U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Midland, in his Rayburn office in Washington, D.C. on November 20, 2014. 
<p><span>U.S. Rep.&nbsp;</span><span class="highlight-16235">Mike Conaway</span><span>, R-Midland, in his Rayburn office in Washington, D.C. on November 20, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p>

The Texas Republican helping to calm the waters in Washington

When U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway took over the House investigation into Russian interference of the 2016 election, his reputation for fairness preceded him. On Tuesday, the Midland Republican who often shies away from the spotlight won't be able to avoid it as he holds his first public hearing since taking on the high-profile investigation.

 
State Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, offers a floor amendment to SB 3 &mdash; the "school choice" bill &mdash;&nbsp;before the full Senate March 30, 2017.&nbsp;
<p>State Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, offers a floor amendment to SB 3 &mdash; the "school choice" bill &mdash;&nbsp;before the full Senate March 30, 2017.&nbsp;</p>

Texas Senate puts voucher-like program in school finance bill

The Texas Senate voted to approve a bill that would simplify funding formulas for public schools and let parents use state money to send their kids with disabilities to private schools or pay for homeschooling.

Madison Mau, valedictorian of a rural school between Houston and Austin, successfully fought her denial from the University of Texas at Austin.&nbsp;
<p>Madison Mau, valedictorian of a rural school between Houston and Austin, successfully fought her denial from the University of Texas at Austin.&nbsp;</p>

When UT denied this valedictorian, she got it to change admissions rules

Madison Mau is valedictorian of her tiny high school's senior class, but the University of Texas denied her anyway. Unwilling to accept that result, she lobbied the school to change its admissions policy.

Texas Senate puts voucher-like program in school finance bill

State Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, offers a floor amendment to SB 3 &mdash; the "school choice" bill &mdash;&nbsp;before the full Senate March 30, 2017.&nbsp;
<p>State Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, offers a floor amendment to SB 3 &mdash; the "school choice" bill &mdash;&nbsp;before the full Senate March 30, 2017.&nbsp;</p>

The Texas Senate voted to approve a bill that would simplify funding formulas for public schools and let parents use state money to send their kids with disabilities to private schools or pay for homeschooling.

When UT denied this valedictorian, she got it to change admissions rules

Madison Mau, valedictorian of a rural school between Houston and Austin, successfully fought her denial from the University of Texas at Austin.&nbsp;
<p>Madison Mau, valedictorian of a rural school between Houston and Austin, successfully fought her denial from the University of Texas at Austin.&nbsp;</p>

Madison Mau is valedictorian of her tiny high school's senior class, but the University of Texas denied her anyway. Unwilling to accept that result, she lobbied the school to change its admissions policy.

 

Budget compromise taps Rainy Day Fund, transportation funding

The Texas Legislative Budget Board, including (l-r) House Speaker Joe Straus, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and state Sen. Jane Nelson, on Dec. 1, 2016.
<p><span>The Texas Legislative Budget Board, including (l-r) House Speaker Joe Straus, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and state Sen. Jane Nelson, on Dec. 1, 2016.</span></p>

Lawmakers, scrounging for cash in a tight-fisted legislative session, agreed to dip into the state’s savings account and to make use of an accounting trick using funds set aside last session for highway projects.

Texas House approves bathroom restrictions for transgender students

During a debate on the "bathroom bill," state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, holds up a photo of a sign that reads, "RESTROOMS WHITE COLORED," on May 21, 2017.
<p><span>During a debate on the "bathroom bill," state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, holds up a photo of a sign that reads, "RESTROOMS WHITE COLORED," on May 21, 2017.</span></p>

The Texas House voted to require schools to provide single-stall restrooms, locker rooms and changing facilities to students who don't want to use facilities designated by “biological sex.”

School lunch bill revived as an amendment; no longer mandatory

State Rep. Helen Giddings, D-Desoto, holds up a sample of a piece of cheese given to students who lack money to pay for school lunches in Dallas area schools during a personal privilege speech on the House floor May 9, 2017, where she chastised House Freedom Caucus members for killing her bill on school lunches for poor kids.&nbsp;
<p>State Rep. Helen Giddings, D-Desoto, holds up a sample of a piece of cheese given to students who lack money to pay for school lunches in Dallas area schools during a personal privilege speech on the House floor May 9, 2017, where she chastised House Freedom Caucus members for killing her bill on school lunches for poor kids.&nbsp;</p>

After being denied by the House Freedom Caucus multiple times, a measure to let schools give meals to students without money in their accounts was revived as an amendment to another bill.

Texas GOP Chairman Tom Mechler resigns

Republican Party of Texas Chairman Tom Mechler looks on as Electoral College members cast their vote for president at the state Capitol on December 19, 2016.
Republican Party of Texas Chairman Tom Mechler looks on as Electoral College members cast their vote for president at the state Capitol on December 19, 2016.

Tom Mechler, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas since 2015, announced his resignation from that post Saturday afternoon, citing personal reasons. 

Major ethics reform remains viable in final days of session

State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth; Gov. Greg Abbott; and state Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano.
State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth; Gov. Greg Abbott; and state Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano.

With crucial deadlines looming, ethics proposals that include taking pensions from politicians-turned-felons, requiring more disclosure of lawmakers' business dealings and forcing lobbyists to reveal who they're wining and dining remain viable.

Third time not the charm for House rep's school lunch legislation

State Rep. Helen Giddings, D-Desoto, holds up a sample of a piece of cheese given to students who lack money to pay for school lunches in Dallas area schools during a personal privilege speech on the House floor May 9, 2017, where she chastised House Freedom Caucus members for killing her bill on school lunches for poor kids.&nbsp;
<p>State Rep. Helen Giddings, D-Desoto, holds up a sample of a piece of cheese given to students who lack money to pay for school lunches in Dallas area schools during a personal privilege speech on the House floor May 9, 2017, where she chastised House Freedom Caucus members for killing her bill on school lunches for poor kids.&nbsp;</p>

Rep. Helen Giddings failed a third time to pass a bill that would prevent school districts from identifying students without money in their school lunch accounts — again when a member of the Freedom Caucus killed it.