Earlier this year, Huberty was arrested in Montgomery County after he crashed his car into another vehicle and failed a sobriety test. The lawmaker was driving home from the Capitol in late April.  State Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, announced Tuesday he will not seek another term to the Texas House.  Huberty, who has represented House District 127 since 2011, said in a statement that "it is time for new opportunities in life."  "I have thought long and hard about this decision," Huberty said. "It's been an honor to represent the people and communities of District 127 at the Texas Capitol, and I'm proud of the work our team has accomplished." view article arw

The redistricting process in the GOP-dominated Legislature made many political districts less competitive, which some experts believe might hurt civic engagement.  Running for Senate District 9 would have seemed an uphill battle just a few years ago, but Salman Bhojani saw the growth in his North Texas community over the last decade as an opportunity.  State Sen. Kelly Hancock, the Republican incumbent, first won the district in 2014 with 65% of the electorate. But SD-9 has changed, fueled by population growth from Asian, Black and Hispanic Texans. Four years after Hancock first won, his portion of the total vote dropped to 54%. By 2020, President Donald Trump won the traditionally Republican district that spanned Dallas and Tarrant counties by only slightly more than 5,500 votes. view article arw

Texas lawmakers have redrawn political maps for the state’s congressional, House, Senate and Board of Education districts. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has not signed these maps into law yet, though he is expected to. If you enter your address below, we'll customize this page so you can see how the new districts will affect your community. (Don't worry, we won't store your information.) view article arw

Seliger has served in the Senate since 2005 and led the higher education committee. He was seen as a champion of public education and local control but was derided as too soft on social conservative issues near the end of his tenure.  Amarillo state Sen. Kel Seliger, a Republican who often butted heads with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and was known to be a key swing vote for his party, will not seek reelection.  "After thoughtful consideration and with the reassurance of my family, including my new very vocal granddaughter, I have decided not to be a candidate for re-election to the Texas Senate," Seliger said in a statement. "I am forever grateful for my family, supporters, staff, and those who have worked on my behalf since 2004. Thank you for placing your trust in me as your Texas State Senator." view article arw

Seliger has served in the Senate since 2005 and led the higher education committee. He was seen as a champion of public education and local control but was derided as too soft on social conservative issues near the end of his tenure.  Amarillo state Sen. Kel Seliger, a Republican who often butted heads with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and was known to be a key swing vote for his party, will not seek reelection.  "After thoughtful consideration and with the reassurance of my family, including my new very vocal granddaughter, I have decided not to be a candidate for re-election to the Texas Senate," Seliger said in a statement. "I am forever grateful for my family, supporters, staff, and those who have worked on my behalf since 2004. Thank you for placing your trust in me as your Texas State Senator." view article arw

With partisan fervor, Republicans drew new maps for Congress and the Legislature that dilute the power of voters of color. Now the lawsuits begin, as groups that feel marginalized battle for representation in the halls of power.  As they devised political maps to maximize their hold on power for another decade, Texas Republicans laid the foundation for a crucial argument they may need in defending their handiwork against multiple legal challenges claiming they are discriminating against Texans of color.  Their pursuit of partisan advantage produced new districts giving white Republican voters even greater say in deciding who represents Texans in Congress and the Legislature. Despite overwhelming population growth among people of color in the state, the power of voters of color is actually diminished when measured by their ability to meaningfully affect elections.  As they devised political maps to maximize their hold on power for another decade, Texas Republicans laid the foundation for a crucial argument they may need in defending their handiwork against multiple legal challenges claiming they are discriminating against Texans of color.    (20) view article arw

The comment further hints at a possible fight between the state and the Biden administration over transgender rights.  The Biden White House on Tuesday condemned a Texas bill that would restrict transgender student athletes’ participation in school sports, further hinting at a potential future fight with the state over legislation that opponents have called discriminatory and detrimental to transgender youth.  Matt Hill, a senior associate communications director with the White House, denounced House Bill 25, which would require student athletes in K-12 schools to participate on sports teams that align with the gender listed on their birth certificate at or near the time of birth. It was authored by state Rep. Valoree Swanson, R-Spring. view article arw

In a tweet, Patrick said he supported Abbott calling lawmakers back to Austin to increase the penalty for illegal voting and approve a “forensic audit bill.”   Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick pushed Wednesday for a fourth special session on two elections-related issues that did not get passed in the third special session that ended earlier this week. Gov. Greg Abbott's office said another special session is not necessary for now.  In a tweet, Patrick said he supported Abbott calling lawmakers back to Austin to increase the penalty for illegal voting and approve a "forensic audit bill." Abbott added the penalty increase to the call for the third special session, but it quickly ran into opposition from House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont. Abbott did not include the election audit proposal on his agenda despite pressure from former President Donald Trump.    (21) view article arw

Gov. Greg Abbott’s office says there’s no plan for a fourth special session at this time. If this was the final special session of the year, what did we learn from it?  Lawmakers wrapped up the third special legislative session of the year early Tuesday morning after approving most of the items Gov. Greg Abbott placed on the agenda.  The session produced laws that will bolster GOP dominance in the state’s new political maps, restrict transgender student athletes from playing on sports teams that align with their gender identity and dole out federal COVID-19 relief funds to programs across the state. But the Legislature did not act on Abbott’s requests to prohibit business from mandating vaccines and on increasing penalties for election fraud.  An Abbott spokesperson said Tuesday afternoon that “there are no plans for a fourth special session at this time.” If this was the final special session of the year, here are five things we learned from it.    (20) view article arw

Texas lawmakers late Monday approved an 11th-hour plan to provide property tax relief for roughly 5.7 million homeowners by asking voters to raise the state’s homestead exemption for school property taxes, capping the Legislature’s third special session of the year.  Both chambers suspended a slew of rules shortly before midnight to push through state Sen. Paul Bettencourt’s proposed constitutional amendment, which he introduced a day before the deadline for the session to end.    (20) view article arw

Texas voters will decide next year whether homeowners will get a trim in their property tax bills after lawmakers rammed through a proposed constitutional amendment through both chambers shortly after it was first proposed Monday evening. The measure would raise the state’s homestead exemption from $25,000 to $40,000 for school district property taxes, netting the average homeowner about $176 in savings on their annual property tax bill, according to Houston Republican Sen. Paul Bettencourt, the proposal’s author. view article arw

Early voting will take place from today through next Friday, October 29th. The last day to submit an application for a ballot by mail is Friday. Eight constitutional amendments are on the ballot for voters to consider, including topics such as religious freedom, property taxes and judicial eligibility. Early voting for the constitutional amendment election will be held at the Washington County Courthouse Annex. Voting hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Friday, and from October 27-29. The annex will have extended voting hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the 25th and 26th. A breakdown of each of the eight propositions to be considered by voters, along with a sample ballot, is available below. view article arw

Democrats won’t be rallying voters with claims they can flip control of the Texas Legislature in the general election a year from now. The redistricting maps nearing approval in the current special legislative session make that a near impossibility. Missing their last chance to win a majority in the Texas House in 2020 — remember that “Turn Texas Blue” battle cry? — was politically expensive for the state’s Democrats. It meant the new political maps drawn to fit the new 2020 census would be tailored by Republicans, for Republicans, and that Democrats’ wishes would end up in the dustbin or, at best, in the courts. view article arw

Two proposed amendments — one regarding religious services and another related to nursing home visitors — stem from restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Early voting begins Oct. 18.   Texas voters can soon weigh in on potential changes to the state’s Constitution regarding religious services, eligibility requirements for judges, county infrastructure and more.  Election day is Nov. 2, and early voting begins Oct. 18 and lasts until Oct. 29.  The proposed additions to the Texas Constitution were passed as bills during this year’s legislative session, and a majority of voters in the state must approve each amendment before it can be officially added to the Constitution. In 2017, Texas voters approved all seven amendments on the ballot; in 2019, voters greenlit nine out of 10 proposed changes.    (18) view article arw

Lawmakers say schools are misinterpreting a new measure designed to keep critical race theory out of public schools. A new Texas law designed to limit how race-related subjects are taught in public schools comes with so little guidance, the on-the-ground application is already tying educators up in semantic knots as they try to follow the Legislature’s intent.  In the most striking instance so far, a North Texas administrator informed teachers last week at a training session on House Bill 3979 that they had to provide materials that presented an “opposing” perspective of the Holocaust. A recording of the Oct. 8 training at Carroll Independent School District in Southlake, obtained by NBC News, has reignited the debate over the so-called “critical race theory law.”  “Just try to remember the concepts of [House Bill] 3979,” Gina Peddy, Carroll ISD ’s executive director of curriculum and instruction, is heard telling teachers on that recording. “And make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that has an opposing — that has other perspectives.”    (18) view article arw

Texas Republicans want to use billions in federal pandemic relief to send checks to homeowners just ahead of next year’s November elections — and call it property tax relief. House lawmakers are pushing a proposal that would put $525 checks in the mailboxes of some 5.7 million homeowners who claim a homestead exemption — by tapping $3 billion sent to the state under the federal American Rescue Plan Act, the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill aimed at pandemic relief. Senate Bill 1, which passed out of the House on Friday afternoon, is a roundabout way for Republican legislators to deliver on a longtime pet issue — property tax relief — without running afoul of a federal rule barring the use of stimulus dollars for tax cuts.    (18) view article arw

Senate Bill 51 would make any entity, including hospitals, vulnerable to discrimination lawsuits if they mandate vaccinations for all employees.  As Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republican Texas leaders wage a war against vaccination mandates meant to curb COVID-19, a state Senate committee on Thursday advanced legislation that would make any entity, including hospitals, vulnerable to discrimination lawsuits if they mandated vaccinations for all employees.  The Senate State Affairs Committee’s vote 5-1 to advance Senate Bill 51 comes over the objections of medical and business advocacy groups, who pushed back against the legislation. They warned lawmakers of its risks to small businesses, workplaces that rely on federal funding and immunocompromised Texans. view article arw

Under House Bill 25, K-12 student athletes would be prohibited from competing on school sports teams aligned with their gender identity. The bill will now head to the Senate, where it is expected to pass.   The Texas House approved legislation on Thursday that would restrict transgender student athlete participation in school sports, clearing a notable hurdle for supporters of the measure after similar legislation sailed through the Senate and stalled in the House three times prior this year.  House Bill 25, authored by state Rep. Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, passed with a 76-54 vote. Before Thursday’s vote, House Speaker Dade Phelan signaled that the House would have enough votes to pass the restrictive sports legislation. The bill will now head to the Senate, where it is expected to pass. view article arw

AUSTIN, TX — On Nov. 2, Texans will see eight state propositions on their ballot. Voters can either vote for or against each proposition, which are proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution that originated in the state Legislature.  To make sure you are prepared at the polls, we broke down what each proposition means and what it would do if they passed.    (12) view article arw

This week, the Texas Legislature is meeting to discuss everything from redistricting to electricity and the grid. We've only got a few more weeks left in this special session, hopefully we will get everything done! Here are five things happening around your state: view article arw

After high-profile clashes with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a fellow Republican, Seliger suspects members of his own party are trying to oust him.  Heading into election season, Amarillo state Sen. Kel Seliger says he feels like members of his own party might be using redistricting to oust him after years of tension with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a fellow Republican.  Seliger is deciding whether he will even run for reelection, but if he does, he is now staring down perhaps his toughest primary yet.  He has received two primary challengers, including Kevin Sparks, a Midland oilman who previously served on the board of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the Austin-based conservative think tank. Meanwhile, Seliger’s district was redrawn by his Republican colleagues in the Senate in a way that he says is designed to hobble a potential reelection bid. view article arw

The draft, which will need a stamp of approval from the full chamber before it can head to the Senate for consideration, is likely to continue to change before the Legislature sends it to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for a signature.  A Texas House committee on Tuesday voted out a revised draft to redraw the lower chamber’s districts, which will give Republicans stronger positioning in the House of the Legislature for the next decade. The committee vote puts the proposal on track to hit the House floor for debate in the coming days. House Bill 1 by state Rep. Todd Hunter, the Corpus Christi Republican who chairs the House Redistricting Committee, was changed by lawmakers on the committee during a marathon 16-hour hearing that began Monday morning before it was approved Tuesday along a party line vote.    (06) view article arw

Taxpayers are in for a surprise when the bill comes due for vouchers. Instead of the $140,000 budgeted for 2022, current projected spending is $6.9 million, with 800 more applications pending! Applications soared after Americans For Prosperity [the Charles Koch organization view article arw

With proposed maps out, U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, says he might switch to a neighboring district where U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, is retiring. The initial maps are also sure to impact decisions in regional legislative races.  The initial redistricting maps released this week are raising fresh questions about Texas Republicans’ hopes of flipping seats in South Texas.  After President Joe Biden underperformed there last year, national and state Republicans charged into the 2022 election cycle determined to show they can make inroads in the predominantly Hispanic region. Speaking Thursday in Austin, Gov. Greg Abbott predicted “a very red future for the border communities in the state of Texas.”  While the proposed maps hold some good news for Republicans targeting South Texas, they also introduced a number of uncertainties.    (04) view article arw

U.S. Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green — both Houston Democrats — testified Monday at the Texas Capitol against proposed district maps that would break up communities of Black voters and pit the two incumbents against each other.  “It doesn’t look right for the only two persons in the state of Texas to be running against each other in a congressional district from the same party to be of African ancestry,” Green said at a hearing of the the Texas Senate Special Committee on Redistricting.  Green and Jackson Lee are two out of five Black members of Texas’ 36-person congressional delegation, but in the proposed redrawing of the districts, Lee is drawn out of her own district and looped into Green’s. view article arw

Democrats criticized Republicans for “targeting” a North Texas district that had been trending Democratic and for not drawing any new districts where people of color would represent a majority of eligible voters.  The Texas Senate has approved a new political map for its own members that would entrench Republican dominance in the chamber for the next 10 years, even as Democrats argued the changes do not reflect the interests of people of color in the state who have fueled Texas' growth over the last decade.  The proposal, put forth by state Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, was approved late Monday by a vote of 20-11 and would draw safe districts for GOP incumbents who were facing competitive races as their districts diversified in recent years and started voting for more Democrats.  Sixteen Republican incumbents would be drawn into safe districts for reelection, while two Senate seats being vacated by Republicans would almost certainly go to new GOP candidates over Democrats next year based on the percentage of voters in the district who voted for Donald Trump over Joe Biden in last year's presidential race.      (05) view article arw

Teresa Botello is co-captain of the pep squad at O’Connor High School in Helotes. If she’s delayed getting to school because the bus is late, a recurring problem these days, practice gets off to a rocky start. “It is just not worth it on the days that we know she has to be there early,” said her mother, Janeth Botello. “We end up making arrangements and dropping her off.” view article arw

Monday, October 4 is the last day to register to vote in the November 2 constitutional amendment election in Texas, in which voters across the state of Texas will have the opportunity to vote on eight proposed constitutional amendments. Meanwhile voters living in New Caney ISD will vote to fill three seats on the board of trustees.   To be eligible to register to vote a person must be a United States citizen who will be at least 18 years old on election day. Many convicted felons are ineligible to vote, although some felons who have completed their sentence, probation and parole may be able to register, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s election office. view article arw

The Texas Legislature is in the midst of its third special session, which is dedicated to redrawing political maps based on the latest census data that showed people of color fueled 95% of Texas’ population growth over the past decade.  Texas House members on Thursday released the first proposal for a new map redrawing the chamber's 150-member districts. The initial draft would both increase Republicans' strength across the state and the number of districts in which white residents make up a majority of eligible voters.  House Bill 1, authored by Corpus Christi Rep. Todd Hunter, the GOP chair of the House Redistricting Committee, is just the first draft, and it will likely change as it makes its way through the legislative process before it’s signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott. view article arw

While Texas's booming metros will have more people representing them, that’s not the case in more rural parts of the state. Ralls resident Angela Arthur may only live 30 minutes away from Lubbock, but she told lawmakers at a recent Texas House redistricting committee hearing that the communities could not be more different. “We have no major businesses outside of the local co-op,” Arthur said. “Our churches, schools and hospitals just struggle to stay open.” The population in Crosby County, where Arthur lives, dropped more than 15% since the last U.S. Census in 2010. Today, just over 5,100 people call the county home. That kind of decline in population can be seen in small communities across Texas. During her testimony, Arthur pleaded with elected officials to keep rural counties with common interests together while they redraw political district maps during the third special legislative session. She worries that merging her agricultural community with more urban ones will affect the quality of representation she and her neighbors get at state and federal levels of government.    (01) view article arw

Adam Foltz, now on the Texas payroll, played a key role in Wisconsin's redistricting last decade. A federal court threw out some of the maps and called the effort Foltz was involved in "an all but shameful attempt to hide the redistricting process from public scrutiny."  A Republican redistricting operative whose clandestine work helped drag Wisconsin into a legal morass last decade appears to now be on the payroll of the Texas Legislature as lawmakers work to redraw maps that will determine the distribution of political power for years to come. view article arw

The initial drafts of both maps have so far attempted to strengthen Republican majorities by protecting incumbents and creating more GOP-friendly districts.  A panel of lawmakers on Tuesday advanced draft maps of the Texas Senate and State Board of Education, sending both to the full upper chamber for further debate.  The maps, both authored by state Sen. Joan Huffman, a Houston Republican who leads the Senate Special Redistricting Committee, will likely see further changes before the Legislature sends them to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for the signature. The initial drafts of both maps have so far attempted to strengthen Republican majorities by protecting incumbents and creating more GOP-friendly districts.  Senate Bill 4, the draft of the Senate’s 31-district map, was tweaked by lawmakers before the chamber’s redistricting committee approved it along a 12-2 vote. view article arw

The Texas Senate has passed a bill restricting transgender youth from playing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity four separate times in 2021.  Karen Krajcer and Linzy Foster are two friends familiar with the hallways of the Texas Capitol.  During this year’s regular legislative session and two subsequent special sessions that followed, the two mothers have shown up with a handful of other parents to advocate for their children who have been caught in the crosshairs of a slew of bills that target young transgender Texans. Now, with the Legislature’s third special session underway, the two friends are enduring another round of visits and demonstrations as legislators again debate a top Republican legislative priority: restricting transgender youth from playing on sports teams that are consistent with their gender identity. view article arw

The Killeen Independent School District school board reviewed the requirements and challenges associated with offering a virtual learning platform Tuesday night.  During Tuesday’s regularly scheduled board meeting, KISD’s Chief Learning Officer for Secondary Schools Susan Buckley provided an overview of Senate Bill 15, which funds remote, virtual instruction for public school districts. view article arw