Gov. Greg Abbott orders special lawmaking session to begin on Oct. 9, likely on school vouchers
greg-abbott-texas-legislature-school-choice-vouchers This third special session comes as a rift between the Texas House and the Senate grew following Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial, raising questions about the chambers’ ability to compromise on education issues.
University of North Texas can charge out-of-state students higher tuition than undocumented Texans, appeals court rules
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a federal judge’s previous injunction that barred the college from charging out-of-state American citizens more than undocumented immigrants living in the state.
How a Texas songbird and its endangered status became the center of a fight over the Hill Country
Scientists say a study that estimated far more golden-cheeked warblers in Texas than previously thought has been attacked and taken out of context as the state and federal government battle over the bird’s endangered status.
Texas lawmakers responded to the pandemic by limiting what the government can do in response to a pandemic
Lawmakers didn’t succeed in curtailing the governor's power during a disaster, but they did pass bills that prohibit so-called vaccine passports and ban the mandatory closure of churches and gun stores.
Texas judge rules federal eviction moratorium unconstitutional. Lawyers and advocates disagree on what that means for tenants.
The federal moratorium on evictions is unconstitutional, a federal judge in Texas ruled Thursday, siding with property owners in the state who have argued that the U.S. government does not have the power to stop evictions. Ad"The federal government cannot say that it has ever before invoked its power over interstate commerce to impose a residential eviction moratorium," Barker wrote in his ruling. "The federal government has not claimed such a power at any point during our Nation's history until last year." “The Department of Justice takes the position that it will adhere to a judgment without having to have an injunction against it.”He called the CDC eviction moratorium harmful toward landlords and property owners. Tens of millions of people could lose their homes if the eviction moratorium is overturned, she said.
With a Democrat back in the White House, Texas Republicans prepare to go on offense
(Credit: Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune)Democrats are headed back to the White House, and Texas Republicans are gearing up to go back on offense. With a Republican in the White House, Texas found more success in its lawsuits against the federal government, many of them challenging Obama-era laws or administrative rules. Most notably, the Trump administration lined up with a Texas-led coalition of red states seeking to end the Affordable Care Act. Beaumont Republican Dade Phelan, who was recently elected speaker of the Texas House, struck a more conciliatory tone in an interview last week with Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith. "Whether others want to work with D.C. or not, I don't know, but I think here in the Texas House, we're willing to do whatever works for the people of Texas," Phelan said.
On Election Day, Republicans lost a critical advantage in the state Senate. Will Dan Patrick push to change the rules?
Right now, Senate rules require 19 members, or three-fifths of the body, to vote to bring legislation to the floor. Four GOP senators’ offices said Tuesday they were unavailable to discuss the topic of Senate rules going into the session. And when it comes to the hot-button issues that could benefit from a rules change, state leaders have largely held back on detailing their agendas for the time being. “If we lose one or two seats, then we might have to go to 16 next session," Patrick said. Democrats denounced Patrick’s January comments, saying the rule change would bring a Washington, D.C.-style gridlock to Austin.
GOP think tank leader says schools should reopen since most Texans dying from COVID-19 are elderly or Hispanic
Dr. Vance Ginn, chief economist at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Texas Public Policy FoundationVance Ginn, the chief economist for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, is facing fierce backlash for a recent racist tweet that said schools should open since most of the people dying from coronavirus in Texas are elderly or Hispanic. Public health experts have said schools that reopen in areas with high and fast-rising rates of community spread are likely to exacerbate the effect of the virus. In recent months, the Republican Party has faced criticisms for appearing to prioritize reopening the economy over public health, while research shows that COVID-19 disproportionally affects Black and Hispanic people. Disclosure: Texas Public Policy Foundation has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors.
Rejecting appeal, Texas Supreme Court blocks Austin's paid sick leave ordinance
The Texas Supreme Court on Jan. 15, 2020. The ordinance which required most private employers to allow workers to accrue 64 hours of paid sick leave per year never went into effect, and has been in conservative crosshairs for more than two years. During the 2019 legislative session, Texas Republicans proposed a state law that would have prevented cities from requiring paid sick leave protections. San Antonio and Dallas have also passed paid sick leave ordinances, though San Antonios never went into effect amid a similar legal challenge. "Todays denial by the Texas Supreme Court is a clear signal that cities across Texas should withdraw these unconstitutional ordinances."