capitol

Week of March 20-26, 2017

State budget progresses toward vote by full Senate 
AUSTIN — The Senate Finance Committee, at work on the 2018-2019 state budget since January, on March 16 approved workgroup recommendations in preparation for a final vote. 
Committee Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, said she expects her panel to vote on the state budget, Senate Bill 1, this week, March 20-24. After the committee votes, the next step for the budget is consideration by the full Senate.

Week of March 13-19, 2017

Federal court panel rules against Texas redistricting plan
AUSTIN — Three of Texas’ 36 congressional districts are unconstitutional because of racial or political gerrymandering, a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas ruled on March 10.
The judges ruled 2-1 that the districts’ boundaries, drawn by the Texas Legislature in 2011 and 2013, violate the U.S. Constitution.

Week of March 6-12, 2017

House, Senate approve bills to protect children in foster system
AUSTIN — Both houses of the Texas Legislature last week passed bills to improve the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in response to Gov. Greg Abbott's call for emergency action to improve child protection programs.
Tasked with protecting children, elders and people with disabilities from abuse, neglect and exploitation, the DFPS, part of the Texas Health and Human Commission, has attracted attention in recent years for inadequate funding and staffing to meet obligations. 

Week of Feb. 27 - March 5, 2017

Federal judge sides with plaintiffs in Planned Parenthood case
AUSTIN — Texans who rely on Planned Parenthood as a medical care provider won’t have to seek those services elsewhere, pending an upcoming trial.
In the lawsuit titled Planned Parenthood et al. v. Texas Health and Human Services Commission, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks of Austin on Feb. 21 granted a preliminary injunction to prevent the Texas Department of Health and Human Services from eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood in the state’s 2017-18 budget. 

Week of Feb. 20-26, 2017

Paxton files brief in support of president’s immigration order 
AUSTIN — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a legal brief supporting President Trump’s executive order for an immigration crackdown.
In his Feb. 15 brief with a San Francisco federal appeals court, Paxton defends President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”

Week of Feb. 13-19, 2017

Legislation banning sanctuary city policies clears hurdle
AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Feb. 8 praised the Texas Senate’s approval of legislation to ban sanctuary cities, an item on his priority list for the current legislative session.
Senate Bill 4 by Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, passed after 16 hours of floor debate on a 20-10 party-line vote, with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats in opposition.

Week of Feb. 6-12, 2017

Governor raises four issues to emergency status
AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott delivered his second biennial “State of the State” address to a joint session of the Texas Legislature on Jan. 31. 
In exercising his prerogative as governor, Abbott presented a short list of emergency items for lawmakers to enact during the 85th regular session of the Texas Legislature: 
- Improvements to Child Protective Services;
- A ban on sanctuary cities;
- Ethics reforms; and 
- Approve a resolution calling for a convention of states. 

Week of Feb. 6-12, 2017

Governor raises four issues to emergency status
AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott delivered his second biennial “State of the State” address to a joint session of the Texas Legislature on Jan. 31. 
In exercising his prerogative as governor, Abbott presented a short list of emergency items for lawmakers to enact during the 85th regular session of the Texas Legislature: 
- Improvements to Child Protective Services;
- A ban on sanctuary cities;
- Ethics reforms; and 
- Approve a resolution calling for a convention of states. 

Week of Jan. 30 - Feb. 5, 2017

Abbott tells sheriff to reverse sanctuary policy or lose funding
AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott has stepped up the pressure on Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez to participate in immigration enforcement, warning that she could lose state funding if she refuses.
In a Jan. 23 letter, Abbott urged the sheriff to reverse her policy directive “forbidding Travis County Sheriff’s Office employees from cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer requests.” 

Week of Jan. 23-29, 2017

Marches come one day after inauguration of new president
AUSTIN — Thousands of Texans were on hand to witness the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States on Jan. 20 in Washington.
President Trump closed his 16-minute inaugural address by saying: “Together, we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And yes, together we will make America great again.”