Texas Legislature

Ryan Poppe / TPR News

April is National Autism Awareness Month and state Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, has announced plans for a bill in 2015 that allows special needs children to attend classes in a school district without living in that district.

New statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control show that 1 in 68 U.S. children have some form of autism; Simmons, who has a 29-year-old son with a form of autism, said that means 6,000 children annually in Texas will be affected.

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Last week the Texas Senate held a hearing on the progress being made in women’s health services. Touting an increase in funding for women’s health, the message was that we’re doing great.

But something was left off the agenda -- the impact of last year’s cumbersome regulations on abortion clinics.

Where is Texas in providing health services to women, and what extreme measures are some women taking to avoid the new Texas laws?

Guests:

Ryan E. Poppe / TPR News

Nearly a year ago Travis County District Judge John Dietz ruled that the system used to fund schools in Texas was unconstitutional, but didn’t reduce that order to writing. The same trial is once again underway but this time with different evidence to consider.

Dietz gave the Texas Legislature another chance to replace the $5.4 billion that was cut from public education funding in the 2011 session.

"It has been the consistent desire of this court to present the most up to date data to the Texas Supreme Court for their consideration," Dietz said.

Ryan Poppe / TPR News

Republican lieutenant governor hopefuls are promising to boost the party’s presence in the Texas Senate and all four candidates say they will get rid of the two-thirds majority rule.

This would scale back traditions that allow Senate Democrats to have a say and keep Republicans from going to the far-right on issues like immigration, guns and education.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said he will not allow a minority to control the Senate’s agenda:

Ryan Poppe / TPR News

Freshman state Rep. Scott Turner, a tea party-backed Republican from North Texas who used to play in the NFL, announced that he had filed with the state to be considered for speaker of house in 2015, but one political expert isn’t surprised by the challenge.

Professor Jim Henson with the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Politics Project said this type of tea party challenge against current Speaker of the House Joe Strauss, R-San Antonio, has happened so often that it has become expected.

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