State Education Chairman Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, is shown on the Senate floor May 24, 2017, after announcing that he would not name conferees to consider House Bill 21, a school finance bill, effectively killing the measure. 
<p>State Education Chairman Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, is shown on the Senate floor May 24, 2017, after announcing that he would not name conferees to consider House Bill 21, a school finance bill, effectively killing the measure.&nbsp;</p>

Senate approves bills on "private school choice" and school finance study

After almost three hours of debate, the Texas Senate backed a bill that would subsidize private school tuition for students with disabilities using a tax credit scholarship program. Later in the day, senators unanimously passed a measure to study the state's school finance system.

 
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick gaveled out the Senate at 1:24 a.m. on July 20 after the upper chamber approved crucial sunset legislation to keep several state agencies alive.
<p>Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick gaveled out the Senate at 1:24 a.m. on July 20 after the upper chamber approved crucial sunset legislation to keep several state agencies alive.</p>

The Brief: Texas Senate moving fast on Abbott's special session agenda

The Texas Senate on Monday approved six bills related to Gov. Greg Abbott's 20-item special session agenda — and they're expected to consider another chunk of legislation today.

State Sen. Van Taylor, &nbsp;R-Plano, holds 434 comments sent to him by constituents regarding large property tax increases during a Select Committee on Government Reform hearing on Saturday, July 22, 2017.&nbsp;
<p>State Sen. Van Taylor, &nbsp;R-Plano, holds 434 comments sent to him by constituents regarding large property tax increases during a Select Committee on Government Reform hearing on Saturday, July 22, 2017.&nbsp;</p>

Senate gives initial OK to property tax rate elections in cities, counties

The Texas Senate endorsed a bill allowing for property tax rate elections if revenues would exceed 4 percent of what what was taken in the year before. The House is slated to take up that matter and nearly three dozen other property tax and appraisal bills.

The Brief: Texas Senate moving fast on Abbott's special session agenda

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick gaveled out the Senate at 1:24 a.m. on July 20 after the upper chamber approved crucial sunset legislation to keep several state agencies alive.
<p>Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick gaveled out the Senate at 1:24 a.m. on July 20 after the upper chamber approved crucial sunset legislation to keep several state agencies alive.</p>

The Texas Senate on Monday approved six bills related to Gov. Greg Abbott's 20-item special session agenda — and they're expected to consider another chunk of legislation today.

Senate gives initial OK to property tax rate elections in cities, counties

State Sen. Van Taylor, &nbsp;R-Plano, holds 434 comments sent to him by constituents regarding large property tax increases during a Select Committee on Government Reform hearing on Saturday, July 22, 2017.&nbsp;
<p>State Sen. Van Taylor, &nbsp;R-Plano, holds 434 comments sent to him by constituents regarding large property tax increases during a Select Committee on Government Reform hearing on Saturday, July 22, 2017.&nbsp;</p>

The Texas Senate endorsed a bill allowing for property tax rate elections if revenues would exceed 4 percent of what what was taken in the year before. The House is slated to take up that matter and nearly three dozen other property tax and appraisal bills.

 

After Texas "human trafficking crime," Lt. Gov. Patrick lauds new law

The truck with human smuggling victims &mdash; 10 of whom died from heat exposure &mdash; was discovered at a Walmart in southwest San Antonio.
<p><span>The truck with human smuggling victims &mdash; 10 of whom died from heat exposure &mdash; was discovered at a Walmart in southwest San Antonio</span>.</p>

Amid the deaths of nine people in San Antonio, state and federal officials used social media and formal statements to tout a new anti-"sanctuary city" law, human trafficking legislation and U.S.-Mexico border security. 

Texas Senate committee OKs bill to outlaw city cellphone restrictions

State Sens. Brandon Creighton, R-The Woodlands, and Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, at a Business &amp; Commerce committee hearing on Saturday.&nbsp;
<p>State Sens. Brandon Creighton, R-The Woodlands, and Kelly Hancock, R-<span>North Richland Hills, </span>at a Business &amp; Commerce committee hearing on Saturday.&nbsp;</p>

Senate Bill 15 would pre-empt local ordinances on mobile phone usage, effectively rolling back provisions in more than 40 Texas cities that currently post hands-free ordinances stricter than the statewide texting ban.

Texas Senate panel approves teacher bonuses, retirement benefits

State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, explains the benefits of Senate Bill 19 during a Saturday meeting of the Senate Finance Committee on July 22, 2017.&nbsp;
<p>State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, explains the benefits of Senate Bill 19 during a Saturday meeting of the Senate Finance Committee on July 22, 2017.&nbsp;</p>

The Texas Senate Finance Committee approved a bill Saturday that would put one-time influxes of money toward the Teacher Retirement System and teacher bonuses, and require districts to fund $1,000 in teacher pay raises.

Texas Senate tackles special session abortion bills

State Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, pauses during debate with Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, while talking on Senate Bill 10 on July 24, 2017. The measure would modify reporting requirements for physicians performing abortions. &nbsp;
<p>State Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, pauses during debate with Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, while talking on Senate Bill 10 on July 24, 2017. The measure would modify reporting requirements for physicians performing abortions. &nbsp;</p>

Texas senators tentatively approved bills that would require physicians and facilities to do more detailed reporting on abortions — and fine those who do not comply. 

Analysis: In special session, Texas Senate's the hare, House is the tortoise

The three leaders of Texas appear jovial at a short meeting of the Cash Management Committee on July 18, 2017, as they face a potentially contentious 30-day special session of the 85th Legislature.&nbsp;
<p>The three leaders of Texas appear jovial at a short meeting of the Cash Management Committee on July 18, 2017, as they face a potentially contentious 30-day special session of the 85th Legislature.&nbsp;</p>

This summer's special session is a little like this spring's regular session, only in miniature. The Senate has big plans and is in a hurry. The House? Not so much.

Despite losing bathroom bill fight, a transgender girl gets her two minutes

Libby Gonzales, a 7-year-old transgender girl,&nbsp;and her sister sit by their parents at a press conference in the Capitol &nbsp;rotunda concerning SB 3 and SB 91 on July 21, 2017.
<p>Libby Gonzales, a 7-year-old transgender girl,&nbsp;and her sister sit by their parents at a press conference in the Capitol &nbsp;rotunda concerning SB 3 and SB 91 on July 21, 2017.</p>

They were unlikely to sway a committee of Republicans considering bathroom restrictions for transgender Texans, but a transgender 7-year-old and her mother waited for their two minutes.

Senate committee passes bills on private school choice and school finance study

State Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, during a July 21, 2017 Senate Public Education Committee hearing. Sen.&nbsp;Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, is seated to his left.&nbsp;
<p><span>State Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, during a July 21, 2017 Senate Public Education Committee hearing. Sen.&nbsp;Eddie Lucio Jr., D-</span>Brownsville, is seated to his left.&nbsp;</p>

The Texas Senate Education Committee passed a bill that would create a "private school choice" program to subsidize private school tuition for kids with special needs, and a bill to study the school finance system.

Bill limiting city, county spending fuels war over local control

State Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, visits with a House member on the Senate floor May 17, 2017. House members have been visiting the upper chamber to negotiate bills in the final days of the 85th Legislature.&nbsp;
<p>State Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, visits with a House member on the Senate floor May 17, 2017. House members have been visiting the upper chamber to negotiate bills in the final days of the 85th Legislature.&nbsp;</p>

When state senators revive legislation on Saturday that could require voter approval of city and county property tax rates, lawmakers will also consider something new: limiting how much money local governments spend.