texas state capitol building detail

Lone Star bipartisanship: Among the committee chairs announced this week by the Republican House speaker in Texas, above, were some Democrats, including one who will serve as speaker pro tem.

First Branch News | NCSL’s Weekly Roundup of Legislative Headlines

By Gene Rose | Feb. 12, 2021 | State Legislatures Magazine

First Branch News is NCSL’s weekly roundup of legislative headlines from news sources across the country and throughout the territories. 

State Legislative Operations 

The Virginia General Assembly started a special session on Wednesday. Members of the Utah House had the option to remove plexiglass barriers from their desks this week. Extra security is planned for Alabama government buildings this year. North Dakota is considering a bill to hold annual sessions. Hawaii is allowing testimony via Zoom this session. The Massachusetts General Court announced the formation of three new joint committees, including one on COVID-19 and emergency preparedness. Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Senate is considering new rules on bias and bystander intervention and increased public access to information. Due the delay of U.S. census data needed to redraw legislative districts, Delaware will hold a rare special session this fall.

State Legislators and Staff in the News 

Among the committee chairs announced this week by Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) were some Democrats, including Representative Joe Moody (D) as speaker pro tem. The nation’s youngest House speaker is Maine’s Ryan Fecteau (D). West Virginia Senate President Pro Tempore Donna Boley (R) is the longest continuously serving senator in the state’s history. The Alaska House chose Representative Louise Stutes (R) as its permanent speaker, replacing Representative Josiah Patkotak (Unaffiliated), who was elected temporary speaker earlier in the week. New Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D) has proposed term limits for the chamber’s top job.

Other News: Flags and Aviation

Legislation introduced in Utah could result in a redesigned state flag. An aviation caucus is on tap for the Colorado General Assembly this year.

From NCSL’s State Legislative News This Week 

Our Reporters Cover NCSL’s State Policy 101 Series

Articles from news sources curated in First Branch News are provided for information purposes only and do not reflect NCSL views. 

Gene Rose is NCSL’s communications director.

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