Texas tests whether GOP losses soften hard-right Statehouse

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lawmakers in Texas say a new legislative session will test whether Republicans’ rocky 2018 will soften one of the most hard-right statehouses in the country.

Republicans are still firmly in power as the Texas Legislature returns to work Tuesday. Some lawmakers say GOP losses in November’s midterm election have curbed the appetite for divisive legislation that derailed past sessions.

In 2017, the Texas Capitol saw one lawmaker threaten to shoot another after reporting Hispanic protesters to immigration agents. Fortune 500 companies also joined a backlash over a “bathroom bill” that targeted transgender people.

Democrats in Texas flipped 14 seats in the Legislature in the midterm elections, propelled by Beto O’Rourke’s star-making challenge against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz at the top of the ticket. O’Rourke is now considering a 2020 White House run.

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