Will Annie Get Her Gun?

open carry texasSome of the biggest news to come out of the first day of the Eighty-fourth legislative session—apart from Senator Konni Burton trolling Dems with her boots—was the contingent of pro-gun supporters in front of the Capitol. It’s difficult to ignore a posse of men armed to the teeth under any circumstance, but it’s especially eye-catching when they’ve got their own little DIY Smith & Wesson factory cranking out almost-useable guns.

The gunslinging supporters are protesting for passage of HB 195, introduced by state representative Jonathan Stickland, a law that would essentially allow citizens to pack heat anywhere their proud, Second Amendment-loving hearts desire (SomeConditionsApplySeeSection46.035ForDetails). As it currently stands, people can carry longarms or antique pistols in full view, a loophole of the law, but advocates are pretty confident this is the year unrestricted open carry will prevail. 

Or will it?

Governing Time

Joe StrausNotwithstanding the fact that Republicans once again won all the major statewide elections in November, 2015 will be marked by major transitions in Texas politics an

Last Man Standing

Amid all the changes in state government brought about by the November election, Joe Straus remains the most notable constant. The San Antonio Republican was first elected speaker of the House in 2009 after widespread dissatisfaction with the heavy-handed leadership style of Tom Craddick, the first Republican speaker since Reconstruction, led to Craddick’s ouster.

The Last Forty Years--and the Future

I joined the staff of TEXAS MONTHLY on October 1, 1974, and after much consideration, I have decided to retire in March. I have had a rich and rewarding forty-year career as senior executive editor of TEXAS MONTHLY and have been enabled by my editors to do what I love most: cover Texas politics. I will continue to be engaged with TEXAS MONTHLY on several fronts, including coverage of the 84th Legislature. But the time has come for Sarah and me to move on to the next chapter of our lives.

I am proud of the fact that my colleagues and I created one of the most impactful stories that has influenced Texas journalism: the compilation of the “Ten Best and Ten Worst Texas Legislators.” I am grateful to my incredibly talented colleagues who joined me in covering the Legislature over the years, to my editors who have enabled me to pursue the fascinating world of Texas politics, and above all to the readers of BurkaBlog. Thank you for reading.

If you’d like to see the email that my editor, Brian Sweany, sent to the staff this morning, keep reading after the jump:

Fifth Circuit Hears Texas’ Same-Sex Marriage Lawsuit

Less than two years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in United States v. Windsor—which gutted the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that defined marriage as the union between one man and one woman—legislatures and judiciaries in state after state have overturned bans on same-sex marriage. Gays and lesbians can now marry in 36 states and Washington, D.C. Texas remains one of the last holdouts.

Through the Looking Glass

On November 10 Giovanni Capriglione, a Republican state representative from Southlake, appeared on a panel convened by the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party and took a lonely stand. The topic that evening was the 2015 legislative session, which would begin January 13. It had been less than a week since Republicans had once again swept the statewide elections, this time by unexpectedly large margins.

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