State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, talked with fellow Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, during the Senate discussion of Senate Bill 3 on July 25, 2017.
<p>State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, talked with fellow Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, during the Senate discussion of Senate Bill 3 on July 25, 2017.</p>

Senate votes again to advance "bathroom bill"

In a 21-10 vote, the Texas Senate gave its backing to a bill that would regulate bathroom use in schools and buildings overseen by cities and counties and nix parts of local nondiscrimination ordinances.

 
State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, are shown during a special session debate on July 25, 2017.&nbsp;
<p>State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, are shown during a special session debate on July 25, 2017.&nbsp;</p>

Texas Senate approves teacher bonuses, benefits — but not pay raises

The Texas Senate passed a bill that would provide funding for teacher bonuses and retirement benefits, slashing a controversial provision that would require school districts to increase teacher salaries without additional state money.

Texas Senate approves teacher bonuses, benefits — but not pay raises

State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, are shown during a special session debate on July 25, 2017.&nbsp;
<p>State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, are shown during a special session debate on July 25, 2017.&nbsp;</p>

The Texas Senate passed a bill that would provide funding for teacher bonuses and retirement benefits, slashing a controversial provision that would require school districts to increase teacher salaries without additional state money.

 

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. 

Persistence pays off for rural Texans besieged by sky-high power prices

Hugh and Nancy Raney in front of a pair of fields, one currently fallow, on their farm near Big Spring in January 2016. The couple had to stop farming part of their land when running the electric pumps to get well water to the fields became too expensive.
<p>Hugh and Nancy Raney in front of a pair of fields, one currently fallow, on their farm near Big Spring in January 2016. The couple had to stop farming part of their land when running the electric pumps to get well water to the fields became too expensive.</p>

After struggling to pay sky-high power line rates for more than three years, thousands of rural Texans are set to get relief.

 

Law enforcement comes out against Texas "bathroom bill"

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley and San Antonio Police Chief William McManus stand behind Austin Mayor Steve Adler on the steps of the state Capitol on July 25, 2017. Top Texas law enforcement officers gathered at the Capitol today to speak out against "bathroom bill" legislation.
<p>Austin Police Chief Brian Manley and San Antonio Police Chief William McManus stand behind Austin Mayor Steve Adler on the steps of the state Capitol on July 25, 2017. Top Texas law enforcement officers gathered at the Capitol today to speak out against "bathroom bill" legislation.</p>

In a news conference Tuesday, big-city police chiefs called on lawmakers to reject the “bathroom bill,” saying the measure is discriminatory and does not keep the public safe.

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.

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.