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Inside Texas Politics: These are some of the big issues state legislators will tackle in January

State Sen. Royce West joined Inside Texas Politics to talk about the power struggle expected to play out in the Texas Senate.
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American and Texas state flags flying on the dome of the Texas State Capitol building in Austin

There are a little more than 20 days left before the next legislative session in Austin. 

The Texas House will get a lot of attention with a new leader elected in that chamber. However, Inside Texas Politics began by focusing on the Texas Senate and the power struggle that will unfold there with Republicans wanting to cement their control. 

Veteran Democratic state Sen. Royce West discussed how he expects a rule change to play out.

West represents Dallas County residents in District 23. He said he believes there will be legislation to hold police officers more accountable across the state following the protests against racial injustice over the summer.

West mentioned bills named after George Floyd and Botham Jean as possibilities lawmakers will consider.

Another issue legislators will consider: how owners of electric cars might have to pay. 

Right now, if you own an electric vehicle, you avoid paying gas taxes, which hurts the state budget. West said lawmakers will explore a number of options to close that gap.

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

Travis County judge recommends virtual holiday services

In November, voters elected Andy Brown as the new Travis County Judge. He replaced Sarah Eckhardt, who was elected to the Texas Senate. 

Brown is a veteran of Democratic politics and has a request for faith leaders this Christmas week.

He has asked them to go virtual for their holiday services. Brown said he has talked to a number of different groups about his request. 

"I've learned that most, if not all of them whom I've talked to are already taking precautions," he explained. 

Some of the precautions, for those who can't hold virtual services, include mask wearing and social distancing. 

Brown said his top priority in the new seat is reforming the criminal justice system to be more proactive, to ensure people have access to the support they need outside the jail.

The Travis County jail makes up the bulk of the county's expenses, he said.

A woman's jail is being considered for Travis County, which has been delayed. 

Brown said he hopes they invest in funding their community rather than another jail.

An influential 'Green Republican' in red Texas

Coming from a family that is one of the most well-known real estate developers in the state, Trammell S. Crow set out to build something of his own. 

Among his accomplishments, Crow founded EarthX to showcase initiatives, research and innovations. 

But Crow also has federal lawmakers over to his house for conversations on environmental conservation. In fact, as the Jasons recorded an episode with him for the Y'all-itics podcast, one state official called his cell phone. 

Crow, a self-described "Green Republican," joined the Jasons for a candid conversation about the intersection of the environment and politics and his unvarnished message to his party.

To listen to this complete conversation and previous episodes of Y'all-itics, subscribe wherever you get your podcasts: 
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