Texas Legislature

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

This week the Texas House Public Education Committee heard testimony on a bill that would decrease the number of standardized tests faced by students in the Lone Star State.

At first blush, the idea seems like it might carry broad support among Texas educators. But, as The Texas Tribune reports, teacher opinions on the idea actually constitute a mixed bag.

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

The Texas House of Representatives has passed a bill that would raise the legal age at which accused criminals are tried as adults in the Lone Star State.

As The Texas Tribune reports, the measure is known as the “Raise the Age” bill, and it would ensure that 17-year-old offenders would no longer be classified as adults. Instead, they would be moved to the juvenile justice system, beginning in 2021.

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The Texas House Thursday approved a bill designed to inject over a billion dollars into public schools and simplify complicated funding formulas.

As The Texas Tribune reports, State Rep. Dan Huberty succeeded at a difficult task Wednesday: getting the Texas House of Representatives to vote for legislation overhauling the funding system for public education, without a court mandate.

Austin American-Statesman

A Federal court has once again ruled that the Republican Party in Texas intentionally tried to disenfranchise minority voters when it redrew district lines in 2011.

As The Austin American-Statesman reports, the 2-1 ruling attested that the GOP diluted minority votes in an attempt to gain more power in the state.

Jennifer Carlson / Wink Threadings Salon

Becoming a licensed hairstylist may soon be a much easier prospect in Texas, if the state Legislature has its way.

As The Texas Tribune reports, three new bills would make the process of obtaining a cosmetology license in the Lone Star State much less arduous.

Fibonacci Blue / Wikimedia Commons

The Texas Senate has approved a bill that would allow government clerks to refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, on religious grounds. The measure now moves to the House for a vote.

But, as Slate reports, the bill has an interesting provision that hasn’t been seen in other efforts by the Texas Senate to legislate same-sex marriage licenses.

Federal judge rules Texas voter ID law discriminatory

Apr 13, 2017
DEBAIRD / CREATIVE COMMONS

A federal judge has ruled, for the second time, that Texas lawmakers intentionally discriminated against Latino and black voters in passing a strict voter identification law in 2011.

As The Texas Tribune reports, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos ruled Monday that Texas did not meet its burden in proving that legislators passed the nation’s strictest photo ID law – Senate Bill 14 – without knowingly targeting minority voters.

Elvert Barnes / Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate is considering instituting a rule that would guarantee construction workers frequent breaks, reports The Texas Tribune.

The proposed legislation is an attempt to ease hardship on Texas construction workers, who frequently endure brutal heat and other weather-driven struggles.

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

After weeks of momentum, Texas “school choice” was handed a serious setback last week, in what The Dallas Morning News called “a serious, perhaps lethal blow” to the movement.

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Under a proposal added to the Texas House budget last week, funding could go to a program to rehabilitate victims of sex trafficking.

Proposed bill would designate a state gun in Texas

Apr 11, 2017
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Texas may soon have a state gun, joining chili as the state dish, pecan as the state tree, and Guadalupe bass as the state fish.

As The Guardian reports, there are currently three proposals to designate a state gun, one of which passed through a senate committee hearing Thursday that if passed, would make the cannon the official state gun.

Another calls for the 1847 Colt Walker pistol to be recognized as the official handgun of the Lone Star State.

WFAA

Retired Teachers in Texas will soon take a big hit when it comes to healthcare costs, reports WFAA.

Beginning in September, educators who have reached retirement in Texas will pay double or even triple their current healthcare premiums.

LM Otero / Houston Chronicle

The upper chamber of the Texas Legislature has approved a series of changes to the state’s controversial photo voter ID law, to bring the legislation in line with a federal ruling, reports The Houston Chronicle.

Last year an appeals court declared that Republican legislators intentionally enacted the law to discriminate toward minorities. This week the GOP-led Senate voted 21-10 to approve the changes ordered by the Feds.

KPRC

A Texas lawmaker has introduced a bipartisan measure that would end the requirement for vehicle inspections in the Lone Star State, reports KPRC.

State Sen. Don Huffines of El Paso says Senate Bill 1588 would help drivers save $7 per vehicle across the state.  

Huffines called the state vehicle inspection program a “relic of the past,” pointing to modern technological advances in vehicle design and technology that obviate the need for yearly inspections.

MyHighPlains.com

For those Texas Panhandle residents who grumble every autumn when the clocks fall back and the sun suddenly sets shortly after five p.m., help may be on the way.

As MyHighPlains.com reports, three bills have been introduced in the Texas legislature this session, all aimed at abolishing daylight savings in the Lone Star State.

DonkeyHotey / Creative Commons

Texas was one of the few bright spots for Democrats in last year’s election, notes The Texas Tribune.

Though the GOP retained a safe hold of the state in a year where the nation trended red, Texas was shown to be moving in a decidedly blue direction. And that trend appears to be continuing, if new election data is to be believed.

Al Drago / The New York Times

An offhand remark President Donald Trump made on Wednesday has Democratic lawmakers in Texas fuming.

As The New York Times reports, Trump was speaking with a group of sheriffs from around the country when a Texas sheriff asked the president about a state senator who was proposing a law that would not allow Texas to seize a suspect’s assets until that suspect had been convicted by a court.

Chuck Grimmett / Creative Commons

A surprising number of Republicans support legalization of marijuana.

Quartz reports showed that 60 percent of Americans support legalization of marijuana, including 42 percent of Republicans, some of whom live in conservative states or even serve in their state’s legislature.

Texas is among five states with current marijuana reform bills that have been introduced for consideration in upcoming sessions.

Austin American-Statesman

The Texas Legislature reconvened for the new session this week, amid speeches and plenty of pomp. But, as The Austin American-Statesman reports, the ceremony belied simmering tensions in the Lone Star State’s governing body.

During the recess strains began to build over hot button issues like transgender bathrooms, abortion, immigration, school policy, and religious practices.

pulseheadlines.com

Conservative Texas lawmakers have seen hope in the election of Donald Trump when it comes to abortion legislation.

As The Daily Beast reports, in the wake of Trump’s election, Texas Republicans have filed multiple bills banning abortions. The laws are being decried by critics as a bridge too far, even by Texas standards.

Dallas Morning News

Hundreds of bills were filed this week by Texas lawmakers, who are hoping to shepherd their legislation through the process of becoming law.

Most of the bills are DOA. Last year, for example, 6,400 bills were filed in the Lone Star State. And only one in five of those made it all the way to becoming law.

Here are some of the more unique potential laws on offer this year, courtesy of The Dallas Morning News.  

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There’s a lot more happening on Lone Star ballots today besides Trump vs. Clinton. Here are some things to watch for tonight in Texas, courtesy The Dallas Morning News.

Illusive Photography / Flickr Creative Commons

Five years ago Texas slashed funding for Planned Parenthood and women’s health programs. That same year, a new study shows, the state experienced a sudden and dramatic spike in pregnancy-related deaths.

Kiichiro Sato / AP photo

The State of Texas has given up the fight—for now—on trying to prevent undocumented immigrants from obtaining birth certificates for their children born legally in the States.

Patrick Michels / Texas Observer

There’s a major movement afoot in American politics, notes The Texas Observer, but it’s seldom mentioned by name. It’s known as dominion theology, or dominionism, and Texas is one of it’s main strongholds. It began as a fringe evangelical sect in the 1970s, but now dominion theology has grown to reach the highest levels of power in the Lone Star State. Dominionism fundamentally opposes the separation of church and state.

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.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Health advocates cheered this week when Oklahoma officials announced they were considering expanding Medicaid in that state. Oklahoma has been missing out on millions of federal health care dollars with its decision to not participate in the Affordable Care Act. But with ballooning budget problems and rising health care costs in the state, opting out no longer seems viable. And that means Texas could be next, reports member station KUT.

Callie Richmond / Texas Tribune

Providers of early childhood intervention programs in Texas are deeply troubled by budget cuts, reports The Texas Tribune. In-home therapy providers have been warning that the work they do for families and children could be in jeopardy because of severe budget cuts. The cuts were ordered last year by Republican lawmakers in the Texas Legislature.

Texas Tribune

In Texas, all state agencies must win legislative permission every 12 years to remain open. But who decides if these agencies stay alive? The task is handled by what’s known as the Sunset Advisory Commission, reports The Texas Tribune. It’s the commission’s job to periodically recommend changes in how agencies operate.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

When Texas lawmakers leave office, they often have a sizable amount of money still sitting in their campaign war chests. What they choose to do with that money can vary widely, reports The Texas Tribune. For example, Sen. Kevin Eltife, who is not seeking re-election, had well over a million at the end of last year. And Rep.

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