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Texas allows parents to have their kids opt out of vaccinations for measles, mumps and other diseases. Two years ago, California stopped allowing those exemptions; a similar Texas effort fell short. This session in Austin, the sponsor of that bill isn't trying to end the "conscientious" exemption. His allies are using a different strategy.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick continued to fire back Wednesday at criticism of the so-called "bathroom bill" he has championed, saying its opponents are concentrated in the media and denying that Texas could experience the same economic — and political — fallout North Carolina did when it passed similar legislation.

 

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

The NPR Politics team and reporters across the newsroom live-annotated a news conference with President-elect Donald Trump today, fact-checking and providing background to his remarks in real time.

JIM WATSON / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Former Exxon Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. The secretary of state nominee, who has never held a position in government, does have extensive experience dealing with foreign countries on behalf of Exxon, where he has worked since 1975.

Texas Tribune/Bob Daemmrich

The 85th session of the Texas Legislature opened Tuesday to lots of pomp, plenty of circumstance and, well, not much else.  

Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

NPR's politics team and reporters across the newsroom live-annotated President Obama's farewell address in Chicago last night. 

Via Texas Tribune

Prosecutors will ask a grand jury to indict state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, who was sworn into her position earlier today, on charges of misusing campaign funds and tampering with government documents. Travis County prosecutors and the Texas Rangers will bring their case to jurors next Tuesday, the District Attorney’s office confirmed.

Alex Brandon / AP

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump's pick for attorney general, will face the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and Wednesday for his confirmation hearing. Sessions, a Republican who has served in Congress for two decades, has had his nomination protested for his record on civil rights, voting rights and criminal justice. A key controversy: In 1986, the Judiciary Committee rejected Sessions' nomination to be a federal judge.

Via Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune: State Rep. Dawnna Dukes confirmed to The Texas Tribune in an email Monday that she is not resigning from her post representing House District 46. The confirmation comes two days after news reports surfaced indicating she had changed her mind.

Bob Daemmrich for Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune: Facing sluggish economic forecasts amid low oil prices along with billions in tax revenue already dedicated to the state highway fund, Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced Monday that lawmakers will have $104.87 billion in state funds at their disposal in crafting the next two-year budget, a 2.7 percent decrease from his estimate ahead of the legislative session two years ago.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune: The members of the Texas Legislature may be elected to represent all corners of the state, but they’re not necessarily reflective of it.

White lawmakers make up almost two-thirds of the Legislature, but only 43 percent of the state population is white. Men make up half of the state’s population but hold almost 80 percent of the Legislature's seats. Just about any way you slice the numbers, the makeup of the Legislature is at odds with the state.

With the 85th Legislative Session set to gavel in Tuesday, here’s a look at the demographics of the Legislature by lawmakers’ race, gender, age, education and religion.

Charlie Pearce/Texas Tribune

UPDATE (6 p.m., Saturday): A longtime spokesperson for Rep. Dawnna Dukes told KUT News Saturday evening that the report of Dukes' change of plans would be news to him.

Updated 5:30 p.m. ET

The intelligence report on Russia's interference in the U.S. elections concludes that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered an "influence campaign" that aimed to help President-elect Donald Trump.

Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune


After months of sparring over whether transgender Texans should be allowed to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Thursday officially set the legislative stage for the debate.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT News

From the Texas Tribune: A hotly contested legislative session in 2015 led to two controversial gun laws: One that allows for the open carry of handguns and another that permits the concealed carry of handguns on Texas college campuses. 

Liang Shi for KUT

It's just a week until the start of the 85th session of the Texas Legislature. And, while you've probably heard lots of stories about lawmaker priorities for the 140-day session, it's not always about what bills are being debated, but whether the Texas House or Senate is leading the charge.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

People living in parts of South and Central Austin will be sending a new representative to the state legislature this month. 

Updated at 2:50 p.m. ET

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia won't be expelling U.S. diplomats in a tit-for-tat response to U.S. sanctions, as his foreign minister had suggested earlier Friday.

Instead, he says he will decide how to move forward depending on the actions of President-elect Donald Trump's administration.

Trump took to Twitter on Friday afternoon to praise Putin's decision, calling it a "great move."

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?

Updated at 6:15 p.m.

The White House has announced new actions targeting Russia in response to what U.S. officials say were cyberattacks intended to interfere with the U.S. election.

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