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Week of March 11-17, 2019

Lawmakers start rolling out high-priority legislation
AUSTIN — With the filing of legislation that would give teachers an across-the-board pay increase, Texas lawmakers showed progress toward solving the complex issues of school finance and property tax reform.

Week of March 4-10, 2019

Order stops state, local authorities from purging voter rolls
AUSTIN — A San Antonio federal judge on Feb. 27 ordered Texas Secretary of State David Whitley not to purge the names of voters whose registrations he challenged as being potentially fraudulent.
The order came in a voting rights case filed by the League of United Latin American Citizens and other plaintiffs.

Week of Feb. 25 - March 3, 2019

Caucus names legislative priorities for public education
AUSTIN — The Texas House Democratic Caucus on Feb. 21 announced its “Texas Kids First” education-funding package that would include all-day pre-kindergarten, teacher raises and retirement and property tax reform.
“We hope to work with our colleagues to incorporate some of these ideas into their bills,” said Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, caucus chair.

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.