Trey Martinez Fischer

Flickr user Fibonacci Blue / cc

AUSTIN — The national debate over religious objection laws roiled again Thursday in Texas, after Republican lawmakers abruptly pushed a new proposal on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court hearing historic arguments over gay marriage.

Even advocates for same-sex couples say the bill, aimed at allowing clergy members to refuse officiating marriages that violate their beliefs, largely duplicates protections that already exist.

However, the legislation drew attention because of its timing — weeks after filing deadlines had passed in the Texas Senate and on the same day the landmark gay marriage case was heard in Washington.

Ryan E. Poppe

It’s up to the Texas legislature and other state leaders to get the state ready for the coming population explosion. Monday marks the midpoint of the 84th legislative session and this is a good time to check in on the progress of the session with State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer – a democrat from San Antonio.

Shelley Kofler / TPR News

A bitter battle between two state representatives and friends ended last night, with José Menéndez upsetting Trey Martinez Fischer, to win the Texas Senate seat long held by Leticia Van de Putte.

David Martin Davies

After a tough night of watching election returns not go his way, State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer had a message for his supporters, and the newly minted State Sen.-Elect José Menéndez.

“Tonight was his night but I have a question for you — who’s ready for 2016?”

From the podium, Martinez Fischer seemed to be saying he would be running in the Democratic primary for the Senate seat he had just lost, presumably against Menéndez. However, pressed for details, Martinez Fischer took a softer approach.

AUSTIN — Special runoff elections on Feb. 17 will choose a new member of the Texas Senate and new representatives for two House districts.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday set the election date for the last three open seats in the Texas Legislature. The biggest prize is the San Antonio Senate seat that Democrat Leticia Van de Putte has held since 1999.