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The Brief: Bill filing begins ahead of 2017 Texas legislative session

Only a handful of bills will ever make it out of committee, survive votes in both Capitol chambers and be signed into law by the governor's pen next year.

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The Big Story

On Monday, the first day of bill filing for the 2017 legislative session, Lone Star State lawmakers submitted several proposals. Only a small number, however, will ever make it out of committee, survive votes in both Capitol chambers and be signed into law by the governor's pen next year. Here's a look at some of the bills that may gain traction

• State lawmakers filed several bills related to education and child welfare. One of these proposals is House Bill 218, filed by State Rep. Tony Dale, R-Cedar Park, which aims to ensure educators who engage in inappropriate relationships with students are reported and charged. In a statement Monday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick included this as one of ten priorities to address in the upcoming session. In its last funding request for a two-year budget, TEA included $400,000 to hire three employees for the educator investigations unit to address a surge in reported incidents. 

• Even after the U.S. Supreme Court partially struck down House Bill 2 in June, lawmakers proposed new abortion legislation. Arguably, the most controversial bill was proposed by state Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, which would make it illegal for women to have an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy even if doctors find the fetus has a severe, irreversible abnormality. State Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, also filed House Bill 201 — echoing a recent proposal from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission — which would require Texas health care providers to bury or cremate remains of aborted or miscarried fetuses.

• Following President-elect Donald Trump's surprising victorystate Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, filed a series of measures that would impose term limits on elected officials in Texas. Since Trump has no prior political experience and still won the election, Huffines said this proved that voters were “fed up with career politicians.” Senate Joint Resolutions 1012 and 13 would limit terms for state senators and representatives (12 years); elected judges, including those on the Texas Supreme Court (18 years); and local officials (a maximum of 12 years, at the discretion of the local governments). 

What We're Reading

(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)

Across Texas, growing clusters of unvaccinated children, Kaiser Health News

Dan Patrick says Texas is eager for a Trump administration that isn't looking over the state's shoulder, The Dallas Morning News 

Trump plan to deport criminals complicated, Texas leaders say, Houston Chronicle

Muñoz mulls run for DNC chairman, Associated Press

Sid Miller says he fired campaign worker responsible for vulgar tweet, Austin American-Statesman

Today in TribTalk

"Sex traffickers are currently able to commit this horrendous crime anonymously and continuously. Buyers and sellers of humans want to remain anonymous because they can. Those days need to end."

Ted Poe, U.S. Representative, R-Humble

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   A Symposium Previewing the 85th Legislature on Nov. 29 at The University of Texas - Texas Union Ballroom

•   A Conversation with Michael K. Young, President of Texas A&M University on Dec. 1 at The Austin Club

•   San Antonio & the Legislature: A Preview of the 85th on Dec. 2 at University of Texas at San Antonio – Downtown Campus

•   A Conversation with Sen.-elect Dawn Buckingham & Rep.-elect Hugh Shine on Dec. 8 at Temple College – Arnold Student Union

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