The halfway point of Texas' 120-day legislative session has come and gone, meaning constitutional limits are lifted and lawmakers are free to vote on any bill they like.
Let the new law bonanza begin, right? Well, no. At least not yet.
Most of the hardest work has been and will continue to be done in committee, where Senate and House members delay or outright discard proposals without enough support to survive while hashing out differences on bills likely headed for full floor votes in each chamber.
The latest news from around North Texas.
That process is designed to be slow and will remain so until the final day of the session June 1 gets much closer.
Still, the House is poised to vote on its first bill Monday afternoon, a sweeping human trafficking plan that makes it easier to prosecute the crime of forcing minors into prostitution and establishes a special state anti-sex trafficking unit.
The measure is sponsored by state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, a Houston Democrat and 43-year House veteran who is among the chamber's most-esteemed members. But it's also considered part of a broader border security package -- and measures on that topic were exempted from the first-60-day ban on passing bills because Gov. Greg Abbott made it an "emergency item."
The Senate already passed its first measure -- approving a bill and proposed constitutional amendment seeking to use a portion of the taxes collected on vehicle sales to fund road-building. But that too bypassed the 60-day prohibition because Abbott made transportation infrastructure another emergency item.
Here are some other upcoming issues at the Texas Capitol:
The week may start with some tension when a Senate committee hearing is held on divisive proposals cracking down on local police departments for taking hands-off approaches to enforcing immigration laws during routine patrols. The hearing set for Monday morning was postponed last week after Democrats complained the public wasn't given enough notice about lawmakers taking up action on so-called "sanctuary cities," or locales more-lenient to people in the country illegally.
Measures to legalize concealed firearms on college campuses and open carry everywhere else have been on upcoming Senate calendars for weeks. With the 60-day ban now history, the chamber's Republican majority has indicated one or both are likely to be debated this week. Since that coincides with spring break at the University of Texas and other Austin-area colleges, that means supporters and opponents alike could crowd the visitors' galleries. Just how many people turn up to cheer or jeer the proposals, though, shouldn't change the fact they are both likely to pass.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers has filed bills in both chambers that would make "revenge porn" -- or posting sexual images of exes from past relationships -- punishable by up to a year in jail. They would also let victims sue the provider of the images and the website posting them. The House version was discussed and left pending last week in the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. The Senate version is still awaiting a committee hearing.