2017 Texas Legislature

A photo posted to Facebook on Saturday by a trans woman from San Antonio gained national media attention about potential enforceability issues of the so-called "bathroom bill"

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

The Texas Legislature has gaveled in for a 30-day session focusing on 20 items, but the battle to pass as little of that legislation as possible has already begun.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

State lawmakers are back in Austin to kick off some legislative overtime.

And, as it's been reported over and over and over again, the special session is needed because lawmakers couldn’t pass a bill to keep a handful of state agencies open and operating. That got some of our listeners wondering if lawmakers could’ve spend their time at the Capitol a little more efficiently.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Seven weeks after legislative deadlock prompted Speaker of the House Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to hold not one but two sets of dueling press conferences, each accusing the other of forcing the governor to call a special session, Texas lawmakers are back in Austin for just that.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

In Austin and about 60 other Texas cities, you need a permit before you can cut down some large or historic trees. Opponents of those tree-preservation rules –including Gov. Greg Abbott – call them a violation of property rights. Now, Attorney General Ken Paxton has weighed in – and those opponents may not be happy with his opinion.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

With the start of the special legislation session less than a week away, Morning Edition is looking at issues on the agenda. Today, we answer a listener question about a proposed $1,000 pay increase for teachers: Who is pushing for the increase and where is it coming from?

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

An article by New Yorker staff writer and Texas resident Lawrence Wright makes the case that Texas is a political bellwether. In "America's Future Is Texas," Wright argues that, indeed, as Texas goes, so goes the nation — politically speaking, at any rate.

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Making a list of the best and worst lawmakers after each Texas legislative session isn't quite as old as the Legislature itself, but it's still a time-honored tradition. Texas Monthly has put out such a list since 1973, and each one is an occasion awaited with bated breath by political observers, legislative aides and of course, the lawmakers themselves.

While small numbers of Texas voters believe spending on public and higher education is too high, pluralities think the state is not spending enough, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

In both cases, 27 percent of voters said the state is spending about the right amount.

It’s not over yet.

Despite a long and contentious regular session, Gov. Greg Abbott says lawmakers aren’t quite done in 2017. In a far-reaching decree, the governor called lawmakers back to Austin for a special session starting on July 18.

Abbott’s priority is for the House and Senate to address “sunset” provisions to keep the lights on at certain state agencies, like the Texas Medical Board. Aside from that, the rest of the governor’s special session agenda covers everything from tree removal to texting while driving to bathroom regulation.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott has vetoed 50 bills that were passed during the regular legislative session, his office announced Thursday.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the state’s two-year budget Monday, giving his approval to the $217 billion document crafted by the Legislature.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Urban Texas leaders on Tuesday criticized the legislation Gov. Greg Abbott wants from a 30-day special session, saying his list of priorities could hurt city economies and undercut how local residents influence their communities.

Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott has called for a special session of the Texas Legislature to begin July 18.

"Considering all the successes of the 85th legislative session, we should not be where we are today," he said. "A special session was entirely avoidable, and there was plenty of time for the Legislature to forge compromises to avoid the time and taxpayer expense of a special session."

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions based on their religious beliefs may soon be protected from disciplinary action thanks to a bill passed this legislative session. 

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Last week, Texas made national news when state lawmakers got into a shouting match that escalated into shoving and even death threats.

But anger among politicians working at the Texas Capitol had been growing for weeks, and some lay blame for that at the feet of a small group of extremely conservative lawmakers. They call themselves the Texas Freedom Caucus

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Health advocates were hoping lawmakers would seriously tackle the issue of maternal mortality during the legislative session that ended Monday. But legislative efforts fell short.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT

From Texas Standard:

It won’t be the budget that sends the Texas Legislature into a special session, if there is one. This weekend the two chambers approved a $217 billion, two-year budget.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News.

From Texas Standard:

Every odd numbered year, for 140 days, Texas lawmakers meet in the Austin to participate in the political drama that is a legislative session. Each legislator tries to cram as many bills onto the floor as possible in an effort to maybe, just maybe, help it to become law. While the curtains on this year's drama are soon set to drop and all the political actors are making plans to head back to their part of Texas, a potential encore performance may be looming. We're talking about a possible special legislative session.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday promised to make an announcement "later this week" on whether he will call a special session.

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