Sine Die Special Edition: Coverage From the Legislative Session's Last Day, Plus Dallas Mayoral Profiles

Good morning!Monday was the last day of the legislative session, and our reporters have been working overtime to bring you all the news from the Capitol. Hang with us for the top political headlines from Austin, the campaign trail, Washington and Dallas.Points from Austin1. The legislative session has come to an end, with lawmakers adjourning "sine die," which means "without a day specified for a future meeting."The Legislature largely delivered on its top priorities in what some are calling a historically successful, policy-driven, mostly drama-free session -- one that ended with thank-you speeches and bear hugs rather than the shouting matches and threats of the previous session. Here are the highlights from the 86th Texas legislative session.2. The major bills passed overhauled Texas' school funding system, pumping billions of dollars into public schools, and capped property tax revenue for local cities and counties. This story has a chart showing how much your district will get under the plan and how much it has to spend on salary increases for staff.But some lawmakers expressed concerns about cost, pointing out that the latest version of the bill gets more expensive every year, and the legislation doesn't provide a new revenue source to keep up.3. The last day of the session also resolved the outstanding issue of whether interim Secretary of State David Whitley would have a job at the end of it. Just before lawmakers finished the session without confirming him, the embattled elections chief who issued the controversial noncitizen voter advisory resigned, effective immediately.4. The leaders of the two chambers, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, both sat down with The Dallas Morning News to discuss the end of the session.On the final day, Bonnen claimed victory for passing bills to revamp the state's school finance system and property tax relief in a bipartisan fashion, while still pushing through legislation to shore up his conservative credentials. But it was unclear whether that work would be enough to keep Republican control of the House after the 2020 elections.Patrick called it the "most successful session in modern history" and said he has no plans to leave Texas or "the coolest job in politics in the country" for a job in the Trump administration.5. If you ask political writer Gromer Jeffers Jr. for his take, he'll tell you the 2019 Legislative session was incredibly boring -- and that's just how state leaders wanted it. Here's why.6. After Democrats strenuously complained, lawmakers in both chambers on Sunday began killing a plan to spend $100 million to pay for surge operations at the U.S-Mexico border this summer. The abrupt about-face removed the only remaining obstacle to final passage of a two-year, $250.7 billion state budget later Sunday.7. The Texas Senate on Sunday night narrowly approved a bill that would allow Texans to carry handguns, open or concealed, for a full week after a state or natural disaster is declared. Sen. Joan Huffman of Houston, one of the three Republicans who voted against it, raised concerns that the bill could present real problems for police working after a hurricane or other disaster. "It's really, really poor public policy," she said.8. A proposed review of Texas' strategic plan on special education, which has landed the state in hot water with the federal government for failing to properly identify and educate students with disabilities, won't happen because lawmakers nixed the idea on the last day to pass bills in the legislative session.9. If bills that passed the Texas Legislature this week had been enacted before 2016, a foster baby born with severe defects might not have suffocated from pulling out his breathing tube, leaving him in a permanent vegetative state.It's too late for D'ashon, but If Gov. Greg Abbott signs those fixes into law, thousands of other sick and disabled Texans might have a fighting chance when they're refused care by Medicaid companies that pocket more money when they spend less on care. Here are the biggest patient protections that cleared both chambers.10. Several bills with Dallas connections made it to the governor's desk, including one from Rep. Rafael Anchia that would require natural gas pipeline operators to remove all cast iron pipes from their systems by Dec. 31, 2021. It was filed after a 12-year-old girl died in a gas explosion at her Northwest Dallas home last year. Another bill by Dallas Rep. Victoria Neave would require an audit to determine the number, status and location of all the rape kits in the state and create a timeline requirement for testing to prevent future backlogs. It's named after Lavinia Masters, a Dallas woman whose rape kit sat untested for more than 20 years.And another bill would bar cities from imposing building standards that exceed "model" codes written by national associations. Supporters say it'll help drive down housing costs, improving affordability. Dallas and McKinney have urged Abbott to veto the bill.11. Rep. Jonathan Stickland's decision to kill a bipartisan anti-animal cruelty bill has some of his constituents barking mad. On Memorial Day, a group of dog owners in Bedford held a "Dogs Against Stickland" 1-mile walk to protest their representative's decision to bring down a bill making it a crime to use a chain, weighted leash or short tether to restrain a dog outside.12. One night last week, the Texas Senate adjourned in honor of Muhlaysia Booker, a transgender woman who was shot and killed in Dallas. "She was beaten, just because. She was murdered, just because," Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, said during a speech on the Senate floor. "When will we move past just because? Transgender rights are human rights."13. Lawmakers grilled state law enforcement officials last week about a newly released video clip in the Sandra Bland case, taken from her perspective, that her family's attorney said was not turned over to them during legal proceedings. Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, accused Department of Public Safety officials of either withholding the video from lawmakers or trying to conceal it by burying it in the mounds of documents the agency sent them.  Continue reading...

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