In a year that started out with redistricting as a top priority, Texans, and the news from Texas, made national headlines as seldom, if ever, before. What happened? What didn’t? And why? Moreover, what do the events of 2021 tell us about what may be to come in the Lone Star State in 2022? It’s a close look at the big stories and the forces behind major changes in Texas over the past 12 months on today’s year-end edition of the Texas Standard. Read and listen to the stories in the links below.
A year-in-review roundtable discussion
Today, we’re looking back on some of the biggest political news from 2021: a new president, a new speaker of the Texas house, a deadly winter storm, a legislative session and, of course, the pandemic continued. James Barragán, politics reporter for The Texas Tribune, and Rebecca Deen, associate dean, and associate professor of political science at the University of Texas at Arlington, joined Texas Standard to discuss the top political stories affecting Texans this year, including:
– Top priorities during the 87th Texas Legislature
– The performance of new Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan
– State officials’ handling of Winter Storm Uri and the failure of the state’s power grid
– Texas’ “fetal heartbeat” abortion bill, or Senate Bill 8
– Permitless gun carry
– Texas Democrat’s walkout
– Texas’ voting bill, known as Senate Bill 1
– Political redistricting
– And a look ahead to the March 2022 primary elections
Listen to the full interview with Barragán and Deen in the audio player above.
All proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution passed. Plus, more on Austin’s Prop A, a GOP flip of Texas House District 118 and Fort Worth ISD’s bond election.
A look back at the Legislature: Texas Standard’s Jill Ament discusses bills restricting transgender Texans
Dozens of measures spearheaded by Republican lawmakers negatively aimed at transgender Texans were filed during Texas’ regular legislative session, despite not being a priority of Gov. Greg Abbott’s – at least not at first. None of those measures made it to Abbott’s desk by the end of May.
But Abbott did prioritize a measure that would prohibit transgender public school athletes from playing on sports teams that align with their gender identity during a summer of multiple special sessions. At the end of the third special session, Abbott signed that bill into law.
To learn more, listen to the full interview with Texas Standard reporter Jill Ament, who covered transgender-related legislation, in the audio player above.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez was nominated in April and approved by a Senate committee in August. The Senate has until the end of December for a floor vote before the entire process has to start over.
The Texas Legislature was responsible for redrawing voting districts, a process that happens after the census every 10 years.
A look at the year ahead in Texas politics
After a year jam-packed with measures that captured the attention of politics-watchers far beyond the Lone Star State, we’re taking some time to look at what could be ahead in the year to come. Mark Jones, a fellow in political science at the Baker Institute at Rice University, joined the Standard to talk about what Texans can expect on the political front in 2022, including:
– March primary elections
– How Gov. Abbott might perform in his reelection bid, and whether he has political ambitions beyond Texas
– Whether state leaders have adequately prepared Texas for another possible severe winter storm
– The legal fallout from some high-profile bills and measures passed in the Legislature in 2021, including SB 8 and Texas’ new political maps.
Listen to the full interview with Jones in the audio player above.