Senate budget panel approves $308 billion spending plan with new money for teachers, mental health, juvenile justice
The proposal for the 2024-25 budget cycle includes $142.1 billion in general revenue spending — about $5 billion higher than the proposal approved last week by the Texas House — at a time when lawmakers have a historic $32.7 billion surplus at their disposal this session.
Texas senators seem open to major change in state’s public education funding formula
Senators in the finance committee asked questions Monday about the pros and cons of basing the amount of money that schools get per student on enrollment instead of attendance. Districts say the change could mean millions in additional funding.
New state law will now allow property owners to remove racial deed restrictions through the courts
Although the restrictions are unenforceable, having been outlawed by the federal government, property owners who don’t want to see those racial restrictions in their property deeds, can have them removed through the courts under a new state law.
A year after George Floyd’s murder, only a few of Texas lawmakers’ police reform measures appear likely to become law
Narrowly targeted pieces of Texas’ George Floyd Act — like restricting chokeholds and requiring officers to provide first aid — are expected to pass. But the Act itself and many other related reforms have failed to progress during the legislative session that ends Monday.
Texas Senate changes rules so Republicans can still bring bills to floor without Democratic support
The Texas Senate gallery is mostly empty due to social distancing at the Capitol on Tuesday. (Credit: Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman)The Texas Senate on Wednesday approved a fundamental alteration of its rules, ending the minority party’s ability to block legislation it unanimously opposes in the Republican-controlled upper chamber. In a 18-13 vote, lawmakers voted to lower the threshold of support that legislation needs to make it onto the Senate floor. In past sessions, the Senate required a two-thirds supermajority, or 19 votes, to bring legislation to the floor. The gravity of the change was reflected in an unusual scene on the Senate floor: Nearly all 31 senators were in their seats, rapt, as the chamber debated.
State Sen. Royce West won't vote for fellow Democrat MJ Hegar, accuses her of having "a problem all along with Black folks"
Sen. Royce West, D-Texas, and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate MJ Hegar. "MJ respects Senator West, they went through a spirited race and sometimes that leaves hard feelings," said Hegar spokesperson Amanda Sherman. At the debate, Hegar said she hadn't reached out to West because it was not her style to seek such endorsements. To be sure, Hegar's campaign is making a serious effort to court Black voters. While West is not backing Hegar, the third-place primary finisher, Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, has endorsed Hegar as the nominee.
5 takeaways from the Texas runoff election in Bexar County
SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County voters joined the rest of Texas Tuesday in deciding the final nominees for the general election in November. With more than a dozen races on GOP and Democratic ballots, we’ve rounded up the biggest takeaways below, in case you missed it. RELATED: ‘Outstanding’ voter turnout reported in Bexar County for runoff electionBexar County Commissioner, Constable shake-upPrecinct 1 Commissioner Sergio “Chico” Rodriguez lost his seat on Tuesday night after being trounced by about 20 percentage points by challenger Rebeca “Becky” Clay-Flores in the Democratic runoff. She’ll face Republican Gabriel Lara in the general election. Voters gave Bexar County GOP Chair Cynthia Brehm an emphatic boot on Tuesday night, weeks after she refused calls to resign from top Texas Republicans, including U.S.
MJ Hegar leading Royce West in Democratic runoff for U.S. Senate
State Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, and MJ Hegar are vying to be the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Republican John Cornyn in November. Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson and Eddie Gaspar for The Texas TribuneMJ Hegar was holding a single-digit lead over Royce West on Tuesday night in the Democratic primary runoff for U.S. Senate, according to unofficial results. Hegar is the former Air Force helicopter pilot endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, while West is the longtime state senator from Dallas. West sharply questioned Hegar's allegiance to the Democratic Party, while she implied West, a wealthy lawyer, has enriched himself in office. By one count published Tuesday morning, Hegar's campaign and its allies outspent West $102 to $1 on TV and radio advertising.
Trump's former doctor wins House GOP nomination in Texas
AUSTIN, Texas President Donald Trumps former White House physician and onetime pick to head the Department of Veterans Affairs won the Republican nomination for a U.S. House seat in Texas in an election that unfolded amid an alarming spread of the coronavirus. Ronny Jackson, a retired Navy rear admiral, defeated agriculture advocate Josh Winegarner in a primary runoff Tuesday in the deeply red Texas Panhandle. Jackson will face Gus Trujillo, who won Tuesday's Democratic nomination for the 13th congressional district in Texas, in the November general election. He returned to the White House medical office, retired from the Navy in 2019 and launched his bid for Congress. He earned a marine biology degree from Texas A&M before graduating from the University of Texas Medical Branch in 1995.
Texas runoff election results: Texas Railroad Commissioner, Democratic; Chrysta Castaeda and Roberto R. Beto Alonzo
SAN ANTONIO Editors note: Election results will begin to populate on this page when early voting results are released at 7 p.m. (CST) on July 14. Alonzo has extensive legislative experience, spending about 20 years in the state legislature. The winner will face Republican Jim Wright in Novembers general election. You can find additional election results by scrolling to the bottom of this page. For more election coverage, go to our Vote 2020 page or sign up for our free election newsletter.
Texas runoff election results: State Senator, District 19, Democratic; Roland Gutierrez and Xochil Pea Rodriguez
SAN ANTONIO Editors note: Election results will begin to populate on this page when early voting results are released at 7 p.m. (CST) on July 14. Background:This district will be one of the most interesting to watch both during the runoff and in November. Pea Rodriguez nearly avoided a runoff in March but Gutierrez usurped 36% of the vote, barely squeezing her into a runoff. Related: Judge again caught campaigning for daughter in Texas Senate race as questions emerge about her donationsRelated: Xochil Pea Rodriguez, Rep. Roland Gutierrez headed to runoff for state Senate District 19You can find additional election results by scrolling to the bottom of this page. For more election coverage, go to our Vote 2020 page or sign up for our free election newsletter.
Texas runoff election results: U.S. Senate, Democratic; Royce West and Mary MJ Hegar
SAN ANTONIO Editors note: Election results will begin to populate on this page when early voting results are released at 7 p.m. (CST) on July 14. Royce West, a longtime state senator and attorney from Dallas, received 14.5% of the vote in March. Still, Trump has eeked out former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in recent Texas polling. You can find additional election results by scrolling to the bottom of this page. For more election coverage, go to our Vote 2020 page or sign up for our free election newsletter.
Your guide to voting in the July 14 primary runoff election
SAN ANTONIO Voters in both major political parties will decide which candidates will represent them across Texas on Tuesday. In Bexar County, 214 voting centers will be operational from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. for in-person voting. Greg Abbott extended the early voting period by one week to cut down on any wait times and limit gatherings. During that voting period, more than 36,000 people cast a ballot, more than tripling the number of ballots cast in the 2016 primary runoff election. On the Republican ticket, veterans Tony Gonzales and Raul Reyes are fighting to represent Texas 23rd Congressional District, a seat currently held by Will Hurd.
Six things to watch in Texas primary runoff election
Texans will be voting in the middle of a pandemic on Tuesday in a runoff election originally scheduled for May. The wild card: Robert MorrowFor Republicans in Texas, Robert Morrow advancing to the GOP primary runoff for a seat on the State Board of Education was nothing short of frightening. The winner in the GOP runoff Tuesday will face Texas State University English professor Rebecca Bell-Metereau, a Democrat, in Novembers general election. When he issued a statewide mask mandate, Abbott excluded churches and people voting in the primary runoff elections. Disclosure: Texas State University and the Texas secretary of state have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors.
Texas heads to polls for Senate runoff as virus rages
Texas has become one of the world's virus hot zones and is in far worse shape now than when the runoff was postponed in March. Last week was the deadliest of the pandemic for Texas, and Republican Gov. Abbott did not include polling places in his recent statewide mask order, and unlike many states, Texas has fought efforts to expand mail-in balloting during the pandemic. The Senate runoff is between Air Force veteran MJ Hegar, who narrowly lost a race for a House seat in 2018, and state Sen. Royce West, who if he wins would become Texas' first Black U.S. senator. For now, both remain underdogs against Cornyn, a three-term Senate veteran who has a hefty stockpile of campaign dollars.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn’s reelection war chest grows to $14.5 million, expanding advantage over Democratic challengers
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has $14.5 million saved up for his reelection bid after raising $3.5 million in the second quarter of 2020, his campaign announced Monday. Cornyn has regularly stayed ahead of his Democratic challengers in the money race as they have had to focus on their protracted nominating process. Cornyn’s campaign said that over $2 million of the $3.5 million he received in the second quarter came from small-dollar donors, or people giving $200 or less. The Hegar campaign has been on TV statewide ahead of the runoff, with coordinated financial support from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The West campaign has also aired TV ads in recent days, though its buys are much smaller.
Q&A: Where the Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate stand on the issues
I worked five years in health care as well. Crises kind of come and go, but we still need access to quality, affordable health care. We have COVID issues and implicit in those COVID issues are issues of unemployment now and also that of health care. And they believe in Black Lives Matter.On Health Care:Hegar: When I was working in health care, thats when the implementation of the Affordable Care Act came down. Im going to fight like hell to make sure that my friends and neighbors and family have access to Medicare through a public option.
EMILYs List adds to massive spending on behalf of MJ Hegar in Democratic runoff against Royce West
Prior to the EMILY's List move, Hegar's campaign was already spending $662,000 on television ads. Additionally, her campaign made a joint purchase of $605,000 with the Senate Democratic campaign arm, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. EMILY's List endorsed Hegar shortly after she finished first in the crowded March primary, which had featured multiple other women. The commercials that are being paid for by the Hegar campaign and DSCC tout her commitment to health care, immigration and battling systemic racism. The ensuing days brought further recriminations, with West tying Hegar to "systemic racism" and Hegar implying his indignation was being driven by sexism.
Royce West, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, will speak on Latino issues in livestream amid Texas runoff
The winner of the runoff will go on to challenge Republican Senator John Cornyn, the incumbent, in November. The forum will center on Latino issues and the Senate race. Hegar ran an ad about her military career that went viral and helped her rack up fundraising dollars and support. The forum is put together by the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project and the William C. Velasquez Institute as part of a non-partisan effort to increase Latino voter turnout in elections. The runoff election will be held on July 14.
MJ Hegar raises $1.7 million in second quarter of Democratic U.S. Senate race
MJ Hegar is facing state Sen. Royce West of Dallas in the Democratic runoff for U.S. Senate. John Jordan/The Texas TribuneMJ Hegar raised over $1.7 million in the second quarter of 2020, her campaign announced Thursday, unveiling a haul that marks her best three-month period yet while seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. Hegar, the former Air Force helicopter pilot backed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, faces state Sen. Royce West of Dallas in the July 14 primary runoff to take on Cornyn. While West's second-quarter figures were not immediately available, Hegar had a major cash-on-hand advantage over him after the first quarter, $1.1 million to $121,000. Cornyn has stayed far ahead of his Democratic competition, with $12.9 million saved up by the end of March.
Issues of race, policing dominate final stretch of Democratic runoff to face U.S. Sen. John Cornyn
"I think that you know me well enough to know that I'm running against John Cornyn," she said, reciting her contrasts with Cornyn. A Fox News poll released Thursday found both Hegar and West each trailing Cornyn by 10 percentage points in hypothetical matchups. Hegar and West are due to disclose their campaign finances on Thursday for the first time since the end of March. It was in that debate that Hegar and West largely agreed on most major issues but did show a little separation. West has also had a foil in Cornyn as he has sought to put issues of race front and center in the runoff.
Monday is your deadline to register to vote in the Texas primary runoff
Eddie Gaspar/The Texas TribuneTexans who want to vote in the upcoming Texas primary runoff election have until Monday, to register. Greg Abbott delayed the upcoming primary runoffs from May to July after the coronavirus pandemic hit the state of Texas. The other statewide Democratic primary runoff is for a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission, a regulatory agency that oversees the oil and natural gas industry. Voters who voted in the Republican primary in March cannot cross parties and vote in the Democratic primary and vice versa. See the primary runoff ballot here and add key Texas 2020 election dates to your calendar here.
Watch U.S. Senate Democratic runoff candidates Royce West and MJ Hegar debate
As the pandemic continues to prevent large in-person gatherings, the candidates in Texas' top Democratic primary runoff will meet Saturday for a virtual debate at the Texas Democratic Convention. The threat of the new coronavirus has meant MJ Hegar and Royce West have been campaigning almost exclusively online since the March primary. Hegar, a former Air Force helicopter pilot, has received the backing of the powerful Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Hegar finished first in the 12-way Democratic Senate primary on March 3. She remains the top Democratic fundraiser, ending the latest fundraising period which went through March 31 with $1.1 million cash on hand to West's $121,000.
Democrats first big virtual convention kicks off in Texas
AUSTIN, Texas Democrats will try their first large-scale virtual convention starting Monday in Texas as plans for a traditional national convention this summer remain unsettled because of the coronavirus. Texas Democrats scrapped plans for an in-person convention in San Antonio because of the pandemic. Big gains in 2018 have put them within nine seats of flipping the Texas House for the first time in two decades. The Democratic National Convention has delayed their convention from July until August but are open to the idea of it unfolding virtually. Meanwhile, Texas Republicans are still planning to hold their state convention in-person in July.