What to Expect From the Texas Legislature During the Second Week of the Special Session

AUSTIN — Want the skinny on Capitol happenings during the second week of Texas' special legislative session? The Dallas Morning News' weekly political preview, The Look Ahead, has you covered.The first week of the special session started with a bang, at least in the Texas Senate. The upper chamber scheduled more than a dozen committee hearings — on the so-called "bathroom bill," mail-in ballot fraud, abortion restrictions, teacher pay raises, and a host of local control issues, among others. Senate committees have already considered and passed seventeen of Abbott's 20 agenda items, and the measures are headed to the full Senate for consideration this week.Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the president of the Senate, seems poised to follow through on his promise to pass all of Abbott's priorities before the week ends. The chances of that happening in the House: slim to none.Mark your calendarsThe full Senate gavels at 9 a.m. on Monday and is expected to debate, and possibly vote on, more than a dozen bills. Follow along with @BrandiGrissom and @lmcgaughy on Twitter.The House Public Education Committee will be considering bills related to public school finance on Monday and Tuesday. Follow @RobertTGarrett staring at 2 p.m. Monday for updates.The House State Affairs Committee on Monday at 2 p.m. will debate a bill that would increase abortion complication reporting requirements. @John SavageTX will be there.In case you missed itAfter nearly 11 hours of public testimony on the bathroom bill, the vast majority of which was in opposition, the Senate Committee on State Affairs late Friday approved a measure that would restrict the restrooms available for use to transgender people in the state of Texas.A bill that would increase penalties for mail-in ballot fraud, by Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, sailed through its Senate committee hearing.During the weekend, Senate panels passed several bills that would limit local governments' ability to do things like regulate what trees property owners can cut down. A bill aimed at decreasing property taxes, which city officials said would hamstring their ability to provide critical services and only provide minimal relief to taxpayers, also passed a Senate committee.Despite criticism from educator groups, a Senate panel on Saturday advanced a teacher pay and retired teacher health care bill.After tense debate, the Senate Business and Commerce Committee passed a proposal that would prohibit insurance companies from covering elective abortions in primary health insurance plans.House Speaker Joe Straus is more experienced than either Abbott or Patrick as a high-impact player at the Capitol, but the mild-manned, business-minded conservative lawmaker finds himself reluctantly in the minority among them, writes @RobertTGarrett.By the numbers Six incredibly hot days down and 24 more to go during the first called special session of the 85th legislature.  Continue reading...

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