Texas Legislature Underway as State Challenges Federal Actions

Texas Legislature Underway as State Challenges Federal Actions

The Texas Legislature started its biennial regular session in January with a robust agenda. With a growing state population and diminished tax revenues, lawmakers will have to do more with less. The pandemic will only complicate the Legislature’s ability to fully respond to the current crisis.

The legislative agenda will include perennials, such as the economy, education, and healthcare. Legislators will also be charged with redrawing congressional district lines once the final Census numbers are reported in April.

Instructors, click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for “Texas Legislature Underway as State Challenges Federal Actions"

Links

“A new crop of Texas-led lawsuits awaits Joe Biden’s White House”
https://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/texas/article/A-new-crop-of-Texas-led-lawsuits-awaits-Joe-15874024.php
 
“Gov. Greg Abbott says he’ll fight Joe Biden’s energy and climate agenda”
https://www.texastribune.org/2021/01/28/abbott-biden-energy/
 
“Kyle Biedermann, Texas State Rep Who Marched to Capitol, Introduces Bill to Secede From Union”
https://www.newsweek.com/kyle-biedermann-texas-state-rep-who-marched-capitol-introduces-bill-secede-union-1565159
 
“Census delays will force Texas lawmakers into a special session to redraw political maps”
https://www.texastribune.org/2021/01/27/census-texas-redistricting-special-session/
 
“‘If we’re all sick, we can’t legislate’: Coronavirus cases at Texas Capitol put lawmakers further on edge”
https://www.texastribune.org/2021/01/25/texas-capitol-coronavirus/
 
“University of Houston releases survey of top issues facing Texas legislature”
https://www.radio.com/krld/news/local/univeristy-of-houston-top-issues-facing-texas-legislature
 
“The Lege This Week: Texas Redistricting Will Be A Summer Showdown”
https://www.texasobserver.org/the-lege-this-week-texas-redistricting-will-be-a-summer-showdown/
 
“The coronavirus will permeate the 140-day legislative session. It’s our No. 1 issue of the 2021 Texas Legislature.”
https://www.statesman.com/story/news/politics/state/2021/01/12/covid-19-our-no-1-issue-texas-legislature/6626424002/

Assessment

  • Writing: Describe the unique institutional limitations of the Texas Legislature. How can state leadership overcome those constraints to do the business of Texas?
  • Debate: Should Texas legalize casino gambling and recreational marijuana?
  • Poll: Should the State Legislature be responsible for redistricting? 
  • Short Answer: What can national and state leaders do to encourage more cooperation between the federal government and state instead of the litany of lawsuits?

Current events quiz:

1) Why is it likely that redistricting will have to be completed in a special session?

a. the Census will have to be completed again with a new administration
b. the Census results will not be reported until late April, leaving legislators too little time before the regular session adjourns
c. the Texas lawsuit challenging the Census results will not be heard in court until right before the end of the regular session
d. Governor Abbott does not want redistricting to interfere with education reform

2) Representative Kyle Biedermann R-Frederickburg introduced a bill that would ultimately result in which of the following outcomes?

a. the secession of Texas from the union
b. the legalization of marijuana
c. the legalization of casino gambling
d. mandatory vaccination for the Covid-19 vaccine

3) The Legislature’s early schedule has been disrupted by ______.

a. inclement weather in Austin.
b. a yet undecided campaign for Speaker.
c. ongoing recounts that will decide which political party has a majority in both chambers.
d. positive COVID-19 cases forcing quarantines by members.

4) The Texas Legislature can write a budget that puts the state in debt if revenues do not cover expenditures. (T/F)

5) Texas can lawfully secede from the union. (T/F)

6) Governor Greg Abbott previously served as the state’s Attorney General? (T/F)

Answers:

1) B

2) A

3) D

4) False

5) False

6) True

 

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Featured Image Credit: Bill Dickinson 

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