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Texas Tribune talks final day of legislative session

(KBTX)
Published: May. 29, 2017 at 6:08 AM CDT
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State lawmakers have been working inside the Texas Capitol for the past 140 days. It's the final day of the 85th Legislature, or is it?

SPECIAL SESSION

Governor Abbott is the only one who can call lawmakers back for a special session.

"The last time we heard from Governor Abbott publicly was Friday morning and he said there was still plenty of time for lawmakers to get the work done, but now we are down to a matter of hours. He says that taxpayers expect us [lawmakers] to get our work done within the 140 days, so he's been hesitant to want to go to special sessions"

SENATE FILIBUSTER

Drama continued Sunday night with state Senator José Menéndez began rising to filibuster against a controversial bill dealing with city annexations.

Senator Menendez began speaking shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday. At midnight, a key deadline passed and he killed a bill that makes it harder for some cities to annex surrounding territory.

The last big filibuster we saw was in In 2013, Senator Wendy Davis talked for 11-plus hours in the Senate. She delayed tough abortion restrictions that later passed in special session.

Davis left the Senate and lost a gubernatorial run in 2014.

Several bills have made it through the legislative process and now just await Gov. Abbott to sign them into law.

VOTER ID

The GOP-controlled Texas Legislature has approved a weakened voter ID law and sent it to Governor Greg Abbott after a judge twice ruled that the original version deliberately tried to suppress minority voters.

The changes given final approval Sunday expanded the list of acceptable IDs first devised in the original 2011 law to include passport cards and recently expired identifications. Still, gun licenses remain acceptable while college IDs aren't.

The new law would let people without an ID cast a ballot by signing an affidavit. But anyone lying on affidavits could be charged with a felony.

CAMPUS SEXUAL ASSAULT

The Texas Legislature has approved requiring Texas public and private universities to create anonymous online reporting tools for sexual assault victims.

The bill by Austin Democratic Senator Kirk Watson was given final approval by the Senate on Sunday night 31-0. It now heads to Governor Greg Abbott's desk to be signed, vetoed or become law automatically.

Watson got his undergraduate and law degrees from Baylor University. It's been rocked by a sexual assault scandal that ousted football coach Art Briles and school president Ken Starr.