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The Texas State Capitol. Photo: Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images

The Texas legislature convened on Thursday for a special session requested by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to consider a collection of conservative priorities, including new voting restrictions, the Washington Post reports.

State of play: State Republicans in the House and Senate introduced new bills that would ban drive-through voting and would make it a crime for election officials to solicit mail-in voting applications.

  • They omitted a portion of the previous bill that said Texans couldn't vote before 1 p.m. on Sundays, which would have blocked "souls to the polls," a tradition in Black communities that encourages people to vote after church.

Catch up quick: The special session comes weeks after state Democrats staged a walkout to block a voter restriction bill.

What they're saying: "The 87th Legislative Session was a monumental success for the people of Texas, but we have unfinished business to ensure that Texas remains the most exceptional state in America," Abbott said in a statement, per CBS News.

The big picture: The agenda for the special session includes legislation reforming the bail system in the state, a bill providing funding to local law enforcement, and a measure evaluating social media "censorship," among other items.

Go deeper

Oct 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Senate to vote on Manchin-backed voting rights proposal

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, flanked by Sen. Joe Manchin. Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

The Senate will vote next week on a new voting rights bill backed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced in a letter to colleagues on Thursday.

Why it matters: The Freedom To Vote Act is the latest attempt by Democrats to counter Republican-led measures at the state level to restrict voting access. Democrats still face the same roadblock to enacting it: the filibuster.

Updated Oct 15, 2021 - Axios Austin

Texas to grow hotter in coming decades

Expand chart
Texas A&M; Map: Will Chase/Axios

New research by the state climatologist suggests that Central Texas will get hotter and drier in coming decades — and expect more flooding.

Worth noting: John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M atmospheric scientist and state climatologist, tells Axios that while state agency officials consult him, he never hears from the governor's office.

Oct 15, 2021 - Health

Texas abortion ban stumps businesses

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies and CEOs are reluctant to speak out against Texas’ abortion ban because they fear there’s more to lose than gain.

Why it matters: As the de facto fourth branch of government, CEOs face more pressure to drive social and political change.

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