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Texas State Legislature

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Austin firefighters donate to protect pensions

The political action committee for Austin firefighters was busy the last month of 2020, donating more than $50,000 to Texas lawmakers. Their donations included $10,000 to Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), who was elected Tuesday to be speaker of the Texas…

Safety concerns grow in Austin as the first day of the Texas legislative session dawns

Today is the opening day of the Texas legislative session. And after last week’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, security is a much bigger concern than it has been in recent memory. Lawmakers are having to consider what was unimaginable…

Travis County prepares for 87th Texas Legislature

Last Tuesday, Dec. 15, Travis County Intergovernmental Relations Officer Julie Wheeler presented the draft agenda items for the upcoming Texas legislative session to the Travis County Commissioners Court. The 87th Texas Legislature will convene on Jan. 12, and the legislative…

Austin gets ready for Texas Legislature

When Texas legislators return to the state capital in January they can expect to face a $4.6 billion budget deficit, according to a prediction from Comptroller Glenn Hegar. The deficit is a result of the pandemic and associated economic decline,…

State Sen. Kirk Watson stepping down in April to lead Hobby School of Public Affairs

State Sen. Kirk Watson, who has represented Austin in the Texas Senate since 2007, announced he’s resigning this spring to become the founding dean of the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston. In a letter to Gov.…

Abbott vows to 'unleash' state resources if Austin doesn't change its homelessness rules by Nov. 1

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he’s prepared to “unleash the full authority of every state agency” if Austin doesn’t address issues surrounding homelessness by Nov. 1. In a letter to Mayor Steve Adler, Abbott said Austin’s revision of its homelessness…

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New Texas pipeline protest law is about more than pipelines

A law went into effect in Texas this week that increases penalties for demonstrators who interfere with oil and gas pipelines and other pieces of “critical infrastructure.” Oil and gas states have adopted such laws to crack down on demonstrations…

Report finds Texas bipartisanship wins

Despite the “blue wave” election in 2018, Republicans maintained control of both houses of the Texas Legislature during the 2019 legislative session that just concluded. As expected, the majority of bills were authored and approved by Republicans. During the session,…

Texas lawmakers tried to take the reins from cities this session. The results were mixed.

For the last handful of legislative sessions, the Texas Legislature has had it in for Austin and other cities. GOP lawmakers who regularly thumb their noses at “big government”-minded efforts in D.C. have filed bills targeting city laws regulating everything…

'Death of mobile voting' bill to complicate elections

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir calls House Bill 1888, which won legislative approval with little fanfare, “the death of mobile voting.” The legislation requires that each early voting location be open for voters on each and every day that voting…

Travis County contemplates small wins, big losses at Legislature

Every week while the state Legislature is in session, Travis County’s chief lobbyist, Deece Eckstein, briefs members of the Commissioners Court on the bills that might affect the county. In recent months, the weekly briefing has usually been bleak, but…

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State lawmakers approve legislation shielding most Texans from surprise medical bills

Surprise medical bills may be a thing of the past for many Texans. In a unanimous vote, the Texas House approved a Senate bill banning health care providers from sending steep medical bills to insured Texans in emergencies. Senate Bill…

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