Next week, Texas Scorecard will focus on the top 10 stories of 2021—as selected by readers. These will be the stories of the year that most impacted them, or that they saw as most impacting Texas.
Here, though, are the top storylines of the year, as determined by page views and social media interactions:
FEBRUARY: Power Out
The failure of Texas’ electric grid in February’s winter storm left millions of Texans shivering in the dark for nearly a week. Will we get a repeat in 2022? Or were the issues resolved?
MARCH: False Report
The Capitol was roiled by allegations that a lobbyist sexually assaulted legislative staffers, only for it to be revealed as a false report.
JUNE: Heartbeat Law
In 2021, Texas lawmakers passed into law the Heartbeat Act—and it has already survived numerous legal challenges, with advocates saying hundreds of abortions have been stopped each week as a result.
JUNE: Constitutional Carry
Lawmakers passed a version of of constitutional carry, allowing law-abiding Texans to carry firearms without permits in most circumstances.
JUNE: Spending Limits
More than three decades in the making, lawmakers finally made the constitutional spending limits meaningful … though it won’t take effect until the 2024-2025 fiscal year’s budget.
JUNE: Priorities Ignored
Despite some successes, lawmakers concluded the 2021 legislative session with many of the Texas GOP’s legislative priorities unaccomplished.
JULY: Gender Coercion
The public was horrified to learn about the legal practices in Texas of adults coercing children into gender reassignment procedures. House Speaker Dade Phelan and Gov. Greg Abbott have refused to allow the issue to be addressed, despite a majority of lawmakers wanting action.
AUGUST: Executive Overreach
Throughout 2020, lawmakers made strong comments about the need to reform issues of executive overreach, in light of mask mandates and other issues. But as 2021 comes to a close, those same lawmakers did nothing even when they had the chance to take action.
SEPTEMBER: False Arrest
Texans were horrified by the videotape of the wife of gubernatorial candidate Allen West being wrongfully arrested by the Dallas Police Department. She was quickly vindicated, but not before a frustrating ordeal that raised questions about police authority and training.
SEPTEMBER: Election Integrity
Few issues demanded action quite like strengthening the state’s election integrity laws. The legislative fights dragged the issue out until the fall, when it was revealed that while some good things were accomplished, the House GOP leadership allowed many of the penalties for voter fraud to be reduced.
SEPTEMBER: Democrats Unpunished
After Democrats fled the state for 37 days to block election integrity efforts, taxpayers were shocked to watch Republicans refuse to issue any punishments. Indeed, Democrats collected their “per diem” cash and retained leadership positions.
OCTOBER: School CRT
When concerns about “critical race theory” in public schools were originally raised, parents were told it was a non-issue. But with more eyes on the issue, and intense pushback from school officials, more instances have been found – and parents have begun fighting back.
NOVEMBER: Agency Push
It was revealed that the Department of Family and Protective Services has been pushing employees to sit through intense “CRT” courses and sign pledges to be social justice warriors. The training was quietly killed.
NOVEMBER: School Porn
Following the quarantine year of 2020, parents have become accustomed to seeing more of the “educational” materials in the schools. So many have been horrified to find libraries with sexually explicit materials—including pornographic images—freely available.
DECEMBER: Vax Mandates
For months, the Republican Party of Texas and a growing number of lawmakers have called on Gov. Abbott to order a special session dealing with vaccine mandates—but the governor has refused to do so.
ALL YEAR: Border Insecurity
The crisis on the Texas-Mexico border, between the flood of illegal immigrants and rising violence, has continued to frustrate Texans.