Analysis: Texas politics after the legislative session

ROSS RAMSEY, Associated Press

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The bustle in the Texas Capitol’s halls hasn’t completely subsided, but the business suits have been replaced by the shorts and T-shirts of summer tourists.

Legislative season is mostly over. The political season is about to start.

Gov. Greg Abbott has until Father’s Day — June 16 — to decide which bills to sign, which ones to veto and which ones will become law without his signature. He’ll go through the budget and scratch out the line items he doesn’t like.

The next day, the political fundraising gates will fly open. The veto deadline ends the fundraising blackout for the state’s elected officials. They can’t raise money while they’re legislating because that looks too much like open bribery. They have to wait.

And there’s a rush at this point every two years, because there’s a June 30 deadline for reporting how much money they’ve raised. A candidate who can haul in an impressive enough amount of money during those two weeks could persuade potential opponents to find something better to do in the 2020 elections.

Maybe that sounds early. But the candidate filing deadline in the 2020 elections comes before the end of the state’s Dec. 31 campaign finance deadline. All candidates will have to judge the financial strength of their opponents before they sign up for the March primaries.

Like it or not, the political winds are blowing.

Ten pieces of legislation go to voters for approval in November, in the form of constitutional amendments, rather than to the governor. That package includes a range of items including a proposed constitutional ban on personal income taxes, tax exemptions for disaster victims and — this is true — what happens to police dogs when they retire and who gets to take care of them.

That might not be big to you, but it’s important to the dogs.

The state’s primary elections aren’t as far away as they might seem: March 3, 2020, is just nine months away.

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