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.

Abortion rights groups sue Texas over procedure ban

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. 

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. 
<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>

Kay Bailey Hutchison vows toughness on Russia as NATO ambassador

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. 

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.

National Episcopal Church urges defeat of Texas "bathroom bill"

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.

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.

 

The Brief: First day down, #txlege — and there could be 29 more to go

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>

Good news: We survived the first day of the special legislative session. Bad news: There could be 29 more days to go. And if Monday was any indication, the next few weeks could be a bumpy ride.

Analysis: Follow the leader, if you can find him

Gov. Greg Abbott (l.) and&nbsp;Kevin Roberts, executive vice president at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, at a TPPF orientation session ahead of the special session, on July 17, 2017.
<p>Gov. Greg Abbott (l.) and&nbsp;Kevin Roberts, executive vice president at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, at a TPPF orientation session ahead of the special session, on July 17, 2017.</p>

The governor has identified the issues he wants lawmakers to work on during the special session. He says he'll keep score to track friends and foes. But he hasn't publicly made his positions clear — so how do they know how to vote?

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.

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.

Trump administration: Trust Texas on voter education spending

Voters line up at an early voting station in Houston on Oct. 24, 2016. Poll workers said the lines were much longer than normal for early voting.
<p><span>Voters line up at an early voting station in Houston on Oct. 24, 2016. Poll workers said the lines were much longer than normal for early voting.</span></p>

Federal courts should trust Texas to properly educate voters on new ID rules ahead of the 2018 elections instead of insisting that money be spent on a marketing campaign, President Trump’s justice department argues.

 

 

Texas Republicans in Congress process health care bill's collapse

&nbsp;Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn&nbsp;are trailed by reporters as they walk to the Senate floor of the U.S. Capitol after unveiling a draft bill on healthcare in Washington on June 22, 2017.&nbsp;
<p>&nbsp;Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and <span>Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn</span>&nbsp;are trailed by reporters as they walk to the Senate floor of the U.S. Capitol after unveiling a draft bill on healthcare in Washington on June 22, 2017.&nbsp;</p>

Seven years after Republicans began campaigning on repealing former President Obama's 2010 health care law, all efforts to revamp it appeared to end Tuesday. The two Texas senators had a lot of political capital invested in it. 

Senate moves to fast-track special session agenda

State Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, &nbsp;is challenged by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick as she debates Sen. Kelly Hancock on a point of order in the Texas Senate during the first day of the special session on July 18, 2017.&nbsp;
<p>State Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, &nbsp;is challenged by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick as she debates Sen. Kelly Hancock on a point of order in the Texas Senate during the first day of the special session on July 18, 2017.&nbsp;</p>

On the opening day of the special session, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick took a step to fast-track two bills reauthorizing the Texas Medical Board and four other state agencies jeopardized by inaction during the regular session.