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.”

Week of Dec. 10-16, 2018

Texas, nation mourn death of former president
AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Dec. 3 proclaimed Dec. 5 as an official day of mourning across the Lone Star State in honor of former President George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, who died in Houston on Nov. 30. 

Week of Dec. 3-9, 2018

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush dies Nov. 30
AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Dec. 1 issued the following statement on the Nov. 30 death of George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States:

Week of Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2018

Texas unemployment rate hits lowest level since 1976
AUSTIN — Texas has its lowest unemployment rate in more than 42 years.
The Texas Workforce Commission on Nov. 16 announced that Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in October, down from 3.8 percent the prior month.
It is the lowest level of unemployment the state has seen since January 1976.
The Texas economy added 32,300 seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs in October. Annual employment growth was 3.1 percent, marking 102 consecutive months of annual growth.

EARLY/PRE-THANKSGIVING State Capital Highlights, week of Nov. 20-25, 2018

Field of candidates for House speaker narrows to one
AUSTIN — Eight members of the Texas Legislature filed papers with the Texas Ethics Commission to declare themselves candidates for speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, and as of last week, only one remained.
The candidacy of state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, gained momentum in October, and Bonnen on Nov. 13 announced he had the support of 109 members of the 150-member House. At minimum, it takes 76 votes to elect a speaker, which is 50 percent, plus one, of the 150 members of the House.