2017 Year in Review

A lively legislative session — and a special session — that featured fights over bathrooms. Legal battles over abortion, immigration policy and political maps. A devastating hurricane. 2017 was filled with nonstop news in Texas. Here are the highlights.

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If your first reaction to big, disastrous storms isn't government and politics, congratulations: You have your priorities in order.

But after the rescues and the scramble for shelter and other emergencies are over, storms are all about government and politics. Who’s fixing what? Who’s paying for it? How are we going to get ready for the next one?

Those and dozens of other questions persist as Texans put their lives, their livelihoods and their cities and towns back together again. And it's those responses to a storm — to the problems that fester after the emergencies subside — that sparked columns like these:

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Hurricane Harvey presents the state of Texas with a set of problems that are bigger than politics, a turn of fortune that could be a political boon to Gov. Greg Abbott.

The tempestuous president has been trumped by a tempest: Texas politics and government is all about Hurricane Harvey now, and Donald Trump might not be the most important outsider in the state's 2018 elections after all.

The physical damage from Hurricane Harvey is relatively easy to spot, assess and catalog. But it’s becoming more evident that the storm also seeped into every corner of government policy and politics. 

The Texas Legislature's list of things to do in 2019 is already piling up, and it was an expensive set of chores before anyone ever heard of Hurricane Harvey.

Landowners didn't want to make a big deal out of building homes in Harris County's big reservoirs and government officials were afraid of property rights lawsuits. Then Hurricane Harvey flooded the reservoirs.

Read related Tribune coverage:

  • One particular type of government program is hyper-sensitive to poor performance and quick to change at almost any dollar cost, which begs the question: Why doesn't everything work like college football? [Full story]

  • The months leading up to the candidate filing deadline were full of talk about who might challenge whom, a drawn-out round of punditry. Now we know who filed for what, and some of the results were unexpected. [Full story]

  • It's not that Texas Democrats can't find anyone to run for governor in 2018. It's that none of the eight contenders (so far) is familiar to voters across the state. [Full story]

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