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. We're in that periodic move from electioneering to governing. “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.”. “There’s a lot of unknowns,” said state Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting. Ours is truly a grassroots organization powered by local involvement. Full Story, Watch: Here’s what you should know heading into the 2021 Texas legislative session, Analysis: When mapmaking Texas politicians are smiling and quiet, pay attention, Masks required, COVID-19 tests encouraged for opening day in the Texas House next month, Analysis: Texans might be ready for casinos, but lawmakers aren’t convinced, GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson readies 2021 lobbying blitz to bring casinos to Texas, Dan Patrick wants to change Senate rules so GOP keeps a key advantage, despite losing its supermajority, Analysis: Adding a new tax might be easier than ending an old tax break. Access Mobile Version of TLO. Conversations on how people will testify during the session are underway, Pollock said, and lawmakers are considering options such as limiting the number of people in the Capitol and requiring a negative COVID-19 test before entering. On January 12, lawmakers from across the state of Texas will convene the 87 th Texas Legislative Session. Do you value our journalism? Dec. 1, 2020, Nearly a dozen pieces of legislation, all of them filed by Republicans, target mail-in balloting, illegal voting and misbehaving elections officials — inspired by events and talking points from the previous election cycle. But gaming in Texas hasn’t been expanded in almost three decades. From the state budget to health care to education policy — and the politics and impact of the coronavirus behind it all — we focus on what Texans need to know about the biennial legislative session. 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 “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. Access a mobile version of TLO, Who Represents Me, and DistrictViewer on an iPhone, iPad, or other mobile device. Now that that has happened, it remains to be seen whether Patrick will follow through. Throughout the event, lawmakers, state officials and journalists discussed the impact of 2020 elections on the state House and Senate, the impact of COVID-19 on the state budget, the priorities of lawmakers in both chambers, calls for action on racial justice and police brutality, what the redistricting process is likely to look like and more. The lege website makes it easy to see the bills filed every day. Tribune events are supported through contributions from our investors and members. March 24, 2021â Yesterday marked the halfway point of the eighty-seventh Texas Legislature, one of the wildest and most contentious weâve ever seen. In fact, that might be the hardest option available. 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. With the Texas Legislature set to convene in five weeks, an â¦ Perry said he has “no doubt this is the session” to expand access to broadband internet for rural Texans. A Texas redistricting committee is holding field hearings across the state ahead of 2021 mapmaking, including in San Antonio on Thursday. “Basically, you have to have approval – either expressed or tacit – from the House, Senate and governor in order to pass a law.”. “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. Legal challenges and changing deadlines, compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, frustrated census efforts and could push redistricting into a special session, the lawmakers said. 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. Media support is provided by Spectrum News. “It is time for us to be very pragmatic and take a common-sense approach to how we cover the health care needs of Texans,” said state Sen. Beverly Powell, D-Burleson, during a Texas Tribune panel discussion on the state Senate’s agenda. The 87th Legislature's regular session runs from Jan. 12 to May 31. Those include redistricting, law enforcement, criminal justice reform, property taxes, and other issues voted on by Texas voters. 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. âBut 2020 proved another disappointment for the stateâs minority party as Republicans remained dominant in Texas, appearing poised to maintain victories in all statewide offices and both chambers of the Legislature,â the Texas news outlet reported. 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. Texas Legislature; Bill seeking to modify Texas âcastle doctrineâ causes stir ahead of 2021 legislative session click2houston.com - Aaron Barker. Dec. 14, 2020, The House will limit attendance for what is typically a crowded day at the Capitol when family and friends attend the opening ceremonies. Several cannabis reform bills pre-filed ahead of 2021 session . â¦ Full Story, by Patrick Svitek and Mitchell Ferman “Women are the glue of most households and women have to make tough choices,” Johnson said. The following report was contributed to in part by Wade Long, one of TMHA's long standing lobbyists. by Texas Tribune Staff 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. MAKEUP BY PARTY: The Texas Senate currently has 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats. 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. 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. Though donors and corporate sponsors underwrite Texas Tribune events, they play no role in determining the content, panelists or line of questioning. 2021 Texas Legislative Session Bills; Prepare for a (Legislative) Gun Battle in Texas Next Year. State Sen. Chuy Hinojosa, D-McAllen, also joined the conversation moderated by the Tribune’s executive editor, Ross Ramsey. Full Story, by Cassandra Pollock On Dec. 9, Lt. Gov. 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. We have redistricting, of course, that we have to do. Updated: Dec. 11, 2020. More than 800,000 people lack adequate broadband infrastructure, according to a letter sent to Gov. “This is the people’s house, and we need to make sure the people have access to us,” Jetton said. Texas Senate panel weighs banning abortion in 2021. Lawmakers in January will tackle issues including the next state budget and redistricting. Greg Abbott in September by a bipartisan group of state lawmakers. Many of the legislatureâs 2020 agenda items therefore are expected to re-emerge in 2021. “It's all insider baseball,” Ramsey said. The representatives also talked about how the legislative session will be affected by the pandemic, elections and the presumptive new speaker. “It's crazy to think that it's not contentious at some moments,” Price said. The conversation, moderated by Tribune political reporter Alex Samuels, also included state Rep. Harold Dutton, chair of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus. It will be nothing compared to 2011,” Hinojosa said. Full Story, by Ross Ramsey The 87th Legislature's regular session runs from Jan. 12 to May 31. Texas Republicans have blocked voter access legislation for years. In 2021, lawmakers in the nationâs second most populous state and the worldâs 11th largest economy, Texas, could be the first to put an end to this practice. In 2021, the Texas Senate will have 18 Republicans and 13 â¦ As a nonprofit newsroom, we rely on members to help keep our stories free and our events open to the public. On Tuesday, Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R-Fredericksburg) said that he is committed to authoring legislation in the 2021 legislative session that will â¦ It's not. “We want to aim to provide uniformity, some type of consistent system, that people in Texas can look to and say, ‘This is what is expected of our law enforcement officers all across the state.”’. Last update: November 17, 2020 . The representatives also spoke about the importance of health care, education, child care access and LGBTQ+ protections in the upcoming session. The panelists also highlighted new safety protocols that will be in place this session at the Capitol. 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. A North Texas county extends its mask mandate to February 28, 2021, after the 87th Texas Legislative Session starts. After the 2020 Census, redistricting will occur, with congressional districts redrawn for the 2022 through 2030 elections. I don't know.”, Four members of the Texas Senate outline what’s on the agenda for the upper chamber. AUSTIN, Texas â Democratic Texas lawmakers will take another shot at legalizing marijuana in the Lone Star State when the legislature convenes in January. HOUSTON - SIGN UP FOR FOX 26 HOUSTON EMAIL ALERTS. “And Dade Phelan is the perfect person for this situation.”. Republican control of the Texas Legislature allows the party to continue to direct important issues during the upcoming session. A Preview of the 2021 Legislative Session. In Dade Phelan's bid for Texas House speaker, trust was key. 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. Full Story, by Cassandra Pollock By the freewheeling 1970s, Texas marijuana possession laws became less severe. The state legislature meets at the Capitol in Austin. Editor's note: This session was recorded Dec. 4, when Sen. Chuy Hinojosa was vice chair of the Senate Finance Committee. Texas Tax Talk: 2021's Legislative Priorities | Thought ... ... Tax Update 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) ) The Texas Tribune and Spectrum News have teamed up to present a free week-long event â from Dec. 7 to 11 â previewing the 2021 proceedings. 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 Republicans, Jetton and Slawson, said they wanted to reopen the economy to address shortfalls. The redistricting process — redrawing congressional and state legislative districts — could take longer than usual this year, two state lawmakers said. Will Dan Patrick push to change the rules? We have to live with the results. The conversation, moderated by Tribune CEO Evan Smith, included Tribune political reporters Cassi Pollock, Alex Samuels, Patrick Svitek and Alexa Ura. Texas Legislature | 2021-2022 | 87th Legislature | Prefiling Browse Legislation - View Trending - Dataset Downloads Active Texas Bills ( Introduced , Engrossed , Enrolled , Passed ) Third, definitely, he is trustworthy.”, The panelists also said that Phelan, like Dennis Bonnen — who will retire as speaker at the end of his term after a secret recording revealed he encouraged the targeting of 10 GOP members for primary challenges — has the same focus and knack to get things done as his predecessor and will, as Hunter said, fairly call “balls and strikes.”, Texas House members spell out their top priorities heading in to the 2021 legislative session. This publication highlights areas of interest Texas REALTORS ® will monitor during the 2021 session. The Washington version is noisy. By. “It's up to the 150 of us to come together for the betterment of Texas,” Goldman said. The 2021 must-do menu also includes legislative and congressional redistricting, which is generally a big olâ mess even when thereâs not a pandemic. Full Story, by Ross Ramsey In 1931, the legislature made possession of any amount of marijuana a felony offense, punishable by up to life in prison. Capriglione and Hinojosa said the state has an obligation to continue funding public education to keep the commitment made in the 2019 session. Today, members of the Texas House and Senate began filing bills. This 2021 legislative session is already vastly different as the coronavirus continues to change the everyday lives of Texans. Nov. 30, 2020, The seasons change in the political world, too. 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. 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. The current police union contract expires Sept. 30, 2021. On Election Day, Republicans lost a critical advantage in the state Senate. Monday marked the first day bills could be prefiled. 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. At a time when newsroom resources and revenue across the country are declining, The Texas Tribune remains committed to sustaining our mission: creating a more engaged and informed Texas with every story we cover, every event we convene and every newsletter we send. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. He also supports rapid testing in the Capitol and will require masks in his office. Full Story, by Patrick Svitek 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 partyâs control in Congress. The National Rifle Association has called the pre-filings for legislation in the Texas Congress next year a ârecord amount of gun control.â There are also a slew of bills aiming to increase gun rights in the state. 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. the Texas REALTORS® Legislative Priorities for the 87th Texas Legislature. By Robert Montoya | November 24, 2020. Four Tribune reporters share what they are most watching for at the 2021 legislative session. Members of the public who wish to testify may first have to test negative for COVID-19. The 87th Texas Legislature is about to kick off come 2021. Perhaps it goes without saying — but producing quality journalism isn't cheap. TEXAS STATE SENATE. “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.”. 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. The conversation, moderated by Tribune political reporter Cassi Pollock, also included Rep.-elect Eddie Morales Jr., D-Eagle Pass, and Rep.-elect Jacey Jetton, R-Sugar Land. State Rep. Joe Moody of El Paso and State Sen. Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio have both already pre-filed bills that will likely come up when the session gets underway. A number of statewide public hearings scheduled for earlier this year were canceled because of the pandemic. Jef Rouner - November 20, 2020. Dec. 1, 2020, The Legislature is set to convene in January. Paul Buckowski / Albany Times Union. 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. With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to affect everyday life, Texas legislators know that it wonât be business as usual at the Capitol during the 2021 legislative session. Nov. 17, 2020 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. “In these times of economic uncertainty and high unemployment, tax increases are completely off the table,” said Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake. Shine expects the next legislative session to be similar to that tumultuous time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 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. Despite a Republican-controlled state government, Ramsey said working across the aisle is common during the 140-day session. Texas lawmakers have been reluctant to expand coverage for people with incomes near or below the poverty line. “We have so many tools in our toolbox that we’ll be able to work through it. Leading members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus outline the priorities of their members for the 2021 legislative session. How many times? Here at Progress Texas, weâre going through every bill filled in the 2021 Texas Legislative Session. Austin American-Statesman. 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. At Tuesdayâs 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. 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. A Texas redistricting committee is holding field hearings across the state ahead of 2021 mapmaking, including in San Antonio on Thursday. “We’ll start the session with those unknowns still there.”. 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. 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. 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. The key races critical to the makeup of the 87th Texas Legislature are underway. Facebook. The Texas Constitution requires the Texas Legislature to convene in Austin on January 12, 2021 at noon. The Texas Tribune held a weeklong virtual symposium Dec. 7-11 previewing the state’s upcoming legislative session, which begins in January. 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. In-Depth News Politics 2021 Texas Legislature gerrymandering legislative redistricting Texas redistricting U.S. Census Bureau. Full Story, by Karen Brooks Harper The Texas version is a bit quieter, but it's underway. Johnson said the caucus will bring the perspective of women who have children and care for their families. Show us with your support. 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. Dan Patrick appointed Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. as vice chair of the panel, replacing Hinojosa. 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. 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) ) “First, he respects people from his heart,” Button said of why she supports Phelan. Texas House Current Makeup: Republicans â 83, Democrats â 67 | January 2021: Republicans â 83, Democrats â 67. The Legislature Explained at The Texas Tribune's symposium previewing the 2021 legislative session. Dec. 22, 2020, We surveyed some of The Texas Tribune’s reporters and editors about what they’d be watching come Jan. 12, when state lawmakers are scheduled to gavel in the new session. The Tribune’s Evan Smith and Ross Ramsey on how the Legislature works — and what it might look like in a pandemic. Texas Democrats promised 2020 would be the year Texas turned blue, the Texas Tribune reported on Wednesday. With the recent election cycle (mostly) behind us, Texasâ 87th legislative session is set to convene at noon on Jan. 12. “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.”. It is a bicameral body composed of a 31-member Senate and a 150-member House of Representatives. The new Legislature is scheduled to convene on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. 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. Full Story, by Karen Brooks Harper “We have different police departments with different policies,” Collier, D-Fort Worth, said. 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. 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. And while those results are not yet known, we do now know the results of the races for the Texas state legislature. Collier said the caucus also plans to address disparities in health care, which have been exposed with greater clarity by the coronavirus pandemic. Chuck Lindell. 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 partyâs control in Congress. Thousands of bills are expected to be filed during the session, but less than one in four of those will become law, Ramsey said. Texas Legislative Session Preview. Itâs a policy pressure cooker. The Democrats only needed nine seats to take control of the House. March 24, 2021â Yesterday marked the halfway point of the eighty-seventh Texas Legislature, one of the wildest and most contentious weâve â¦ With the state government facing a cash shortfall, a billionaire casino magnate is making a bold play for the Lone Star State. Support Comes From. Nov. 27, 2020, More than 60 election-related bills have been filed in the House and Senate in the three weeks since the election. Dec. 9, 2020, Adelson's Las Vegas Sands has built a stable of high-powered lobbyists for the session, which starts in January, and the company acknowledged Tuesday that it is serious about bringing casinos to Texas. Watch all of the conversations from the symposium and read highlights from the discussions below. Huffman was joined by state Rep. Phil King, R-Austin, in a conversation moderated by 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. Will Texas Lawmakers Legalize Casino Gambling in 2021? “We're going to have a $4 to $5 billion budget deficit that we have to balance the budget on. “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. Find a complete list of them here. 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. 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. After commissioners in a North Texas county ignored citizensâ pleas and authorized extending the countyâs mask mandate to February 28, Texas Republican Party Chair Allen West called on the Texas Legislature to act against â¦ “It's a social mechanism,” Ramsey said during a panel discussion explaining the Legislature and previewing the 2021 session. Full Story, by Patrick Svitek Redistricting takes place every 10 years following the census. Email. The pandemic may change that. “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. “Most issues in the Legislature aren't really Republican and Democratic issues,” Ramsey said. 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