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Texas Legislature

Texas Tribune

Republicans in the Texas House scrambled to get consideration of their bills by a midnight deadline. That’s as Democrats tried their best to run out the clock.

Sam Baker talked about this with Ross Ramsey, Executive Editor of the Texas Tribune. He explained why, for instance, a bill to prohibit use of state money to issue same-sex marriage licenses failed to make the cut.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott warmed up his bill-signing pen on Monday, approving a measure ensuring that some high school seniors who fail to pass state exams can seek an alternate route to graduation.

The Texas Tribune

The Texas House has voted to expand rules governing raw milk to allow producers to sell it at farmers' markets or customers' homes.

Texas House Mulls Lower Pot Penalties

Apr 8, 2015
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A Texas House committee begins hearing testimony Wednesday on a slate of bills designed to give possession of small amounts of marijuana a criminal makeover.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

Stuart Spitzer, a Republican from Kaufman, kicked up a controversy about sex education during a recent marathon budget debate in the Texas House. He succeeded in moving $3 million to abstinence education from programs aimed at preventing sexually transmitted diseases.

A 19-year-old woman who’s three years into motherhood explains how this plays out in real life.

Texas Tribune

After a marathon 17-hour debate, the Texas House gave tentative approval to its version of a new state budget this morning.

Texas Tribune executive editor Ross Ramsey tells KERA’s Sam Baker the $210-billion budget reflects a lot of Gov. Greg Abbott’s priorities.

Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

Seven hours into Tuesday's debate on the House's $210 billion two-year budget, things got first heated and then uncomfortable as state Rep. Stuart Spitzer, R-Kaufman, successfully pushed an amendment to move $3 million from HIV and STD prevention programs to pay for abstinence education. 

Texas Senate Leaders Propose $4.6 Billion In Tax Breaks

Feb 24, 2015
Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

Flanked by a dozen Republican senators, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Tuesday announced a slate of legislation he said would provide lasting tax relief to businesses and homeowners in Texas. 

A Sharpshooting Dissenter To Campus Carry

Feb 10, 2015

College students in Texas could bring guns into their classrooms, cafeterias, and dorms and everywhere else on campus, if lawmakers in Austin pass a campus carry bill. The Chancellor of the University of Texas System thinks this is a bad idea. 

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More than 11,000 residents in Arlington have signed a petition to remove the city's red light cameras. The City Council voted Tuesday to put the issue on the May ballot. 

But a Republican state House member from Bedford wants to go a step further. State Rep. Jonathan Stickland filed a bill for a statewide ban on red light cameras -- and he sat down with KERA to talk about why he wants to eliminate the cameras.  

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.


With Change In Procedure, Texas Senate Democrats Lose Clout

Jan 21, 2015
Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

With a new lieutenant governor installed for the first time in over a decade Wednesday — and over the cries of Democrats — the Texas Senate voted to break from an almost 70-year tradition intended to encourage compromise among its 31 members.

Dianna Douglas / KERA News

One of the guests at President Obama's State of Union address was a North Texan who's a college student but isn’t a legal resident. She illustrates the current debate over what benefits the U.S. should offer undocumented immigrants, especially those who were brought here as children. One such benefit that is currently under fire in Texas is in-state college tuition.

Gun Rights Activists Cause Stir At Texas Capitol

Jan 13, 2015
Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

An armed rally to protest gun laws saw about a dozen Second Amendment supporters toting rifles and antique revolvers in front of the Capitol gates throughout most of the 2015 legislative session's opening day.

Today Is Opening Day For The 84th Texas Legislature

Jan 13, 2015
Anneke Paterson / Texas Tribune

It takes a few weeks to get a legislative session rolling at full speed, but with Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s first official act out of the way, the 84th Legislature is ready to roll.

Texas Comptroller: 'Moderate Expansion' Of Economy Is Expected

Jan 12, 2015
Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

Amid concerns that tumbling oil prices could push the Texas economy into a recession, Comptroller Glenn Hegar offered a cautiously optimistic tone on the future of the Texas economy Monday, announcing that lawmakers will have $113 billion to haggle over in crafting its next two-year budget.

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The week before the 84th Legislature convenes, some lawmakers still aren’t sure which chamber they’ll be working in. And a federal appeals court is poised to determine the fate of the state’s same-sex marriage ban and part of the state’s new abortion law.

In Bid For Texas House Speaker, Scott Turner Looks To Beat The Odds

Dec 17, 2014
Cooper Neill/Texas Tribune

Scott Turner has never been the type to take things slow.

In high school and college, he was known for his fast feet, a talent that led to an eight-season career in the NFL despite naysayers telling him he was too small.

Betty King, Longtime Secretary Of Texas Senate, Dies At 89

Dec 2, 2014
Texas Senate photo illustration/Texas Tribune

Betty King, the beloved former secretary of the Texas Senate, died Monday after a long illness, according to her family. She was 89.

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When faced with a financial emergency, some turn to payday or car title lenders. There’s about 175 of them in Dallas offering quick cash at great cost. The city and an Austin-based lender to small businesses have announced an alternative.

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Tuesday's Republican sweep added a new layer of conservatism to state government in Texas.

KERA’s Shelley Kofler talked with Ross Ramsey with The Texas Tribune about how that might play out at the Texas Legislature.

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State lawmakers today demanded details about how the first U.S. diagnosed case of Ebola has been handled. The CDC is working on new screening procedures for air travelers.

Meanwhile, Ebola patient remains in critical condition at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. He’s on a ventilator and is undergoing kidney dialysis.

Mark Graham / Texas Tribune

A Republican running for Wendy Davis’ state senate seat wants to consider changes to the $2 billion fund that lawmakers created to finance water projects. Voters approved the fund when they adopted Proposition 6 last fall.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

State lawmakers reviewing new graduation requirements that go into effect in the fall say they’re confusing and districts may not be prepared to implement them.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Sen. Ted Cruz visited Fort Worth Wednesday night to bestow his endorsement and star power on the Republican runoff campaign of Konni Burton, a tea party candidate who wants to fill the state senate seat Wendy Davis is giving up.

David Chong / KERA News

When real estate developer Don Huffines narrowly defeated John Carona, Dallas County’s long-serving state senator, in the Republican primary, he promised to take a conservative, tea party approach to issues in Austin. 

Texas Tribune

Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns emailed supporters Wednesday with news that he will not run for the Texas Senate seat Wendy Davis now holds.

Burns said the "job he wants most" is the one he already has on the council.  

Burns was the Democrats' top pick to compete succeed Davis in Senate District 10 which leans Republican. 

aspecticide / flickr.com

A new Texas law banning anyone under 18 from using UV tanning beds went into effect Sept. 1. State lawmakers toughened the age restrictions in the interest of public health.

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.

State of Texas

Update, 7 a.m. Wednesday: Gov. Rick Perry didn't take long. An hour after the Legislature ended its second special session without a transportation deal, the governor called a third 30-day session. Both houses quickly started the session and then adjourned until Monday.

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