breaking news

Senate leaders agree on plan to reopen government

Gov. Abbott predicts agreement on tax and bathroom issues Saturday


Gov. Greg Abbott predicted Friday that House and Senate negotiators will reach agreement on property tax reform and transgender bathroom legislation Saturday.

“As you may have heard, conference committees have been assigned for those two issues,” Abbott told reporters. “That’s positive. It means the House and the Senate are going to be getting to work on those two issues and will hopefully crank out legislation tomorrow.”

If so, it would mean that the governor would not call a special session to attend to those two issues, a prospect suggested by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in the event that they were not resolved by session’s end on Monday.

Abbott made the comment after signing Senate Bill 16, which reduces the fee for a handgun license in Texas, at the Range in South Austin, where Abbott did some shooting with a SIG Sauer P320 pistols after the signing.

Proudly displaying the target showing his marksmanship, the governor joked, according to the Texas Tribune reporter who was within earshot, “I’m gonna carry this around in case I see any reporters.”

In answer to a question about the failure of school finance reform to survive the session, Abbott said it is an issue that may take more than one session to resolve.

“We found several good proposals that surfaced during the course of the session for school finance reform,” he said. “It is so complex that, for one, it’s difficult to get an effective bill passed in one single session.”

“We did make strides toward that with several good proposals. One was a proposal to create a architecture for a way forward to address school finance,” Abbott said. “The second would have been the Senate version, which was sent back to the House, of HB 21, which I thought was a good proposal. But it is the type of thing that Texas and the Texas Legislature will need to continue to work on.

On gun rights, Abbott said, “We very proudly signed into law last session open carry. Now we are making it even more economical, even easier for people to enjoy the right of open carry in the state of Texas by lowering the cost of getting a handgun license.”

Abbott noted that the right to bear arms is enshrined in both the U.S. Constitution and Texas Constitution and that this new law will make it more affordable to bear arms.

The signing was praised by the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, which said that it will make license to carry fees in Texas among the lowest in the country.

“No one should be priced out of their right to carry a firearm for self-protection,” said Chris Cox, executive director, NRA-ILA. “This bill makes it easier for all Texans to exercise this fundamental right.”

Senate Bill 16, sponsored by state Senators Robert Nichols and Joan Huffman, reduces the price of applying for a license to carry from $140 to $40. It also cuts the renewal cost from $70 to $40. The annual cost of a 5-year license will now be $8 per year.

The bill goes into effect on Sept. 1.

Asked about whether Texans might like to see the Legislature enact Constitutional carry — which would allow for the legal carrying of a handgun, both open and concealed, without the necessity of a government permit — Abbott said, “I think Texan are satisfied that they now have a great ability to carry in the state of Texas and we’ll just see where the body politic goes.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Texas News & Politics

Florida man wrestles, wrangles gator outside his home
Florida man wrestles, wrangles gator outside his home

What does a southwest Florida man do when a gator gets too close to his home? He wrangles it. Michael Stauffer, of Bokeelia, told Fox 4 that when an alligator got too comfy crawling around his backyard, he grabbed a broom and towel, jumped on its back and wrangled it. He wrapped the towel around its snout and duct-taped it shut.  He then...
Killing of Alabama housewife reveals secret life on internet
Killing of Alabama housewife reveals secret life on internet

The killing of an Alabama housewife outside her suburban home on Jan. 13 revealed signs of a double life on the internet, several news outlets have reported. The body of 42-year-old Kathleen Dawn West was found outside her Calera, Alabama, home, WTVT reported. Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley said his department is treating the case as a homicide...
Michigan doctor who came to US in 1979 detained by ICE
Michigan doctor who came to US in 1979 detained by ICE

A Michigan doctor who came to the United States nearly 40 years ago has been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, WXMI reported. Lukasz Niec, who works at Bronson Healthcare in Kalamazoo, came to the United States from Poland with his parents in 1979. His family said Niec had a green card and permanent legal resident status...
Body found burned in Bastrop County last week
Body found burned in Bastrop County last week

The Bastrop County sheriff’s office is investigating a suspicious death after a body was found burned on the side of the road Thursday, authorities said. Donald Ray Davis, 23, of Austin was found dead around 6 a.m. on Jan. 18 on the north end of North Pope Bend Road, Bastrop County Sheriff Maurice Cook said. His body was burned, however Cook...
UPDATE: 15-year-old girl injured during shooting at Italy, Texas high school

10:40 a.m. update: An official with the Ellis County Sheriff's Office says a 15-year-old girl was injured in the shooting at Italy High School. Sgt. Joe Fitzgerald says the student, who suffered a gunshot wound, was airlifted to a hospital in Dallas. There was no information on the girl's condition, or on the identity of the 16-year-old shooting suspect...
More Stories