Some House Republicans feel that too much time is being spent debating abortion legislation during the special session and not enough time on roads.
The House first assigned a set of four abortion bills to a select committee on Monday, giving the bills a later start than their Senate companions, but despite that there are some who feel the bills have a fighting chance.
It’s nearly the start of summer but a law about to come out of the Texas Legislature has a yuletide mission to provide protections to public schools who want to offer religious celebrations during the winter.
On the surface, the bill by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, seems complex, but she said it essentially brings Texas in compliance with last year's Supreme Court ruling that found sentencing 17 year olds to a life sentence without parole was unconstitutional.
Since Texas treats 17 year olds as adults and allowed life without parole, that came in conflict with the Supreme Court ruling. This new law would mean that 17 year olds will face a mandatory maximum that is in line with 14 and 16 year olds.
Following several out-of-town hearings on the subject of redistricting, the Senate committee is back in Austin hearing various plans for changing the state’s voting maps, which included a plan from Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, who said he borrowed his argument from Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
"It concludes by saying -- in essence -- that while the Voting Rights Act may not require the creation of a crossover district, the purposeful dismantling of a crossover district would raise serious questions under the 14th and 15th Amendments of the Constitution," Watson said.
The special session has taken on some added weight this week with the addition of several bills splitting the legislature from its initial redistricting focus. Most controversially, the fetal pain abortion bill has been revitalized in Senate Bill 5.
Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, has one of about six bills that address some aspect of abortion in the special session. Patrick said his bill would hold institutions like Planned Parenthood to strict guidelines when dispensing the Plan B abortion pillthe abortion pill (mifeprestone), a set of pills that medically ends a pregnancy and can be used up to 9 weeks after the woman's last period.
Parents, students and several lawmakers crowded into the governor's press room to witness Gov. Rick Perry signing legislation into law that changes the state’s public education system.
While there were a handful of bills on hand, the one that stood out most was a bill that reduces the number of high-stakes exams students are required to take from the current 15 standardized tests down to five.