With full state coffers and bipartisan support, Texas teachers are hopeful they’ll get a raise this year
The COVID-19 pandemic, inflation and burnout have pummeled teachers in the last few years. Lawmakers from both parties agree they should get a pay bump — but it won’t happen without some negotiation.
In East Texas, a town fights to keep an oilfield waste dump from opening near wetlands and water wells
The Texas Railroad Commission has rejected the proposal twice over water contamination concerns, but locals are dismayed that the commissioners keep giving the developer more chances to alter its application.
Federal judge again threatens contempt-of-court fines for Texas’ slow progress on foster care reforms
The judge warned the state could be held in contempt of court for not following through with three mandates: youths not knowing their rights, not adequately responding to abuse allegations and still having too many children without placement.
Two years after Texas’ voting rights showdown gripped the nation, lawmakers again push dozens of elections bills
State policymakers have mapped out familiar territory early in the legislative session, with Democrats seeking to expand voting access and Republicans pledging to make elections more secure.
After fumbled Uvalde shooting response, Texas senator wants to make it easier to sue law enforcement officers
State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a San Antonio Democrat, introduced a package of legislation that includes a bill that would end qualified immunity, which shields government officials from liability for constitutional violations.
Bill to ban Chinese citizens and government from buying Texas land gains steam among Republicans
Sen. Lois Kolkhorst filed a bill that would ban citizens, governments and entities from China, Iran, North Korea and Russia from purchasing land in the state, part of what she and other Republicans have said will help stem foreign influence in Texas.
After alleged sexual assault of two children living in state care, another foster shelter closes
Two girls in the care of Child Protective Services were allegedly sexually assaulted in October after sneaking out of a facility run by the state agency. Advocates say it’s a symptom of the Texas foster care systems’ problems.
Texas Legislature’s state budget proposals leave more than $50 billion in state funds up for grabs
The preliminary budgets by House and Senate call for $130.1 billion in state spending over two years, even though tens of billions more are available to them. The bills do not bust state or constitutional spending limits.
Gov. Greg Abbott says in inauguration speech Legislature will prioritize budget surplus, schools and power grid
Abbott is on track to becoming Texas’ second-longest-serving governor, behind Rick Perry, who served more than 14 years. Abbott enters his third term after a decisive reelection win in November.
State agency that oversees Texas power grid needs more money to do its job, Sunset Commission finds
The Public Utility Commission has about 200 employees but needs more to handle shoring up the state power grid and tackling an expanded list of regulatory duties, according to the state Sunset Advisory Commission.
Texas senators draw lots to determine how long their terms will be
After redistricting, the state constitution requires senators to draw lots to determine which half of the chamber will have four-year terms and which will have two-year terms. This keeps Senate district elections staggered every two years for the rest of the decade.
Texas lawmakers will have $188.2 billion available for the next budget after record-breaking revenue growth
It’s far more money than legislators have ever had at their disposal, with an increase in available funds that dwarfs any previous jumps between cycles. It’s also more money than lawmakers can constitutionally spend.
Two Texas bills would restrict lessons about sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools
The legislation closely mirrors a Florida bill passed last year, dubbed by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, which detractors say would further isolate LGBTQ students and open teachers and school districts to legal risks.