Jim Malewitz, Texas Tribune

Author
Eric Schlegel

The Texas Senate on Wednesday passed legislation requiring three-point seat belts be installed on newly purchased school buses across the state. 

Senate Bill 693, authored by Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, cleared the chamber in a 25-6 vote following strong pushback from one Republican who suggested seat belts make buses less safe.

“Seat belts save lives,” Garcia said on the floor.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Bob Daemmrich

A lot has happened since 2013, when then-Gov. Rick Perry followed through on a threat to veto $7.5 million in funding for the state’s Public Integrity Unit, which investigated public corruption and was housed in the Travis County District Attorney’s office.

Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate tentatively approved legislation Monday that would revamp the state’s voter identification rules, a response to court rulings that the current law discriminates against minority voters.

Following more than an hour of debate, the chamber voted 21-10 to move the bill to a final vote, likely later this week. 

Graphic by Todd Wiseman

Groups suing Texas over its political maps are asking a federal court to block the state's current congressional boundaries ahead of the November 2018 elections.

Laura Buckman for The Texas Tribune

A Texas Senate panel cleared legislation Monday that would overhaul the state's voter identification rules, an effort to comply with court rulings that the current law discriminates against black and Latino voters.

The Senate State Affairs Committee voted 7-0 to send the legislation to the full chamber.

Illustration by Anneke Paterson / Todd Wiseman

Some of Texas’ 36 congressional districts violate either the U.S. Constitution or the federal Voting Rights Act, a panel of federal judges ruled Friday.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The U.S. Department of Justice is ditching its longstanding position that Texas lawmakers purposefully discriminated against minority voters by passing the nation’s strictest voter identification law in 2011, according to lawyers who are challenging the state’s law.

Bob Daemmrich

FBI and IRS agents raided the San Antonio law offices of state Sen. Carlos Uresti on Thursday morning — confiscating documents and other items.

A law enforcement source told the San Antonio Express-News, which first reported the raid Thursday, that it was connected to Uresti’s involvement with a now-bankrupt fracking sand company that he held a financial stake in.

Illustration by Todd Wiseman/Paul Hudson

Texas House and Senate leaders unveiled dueling budget proposals — starting nearly $8 billion apart — in separate moves Tuesday that foreshadowed remarkably different priorities in the two chambers during a legislative session that promises to be even more tightfisted than usual. 

Texas Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson on Tuesday proposed a $213.4 billion two-year base budget.

Cooper Neill for The Texas Tribune

ARLINGTON — North Texas was freezing during a three-day stretch last month, but Mary Garcia refused to turn on the heat in her cramped apartment. She feared that doing so would too quickly drain her pay-as-you-go account with Penstar Power, a Dallas-based electricity provider.

 

On Dec. 19, with just $15.31 in her account and the outside thermometer showing 27 degrees, Garcia composed a plea to Lite-Up Texas, a state program that had long helped low-income folks pay their electricity bills.

Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

Chris Suprun, a Texas Republican elector, caused a stir this year by raising the possibility that he would cast his Electoral College ballot for someone other than President-elect Donald Trump.

Journalists bombarded the Dallas man with questions following his admission. Among them: For whom did he vote in November?

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune:

Thousands of Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller's followers on social media might believe that terrorists are — in his words —preparing "for their jihad against the state and our nation” from a training compound outside of Houston.

Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune:

Months after a federal appeals court ruled that Texas lawmakers discriminated against African-American and Latino voters in passing a strict voter identification law, the Obama administration and civil rights groups are asking a judge to go a step further — by finding that the lawmakers did it on purpose.

Homepage of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Houston.

From the Texas Tribune: Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos has said no to Russian officials’ request to watch Texans vote, according to correspondence obtained by The Texas Tribune.

Cheryl Gerber for the Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Texas wants to take its voter identification battle to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday asked the justices to hear his arguments about why the state’s photo ID requirements for voting do not discriminate against Hispanics and African-American voters. 

Tamir Kalifa / Texas Tribune

The federal government is accusing Texas of circulating “inaccurate or misleading information” to poll workers and would-be voters about relaxed identification requirements for the November elections.

“Limited funds are being spent on inaccurate materials,” the U.S. Department of Justice wrote in a legal filing Tuesday.

Gage Skidmore via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In 2012, Greg Abbott caused a stir when he issued this warning to international election observers: Don’t set foot inside Texas polling places.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Texas struck a deal Wednesday that will soften its voter ID law for the November general election — a development that lawyers suing the state say will make it easier for minorities to cast their ballots. 

The state reached the agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and minority rights groups just a few weeks after a federal appeals court ruled that Texas’ 2011 voter identification law was discriminatory.


Pages