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83rd Texas Legislature Opening
January 8, 2013. 39 Photos.
PHOTO GALLERY  January 9, 2013
"...Opening day of the 83rd Texas Legislature..."

Texas Legislature Media Panel Tonight
Abortion, education, and more discussed by lege watchers
DAILY News  July 2, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...Organized by the Texas Observer, the Texas Legislature Very Special Session Panel will talk about how the 83rd session and the resulting special sessions have gone/are going. Expect a lot of talk about the ongoing abortion fight, education funding, the rise of Democratic Sen..."

Will Texas Do Better?
As the 83rd Legislature slouches toward Austin, hope dances a two-step with apprehension
News Story  December 7, 2012, by Michael King


Special Session Redistricting Hearings Commence
Senate and House committees taking testimony for next three days
DAILY News  May 30, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...The first called special session of the 83rd Legislature begins in earnest Thursday morning as the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting holds their first, and seemingly only, public meeting...."

There They Go ... Here They Come Again
A no-drama session ends – will a high-drama special follow?
News Story  May 31, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...There's a line in the film Magnolia: "We might be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us." As the 83rd Legislature's regular session limped to an end on Memorial Day, lawmakers knew they would be back for a special session; what they didn't know was how fast. Ultimately, they didn't even have time to return to their hotel rooms, as Gov..."

Jumping the Shark on Women's Health
For the sake of anti-abortion politics, the governor and the Legislature turned their backs on women's health care – with disastrous consequences. Is there any way to fix this mess?
News Story  January 18, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"...In that political context, women's health advocates aren't optimistic about the new Legislature. Will lawmakers comprehend how recent policies have led to the destruction of the health care safety net, or will they continue to push a social agenda wrapped in regulations and budget cuts, despite its disastrous effects on the state's most vulnerable women and families? "It is irrefutable, the public health damage that has been done," says Wheat..."

Lege Lines: The Score
How the 83rd did on water infrastructure, the budget, education, the environment, and transportation
News Story  June 14, 2013, by Brandon Watson
"...In 2011, Republican lawmakers swaggered out of the Legislature crowing how their conservative budget had cut spending. As this 83rd Legislature wrapped up its business, lawmakers reversed the program-slashing trend of two years ago and coincidentally proved that the old cuts were smoke and mirrors..."

Texas Poised to Hit 500th Execution
Texas is on the eve of its 500th execution since death penalty reinstatement
News Story  June 21, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"...In a letter to Dallas County District Attorney Craig Wat­kins, McCarthy's attorney Maurie Levin pointed out that at the time of McCarthy's trial racial discrimination "pervaded" the county's jury selection process. Levin also noted that Watkins had told The Dallas Morning News that he would advocate during the recently concluded 83rd Legislature for passage of the Texas Racial Justice Act, which would allow death row inmates to appeal based on claims that racism played a role in their conviction...."

The Making of a Movement
Moments from the battle on women's rights ... in progress
News Story  July 19, 2013, by Michael King and Amy Smith
"...The last minutes wound down on Gov. Rick Perry's first special session of the 83rd Texas Legislature, and it seemed certain that the Senate Republican majority couldn't be stopped in its determination to impose draconian regulations on abortion and women's health care..."

Lege Lines
Get ready for special number three
News Story  August 2, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...Those were the three measures Gov. Rick Perry put on the call for the first special session of the 83rd Legislature..."

Bill of the Week: Down With Tests, Up With Standards?
Bipartisan starting point for school graduation reform
DAILY News  January 26, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...The situation is so bad that even his replacement, former Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, hand picked by Gov. Rick Perry, has told the legislature that he needs more full time employees to run the office..."

Fate of Women's Health Care in Court's – and Perry's – Hands
State hangs fire on Women's Health Program, awaits court decision
News Story  November 9, 2012, by Jordan Smith


Road Funding Screeches to a Halt
Tensions clear between Perry and Straus, Dewhurst and Patrick
DAILY News  July 30, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...Technically, the second called special of the 83rd Texas Legislature ends at midnight tonight. But, in reality, they may as well call sine die now, as there is no sign that a deal will be reached over the last item on the call: Transportation...."

Lege Lines: Redistricting Battle Drags On
More hearings are scheduled as the House debates alternate maps
News Column  June 7, 2013, by Richard Whittaker


Perry's Vexing Vetoes
Perry kills 24 more bills
News Story  June 21, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...With the veto deadline passing June 16, the body count of dead bills stands at 26, plus line-item vetoes on both the 2014-2015 biennial budget in Senate Bill 1, and the supplemental appropriations in House Bill 1025. While the Legislature could theoretically override Perry's veto by a two-thirds majority in both chambers, as Speaker Joe Straus informed his House colleagues, that's never happened...."

Point Austin: Tools for Lege Watching
Considering Texas' future – a few things to keep in mind
News Column  December 14, 2012, by Michael King
"...Elsewhere in this issue ("Will Texas Do Better?"), we take another look at the prospects of the upcoming 83rd Legislature, largely through the perspective of the prefiled bills. We don't claim to be exhaustive: Several hundred bills are already filed, and several thousand will hit the committees in the next couple of months, most of them destined never to reach the floor..."

House to Bridge the Road Funding Gap
Lower chamber meeting at 2pm today for third special session
DAILY News  August 5, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...Day seven of the third special session of the 83rd Texas Legislature, and the House will meet today for another attempt to provide $1 billion a year extra for road construction and maintenance. The big question now: Can the House and Senate reach an agreement on how this affects the Rainy Day Fund?..."

Point Austin: Things to Do in Texas When You're Lege
The special agenda is not so special
News Column  June 7, 2013, by Michael King
"...Of course, it's been pointed out many times that should the Legislature remain in session longer and more frequently than five months every two years, the amount of mischief accomplished would only multiply. There's certainly much to be said for that theory (e.g., see below)..."

Execution Assembly Line Gets Rolling
12 executions are currently scheduled through July
News Story  March 29, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"...The issue of racial bias is also central to the ongoing case of Duane Buck, sentenced to death in 1997 for the double murder of Debra Gardner, his former girlfriend, and Kenneth Butler in Houston; a third victim, Phyllis Taylor, survived the attack. Last week, 102 people – including Taylor, 10 members of the Legislature, one former governor, and a former Harris County prosecutor who helped to try his case – signed a letter imploring Harris County D.A..."

Worst Session Ever
A look at the mess they've made
News Story  June 10, 2011
"...Not only did the Legislature pass a budget that cuts total spending by $15.2 billion and general revenue spending by $1.6 billion, but it also had to use smoke and mirrors to cover its tracks. Here are some of the more egregious accounting tricks..."

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