You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Texas News & Politics


Texas House passes ban on transgender bathrooms in schools

The Texas House gave final approval Monday to a bill banning transgender-friendly bathrooms in the state’s public schools — a compromise effort that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said was too weak but state business leaders feared could still provoke an economic backlash. Democrats, civil rights groups and gay rights groups were outraged, saying the ban singles out transgender students, an already...
Texas Senate revives abortion insurance measure

Texas Senate revives abortion insurance measure

Late Monday, the Texas Senate revived a stalled abortion measure by adding it as an amendment to a bill on insurance information for doctors. House Bill 3124 was amended to add language from Senate Bill 20, which would ban abortion coverage in private insurance plans as well as plans offered to state employees and participants in the Affordable Care Act. Abortion coverage would have to be purchased...
Judges: Does Supreme Court ruling affect Texas districts?

Judges: Does Supreme Court ruling affect Texas districts?

Hours after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down two North Carolina congressional districts because of their effect on African-American voters, the first impact was felt in Texas. Three federal judges, overseeing a legal challenge to Texas districts adopted in 2013, sent an order Monday to lawyers on both sides seeking information about how the ruling might apply to the Lone Star State. The judges also...

Texas Digest: Cop shooter gets 50 years

COURTS Cop shooter gets 50 years in prison A man charged with the nonfatal shooting of a Houston-area police officer in the chest and face three years ago during a traffic stop has been sentenced to 50 years in prison. Sergio Francisco Rodriguez pleaded guilty Monday to aggravated assault of a public servant. He’s the last of three men charged in the October 2013 shooting of Stafford police...
Texas House limits tax breaks for wind turbines near military bases

Texas House limits tax breaks for wind turbines near military bases

A proposal to restrict property tax exemptions for wind farms near military bases got preliminary approval from Texas House lawmakers on Monday. In a win for budget hawks and a small blow to the wind turbine industry, House members approved Senate Bill 277 76-65. Rep. James Frank, R-Wichita Falls, who carried the bill in the House, argued the measure was necessary to limit the tall wind turbines as...
School funding bill fate uncertain because of school choice

School funding bill fate uncertain because of school choice

The Texas Senate early Monday approved a bill, 21-10, that would inject about $530 million into the public education system while creating a so-called school choice system that would redirect state money to help special education students pay for private school tuition. The bill, however, faces an uncertain fate — the Senate has made it clear that House Bill 21 dies if school choice isn&rsquo...
Religious-refusal foster care bill heads to Gov. Abbott’s desk

Religious-refusal foster care bill heads to Gov. Abbott’s desk

A bill that would let faith-based adoption and foster care agencies decline to place children with gay, lesbian and transgender households is headed to Gov. Greg Abbott. The Texas Senate voted 21-10 to approve House Bill 3859 early Monday. All Republicans voted for the bill, along with one Democrat, Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. of Brownsville. “Such an imbalance of rights not only could leave these...
At Gov. Abbott’s insistence, House will debate voter ID law Tuesday

At Gov. Abbott’s insistence, House will debate voter ID law Tuesday

The perennially contentious issue of voter ID will be back before the Texas House on Tuesday thanks to Gov. Greg Abbott’s insistence in a message to the House and Senate just before Sunday’s deadline that they take it up as “an emergency matter for consideration” in time to enact a new law before session’s end. Within hours of Abbott’s communication, the Senate...
Texas House tentatively OKs bill to extend STAAR reprieve until 2021

Texas House tentatively OKs bill to extend STAAR reprieve until 2021

The Texas House on Monday tentatively approved a Senate bill that would extend for four years a policy allowing students to graduate high school even if they fail up to two state standardized tests. A high school senior who has failed up to two end-of-course State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness but has passed all classes and fulfilled other requirements can graduate as long as a committee...
Texas Senate approves bill to give second chance on some crimes

Texas Senate approves bill to give second chance on some crimes

The Texas Senate on Monday approved “second-chance” legislation that would let those convicted of one-time, nonviolent misdemeanors to ask a court to seal their criminal record from public view — no matter when it happened. House Bill 3016 applies to class C misdemeanors and driving while intoxicated with a blood alcohol level below 0.15, but not for crimes the judge determines to...
Texas Senate passes bill to raise payments for relative foster parents

Texas Senate passes bill to raise payments for relative foster parents

The Texas Senate has approved a priority House bill that would increase payments for people who foster children who are their family members. “There is, in general, a recognition that kinship care is a superior method of caring for a child versus foster care,” said Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, who presented the bill. Under House Bill 4, a family that makes up to $73,800 would...
Texas House tentatively OKs bill to continue STAAR reprieve until 2021

Texas House tentatively OKs bill to continue STAAR reprieve until 2021

The Texas House on Monday tentatively approved a Senate bill that would extend for four years a policy allowing students to graduate high school even if they fail up to two state standardized tests. A high school senior who has failed up to two end-of-course State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness but has passed all classes and fulfilled other requirements can graduate as long as a committee...
Gov. Abbott declares voter ID law an emergency; House to vote Tuesday

Gov. Abbott declares voter ID law an emergency; House to vote Tuesday

Just under the wire, Gov. Greg Abbott sent a message to the Texas House and Senate Sunday night declaring Senate Bill 5, the voter identification bill that had stalled in the House, as “an emergency matter for immediate consideration.” The House scheduled SB 5 for a Tuesday vote – the last day the House can take an initial vote on Senate bills. The Senate passed SB 5 on a largely...
Texas House gives initial OK to transgender bathroom ban in schools

Texas House gives initial OK to transgender bathroom ban in schools

Divided almost exclusively along party lines in a Sunday night vote, the Texas House backed a ban on transgender-friendly bathroom and locker room policies in the state’s public schools. An amendment, added to a bill on school safety and emergency policies, would require public schools and open-enrollment charter schools to limit bathroom use to each student’s “biological sex,&rdquo...
Texas Senate passes school finance, school ‘voucher’ bill

Texas Senate passes school finance, school ‘voucher’ bill

The Texas Senate approved 21-10 a bill early Monday morning that would inject about $530 million into the public education system while creating a so-called school choice system that would redirect state money to help students pay for private school tuition. House Bill 21, originally would have injected $1.6 billion extra into the public school system through updating and adding various elements to...
FROM OVERNIGHT: Religious-refusal foster care bill heads to Gov. Abbott’s desk

FROM OVERNIGHT: Religious-refusal foster care bill heads to Gov. Abbott’s desk

Agreeing with the Texas House, the Texas Senate passed a bill early Monday that would allow faith-based foster care and adoption agencies to refuse to place children with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender households over religious objections. The vote was 21-10, with Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. of Brownsville the only Democrat who voted in favor. The bill heads to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. Sen...
House approves annexation limits, over opposition from Austin leaders

House approves annexation limits, over opposition from Austin leaders

The Texas House gave preliminary approval to a bill Sunday to limit cities’ ability to annex outlying areas without resident approval, a measure that was opposed by the city of Austin and other major municipalities. Senate Bill 715, authored by Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, and carried in the House by Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, would require cities to get a majority of residents in...
Lawmakers reach budget compromise after Abbott demands incentive money

Lawmakers reach budget compromise after Abbott demands incentive money

Texas House and Senate budget negotiators agreed on a state budget for 2018-19 late Saturday — deciding to tap the state’s rainy day fund, a key sticking point — but not before Gov. Greg Abbott demanded they add $100 million to programs that are controlled by his office. “He clearly felt that he needed more in the area of his trusteed funds in order carry out some of the economic...

Houston affordable housing hurt by slopping records, diverted money

Poor record-keeping is just one of the problems Houston housing officials are facing as the city’s low-income housing agency struggles to meet its mission. Houston is facing a growing crisis, with roughly 43,000 families on the waiting list for subsidized housing at the Houston Housing Authority as of April. The Houston Chronicle reported recently that the city spent about $96 million in the...

Texas Digest: Appeals court upholds New Braunfels container ban

NEW BRAUNFELS Appeals court upholds container ban A state appeals court has upheld its reversal of a visiting judge’s decision that halted enforcement of New Braunfels’ law banning the use of cans and other disposable food and beverage containers by tubers on the popular Comal and Guadalupe rivers. The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung reported that the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals said Judge...
Texas House OKs transgender bathroom limits in schools

Texas House OKs transgender bathroom limits in schools

9 p.m. update: Divided almost exclusively along party lines, the Texas House approved an amendment Sunday night that would require Texas schools to limit bathroom use to each student’s biological sex. After the amendment was added to Senate Bill 2078 on a 91-50 vote, the House gave initial approval to the bill. A final vote is scheduled for Monday, returning the measure to the Senate to consider...
Gov. Greg Abbott issues 11th-hour demand as committee approves budget

Gov. Greg Abbott issues 11th-hour demand as committee approves budget

An 11th-hour demand from Gov. Greg Abbott temporarily disrupted the work of a committee of House and Senate negotiators on Saturday night as they were about to approve a state budget for 2018 and 2019. Abbott asked the conference committee on Senate Bill 1, the state budget, to include more money for programs that are controlled by his office and are meant to lure businesses to Texas. “He clearly...
PolitiFact: Lawmaker says abortions are safer than vasectomies

PolitiFact: Lawmaker says abortions are safer than vasectomies

A Democrat opposed to an abortion-related measure suggested that a snip exclusive to men has proved less safe than an abortion. State Rep. Mary González, D-Clint, asked the abortion proposal’s author, Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, in floor debate: “First and foremost, did you know that an abortion procedure is actually … safer than a vasectomy?” Capriglione, R-Southlake...
Resolution to legislative standoff emerging as session end nears

Resolution to legislative standoff emerging as session end nears

A possible resolution to the high-stakes stand-off between Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus is coming into focus this weekend, with lawmakers acting on key measures on the state budget, local property taxes, transgender bathroom access and keeping state agencies operating. Last week, Patrick threatened to force a special legislative session unless the House approved bills on two of...
Tom Mechler quits as GOP chair, warning party must look more like Texas

Tom Mechler quits as GOP chair, warning party must look more like Texas

Texas Republican Party Chairman Tom Mechler resigned Saturday for personal reasons but with a warning that if the Texas GOP doesn’t make “our party look more like Texas,” the nation’s biggest red state could turn blue. “As the demographics continue to change, our state will soon have a majority-minority voting age population. If we do not continue to make efforts to engage...
Texas House OKs 2 bills prompted by Sandra Bland’s arrest, death

Texas House OKs 2 bills prompted by Sandra Bland’s arrest, death

The Texas House on Saturday approved a pair of proposals prompted by the 2015 arrest and death of Sandra Bland. The Sandra Bland Act, named for the woman who was found hanged in a Waller County jail cell three days after a routine traffic stop escalated to a confrontation with a state trooper, is meant to “minimize circumstances where someone in jail is not screened appropriately … to...
What ultimatum? House tries to squash Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s leverage

What ultimatum? House tries to squash Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s leverage

Last week, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick threatened to force a special legislative session unless the House approved bills on two of his top priorities: restricting local property tax increases and prohibiting transgender Texans from using the bathrooms of their choice. On Saturday afternoon, House Speaker Joe Straus answered Patrick’s ultimatum — and Patrick likely won’t be pleased. First...
Tom Mechler steps down as Texas GOP chairman

Tom Mechler steps down as Texas GOP chairman

4:50 p.m. update: Texas Republican Party Chairman Tom Mechler resigned Saturday, effective immediately, citing the stress and strains of the job and his desire to “focus on my family,” and calling on the party’s factions to forswear “backbiting,” in favor of mutual “kindness and respect.” “A party that is fractured by anger and backbiting is a party...
Herman: Hypocrisy and sincerely held religious beliefs

Herman: Hypocrisy and sincerely held religious beliefs

Texas House Democrats won the debate but lost the battle in a virtuoso effort that exposed Republicans’ hypocrisy in proffering their oft-made religious liberty arguments. So complete was the Democrats’ effort that the Republicans retreated in silence, unable or unwilling to offer anything resembling a semi-cogent argument. On this day the Repubs, God bless them, were made to look like...
Donna Howard tearfully speaks against further abortion regulations

Donna Howard tearfully speaks against further abortion regulations

Several hours into Friday’s debate on abortion regulations in the Texas House, Rep. Donna Howard acknowledged that she was speaking on an “extremely emotional and very personal subject for all of us.” Several minutes later, the Austin Democrat lived up to her words, breaking down in tears while telling abortion opponents that regulations will not stop women from needing, and seeking...
Commentary: Why border adjustment tax is a bad idea that just won’t die

Commentary: Why border adjustment tax is a bad idea that just won’t die

The world is a much different place than it was 30 years ago — the last time our tax code received a major overhaul. The United States is facing stiff competition from other nations in an increasingly global marketplace, where our comparative advantage is significantly diminished by the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world. Bringing our tax rates in line with worldwide norms &mdash...
PolitiFact: How Gov. Abbott misstated sheriff’s ‘sanctuary’ policy

PolitiFact: How Gov. Abbott misstated sheriff’s ‘sanctuary’ policy

Gov. Greg Abbott gave a backhanded shoutout (or the back of his hand) to a Democratic sheriff as he signed the Republican-driven proposal intended to keep local communities from shielding unauthorized immigrants from deportation. The governor explained his support of Senate Bill 4 during a bill signing on Facebook Live: “This law cracks down on policies like the Travis County sheriff...
PolitiFact Texas: Going on the record with immigration claims

PolitiFact Texas: Going on the record with immigration claims

President Donald Trump’s maintains his vision of a new wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, while Republican counterparts in Texas, including Gov. Greg Abbott, have focused on preventing local communities from harboring unauthorized residents. PolitiFact has sorted many high-profile claims about immigration. Here are five highlights: 1) Tom DeLay, the former House majority leader, said in September...
Texas House votes to expand abortion regulations

Texas House votes to expand abortion regulations

After almost six hours of sometimes heated, sometimes tearful debate Friday, the Texas House gave preliminary approval to legislation that would greatly expand abortion regulations in Texas. Senate Bill 8 would require abortion clinics and health centers to ensure that fetal tissue from abortions and miscarriages are buried or cremated, with the ashes properly scattered — similar to a state...
House approves underage-drinking amnesty in reporting sex assaults

House approves underage-drinking amnesty in reporting sex assaults

The Texas House on Friday gave final approval to a measure granting underage-drinking amnesty to a minor who reports a sexual assault, as well as preliminary approval to two other bills dealing with campus sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence and stalking. All three measures were authored by Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin. Senate Bill 966, which now goes to Gov. Greg Abbott, would amend...
Legislative stand-off intensifies as House delays property tax bill

Legislative stand-off intensifies as House delays property tax bill

In an escalation of the legislative brinkmanship between Texas House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, both Republicans, the House on Friday delayed until Sunday or later a floor vote on a property tax bill Patrick has demanded the House approve. Patrick, who leads the Senate, had previously threatened to force a special session of the Legislature unless the House acted quickly to approve...
Commentary: Texas Legislature votes to restrict policyholders’ rights

Commentary: Texas Legislature votes to restrict policyholders’ rights

Texas lawmakers are on the fast track to restrict policyholders’ rights when their insurance companies fail to pay property insurance claims arising out of weather events, such as storms involving heavy winds and hail. Now that the Texas Senate has approved House Bill 1774, Gov. Greg Abbott is almost sure to sign it. Unfortunately, this will unleash unexpected and unpleasant surprises for Texas...
Senate approves long-sought ban on texting while driving

Senate approves long-sought ban on texting while driving

A statewide texting-while-driving ban, after running into legislative and gubernatorial roadblocks in the past four legislative sessions, cleared the Texas Senate on Friday and appears to be on the way to passage. House Bill 62, carried in the Senate by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, was approved 23-8 on both second and third readings. All 11 Democrats and 12 of the chamber’s 20 Republicans...
Texas House approves new school bus seatbelt requirement

Texas House approves new school bus seatbelt requirement

The Texas House on Friday approved legislation requiring all school buses purchased after Sept. 1 to have three-point seat belts for all occupants. The House approved Senate Bill 693 by a vote of 96 to 48. It now awaits the governor’s signature. Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, has said her bill would close a loophole in a 2007 state law that required the seat belts on school buses but was contingent...
House delays property tax vote, escalating stand-off with Senate

House delays property tax vote, escalating stand-off with Senate

In an escalation of the legislative brinkmanship between Texas House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, both Republicans, the House on Friday delayed until Sunday or later a floor vote on a property tax bill Patrick has demanded the House approve. Patrick, who leads the Senate, had previously threatened to force a special session of the Legislature unless the House acted quickly to approve...
Senate expected to consider school finance, school choice bill Sunday

Senate expected to consider school finance, school choice bill Sunday

The Texas Senate could consider and vote as early as Sunday evening on a House bill that would create a so-called school choice system while fixing various elements of the school finance system. Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, said he is still making some final tweaks to House Bill 21 originally filed by state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston. He confirmed that the changes that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick revealed...
Ken Paxton to Trump team: Strip Obama environmental rules faster

Ken Paxton to Trump team: Strip Obama environmental rules faster

Just as many environmentalists are wringing their hands over the speed with which the Trump administration appears to be dismantling pollution regulations, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has the opposite take: Strip down environmental regulations faster. This week Paxton sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Administration chief Scott Pruitt asking him to suspend and reconsider Obama-era...
More Texas News & Politics Stories