NORTH TEXAS — The fourth special session ended with a variety of education bills left for dead. State Rep. Frederick Frazier pleaded no contest to misdemeanor criminal charges in connection to a previous primary campaign. And Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is pushing back against Democrats and school districts who accuse the state of under-funding public education.
Jack covers these stories and more in this week's edition of Eye on Politics (original air date: Dec. 7).
Every week, CBS News Texas political reporter Jack Fink breaks down some of the biggest political stories grabbing headlines in North Texas and beyond. Watch the latest episode of Eye on Politics in the video player above and stream new episodes live every Thursday and Friday at 6 p.m. on CBS News Texas.
Fourth special session
The fourth special session ended with a number of education bills dead. They include the most controversial legislation: taxpayer subsidies for students to attend private school or education savings accounts or ESAs.
The House stripped the ESAs from House Bill 1, a comprehensive education funding bill, and left it to die. The Senate passed Senate Bill 1, its version of education savings accounts, but it wasn't considered in the House.
Gov. Greg Abbott's Communications Director said: "The fight for school choice for all Texas families will continue until it's won."
Senate Bill 2 would have provided raises for public school teachers and given school districts more money per student. After passing the Senate, the legislation sat in the House for weeks without being considered.
House Bill 2 created a specific fund that would provide grants for security improvements at school campuses across the state. It would have also required voter approval. After the House passed the measure, it was never considered by the Senate.
And Senate Bill 5: last Friday, the upper chamber wrote and passed its own, separate bill to provide money for school security improvements. It was less money but would have gotten to school districts sooner and would not have required voter approval. But the House didn't consider the bill.
This year proved to be unheard of in one aspect: state lawmakers, especially in the Senate, were at the Capitol pretty much all year because of the special sessions and the impeachment trial of Attorney General Ken Paxton.
We went back to see how the 88th Legislative session compared to others by the numbers:
It looks like the 71st legislative session was the record-breaker under Governor Williams Clements. There were six special sessions -- but they weren't all in one year.
After the regular legislative session in 1989, there were two special sessions, and one of them ended on December 12, the latest in state history.
In 1990, there were a total of four special sessions, the last ending June 7 of that year.
Many are still wondering if there will be a fifth special session. No word yet from the governor's office.
Immigration bills make it through fourth special session
What did pass during the fourth special session were two controversial border security bills: Senate Bill 3 will allow the state to spend an extra $1.5 billion and Senate Bill 4 will make it a state crime for a migrant to enter Texas illegally.
Democratic North Texas Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett and other Democrats in Congress sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland expressing concern the Justice Department is not investigating potential civil rights violations at the border by Governor Abbott's Operation Lone Star.
The letter said, "We ask DOJ to clarify its position regarding legal interference of federal immigration law by Texas officials and state or local law enforcement acting under Operation Lone Star."
Members of Congress also said, "Undoubtedly, Congress must put aside partisan differences and come together to address the broken immigration system."
State Representative, Dallas police officer pleads no contest to misdemeanor charges
A state representative from North Texas, who is also a Dallas police officer, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges related to his prior primary campaign.
Rep. Frazier is retiring from the Dallas Police Department amid an internal affairs investigation.
First Latina judge
The first Latina judge has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to sit on the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
That judge is Irma Carrillo Ramirez, who has been a federal magistrate judge in Dallas for more than 20 years.
Texas GOP committee rejects proposed ban on associating with Nazi sympathizers
Controversy surrounds a key vote by the Texas GOP executive committee when it comes to associating with Nazi sympathizers and Holocaust deniers. There was also sharp criticism after a majority of members voted to remove a clause from a pro-Israel resolution.
That clause would have banned the Texas GOP from associating with antisemites, nazi sympathizers, and Holocaust deniers.
They did pass two resolutions unanimously --- one condemned antisemitism, the other supported Israel.
Chair Matt Rinaldi abstained from voting but spoke afterward about the resolution.
"And I don't think there would be any difference in the way we've operated, because I don't see any anti-semitic pro-Nazi or Holocaust denial movement on the right that has any significant traction whatsoever," said Rinaldi.
Republican and Democratic state leaders have since condemned the vote.
The vote comes two months after Texas Tribune reporter Robert Downen first broke the story about an avowed admirer of Adolph Hitler and the head of a conservative organization, the Defend Texas Liberty PAC, met with white supremacist and antisemite Nick Fuentes for hours in Fort Worth.
Lt. Gov. pushes back against school districts
Both Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker Dade Phelan exchanged criticism and insults about each other's ability to pass legislation.
The Lt. Governor is pushing back against Democrats and school districts who accuse the state of under-funding public education.
With the end of the fourth special session, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has had a lot to say about the issues affecting our state.
We sat down with him Friday at the Texas Capitol to talk about antisemitism, border security, and his concerns about the state's electric grid this winter.
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