed paperwork to testify on SB 1, so while public comment began Monday before noon, it didn't wrap until early Tuesday morning.

Texas Governor Rick Perry's office / Flickr

Gov. Rick Perry had some harsh words Thursday for pro-choice protesters and state Sen. Wendy Davis, the Fort Worth Democrat whose 10-hour filibuster helped kill a bill restricting abortions.

KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports from the National Right to Life Convention in Dallas that Perry said the crowd at the Capitol “hijacked the democratic process.” Here's a video of his speech:

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

A victory for those opposing new abortion restrictions in Texas may be short-lived.

Gov. Rick Perry has asked state lawmakers to take up strict new abortion rules in a second special session to start Monday.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Gov. Rick Perry has added proposed legislation tightening abortion regulation and a mandatory life sentence for murders committed by 17 year olds to the agenda of Texas' special legislative session.