Libby Gonzales, a 7-year-old transgender girl, and her sister sit by their parents at a press conference in the Capitol  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>

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

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.

 
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>

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

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.

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>

Bill limiting city, county spending fuels war over local control

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.

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.

 

Abbott adds school finance, retired teacher benefits to special session

The three leaders of Texas make nice at a short Cash Management Committee meeting in the Betty King Room of the Texas Capitol on July 18, 2017, the first day of the special session.&nbsp;
<p>The three leaders of Texas make nice at a short Cash Management Committee meeting in the Betty King Room of the Texas Capitol on July 18, 2017, the first day of the special session.&nbsp;</p>

In what seems to be an overture to the House, Gov. Greg Abbott added two new education-related issues to his special session call Thursday: school finance reform and increased benefits for retired teachers.

The Brief: Abbott expands special session agenda after Senate speeds through sunset legislation

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick confers with a group of senators during the special session on July 19, 2017.
<p>Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick confers with a group of senators during the special session on July 19, 2017.</p>

By the time you read this, critical legislation keeping several key state agencies alive is out of the Texas Senate and on its way to the House — and Gov. Greg Abbott has officially green-lighted the Legislature to begin working on the other 19 items he wants passed during the special session.

Here’s what Texans said about the Legislature and the "bathroom" debate

Several Texas cities with populations around 1 million &mdash; including San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth and Plano &mdash; have explicit protections in place against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
<p>Several Texas cities with populations around 1 million &mdash; including San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth and Plano &mdash; have explicit protections in place against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.</p>

Here’s a look at the state-vs.-local fight over bathroom regulations, the legislative debate on the issue and how some Texans feel about the proposed measures.

Abortion rights groups sue Texas over procedure ban

An exam room at ChoiceWorks, formerly Whole Woman's Health Clinic, on June 27, 2016, the day the U.S. Supreme Court struck down portions of HB 2 restricting women's access to abortions in Texas.
An exam room at ChoiceWorks, formerly Whole Woman's Health Clinic, on June 27, 2016, the day the U.S. Supreme Court struck down portions of HB 2 restricting women's access to abortions in Texas.

The Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood announced on Thursday they're suing over a provision in Texas' Senate Bill 8, which outlaws dilation and evacuation abortions. 

Kay Bailey Hutchison vows toughness on Russia as NATO ambassador

Former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, nominee to be U.S. ambassador to NATO, attends her Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building on July 20, 2017.&nbsp;
<p><span>Former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, nominee to be U.S. ambassador to NATO, attends her Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building on July 20, 2017.&nbsp;</span></p>

Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas told a panel of  Senate lawmakers on Thursday that she will take a hard line on Russia if she is confirmed as ambassador to NATO. She appears to be on track for confirmation. 

National Episcopal Church urges defeat of Texas "bathroom bill"

Faith leaders from around Texas gather at First United Methodist Church near the Texas Capitol as the Texas Believes coalition on Feb. 9, 2017.  The group is opposing several upcoming anti-LGBT  bills and is rejecting the use of faith as a political weapon to justify discrimination.
Faith leaders from around Texas gather at First United Methodist Church near the Texas Capitol as the Texas Believes coalition on Feb. 9, 2017. The group is opposing several upcoming anti-LGBT bills and is rejecting the use of faith as a political weapon to justify discrimination.

The national Episcopal Church is urging Texas House Speaker Joe Straus to remain "steadfast" in his opposition to legislation to restrict bathroom use for transgender Texans.

Sarah Davis wants more information about "misconduct" at TABC

State Rep. Sarah Davis, R-West University Place, chairwoman of the&nbsp;Committee on General Investigating and Ethics,&nbsp;holds up a TABC flyer at a hearing on April 13, 2017.
<p>State Rep. Sarah Davis, R-<span>West University Place</span>, chairwoman of the&nbsp;<span>Committee on General Investigating and Ethics,&nbsp;</span>holds up a TABC flyer at a hearing on April 13, 2017.</p>

The chair of a House oversight committee wants more information about potential "misconduct" that occurred at the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

Senate gives OK to must-pass "sunset" legislation in midnight vote

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick appears in the Texas Senate with pizza and soda as senators arrive for a midnight vote during the special session on July 20, 2017
<p>Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick appears in the Texas Senate with pizza and soda as senators arrive for a midnight vote during the special session on July 20, 2017</p>

A fast-moving Senate gave approval to critical “sunset legislation” after midnight Thursday, using two bills to extend the life of five state agencies held political hostage at the end of the regular legislative session.