After signing it into law, Gov. Greg Abbott displays Senate Bill 7, which toughens the penalties for inappropriate student-teacher relationships, on May 25, 2017. In the background: Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath, State Rep. Gary VanDeaver, R-New Boston, Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, State Rep. Tony Dale, R-Cedar Park and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. 
<p>After signing it into law, Gov. Greg Abbott displays Senate Bill 7, which&nbsp;toughens the penalties for inappropriate student-teacher relationships, on May 25, 2017. In the background: Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath, State Rep. Gary VanDeaver, R-New Boston, Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, State Rep. Tony Dale, R-Cedar Park and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.&nbsp;</p>

Abbott signs crackdown on inappropriate student-teacher relationships

The bill Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law on Thursday requires principals and superintendents to report cases of teachers having inappropriate relationships with students or face a state jail felony or a fine of up to $10,000. 

Abbott signs crackdown on inappropriate student-teacher relationships

After signing it into law, Gov. Greg Abbott displays Senate Bill 7, which&nbsp;toughens the penalties for inappropriate student-teacher relationships, on May 25, 2017. In the background: Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath, State Rep. Gary VanDeaver, R-New Boston, Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, State Rep. Tony Dale, R-Cedar Park and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.&nbsp;
<p>After signing it into law, Gov. Greg Abbott displays Senate Bill 7, which&nbsp;toughens the penalties for inappropriate student-teacher relationships, on May 25, 2017. In the background: Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath, State Rep. Gary VanDeaver, R-New Boston, Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, State Rep. Tony Dale, R-Cedar Park and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.&nbsp;</p>

The bill Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law on Thursday requires principals and superintendents to report cases of teachers having inappropriate relationships with students or face a state jail felony or a fine of up to $10,000. 

 

House backs Giddings measure targeting "lunch shaming"

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 several failed attempts and compromises during the legislative session, Rep. Helen Giddings finally succeeded in getting the House to pass a measure that targets "lunch shaming" in schools.

School finance legislation is pronounced dead

State Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, chairman of the House Public Education Committee, speaks about his school finance bill on May 24, 2017.&nbsp;
<p>State Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, chairman of the House Public Education Committee, speaks about his school finance bill on May 24, 2017.&nbsp;</p>

Senate Education Chairman Larry Taylor on Wednesday afternoon said that he would not appoint conferees to negotiate with the House on a proposed school finance overhaul. “That deal is dead,” he said.

Texas Senate looks to resurrect bathroom, property tax bills

At a May 17, 2017, news conference, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told reporters that the House had to pass two items &mdash; property tax reform and the "bathroom bill" &mdash; or he'd look to force a special session.
<p><span>At a May 17, 2017, news conference, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told reporters that the House had to pass two items &mdash; property tax reform and the "bathroom bill" &mdash; or he'd look to force a special session.</span></p>

The Texas Senate, hoping to resurrect its versions of bathroom and property tax proposals dear to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, grafted both of them onto unrelated county affairs legislation early Wednesday morning.

 

The Brief: Bill that would overhaul school finance is declared dead

State Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, chairman of the House&nbsp;Public Education Committee, after his bill overhauling Texas' school finance system was approved on second reading on April 19, 2017.
<p>State Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, chairman of the House&nbsp;<span>Public Education Committee, after his bill overhauling Texas' school finance system was approved on second reading on April 19, 2017.</span></p>

After Rep. Dan Huberty said he wouldn't accept the Senate's changes to House Bill 21, the lower chamber voted to seek a conference committee. Sen. Larry Taylor, chairman for the Senate Education Committee, was not on board.

Former child bride lobbies for bill to save others from her nightmare

Trevicia Williams was 14 years old when her mother forced her to marry a man 12 years her senior.&nbsp;
<p>Trevicia Williams was <span id="docs-internal-guid-5d06cc64-3c60-c365-cccb-8f09c5ebba4c"><span>14 years old when her mother forced her to marry a man 12 years her senior.&nbsp;</span></span></p>

At 14, Trevicia Williams was forced to marry a 26-year-old ex-convict. Nearly 40,000 children were married from 2000 to 2014 in Texas, but a bill that made it to the governor’s desk Tuesday seeks to stop this practice.

Another top TABC honcho departing amid controversy

Commissioner Steven Weinberg attended the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's quarterly meeting via video conference on May 23, 2017. Weinberg quit the day of the meeting. Chairman Kevin Lilly, left, alongside Commissioner Ida Clement Steen, right, recognized Carla Thompson with a promotion to Captain.
<p><span>Commissioner Steven Weinberg attended the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's quarterly meeting via video conference on May 23, 2017. Weinberg quit the day of the meeting. Chairman Kevin Lilly, left, alongside Commissioner Ida Clement Steen, right, recognized Carla Thompson with a promotion to Captain.</span></p>

Steven Weinberg abruptly quit this week as commissioner of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, which has been roiled by reports of extravagant spending, mismanagement and heavy-handed regulation. 

The Brief: A late-night blow to Texas "bathroom bill" compromise

Members of the clergy and others supporting LGBT rights gather outside the Texas House chamber May 3, 2017 to show support for the community affected by "bathroom bill" legislation pending at the 85th Legislature.&nbsp;
<p>Members of the clergy and others supporting LGBT rights gather outside the Texas House chamber May 3, 2017 to show support for the community affected by "bathroom bill" legislation pending at the 85th Legislature.&nbsp;</p>

Inching toward the legislative finish line and with the possibility of a special session looming in the distance, the Texas Legislature had another busy Tuesday.  

Field to replace Mechler takes shape

Texas GOP Chairman Tom Mechler speaks at the&nbsp;State Republican Convention in Dallas on May 13, 2016.
<p><span>Texas GOP Chairman Tom Mechler speaks at the&nbsp;</span>State Republican Convention in Dallas on May 13, 2016.</p>

The most-discussed potential candidates had all made up their minds by the end of Tuesday, with a two-way race emerging between Houston-area businessman Rick Figueroa and Travis County GOP Chairman James Dickey.