This Week in Texas: September 29, 2021

Posted September 29, 2021 in Uncategorized

20 Days Left in the Third Special Legislative Session

Lawmakers Busy Making All The Pieces Fit

The map-drawing process is underway at the Texas Legislature during this third special session. The initial drafts of both maps have so far attempted to strengthen Republican majorities by protecting incumbents and creating more GOP-friendly districts.

The maps will likely see further changes before the Legislature sends them to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for the signature.

While the Senate has now released draft maps for the Senate, the State Board of Education, and Congress, the lower chamber has not yet revealed its proposal for its 150 members’ districts. The Legislature has 30 days during a special session to complete its business, though Abbott can always order lawmakers back for another overtime round.

Special Election Results

Two special elections were held yesterday…we can never get enough.

Texas House District 10: Brian Harrison (pictured above) defeated fellow Republican John Wray, who used to hold the seat, 55%-45%. Harrison is the former chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President Donald Trump. He will replace Waxahachie Republican Jake Ellzey, who was elected to Congress in July.

Texas House District 118: Republican John Lujan and Democrat Frank Ramirez (pictured above, left to right) will advance to a runoff election to replace former state Rep. Leo Pacheco (D-San Antonio).

With all vote centers reporting Tuesday night, Lujan was getting 42% of the vote, while Ramirez was receiving 20%. Lujan is a Republican who previously held the seat and is hoping to help his party make inroads in South Texas. Ramirez is a former San Antonio City Council staffer.

Even More Retirements Coming In

Four more lawmakers announced they will not be returning to their current seats since last week’s update (new updates in bold below).

The list of lawmakers that are retiring or not seeking re-election to the position they currently hold is now up to 15.

  • Rep. Leo Pacheco (D-San Antonio)–This seat will be filled by the winner of a special runoff election between John Lujan and Frank Ramirez.
  • Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Waxahachie)–After the special election held yesterday, Brian Harrison will fill this vacant seat.
  • Rep. James White (R-Hillister)–running for Texas Land Commissioner.
  • Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton)–running for U.S. Congress.
  • Rep. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound)–running for Texas Senate seat after Sen. Jane Nelson departure.
  • Rep. John Turner (D-Dallas)–retiring.
  • Rep. Ben Leman (R-Anderson)–retiring.
  • Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth)–running for Texas Attorney General.
  • Rep. Scott Sanford (R-McKinney)–retiring.
  • Rep. Celia Israel (D-Austin)–running for Austin Mayor.
  • Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall)–retiring.
  • Rep. Jim Murphy (R-Houston)–retiring.
  • Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford)–running for Texas Senate District 10.
  • Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound)–retiring.
  • Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway)–running for Texas Land Commissioner.

Only in Austin…

The 28th annual Austin Film Festival kicks off Oct. 21 and will feature an 8-day film festival, 4-day conference, and opportunities to enjoy virtually.

Kicking off the festivities is the opening night film The Same Storm. The feature examining the tumult of the Covid-19 pandemic boasts a stacked cast, with Noma Dumezweni, Mary-Louise Parker, Sandra Oh, Elaine May, and Raúl Castillo amongst its ensemble.

Events will take place at a variety of venues around Austin. For a full schedule of events, go to the festival website.