The Justice track at the 2015 Texas Tribune Festival featured panel discussions on criminal justice reform, the Legislature, open carry, and gay rights and states' rights. There was also a conversation with several Texas Court of Criminal Appeals judges.
The House faces a major deadline today; it's the last day to take up contested Senate bills and, as such, the session promises to last until the clock strikes midnight. It doesn't help that a major backlog of controversial legislation awaits House members.
Gov. Rick Perry's recent remarks about states’ rights and marijuana laws drew national attention, though his staff said they were nothing new. Despite the clamor over the remarks, Texans shouldn't expect marijuana laws to change anytime soon.
UPDATED: Friday morning's clash between the House and Senate appears to be water under the bridge. Lawmakers in the upper chamber said it was a tussle over a local Houston matter — but that they're working to resolve it.
While members of the Texas Legislature can no longer act as lobbyists before state agencies, plenty of lawmakers still manage to lobby local governments. Others find work that critics would classify as lobbying by another name.
Even as it is coping with deep reductions to its own budget, the Texas Education Agency faces criticism from school districts and lawmakers, although not necessarily for the same reasons — vivid evidence of the pressure on the TEA.
On Tuesday night, House Bill 1942 by state Rep. Diane Patrick, R-Arlington, which seeks to reduce bullying in schools by providing what the bill analysis calls "a minimal framework" for how to address incidents of bullying, was tentatively approved by the House with a vote of 102-34.
Almost 157,000 inmates in the Texas prison system were counted by the U.S. Census Bureau as living where they're incarcerated and not as residents of their home counties — a policy that some opponents argue has dire political and economic consequences.