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ABC-7 Xtra

ABC-7 Sunday Xtra: The upcoming Texas legislative session and its impact on El Paso

Texas Capitol
Lakana news file
The Texas Capitol building in Austin.

EL PASO, Texas -- The 87th Texas legislative session is set to begin on Jan. 12 as the legislature meets every two years.

The world, and by extension, the state of Texas has changed drastically since 2019. The biggest change, of course, is the coronavirus pandemic.

Covid-19 has impacted the state budget, opening a shortfall to the tune of billions of dollars in a state that under its constitution must balance the budget.

Healthcare and education are among the items at stake, with schools having been out to in-person learning since spring break.

Education funding was a big ticket issue in the last legislative session and it will be again this time.

Also during the pandemic, a nationwide census happened which will impact redistricting maps for the next 10 years. Those maps determine the number of representatives we send to Austin and to Washington, as well impact government funding.

Among the questions:  Will El Paso be able to keep all its representatives?
We also just had an election. Republicans retained the majority in both the Texas House and Senate - but El Paso's entire delegation is Democrat.

And on top of all that, legislators don't even know how the 87th legislative session will look like under a pandemic. What will chambers and committee meetings look like? And will the press and the public be allowed  inside the pink building?

ABC-7’s Sunday Xtra host Saul Saenz speaks with newly elected state Sen.  Cesar Blanco and state Rep. Joe Moody, who was previously speaker pro-temp. Moody also discusses cannabis laws for Texas, and virus vaccine distribution in El Paso.

Saul Saenz

El Paso native Saul Saenz is a veteran reporter who also hosts ABC-7 Extra.

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