Vol 32, Issue 20 Print Issue

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

Budget conferees for the House and Senate wrapped up their work on Thursday night following approval earlier in the day by House Ways and Means on a compromise approach to extend property tax relief via an expanded residential homestead exemption.

News emerged Thursday that four large donors to the American Phoenix Foundation, which has been secretly recording Texas lawmakers, are well-known backers of conservative causes.

The House on Thursday overwhelmingly gave initial approval to legislation, commonly called the Pastor Protection Act, which aims to clarify a clergy member's right to refuse to conduct a marriage that violates his or her beliefs.

A major piece of border security legislation cleared another hurdle in the Texas Legislature on Tuesday, prompting lawmakers to predict that a compromise between the House and Senate will be hashed out before the session ends June 1.

A far-reaching proposal to restrict the mechanism used by minors seeking abortions without parental consent, known as a judicial bypass, was close to being heard on the Senate floor after being passed out of committee on Wednesday.

A deadly shootout between biker gangs in Waco on Sunday renewed scrutiny on their activities in Texas, but it did not dissuade lawmakers from pushing ahead this week on legislation allowing properly permitted gun owners to openly carry handguns.

Political People and their Moves

Iris Moore of Fort Worth was named to the State Preservation Board by Gov. Greg Abbott for a term to expire on Feb. 1, 2017.

Martha Leigh Whitten, George W. Russell, Joseph M. “Joe” Crane and Charles Barton “Bart” Johnson were named by Abbott to the Lower Colorado River Authority's board of directors. In addition, Lori A. Berger was reappointed to the board. All serve terms to expire Feb. 1, 2021.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has set aside June 4 for a "special announcement" in Dallas, where he is expected to announce a second presidential run.

State Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress, has decided not to run for Harris County sheriff. He’ll run for Precinct 4 constable, instead. He originally announced his intent to seek out the sheriff's position earlier this month in the immediate aftermath of Adrian Garcia's resignation to run for Houston mayor. Fletcher has represented House District 130 since 2009.

Former state Rep. Philip Cortez has announced that he will run again for the Bexar County-based House District 117, which he lost in 2014 to Republican Rick Galindo.

Annie's List, which works to elect more Democratic women in Texas, has thrown its support behind former state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, who squares off against the incumbent Ivy Taylor in the San Antonio mayoral runoff. Early voting in the June 13 runoff begins June 1.

Disclosure: The Lower Colorado River Authority is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.