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Political news

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Gov. Greg Abbott told a radio program Wednesday he plans to appeal to the Supreme Court a federal ruling that could force state lawmakers to redraw two congressional districts in Texas before the 2018 elections.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday put blame on the House — particularly Speaker Joe Straus — for the shortcomings of the special session and left the door open to calling another one.

Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

The Texas Legislature closed out the special session Tuesday night amid a stalemate on property tax reform, leaving unfinished Gov. Greg Abbott's top priority.

Abbott Signs Bill Restricting Insurance Coverage Of Abortion

Aug 15, 2017
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed a bill that will require Texas women to pay an extra health insurance premium for non-emergency abortions, one of three abortion-related items the governor placed on lawmakers' agendas for the special session. 

The measure, House Bill 214, does not include exceptions for instances of fetal abnormalities, rape or incest. 

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

The goal of a special legislative session is usually for Texas lawmakers to get stuff done that they didn’t, or couldn’t, during the regular session.

But, during the 30-day session ending this week, though, lawmakers worked to undo something they passed just a few months prior: a bipartisan effort to curb mail-in ballot fraud in nursing homes.

State Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, says she and Republicans in the Texas Legislature were mostly on the same page about tackling this problem at the outset of the regular session.

Michael Stravato / Texas Tribune

As the nation watched tension between white nationalists and counter protestors turn violent Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, worries began to emerge that the discord would come to a Texas college town next. 

Preston Wiginton, a Texan with deep ties to white nationalist movements, announced Saturday afternoon that he plans to host a “White Lives Matter” rally next month on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station. At the top of a press release announcing the event, he declared “TODAY CHARLOTTESVILLE TOMORROW TEXAS A&M.”

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Legislation that would allow Texans to vote on whether cities in large counties can annex areas outside of their limits — a contentious issue that prompted a filibuster in May — got one step closer to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk Friday. But significant obstacles remain. 

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The Texas House tentatively approved two bills Thursday that will keep several state agencies from closing, including the Texas Medical Board. If the chamber gives the measures final approval on Friday, they could be the first bills of the special session sent to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk.

Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing back against the federal government.

On Monday, the city is filing suit against the Department of Justice, which announced it would withhold millions of dollars in police grant money from so-called sanctuary cities.

Emanuel is suing because he says new rules for a federal crime-fighting grant go against the Constitution and the city's values.

"Chicago will not let our police officers become political pawns in a debate," Emanuel said.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The Texas House passed a package of bills Friday that would put $1.8 billion into public schools and help out struggling small, rural school districts.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The rules of a special legislative session are pretty simple: The governor rules. Only the governor can call a special session, and only the governor can set the agenda. That's why it was a little curious when three bills dealing with groundwater popped up in the Texas House on Thursday.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

House Speaker Joe Straus has made himself enemy No. 1 among the state’s most conservative voters. His crime? His management style.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Brendan Steinhauser, a political strategist living in Austin, uses the state’s voter file all the time.

“The voter file is quite simply a list of voters who are registered to vote,” he says. “You can also obtain their voting history to see if they have voted in past elections.”

Warning: This post contains some very graphic language

Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

The newly installed Trump White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, unloaded on the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and adviser Steve Bannon with some harsh language that would make a sailor blush.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON — A Texas GOP congressman says if the three female Republican senators who oppose a bill repealing Obamacare were men from South Texas, he might challenge them to a duel. 

Spc. Carlynn Knaak/Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

A Texas Senate panel approved legislation Sunday afternoon aimed at cracking down on mail-in ballot fraud by imposing steep criminal penalties.

Proponents of the bill say Senate Bill 5, which was one of the 20 items the Gov. Greg Abbott included on his call for a special session, would curb an ongoing problem in Texas.

“The bill is long overdue,” Alan Vera with the Harris County Republican Party told lawmakers.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

Today, the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee will hear testimony on two bills that would restrict bathroom access based on the gender given to someone at birth.

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

Gov. Greg Abbott has a nearly $41 million war chest heading into his re-election campaign — and a special session in which he's looking to keep political pressure on lawmakers to pass an ambitious 20-item agenda. 

Cassandra Pollock / Texas Tribune

As state lawmakers return to Austin for legislative overtime, tech giant IBM is stepping up its fight to defeat legislation it says would discriminate against children and harm its Texas recruiting efforts. 

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