Government

Special Session
5:12 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Over 1,600 Signed Up To Speak At Tuesday's Abortion Hearing

Last night's pro-choice rally on the steps of the state capitol was a carry-over from the initial rally at noon earlier in the day.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

Following a second late night rally, crowds once again gathered at the state capitol ahead of a committee hearing on abortion restrictions and bans.

Late Monday night at the capitol the group Rise Up Texas rallied people ahead of today’s committee hearing, urging them to sign up to speak.

House State Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Bryon Cook, R-Coriscana, cut off testimony after 10 hours during the last special session.

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Special Session
2:54 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Senate Committees Act Quickly On Transportation/Juvenile Justice Bills

Ryan Poppe TPR News

It took two separate Senate committees less than 10 minutes to pass a set of transportation funding and juvenile justice bills that are similar to those seen during the first special session.

Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, who authored the transportation bill from the first session, said many in the Texas House were not comfortable with a hard $6 billion ceiling for money from the Rainy Day Fund that will be transferred into transportation funding.

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Special Session
12:20 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Two-Thirds Rule Suspended, Challenges Ahead For Dems In Special Session

Eileen Pace TPR News

Same bills, same state lawmakers, different set of voting rules.

During the regular session and the first special session, the Senate operated under the the two-thirds rule, a tradition of voting that ensures at least two-thirds of the Senate floor has an interest in debating an issue before a bill reaches the Senate floor.

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Special Session - Abortion
5:35 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Opposing Rallies Sing Different Songs At The State Capitol

The scene at the state capitol this morning in a picture posted on Twitter by Rep Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio. Those wearing orange are pro-choice supporters.
Trey Martinez Fischer Facebook

Thousands of people swarmed to the state capitol to cheer on state lawmakers on both sides of the abortion debate, and what some thought would be mayhem turned out to be a peaceful but loud rally both inside and outside the capitol.

Mounted police in riot gear watched over the crowds at the rally, but were not needed after all.

Inside, pro-life groups sang "Amazing Grace" over and over, following a press conference from mothers who had had an abortion that went wrong and who now wanted more restrictions for abortion providers.

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Texas Legislature - Special Session
2:22 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Everything Has Changed In The Second Special Session

Ryan Poppe TPR News

The mood, and boundaries, have changed a lot at the state capitol since the regular session. Upon entering the capitol, you take immediate notice of the differences -- chained off sections of the stairwell and rotunda and an increased presence of Department of Public Safety troopers.

But what has really changed in this second special session?

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Government
9:03 am
Mon July 1, 2013

MALDEF: End Of Voting Rights Act Leaves Minorities Exposed

Court-ordered interim U.S. Congressional Districts for the 2012 election.
State of Texas District Viewer http://gis1.tlc.state.tx.us/

The chief legal counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund is applauding Gov. Rick Perry for signing into law the interim voting maps, but said not having a Voting Rights Act leaves minority communities vulnerable.

This week the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.

Nina Perales is the chief legal counsel for the MALDEF and said the supreme court has taken away a tool for fair and equitable state voting maps.

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Federal Government
5:06 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Head Of Texas Business Group Applauds Senate Immigration Passage

Flickr user Adam Fagen (afagen) cc

Business leaders in Texas say a final passage of federal immigration legislation will help solve labor shortages for all occupations.

Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association of Business,  said currently the state allows foreign nationals to be educated here and then tells them to go home.

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Special Session
3:22 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Lawmakers May Be Looking At Third Special Session

Damage from Hurricane Ike reached into the tens of billions.
Eileen Pace TPR News

Though Gov. Rick Perry has acknowledged the need to reform the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association ahead of a major storm, it is not one of the items being discussed in the second special session.

TWIA reform has been been on lawmaker's radar since the start of the regular session but they only got as close as holding a hearing on the current status of the program.

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Government
2:21 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

New Braunfels To Be Pulled Into Bexar Metro Planning Organization, Other Rural Areas Weigh Options

Billy Hathorn cc

The San Antonio-Bexar County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is expanding its reach to the north of the city, where federal authorities say New Braunfels is now part of the San Antonio metro area.

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Government
12:49 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Facing Difficult Decisions, San Antonio City Council Sets Tone For Next Two Years

District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales talks to colleagues before taking the dais for the first time.
Ryan Loyd TPR

The San Antonio City Council took the oath of office in a swearing in ceremony inside the chambers of City Hall, preparing for what is ahead for the body over the next two years.

Mayor Julián Castro said the mission of the council is a double-edged sword because each member is looking out for the interests of their own district, but he told his colleagues they also have to do what’s best for the city as a whole.

"The challenge that all of us face is to balance the everyday needs of our constituents with a long-term grand vision for our city's future," he said on the dais.

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