capital

Week of Feb. 18-24, 2019

Senate panel focuses on funding of public education
AUSTIN — When Texas legislatures meet every two years, lawmakers’ singular, must-do assignment is to produce a state budget.
Toward that goal, the Senate Finance Committee held meetings on Feb. 11, 12 and 13 to work on Article III of Senate Bill 1. That article focuses on the public and higher education parts of the state budget for fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

Week of Feb. 11-17, 2019

Governor gives lawmakers list of emergency items to tackle 
AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott named as his emergency priorities education reform, teacher pay, school safety, property tax reform, mental health services and disaster response in his Feb. 5 "State of the State" address to a joint session of the Texas Legislature. 

Week of Feb. 4-10, 2019

Senate committee starts work on property tax reform
AUSTIN — Voters would have the power to prevent their local governmental bodies from increasing property taxes by more than 2.5 percent per year under legislation introduced in the Texas Senate and House on Jan. 31.

Week of Jan. 28 - Feb. 3, 2019

Senate Finance panel starts work on state budget
AUSTIN — Jane Nelson, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, on Jan. 22 said she would follow an aggressive agenda to deliver a budget ready for floor debate by the end of February. 
“There are a lot of things this committee and the full Senate will decide to add, subtract, change, before we actually recommend out of this committee a budget,” she said. At the top of the list are school finance and property tax relief.

Week of Jan. 21-27, 2019

State’s top elected officials take oaths of office at inauguration
AUSTIN — Public officials and private citizens gathered at the south steps of the state Capitol on Jan. 15 to for a day’s worth of inaugural events, most notably the administering of oaths of office to Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who were reelected to four-year terms in November.

Week of Jan. 14-20, 2019

House elects new speaker as legislative session kicks off
AUSTIN — The 86th Texas Legislature convened on Jan. 8 with all its customary ceremonies and recognitions — chief of which was the unanimous election of a new House speaker — Angleton Republican Dennis Bonnen.

Week of Jan. 7-13, 2019

Texas Legislature to convene with list of big issues to tackle
AUSTIN — The 86th Texas Legislature convenes Jan. 8 as the partial shutdown of the federal government that began Dec. 22 enters a third week.
As always, lawmakers’ priorities will be the writing of a two-year state budget and deciding how to fund it. In the 140 days of the regular session, they also will consider public education funding, property tax reform, health care, public safety, transportation, water and a host of other issues.

EARLY DELIVERY, Week of Dec. 31, 2018, to Jan. 6, 2019

Workforce commission reports continuation of employment trend
AUSTIN — Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in November, remaining at the same 42-year low rate as in October, the Texas Workforce Commission reported Dec. 21.
The Texas economy added 14,000 seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs in November and annual employment growth was 3.0 percent for the month, marking 103 consecutive months of annual growth, according to the commission.

EARLY DELIVERY, week of Dec. 24-30, 2018

Whitley succeeds Pablos as Texas secretary of state
AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Dec. 17 announced the appointment of David Whitley as Texas’ 112th secretary of state. 
In his new role, Whitley will act as Texas’ chief elections officer, as protocol officer for state and international affairs, and will serve as liaison for the governor on Mexico and border affairs. Whitley’s appointment fills the vacancy left by outgoing Secretary of State Rolando Pablos, who served in the post for two years.

Week of Dec. 17-23, 2018

Texas’ top lawyer cheers court ruling against Obamacare
AUSTIN — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton applauded a Dec. 14 Fort Worth federal district court decision declaring unconstitutional the U.S. Affordable Care Act, widely known as “Obamacare.”