Ours is truly a grassroots organization powered by local involvement. Monday marked the first day bills could be prefiled. A North Texas county extends its mask mandate to February 28, 2021, after the 87th Texas Legislative Session starts. The Texas Legislature is the state legislature of the US state of Texas. “We have so many tools in our toolbox that we’ll be able to work through it. Last legislative session, the Texas House had a “shocking underrepresentation” of women on its most powerful committees, said state Rep. Gina Hinojosa, D-Austin, in a conversation about what a group of women lawmakers wants to see in the upcoming legislative session. “It's crazy to think that it's not contentious at some moments,” Price said. “And we have to pick and choose what bills get paid when times are tough, and how to manage feeding our family, and how to manage educating our kids, and all the things that women and mothers have to do across the state.”, Incoming members of the Texas Legislature discuss their plans and priorities for their first legislative session. The 87th Legislature's regular session runs from Jan. 12 to May 31. “This is where we go to debate, jump up and down, scream at each other, come out with a kind of forced agreement – and if you can't get together, it doesn't function right.”. Full Story, by Ross Ramsey In 2021, lawmakers in the nation’s second most populous state and the world’s 11th largest economy, Texas, could be the first to put an end to this practice. On January 12, lawmakers from across the state of Texas will convene the 87 th Texas Legislative Session. The 87th Texas Legislature is about to kick off come 2021. This time around, a group of Democratic lawmakers are hoping to change that, having formed an “Equity Caucus” to advocate for women’s equity in House leadership and pledging to vote as a bloc for the House speaker, going public with its pick of Dade Phelan. “But 2020 proved another disappointment for the state’s minority party as Republicans remained dominant in Texas, appearing poised to maintain victories in all statewide offices and both chambers of the Legislature,” the Texas news outlet reported. The state’s budget and redistricting, along with access to education, will be some of the top priorities for new members of the Texas Legislature as the state wrestles with soaring COVID-19 cases and a projected shortfall of nearly $5 billion. HOUSTON - SIGN UP FOR FOX 26 HOUSTON EMAIL ALERTS. Morales, the Democrat, said he wants to consider pulling money from the state’s “rainy day fund” to address the budget and would like to increase access to broadband and healthcare in the many rural counties in his district, the largest in the state. Major sponsors of this symposium are Toyota North America, the Beer Alliance of Texas, CenterPoint Energy, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, Philanthropy Advocates, Educate Texas, Gulf States Toyota, Raise Your Hand Texas, AT&T, Texas State University System, HCA Healthcare, University of Texas at Arlington, IDEA Public Schools, DoorDash, Texas Exes, NRG Energy and 19th Amendment Centennial Fund. “My hope is that we make it a work environment where we can get the job of the people done in a safe and professional way,” Menendez said. One way to tell is that the lawmakers making the maps do their dead-level best to avoid saying anything that might signal their intent. Will Dan Patrick push to change the rules? Twitter. Greg Abbott, have pledged to “back the blue.”. Paul Buckowski / Albany Times Union. Several cannabis reform bills pre-filed ahead of 2021 session . “This is the people’s house, and we need to make sure the people have access to us,” Jetton said. The new Legislature is scheduled to convene on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. Republican control of the Texas Legislature allows the party to continue to direct important issues during the upcoming session. Dec. 14, 2020, Casinos are making a serious run at Texas lawmakers, hoping to open up to five gaming destinations in a state that has resisted them for years. In fact, that might be the hardest option available. Every two years, the Texas Legislature convenes for session. At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Bill Longley, an attorney with the Texas Municipal League, told city officials it is important for them to prepare for what is sure to be a busy 2021 in Austin. Redistricting takes place every 10 years following the census. Texas Democrats promised 2020 would be the year Texas turned blue, the Texas Tribune reported on Wednesday. She added that, amid a mounting number of uninsured Texans, she was “extremely optimistic” legislators would vote to expand Medicaid this session. He also supports rapid testing in the Capitol and will require masks in his office. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. On Dec. 9, Lt. Gov. Other than redistricting, setting the budget and addressing the impacts of the coronavirus, the governor, lieutenant governor and presumptive House speaker, Dade Phelan, haven’t made their legislative priorities clear, Svitek said. AUSTIN, Texas — Democratic Texas lawmakers will take another shot at legalizing marijuana in the Lone Star State when the legislature convenes in January. Will Texas Lawmakers Legalize Casino Gambling in 2021? The Legislature Explained at The Texas Tribune's symposium previewing the 2021 legislative session. Several Texas lawmakers said the upcoming legislative session will likely be pushed into a special session next year if federal census results are delayed for long. About half of them are aimed at increasing voter access, which lawmakers said became a more urgent issue during the pandemic. And while those results are not yet known, we do now know the results of the races for the Texas state legislature. The Texas Legislature doesn’t meet very often. Full Story, by Patrick Svitek More than 800,000 people lack adequate broadband infrastructure, according to a letter sent to Gov. Full Story, by Cassandra Pollock We're in that periodic move from electioneering to governing. Texas will debate legal marijuana, police reform and other hot button issues in 2021. Legislators will also be selecting a new Speaker of the House during the opening of the 2021 legislative session. Here at Progress Texas, we’re going through every bill filled in the 2021 Texas Legislative Session. Lawmakers in January will tackle issues including the next state budget and redistricting. The comments came from state Reps. Four Price, R-Amarillo; Craig Goldman, R-Fort Worth; Toni Rose, D-Dallas; and Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, during a conversation about the House agenda moderated by Cassandra Pollock, the Tribune’s state politics reporter. Chuck Lindell. “With coronavirus, COVID-19, the agenda could be very narrow this session,” said state Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, during a panel discussion previewing the Phelan administration and the 2021 legislative session. By midafternoon, more than 500 bills had already been filed in the Texas House and Senate. Do you value our journalism? Huffman was joined by state Rep. Phil King, R-Austin, in a conversation moderated by Ross Ramsey, executive editor of The Texas Tribune. But gaming in Texas hasn’t been expanded in almost three decades. Both acknowledged the challenges of navigating a session with a significantly decreased budget, but Hinojosa said it’s nothing the state hasn’t worked through before. Thousands of bills are expected to be filed during the session, but less than one in four of those will become law, Ramsey said. The conversation, moderated by Tribune political reporter Alex Samuels, also included state Rep. Harold Dutton, chair of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus. Now, he said, it could be delayed because the U.S. Census Bureau has pushed back its deadlines for counting the population due to COVID-19. The lege website makes it easy to see the bills filed every day. While Dutton said the caucus has long advocated for increased police training and oversight, widespread outrage following the death of George Floyd in police custody has heightened visibility of Black Americans’ treatment by law enforcement. Access Mobile Version of TLO. Nov. 30, 2020, The seasons change in the political world, too. The gavel doesn’t drop to open the 2021 Texas legislative session until Jan. 12, but state lawmakers are already giving us an indication of what they will be working on next year. Still, Dutton acknowledged the challenges of reimagining policing in a Legislature where only a fraction of bills become law and in a state where some Republican officials, including Gov. Dec. 2, 2020, In January, the lieutenant governor suggested he could push to further lower the threshold required to bring bills to the floor if the GOP lost its supermajority. In an ongoing effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Texas State Capitol, Capitol Grounds and Visitors Center are currently fully closed to the public. Many of the legislature’s 2020 agenda items therefore are expected to re-emerge in 2021. Dan Patrick appointed Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. as vice chair of the panel, replacing Hinojosa. Leading members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus outline the priorities of their members for the 2021 legislative session. Texas Tax Talk: 2021's Legislative Priorities | Thought ... ... Tax Update The 87th Legislature's regular session runs from Jan. 12 to May 31. With the state government facing a cash shortfall, a billionaire casino magnate is making a bold play for the Lone Star State. Two Texas lawmakers said despite an expected shortfall of almost $5 billion for the current two-year budget, they hope to increase funding for health care and broadband services in the next budget, without increasing taxes. The following report was contributed to in part by Wade Long, one of TMHA's long standing lobbyists. Three veteran Texas lawmakers said that Dade Phelan, the presumptive Texas House speaker, will unite lawmakers through his experience and sincerity in what will be the Legislature’s first chance to address the health and economic impact of the pandemic next month. In-Depth News Politics 2021 Texas Legislature gerrymandering legislative redistricting Texas redistricting U.S. Census Bureau. A Texas redistricting committee is holding field hearings across the state ahead of 2021 mapmaking, including in San Antonio on Thursday. “It's a social mechanism,” Ramsey said during a panel discussion explaining the Legislature and previewing the 2021 session. Four Tribune reporters share what they are most watching for at the 2021 legislative session. The redistricting process — redrawing congressional and state legislative districts — could take longer than usual this year, two state lawmakers said. “We have different police departments with different policies,” Collier, D-Fort Worth, said. The Texas version is a bit quieter, but it's underway. by Texas Tribune Staff After the 2020 Census, redistricting will occur, with congressional districts redrawn for the 2022 through 2030 elections. The legislative agenda also states that the City of San Antonio supports Medicaid expansion in Texas, aligning with the County’s legislative agenda passed on Tuesday With a Republican-controlled state House and Senate, however, Medicaid expansion remains unlikely in Texas. We have redistricting, of course, that we have to do. By Jacob Asmussen | December 10, 2020. the Texas REALTORS® Legislative Priorities for the 87th Texas Legislature. Media support is provided by Spectrum News. 2021 Texas Legislative Session Bills; Prepare for a (Legislative) Gun Battle in Texas Next Year. Monday marked the first day bills could be prefiled. A Preview of the 2021 Legislative Session. “It's all insider baseball,” Ramsey said. The Democrats only needed nine seats to take control of the House. The state legislature meets at the Capitol in Austin. The gavel doesn’t drop to open the 2021 Texas legislative session until Jan. 12, but state lawmakers are already giving us an indication of what they will be working on next year. Access a mobile version of TLO, Who Represents Me, and DistrictViewer on an iPhone, iPad, or other mobile device. Full Story, by Karen Brooks Harper Staying with their constitutional obligations, legislators must pass a two-year state budget and apportion the districts for Congress, State Board of Education, Texas Senate and House of Representatives seats as part of the decennial redistricting process. “Because inherently, when you're drawing maps that affect the state board of education, House and Senate districts and congressional districts, at some level … it can become controversial or personal to many of the members in both chambers.”. Now, Johnson said she’s hopeful the presumptive speaker, Phelan, will empower women in his administration, “giving women an opportunity to work hard, use the intelligence that God gave us and be smart leaders and participate in a high level in the Texas House.”. Analysis: Texas elections are over. State Reps. Hinojosa and Julie Johnson, D-Carrollton, spoke about what the women’s bloc is hoping for in the upcoming legislative session during a conversation with Emily Ramshaw, the co-founder and CEO of the 19th, a nonprofit newsroom focused on gender equity. “Most issues in the Legislature aren't really Republican and Democratic issues,” Ramsey said. On January 12, lawmakers from across the state of Texas will convene the 87 th Texas Legislative Session. Perhaps it goes without saying — but producing quality journalism isn't cheap. “I think just the fact that we only had one woman on the Calendars Committee — the committee that sets the agenda for the entire House — was a hard pill to swallow.”. I don't know.”, Four members of the Texas Senate outline what’s on the agenda for the upper chamber. “It's up to the 150 of us to come together for the betterment of Texas,” Goldman said. In 1931, the legislature made possession of any amount of marijuana a felony offense, punishable by up to life in prison. It's not. “We’ll start the session with those unknowns still there.”. Dec. 9, 2020, The lieutenant governor said Wednesday he wants the Senate to decrease the threshold required to bring legislation to the floor to 18 members, which would allow the GOP to continue sidelining Democrats. Though donors and corporate sponsors underwrite Texas Tribune events, they play no role in determining the content, panelists or line of questioning. by Alana Rocha, Justin Dehn and Todd Wiseman The representatives also talked about how the legislative session will be affected by the pandemic, elections and the presumptive new speaker. Full Story, by Cassandra Pollock In Dade Phelan's bid for Texas House speaker, trust was key. With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to affect everyday life, Texas legislators know that it won’t be business as usual at the Capitol during the 2021 legislative session. By Robert Montoya | November 24, 2020. The current police union contract expires Sept. 30, 2021. State Sen. Chuy Hinojosa, D-McAllen, also joined the conversation moderated by the Tribune’s executive editor, Ross Ramsey. “There's a million ways to do this.”, Three veteran members of the Texas House discuss how presumptive House Speaker Dade Phelan will lead the lower chamber. Following an election that largely maintained the status quo within the Texas Legislature, Pollock said Democrats’ inability to gain any seats in the House means they’ll have limited input on the state’s redistricting process. Ramshaw is also a former editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune. As more people are relying on the internet for education and telehealth during the pandemic, Hinojosa said lawmakers also hope to create a plan to increase access to broadband services. Members of the public who wish to testify may first have to test negative for COVID-19. “A lot of this is just really kind of up in the air and I think folks are … getting antsy on just having some answers and some clarity on what all this ends up looking like come January,” Pollock said. Johnson said some Democrats and Republicans weren’t aware of women’s lack of opportunity in the House until the group of women lawmakers brought it up. King said he was working with the House parliamentarian to draft rules to allow virtual meetings where the public can weigh in on how new maps are drawn. “There’s a lot of unknowns,” said state Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting. Dec. 1, 2020, The Legislature is set to convene in January. Facebook. “And Dade Phelan is the perfect person for this situation.”. HOUSTON – A bill seeking to modify the so-called “castle doctrine” in Texas is getting lawmakers riled up ahead of the legislative session that … “What this pandemic tells us is that we have a problem … in Texas, and now all the people are seeing it.”, Women’s equity is at the top of the agenda for state Reps. Gina Hinojosa and Julie Johnson, co-founders of the Texas Legislature’s Women’s Equity Bloc. Updated: Dec. 11, 2020. Plus, what the Legislature will look like in a pandemic, and what Tribune reporters are watching most this legislative session. A month before the 2021 legislative session, much remains unclear, including how a session will work during a pandemic and what the priorities of the governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker will be, Texas Tribune reporters said. Canales said some of the members will need to energize their base for the next election and that’s why there will be at least one special session with “a lot of red meat to it.”, “The reality is that’s historically been the tool used,” Canales said. The Texas Constitution requires the Texas Legislature to convene in Austin on January 12, 2021 at noon. “Basically, you have to have approval – either expressed or tacit – from the House, Senate and governor in order to pass a law.”. Texas lawmakers have been reluctant to expand coverage for people with incomes near or below the poverty line. Ura said their level of input will depend on how early Texas receives census information, and that overall, she’d be surprised if the process was complete by the end of the session. Now that that has happened, it remains to be seen whether Patrick will follow through. When it does, a lot can happen in a short period of time. Collier said the caucus also plans to address disparities in health care, which have been exposed with greater clarity by the coronavirus pandemic. This will be the second public hearing for the Texas House Redistricting Committee to gather public input about how lawmakers should redraw political district lines to account for a decade's worth of population growth and demographic changes. Texas lawmakers will meet next month to address the health and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but social distancing measures will likely disrupt the Legislature’s daily grind, said Ross Ramsey, executive editor of The Texas Tribune. While they supported safety precautions like wearing masks in their offices — members can make their own office guidelines — both said they didn’t want rapid testing to prohibit constituents from accessing members. “All the good members of the Legislature will at least entertain the discussion about this, and let’s see if we can’t agree to do something that changes the outcome of policing in Texas,” Dutton, D-Houston, said. Texas Legislative Session Preview. This 2021 legislative session is already vastly different as the coronavirus continues to change the everyday lives of Texans. Nov. 27, 2020, More than 60 election-related bills have been filed in the House and Senate in the three weeks since the election. Support Comes From. After the 2020 Census, redistricting will occur, with congressional districts redrawn for the 2022 through 2030 elections. By the freewheeling 1970s, Texas marijuana possession laws became less severe. The conversation, moderated by Tribune CEO Evan Smith, included Tribune political reporters Cassi Pollock, Alex Samuels, Patrick Svitek and Alexa Ura. Health care will likely be top of mind for Texas lawmakers as they return to the Capitol for the 2021 legislative session during the worst public health crisis in a century. Despite a Republican-controlled state government, Ramsey said working across the aisle is common during the 140-day session. The panelists also highlighted new safety protocols that will be in place this session at the Capitol. Disclosure: AT&T, CenterPoint Energy, Educate Texas, Gulf States Toyota, IDEA Public Schools, NRG Energy, Office of Public Insurance Counsel, One World Strategy Group, Raise Your Hand Texas, Texas Exes, Texas Infrastructure Now, Beer Alliance of Texas, Texas State University System and University of Texas - Arlington have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. The Texas Tribune and Spectrum News have teamed up to present a free week-long event — from Dec. 7 to 11 — previewing the 2021 proceedings. As a nonprofit newsroom, we rely on members to help keep our stories free and our events open to the public. Tribune events are supported through contributions from our investors and members. January 12, 2021: 87th Legislature convenes at noon (Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 5(a); Texas Government Code, Section 301.001) March 12, 2021: 60-day bill filing deadline ( Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 5(b) ) It is supported by Office of Public Insurance Counsel, One World Strategy Group, Texas Infrastructure Now and Fairmont Austin. Email. The representatives also spoke about the importance of health care, education, child care access and LGBTQ+ protections in the upcoming session. After commissioners in a North Texas county ignored citizens’ pleas and authorized extending the county’s mask mandate to February 28, Texas Republican Party Chair Allen West called on the Texas Legislature to act against … The pandemic may change that. The conversation, moderated by Tribune CEO Evan Smith, highlighted the inner workings of the Texas Capitol, from how a bill becomes a law to the differences between the Legislature’s upper and lower chamber. The Washington version is noisy. A number of statewide public hearings scheduled for earlier this year were canceled because of the pandemic. Those include redistricting, law enforcement, criminal justice reform, property taxes, and other issues voted on by Texas voters. By. Full Story, by Cassandra Pollock Nov. 17, 2020 The Texas Legislature is set to convene its 2021 legislative session on January 12, and lawmakers have already pre-filed several bills that would reform Texas’ outdated cannabis laws. Key Texas House leader says Capitol occupancy may be limited in upcoming legislative session, GOP lawmakers heading into the legislative session take aim at voter fraud, despite no evidence of widespread problem. When lawmakers gather in Austin on January 12th for the 87th session of the Texas Legislature, they'll be staring two colossal issues square in the face; an on-going pandemic still killing off their constituents, and a once-thriving economy chewed up by the very same contagion, robbing state coffers of at least $4.5 billion January 12, 2021: 87th Legislature convenes at noon (Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 5(a); Texas Government Code, Section 301.001) March 12, 2021: 60-day bill filing deadline ( Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 5(b) ) If the U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t hand over data to lawmakers by mid-April, Huffman said “it will be impossible to get” maps redrawn without a special session. It will be nothing compared to 2011,” Hinojosa said. During the 2021 legislative session, the Texas Legislative Black Caucus will focus on continuing efforts to reform the state’s criminal justice system, said state Rep. Nicole Collier, the caucus’ first vice chair. Full Story, by Karen Brooks Harper The key races critical to the makeup of the 87th Texas Legislature are underway. “For years we've had Texas Legislative Black Caucus members attempting to break down the barriers to access to health care and health services,” Collier said. Texas Bill Filing For 2021 Texas Session Begins With Legislation On Abortion, Police Stops And Redistricting. Huffman said she plans to introduce a similar proposal. Full Story, It might seem that closing tax loopholes and ending exemptions would be an easy way to balance a state budget during a pandemic. In many states, this process is controlled by the state legislature, subject to gubernatorial veto.When one party controls the process, this can lead to gerrymandering, where district lines are set to maximize that party’s control in Congress. The conversation, moderated by Tribune reporter Patrick Svitek, also featured state Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, state Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, and state Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock. Jef Rouner - November 20, 2020. The conversation, moderated by Tribune CEO Evan Smith, also included Joe Moody, one of Phelan’s more prominent Democrat supporters from El Paso, and Angie Chen Button, R-Richardson. March 24, 2021— Yesterday marked the halfway point of the eighty-seventh Texas Legislature, one of the wildest and most contentious we’ve … Texas Republicans have blocked voter access legislation for years. “Broadband speed, internet was not a priority, it was just a normal one of the key issues that we needed to address, but because of the pandemic, now it’s become a priority,” Hinojosa said. MAKEUP BY PARTY: The Texas Senate currently has 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats. “In these times of economic uncertainty and high unemployment, tax increases are completely off the table,” said Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake. While Moody said he supported Phelan for his character, Button praised the Beaumont Republican for his years of leadership, including when Phelan didn’t push Button last session to support a bill he knew her constituents would reject. Falling along party lines, the new members had different views for addressing the budget and managing COVID-19 during session, though all three said they supported Dade Phelan, the presumptive Texas House speaker. Last update: November 17, 2020 . Shine expects the next legislative session to be similar to that tumultuous time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Women are the glue of most households and women have to make tough choices,” Johnson said. Nov. 24, 2020, Phelan was a prominent lieutenant of current House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, whose handling of the 2019 legislative session was popular before scandal brought him down. 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