AUSTIN – Texas House Democrats on Tuesday vowed to use “every conceivable tool” at their disposal to fight discriminatory legislation during the special session, including the so-called bathroom bill and a ban on ‘sanctuary cities.’
Members of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, the Texas Legislative Black Caucus and other House Democrats wasted no time targeting the legislation.
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House and Senate Democrats on Monday unveiled their priorities for the upcoming special legislative session, including some measures that fall in line with the agenda Gov. Greg Abbott laid out in his call and some that depart entirely from it.
In a joint press conference, Democratic leaders in both chambers vowed to champion the issues “that matter to all Texans,” and to fight for legislation that will protect “our kids, our economy, our health and our communities.” Priorities for the Democrats include school finance reform and reducing maternal mortality — both of which are on Abbott’s list in some capacity. Several other issues, including criminal justice reform and equal pay, are not — and are unlikely to make it to the floor for a vote.
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Next time you spend hours in line at a Department of Public Safety office trying to get your license renewed, you’ll have something in common with the legislators and staffers coming back to Austin for a special session later this month.
Those lines and this session are both wasteful, senseless situations created by a betrayal of the principles that once drove government in this state.
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Infighting, red-meat politics and parliamentary revenge characterized this year’s Texas Legislature. Amid the fray, legislators failed to reauthorize basic state agencies such as the Texas Medical Board, which is why Texans now face the gloomy fate of another 30-day session beginning next week.
With all the dysfunction, you might conclude the Lege is simply incompetent, but it turns out they’re still aces at one thing: provoking lawsuits.
In 140 days, the Lege passed at least five bills that the state will likely be (or already is) defending in court at the taxpayers’ expense. Courts have already ruled repeatedly against Texas in recent years over voter ID, redistricting and abortion access.
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SAN ANTONIO — A Dallas state representative said in federal court that there was a lack of a legislative process during the 2013 special session that redrew some of Texas’ electoral maps under court order.
“As a legislator, when we are trying to solve a problem … generally what we’ll do is bring in people who have a stake in the situation,” said Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas. “I don’t recall anything like that happening in 2013 with respect to redistricting.
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Starting in September, Texas law enforcement agencies could be fined $1,000 a day if they don’t report police shootings to the state in a timely manner.
Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday signed into law a bill that will add teeth to a law passed two years ago requiring departments to report to the attorney general’s office any time an officer is involved in a shooting that results in injury or death. State Rep. Eric Johnson, the author of House Bill 245, said repeatedly during this year’s legislative session that the threat of a fine will ensure the state has complete data on police shootings, a requirement to accurately study the issue in the state.
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After federal judges in April 2017 ruled that Texas Republicans had intentionally diluted minority voting strength when they redrew U.S. and Texas House districts, a Democratic legislator said it wasn’t the first time — or even the fifth.
Rep. Rafael Anchia of Dallas, who chairs the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, posted a tweet saying: “How many federal rulings have NOW found intentional discrimination by #Txlege since 2011? 6.”
Six rulings? We wondered.
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DALLAS – State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, said Governor Greg Abbott’s call for a special session next month is a failure of leadership and shows he needs to be more involved in the legislative process.
“The reality is this special session announcement is really representative of a failure of leadership on the governor’s part. He wasn’t engaged at all during the regular session. That was the time to talk about issues and push the legislature if he wants to get things done. He’s just simply trying to seize the spotlight here and trying to get some of the attention back on him,” said Turner during an appearance on WFAA’s Inside Texas Politics Sunday morning.
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“[The Legislature is] the place to put down the guns, unclench the fists and act like decent, full-grown humans willing to solve their differences without violence. And — this is the part that actually makes it work — to abide by the results until the next time to fight, whether that’s in court, at the polls or in the next legislative session.”
“Legislators show that men will be boys — if you let them”
— Ross Ramsey, Texas Tribune
Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey attempts to minimize the events in the Texas House of Representatives on the last day of the session (“Men will be boys”), where a member of the majority party threatened a peaceful protest of an unjust law, calling U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and yelling for deportations. The protesters were predominantly Hispanic.
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