GOVERNMENT: Legislature

Former state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, is shown in 2011.
Former state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, is shown in 2011.

Former State Rep. Leo Berman Dies at 79

Tributes poured in this weekend from Texas conservatives and Democrats alike for former state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, whose death was announced Saturday on the Texas House floor. He served in the House from 1999 to 2012. 

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Interactive: Bill Tracker for the 83rd Session

State Cemetery Could Soon Be Under New Management

The Texas State Cemetery is home to more than 900 Texans who have shaped the civic and political life of the state, including 13 governors and Stephen F. Austin, the so-called Father of Texas.
The Texas State Cemetery is home to more than 900 Texans who have shaped the civic and political life of the state, including 13 governors and Stephen F. Austin, the so-called Father of Texas.

Lawmakers are aiming to restructure the chain of command at the Texas State Cemetery. But longtime caretakers of the famous graveyard think a measure moving through the Capitol goes too far in shifting power.

Senate Approves State Employee Pension Funding Plan

State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.
State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.

The Texas Senate on Friday voted to beef up the state’s underfunded retirement system for state employees by adding about $440 million to the program, a plan that has received mixed reviews from state employee advocacy groups.

Senate Unanimously Backs "Right to Try" Legislation

Capitol lobbyist Andrea Sloan waged a public battle with ovarian cancer, seeking federal permission to try an experimental treatment in 2013. She died Jan. 1, 2014.
Capitol lobbyist Andrea Sloan waged a public battle with ovarian cancer, seeking federal permission to try an experimental treatment in 2013. She died Jan. 1, 2014.

The Senate gave a unanimous vote of support on Friday to a measure that would allow terminally ill patients to try experimental drugs that have received preliminary approval by the FDA.

Bill That Increases Unemployment Taxes Moves Ahead

State Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, who replaced Sen. Tommy Williams at TTEvents Dec. 11, 2014
State Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, who replaced Sen. Tommy Williams at TTEvents Dec. 11, 2014

Legislation pushed by a politically connected company would increase unemployment taxes for Texas employers. Proponents say it would help outsourcing companies avoid "double taxation." Critics say it's a special interest perk. 

Union Dues Spark an End-of-Session Dispute

Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, answers an audience question during TTEvents on April 30, 2015.
Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, answers an audience question during TTEvents on April 30, 2015.

An unexpected end-of-session skirmish over payroll deductions for union dues pits Republicans against Democrats, business against labor, and presents lawmakers with one of those votes that might be important in next year's elections.