Greg Abbott

FINDYOURSPOT.COM

Agriculture, water, transportation, growth and economic development are all being discussed at city halls across West Texas. So why not better communicate ideas?

That, according to The Amarillo Globe News, is the reasoning behind a coalition of sorts that mayors – including Amarillo’s Ginger Nelson – recently formed.

The group, which also includes mayors from Lubbock, Big Spring, Midland, Odessa and San Angelo, met in a closed meeting Wednesday.

Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

In what seems to be an overture to the House, Gov. Greg Abbott added two new education-related issues to his special session call Thursday: school finance reform and increased benefits for retired teachers.

*Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout. 

By Aliya Swaby, The Texas Tribune

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Recent polling has shown Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to be more popular than the other big-name Republican politicians in the Lone Star State. Abbott is up for re-election next year, and at this point his prospects are rosy.

But, as The Texas Observer reports, Abbott has thrown his full-throated support behind the controversial measure known as SB4, and his stance may be hurting the GOP’s long-term chances in Texas.

senate.texas.gov

A prominent Amarillo politician and state senator had some strong words regarding the special legislative session that begins today in Austin. As Amarillo.com reports, Senator Kel Seliger has called the special session an assault on the ability of local communities in Texas to govern themselves.

“There’s no other way you can look at it,” Seliger added.

Before his successful senatorial campaigns, Seliger was the mayor of Amarillo for eight years—and it’s clear that he still carries something of a mayor’s mentality toward local control.

Many of the 20 items on the special-session agenda are aimed at stifling the ability of local municipalities to decide their own tax policy or even who can use the bathrooms in their communities.

One controversial bill supported by Gov. Greg Abbott would place a limit on how much a city can raise its property taxes, even if the city itself favors the tax raise.   

Erika Rich / Texas Tribune

Texas’s controversial “sanctuary cities” law is set to take effect on Sept. 1 and this week marks the beginning of a series of hearings to determine whether the law is actually legal.

As The Texas Tribune reports, some Texas communities began fighting the bill almost as soon as Gov. Greg Abbott signed it.

With Houston signing onto the lawsuit last week, the largest cities in the state are all lodging protests to the immigration enforcement law.

Erika Rich / Texas Tribune

Since Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill into law, several Texas communities have signed onto a lawsuit in hopes of stopping the law before it goes into effect.

The suit was originally brought by Maverick County and the West Texas City of El Cenizo. But now, El Paso County and the cities of San Antonio, Austin and Dallas have also signed on to the suit.

Jacob Villanueva / Texas Tribune

According to a recent poll, Gov. Greg Abbott remains the most popular politician in Texas.

The latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll shows Abbott with a 45 percent approval rating, while 38 percent of the electorate disapproves of the job he’s been doing. However, Abbott’s disapproval rating has risen five points from 33 percent since the last poll, which was taken in February.

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

Two weeks after the conclusion of a rancorous legislative session, the State of Texas now officially has a budget. Gov. Greg Abbott signed the $217 billion document into law this week—but not before vetoing $120 million in funding to various state programs. As The Texas Tribune reports, areas receiving funding cuts include poor communities near the Mexican border and environmental groups. Abbott also slashed funding that would have improved air quality in Texas.

Courtesy photo / San Antonio Express News

Texas’s most prominent and controversial new law may be in trouble already.

In the short time since Gov. Greg Abbott signed the controversial “sanctuary cities” bill into law, at least six Texas localities have filed lawsuits in opposition to the order. Now, as The Huffington Post reports, the federal judge in charge of one of those lawsuits issued a separate ruling this week that indicated he may be sympathetic with plaintiffs who would like to see the law struck down.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

After waiting almost two weeks to answer the question of whether he would call Texas lawmakers back to Austin for a special session to tackle the controversial bathroom bill, Governor Greg Abbott announced on Sunday that he would indeed call a special session.

As The Texas Tribune reports, Abbott expects Texas Legislators back in the capital in mid-July.

Jim Malewitz / Texas Tribune

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed a law that supposedly defangs the state’s controversial Voter ID law, the nation’s most stringent such law.

But, as The Texas Tribune reports, opponents of the former law aren’t backing down, saying instead that the new law does nothing to fix the old law’s discrimination—nor does it absolve Texas Republican lawmakers of their effort to disenfranchise minority voters.

GAGE SKIDMORE

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed into law new abortion restrictions requiring abortion providers to dispose of aborted fetal tissue through burial or cremation, despite a block on the regulation already imposed by a U.S. court.

As Reuters reports, anti-abortion group, Texas Right to Life, praised Abbott and the legislation, calling it the “most significant pro-life victory” of the regular legislative session.

GAGE SKIDMORE / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday called a special session of the Texas Legislature starting July 18 to work on bathrooms, abortions and school finance.

As The Texas Tribune reports, Abbott gave lawmakers a 19-item agenda to work on and called the overtime round “entirely avoidable.”

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

Late last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into a law a bill that loosens restrictions on the state’s controversial voter ID law.

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has postponed his announcement about whether he will call the state Legislature back for a special session, reports The Texas Tribune. The Governor had indicated that he planned to make the announcement late this week.

But now he says he’s holding off until next week.

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

The regular session of the Texas Legislature has ended, but some of the high-profile bills passed into law this year will likely end up in court, reports The Texas Tribune.

ICE/Creative Commons

Texas’s controversial new “sanctuary cities” law has raised some thorny legal questions, notes The Houston Chronicle.

First, does Texas now have the legal authority to force a town or county to deport a resident?

Flickr Creative Commons

Yesterday HPPR looked at the balance of power among Republicans and Democrats in state legislatures across the High Plains. Today we thought we’d have a look at the tally when it comes to governorships and national officeholders in our listening region.

ACLU / Twitter

In the wake of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s signing of legislation making so-called “sanctuary cities” illegal, the American Civil Liberties Union this week issued a strongly worded “travel advisory” for those thinking of visiting the Lone Star State.

As The Hill reports, the advisory warns that potential travelers to Texas may encounter “illegal arrests,” “racial profiling,” and “demands to see your papers.”

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Martin do Nascimento / Texas Tribune

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has cut off funding to Travis County, home to the state’s capital, after the county sheriff refused to back down from offering sanctuary to immigrants.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

The Texas Legislature gavels in its 2017 session today. To get the new session rolling, let’s take a look back at the biggest Texas political stories of the 2016 session.

KHOU

The 2018 midterm election could be an interesting one in Texas, reports KHOU.

Some Texan officials who will be on the ballot are already in a strong position. Gov. Greg Abbott already has almost $30  million in the bank. Other Lone Star lawmakers look less invincible. Attorney General Ken Paxton is facing federal securities fraud charges and is under criminal indictment in state court.

Office of the Governor/Texas Tribune

Texas officials have asked all state agencies to scale back their costs by four percent, in an effort to curb spending. The cuts will affect agency budgets for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, reports The Texas Tribune. The request was announced in a letter from Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov.

LM Otero / AP photo

In the aftermath of the UK’s controversial Brexit vote to leave the EU, members of the Texas Independence movement have been hoping to get a similar measure on the ballot in the Lone Star State.

Governor Greg Abbott is on the record as opposing a “Texit” vote, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t taking advantage of the Brexit situation. This weekend Abbot announced that Texas ran digital ads on British websites over the July 4th weekend, reports The Chicago Tribune.

Alison V Smith / Texas Tribune

Some Lone Star lawmakers have more campaign cash on hand than the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for president of the United States, reports The Texas Tribune. Last week Donald Trump revealed that his campaign had just $1.3 million on hand to fund their election efforts. Meanwhile his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton reportedly has $42 million in the bank.

Shelby Knowles / Texas Tribune

The Texas Governor’s office seems to have a problem appointing replacements to state boards and commissions in a timely manner. According to The Texas Tribune, the state now has 336 holdover appointees. Those are people whose terms have expired but whose replacements have not been named.

Callie Richmond / Bob Daemmrich / Pete Souz / Texas Tribune

The State of Texas has sued the Obama administration 40 times since the president took office in 2008. All told, the lawsuits have cost taxpayers over $5 million. So, The Texas Tribune wondered, what is the Lone Star State getting for its money? Texas has definitively won 15 percent of its cases, or six of them. The state has lost 10 of its challenges. And the state withdrew eight of the cases.

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

Texas’s controversial “Top 10 Percent” college admission rule could be in jeopardy when the state legislature meets again in 2017. Gov. Greg Abbott has called for changes to the law, reports The Texas Tribune. The legislation, as it stands now, promises automatic admission into any Texas public university for all students who finish in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class.

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has a portentous new book out that tackles some of the biggest issues in America. Included a proposal for a convention of the states to change the U.S. Constitution. So, The Texas Tribune wondered, what’s the Texas exec up to? Abbott claims he’s not using the book as a springboard to position himself for higher office.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

Texan members of the GOP are gathering in Dallas this week for their state convention. And leaders have called on the Texas Republican Party to unify behind Donald Trump, reports The Texas Tribune. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick spoke to the GOP convention Thursday morning. “We must come together, he said. “We must support our Republican nominee for president: Donald Trump.”

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