This Week in Texas: Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Posted May 24, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

In case you were wondering about the fate of these bills…

  • Sanctuary cities ban: Greg Abbott livestreamed his signing of Senate Bill 4 on Facebook Live on May 7th. Several civil rights groups and local government leaders opposed to the bill have sued the Governor and the state.
  • Statewide texting-while-driving ban: The Senate passed House Bill 62 by a vote of 23-8 and the House concurred with the Senate’s amendments. The ban goes into effect September 1st, 2017.
  • Handgun license fees: Both chambers have passed Senate Bill 16, which would decrease concealed handgun license fees. The bill awaits Gov. Abbott’s signature.
  • Uber bill: House Bill 100, which would establish statewide ride-hailing regulations and overrule local ordinances, has been sent to Gov. Abbott.
  • Chilean flag emoji: House Concurrent Resolution 75, which would outlaw the use of the Chilean flag emoji in place of the Texas flag, has passed the House and been referred to the Senate Administration Committee, where it awaits a hearing.

Headed towards a special session?

After threatening to force a special session in a press conference last week, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick appears unsatisfied by the House’s attempts over the weekend to meet his demands for action on the “bathroom bill” and tax “rollback” legislation. Meanwhile, a federal court has suggested a special session on redistricting in Texas after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against gerrymandering in North Carolina.

Voter ID overhaul now an emergency item.

Sunday Gov. Greg Abbott declared voter ID an emergency issue needing to be addressed, and after a six-hour debate on Tuesday, the House voted 95-54 to give preliminary approval to Senate Bill 5 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston). SB 5 would change the current voter ID law passed in 2011. Opponents of the bill do not believe it goes far enough to protect voting rights. To read more…

Joint budget unveiled.Over the weekend, the House and Senate announced that they had come to a consensus on the budget, by pulling $1 billion from the Rainy Day Fund and $2 billion from an accounting trick related to transportation funding. The compromise budget must now be approved by both chambers and Gov. Abbott. To read more…

Only in Austin…Seven Austin barbecue joints made Texas Monthly’s list of the state’s “fifty best,” more than any other Texas city. Austin just might be the barbecue capitol of the world. To read more…