Shannon Najmabadi, Texas Tribune

Shannon Najmabadi is the higher education reporter at the Tribune, where she started as a fellow in 2017. She previously reported for the Chronicle of Higher Education, where she covered the gender equity law Title IX, fallout from an executive order on immigration, and a federal loan forgiveness program with an uncertain future. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

The interest group representing Texas cities used to be one of the most powerful legislative forces at the Capitol. This session, it has become the GOP’s most prominent adversary.

As a former mayor, five-term state senator and champion of limited government, state Sen. Robert Nichols was familiar with the Texas property tax code.

But in 2016, in a visit with a local appraiser, the Jacksonville Republican was surprised to learn there was something strange happening on properties across central Texas.