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Inside Texas Politics: Why Republican lawmakers decided time was right for 'heartbeat' abortion bill

Two years ago, state leaders said this bill was not the highest priority, in part because it was something that would ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

DALLAS — This is the final stretch for the Texas legislature. It adjourns a week from Monday. 

State Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Dist. 1, is behind some of the biggest conservative wins of the session. Hughes represents northeast Texas from Texarkana to Tyler. 

He helped author Senate Bill 8, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law last week.

Two years ago, state leaders said this bill was not the highest priority, in part because it was something that would ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

What changed? 

"Texas has been a leader in pro-life legislation and there was a thought over the last few years that until the Supreme Court was right, it wasn't the time to send a bill they might rule against," said Hughes. 

Hughes said state lawmakers looked at the dozens of bills passed in other states and Supreme Court opinions in drafting this legislation.

"We believe this is the best heartbeat bill passed in America," he said.

RELATED: Gov. Greg Abbott signs into law one of nation’s strictest abortion measures, banning procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy

Watch the entire episode of this week's Inside Texas Politics below: 

RELATED: The 'heartbeat' abortion bill was not a priority for Texas Republicans two years ago. What changed?

Texas power grid bills: Where things stand

In these final days of the legislative session, Texas lawmakers are moving two bills in connection to the winter storms and power outages that we're watching closely. 

One, House Bill 14, would map or identify critical energy infrastructure like power plants and the natural gas supply that they need to operate.

The other, House Bill 11, would require those facilities to weatherize, so we don't see the failures again from February. 

Vistra Corporation is the largest generator of electricity in this state. CEO Curt Morgan has been out front pushing leaders to make substantive changes. 

Morgan said lawmakers haven't addressed all the issues from February, but they are getting close. 

"They have, I think, two very good bills that are very close," said Morgan.

He believes those bills will cross the finish line, because the people and economy in Texas are too important.

RELATED: In rare interview, CEO of Texas’ largest generator of electricity said state economy at stake if lawmakers don’t pass energy reform

Texas schools receiving billions in pandemic relief 

Texas public schools are about to get $12.4 billion from the federal government. 

This money makes up for the losses that the state's public schools saw during the pandemic. but questions are coming along with that cash. The new Secretary of Education, Dr. Miguel Cardona, joined Inside Texas Politics to answer questions about the money and how it's being spent.

"This is unprecedented and it's critically important that we make sure we're transparent with where the money is and how we're spending it," said Cordona.

He said there were things they wanted to focus on with this money: making sure there's equity in how the funds are used and stakeholders are engaged in the communities.

RELATED: U.S. Secretary of Education addresses whether children under 12 should keep their face masks for the fall


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