Agenda Texas: The End of the 84th Legislative Session

May 29, 2015

The Texas legislative session ends Monday, and there's not a bunch left for lawmakers to do between today and next week. No more bills can be voted on. Now it's all about conference committees. Those are the groups made up of five House members and five Senators who will be huddled together in meeting rooms and hallways around the Capitol this weekend, trying to come to an agreement on bills that the House and Senate each passed different versions of.

And much of the attention this weekend was going to be on what happens to a couple of gun bills in conference. But the committee report on one of them is expected to come up Friday. The bill in question — the "open carry" bill — would allow someone with a concealed handgun license to carry their weapon in the open. It had a Senate amendment that would ban police from asking if a person has a license. The House wanted it stripped off, and in conference, it was.

There's also a bill — "campus carry" — that lets those same permit-holders carry a gun onto state college campuses. Its conference committee is wrangling over an amendment that makes private schools allow guns too. The House added it, but the Senate wants to strip it.

Both committees have until the end of the day Saturday to come up with an agreement.

Session review

The session started with a declaration by new Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick that it’s a "New Day in Texas!" But as it ends — was it a new day? To help us figure out what kind of day it was, I talked with Evan Smith, Editor-in-Chief and CEO of the Texas Tribune, KUT’s political reporting partner.

What's next?

Well, now that the legislative session is ending, you'll need something new to fill the void left behind?

Here's my suggestion. How about checking out the The Ticket, a new presidential podcast by KUT and the Texas Tribune.

The Tribune's Jay Root and I have done 6 episodes so far. In each, we break down the campaign of one of the several candidates running for President. And we talk with people who make a living working on, covering or commenting on the campaigns.

You can find it in iTunes by searching The Ticket 2016, or here at kut.org.

So until 2017, that's it for Agenda Texas.