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Texas Legislature’s Special Session Week Two Wraps Up On Friday

The House approved a few pieces of legislation dealing with trees and other matters on Thursday while the Senate took a break for the day, but both chambers are back in business today to finish off week two of the special legislative session.

State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, debates an amendment to House Bill 13 on July 27, 2017, as Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress, looks on. The bill would refine reporting requirements for abortion providers.
State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, debates an amendment to House Bill 13 on July 27, 2017, as Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress, looks on. The bill would refine reporting requirements for abortion providers.

What you need to know
The House chamber initially approved a few pieces of legislation dealing with trees and other matters on Thursday while the Senate took a break for the day, but both chambers are back in business today to finish off week two of the special legislative session. Here’s what you need to know:

Want to regulate trees? Sure, but on our terms, is essentially what the House told Gov. Greg Abbott when they passed a bill to let land owners plant new trees to counteract municipal fees for tree removal on their land — the same measure Abbott vetoed in another form in June after he said it didn’t go far enough. Aside from trees, the lower chamber also gave the preliminary OK to a bill to increase reporting requirements and fines on abortion complications and its second sunset bill to fund several key state agencies.

While we’re here, we should also address ethics reform, said state Rep. Sarah Davis during a committee hearing on Thursday. Davis heads the panel that investigates state government ethics violations (remember the TABC?), and said passing ethics reform — one of Abbott’s emergency items during the regular session — could pump the public’s trust back into state lawmakers. But the Legislature could only pass those bills if Abbott added it as a special session item, and the governor in an interview Wednesday said extra measures wouldn’t be added until lawmakers sent his initial 20 items to his desk.

Both chambers gavel in at 10 this morning. The House is expected to give final approval to the tree bill, the anti-abortion measure and sunset legislation and send them to the Senate. The upper chamber has other things it can work on, such as a bill to stop cities and towns from enforcing ordinances on a property if it wasn’t in place when the land was purchased.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2017/07/28/brief-july-28/.

The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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