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Posts under ‘That’s our Lege’

Interview with Bill Kelly

You may have heard that the city of Houston has some legislative business to take care of this session. Most notably, the city wants to get a bill passed to implement its pension reform plans, which may or may not have been complicated by the news that a vote could be required for the city […]

The NBA is keeping an eye on SB6, too

I’d be shocked if they weren’t. While lauding the work of New Orleans to take on the NBA All-Star game after the league pulled its events from Charlotte because of House Bill 2, which limited anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people in the state, NBA commissioner Adam Silver did not sound eager to […]

The legal case against the “sanctuary cities” bill

Ken Paxton says that the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill meets legal muster, and the state won’t get sued to smithereens if it passes. Not all lawyers agree with that. The office of the Texas Attorney General can no better predict when the Dallas Cowboys will win the Super Bowl than it can how an appeals […]

We may be voting on pension obligation bonds

Oh, boy. A state lawmaker carrying Houston’s pension reform bill says her version of the proposal will require a public referendum on a $1 billion cash infusion central to the negotiations, an idea Mayor Sylvester Turner called a “poison pill” that could derail the reforms and force “massive” layoffs. The requirement that voters have a […]

Again, there is no such thing as an acceptable bathroom bill

The current strategy for Dan Patrick in trying to round up support for, or at least blunt opposition to, his bathroom bill is to claim that it will contain exceptions for sports venues, so no one needs to worry about boycotts or other bad things. Unfortunately for Dan, no one is buying it, and the […]

Artists against SB6

I’m glad to see this, but I have some questions. More than 135 musicians and artists are joining the chorus of opposition against Texas’ so-called “bathroom bill.” Singers and other artists including Lady Gaga, Cyndi Lauper, Alicia Keys have signed onto an open letter asking Texas lawmakers to stand down from passing Senate Bill 6 […]

A telemedicine breakthrough

This is good to see. A years-long fight over the use of telemedicine in Texas appears to have been resolved, with medical and industry groups agreeing to compromise legislation that, if it passes, could benefit patients, especially those in rural areas. Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Charles Schwertner, a Georgetown Republican and orthopedic […]

Super Bowl or bathroom bill?

Choose one or the other. Texas’ next trip to the Super Bowl may hit a roadblock in Austin, where conservative lawmakers are pushing a bill to ban transgender people from the public bathrooms they feel most comfortable using. “If a proposal that is discriminatory or inconsistent with our values were to become law (in Texas), […]

Paddie files another rideshare bill

From the inbox: Texas State Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall) has filed legislation proposing a statewide regulatory framework for transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft. House Bill 100 will help bring economic opportunity and access to safe, reliable transportation to more Texans. “It is time to end the inconsistencies of regulations across the […]

How SB6 will hurt people

Nell Gaither counts the ways. SB 6 identifies a target without naming it and erases policy intended to offer at least some protection for vulnerable populations, building a legal excuse for harming those people and for coercing them not to fight back. Once the law is in place, the “responsible adults” will turn their backs […]

Counting to 19 on SB6

That’s the number of votes needed to move the Patrick potty bill to the floor of the Senate for a full vote. At times, it seemed like Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was a bit like a man on an island when it came to one of his signature priorities this legislative session: the Texas Privacy […]

Is the end near for straight-ticket voting?

It could be. Partisan efficiency experts might love the time-saving charms of straight-ticket voting, but a number of the state’s top elected officials are ready to outlaw the practice. Straight-ticket, or one-punch, voting allows people to cast a ballot for all of one party’s candidates with one pull of the lever, stroke of the pencil […]

“Sanctuary cities” bill passes in Senate

As expected. The Texas Senate late Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a controversial immigration measure to ban “sanctuary” jurisdictions in the state. Senate Bill 4, filed by state Sen. Charles Perry, would punish local and state government entities and college campuses that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials or enforce immigration laws. The vote […]

The burden that keeps on depriving

North Carolina’s bathroom law, y’all. The North Carolina Sports Association, which represents 27 counties across North Carolina that recruit and promote major sporting events, sent a letter to the state’s House of Representatives and General Assembly on Monday urging an immediate repeal of the controversial House Bill 2. The law, known as the bathroom bill, […]

Politifact muddles the economic debate over SB6

This doesn’t change anything, but we must fuss about it anyway. In what appeared to be an attempt at a show of force, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Monday once again attacked claims that the proposed “bathroom bill” is bad for business in Texas. Flanked by nine Republican senators — including Senate Bill 6 author […]

Three rideshare bills

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute Policy Center looks at the (first) three bills relating to ridesharing that have been filed in the Lege: Three bills have been filed so far in the 85th Texas Legislature, regular session, addressing transportation network companies, frequently referred to as ride-hailing or (less accurately) as ridesharing. The bills are SB […]

The craft brewers’ legislative agenda

Same as it was last time. Now that the 85th Texas Legislature is in session, lobbyists for the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, the organization that advances the interests of the state’s craft brewers, are going to push for more. Namely, they want production breweries to be able to sell beer to-go from their taprooms. “Having […]

Senate “sanctuary cities” bill hearing

Lots of people came out to testify against it, which is a good thing. After a 16-hour hearing that included tears, heckling, bursts of anger and warnings from lawmakers to witnesses to respect the rules of the Capitol’s upper chamber, the Texas Senate’s State Affairs Committee voted 7-2 along party lines early Friday morning to […]

There is no “acceptable” bathroom bill

Please don’t try to create one. A Republican in the Texas House is pitching an alternative to the “bathroom bill,” saying he wants to focus more on local control than on bathrooms. State Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, filed legislation Monday that would prohibit local governments from setting restroom policies for private businesses. The measure, House […]

SB6 will hurt people

It will hurt transgender people, who despite what Dan Patrick would have you think, are people like you and me. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has said his so-called bathroom bill isn’t discriminatory because transgender people can update their birth certificates to reflect their gender identity. However, statistics obtained by the Observer from the Department of […]

Yes, SB6 targets transgender people

That is its purpose. The author of the so-called bathroom bill said she is working on potential changes after listening to people “from all walks of life,” emphasizing that her measure is aimed not at the transgender people it would affect but at men who might assert a right to go into women’s restrooms for […]

Interview with Jessica Shortall of Texas Competes

We are very familiar with the fight over Dan Patrick’s bathroom bill, which is encapsulated in SB6 but also exists in a larger sense in several other bills. A major component in this fight is the business community, which sees such legislation as a threat to its ability to attract and retain talent, especially younger […]

A warning from North Carolina

Are we listening? A North Carolina mayor issued a warning Thursday to Texas lawmakers concerning Senate Bill 6, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s anti-transgender bathroom bill. Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan said a similar law in the Tarheel State — House Bill 2 — has created a “manmade recession,” and recently prompted a Fortune 500 company to […]

Paxton courts the business lobby

Not sure what to make of this. Making his case for the “bathroom bill” to Texas business leaders, Attorney General Ken Paxton said Tuesday that Senate Bill 6 would have a narrow focus, and he urged them to listen to parents “just concerned about the safety of their children.” […] Paxton, who has been battling […]

Dukes indicted

Boom. A grand jury has indicted state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, on abuse-of-office charges, the Travis County District Attorney’s office said Wednesday. She could face up to 28 years in jail and fines of up to $138,000. The first indictment charges 13 counts of tampering with a governmental record, a felony punishable by up to […]

It’s all bathrooms, all the time

People are paying attention to Dan Patrick’s anti-LGBT bathroom bill, and for the most part they do not like it. In early February, the Super Bowl will be in Houston and in late March, the women’s Final Four will be in Dallas. If Patrick pushes the bathroom bill through the Senate by then, as expected, […]

The coming legislative border battle

Here we go again. House Republicans on Wednesday said they aren’t backing away from recent efforts to secure the southern border despite an incoming president who made beefed-up immigration enforcement a hallmark of his campaign. And as a final admonishment of President Obama, they said they intended to bill the federal government more than $2.8 […]

Dukes un-resigns

Ugh. State Rep. Dawnna Dukes confirmed to the Texas Tribune in an email Monday that she is not resigning from her post with House District 46, just two days after blindsiding supporters and fellow lawmakers with her reverse decision. Dukes, an Austin Democrat, announced in September that she would retire from office on Jan. 10, […]

Business really doesn’t want a bathroom bill

Because this can’t be said enough. Texas business leaders are gearing up for a fight with state lawmakers over Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s push to bar transgender Texans from bathrooms tied to their gender identity. Business groups vehemently oppose the legislation, which they say would discriminate against the LGBT community, make the Lone Star State […]

This fight feels different

The more I read about the forthcoming fight between Dan Patrick and his minions and everyone else over the bathroom bill, the more I am struck by the thought that we have never seen anything quite like this before in Texas. Standing in front of reporters Thursday, Patrick was still a man on the mission, […]

New school grading system looks pretty harsh

Brace yourselves. Schools in poor neighborhoods overwhelmingly received the worst grades under Texas’ new rating system — but even typically high-performing districts got C’s and D’s, according to scores that will be released Friday. The “what if” grades show how schools and districts could fare in the new A-F system, which won’t take effect until […]

Patrick plunges ahead with his potty bill

Brace yourselves. After months of sparring over whether transgender Texans should be allowed to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Thursday officially set the legislative stage for the debate. Following North Carolina’s lead, Texas Republicans announced Senate Bill 6, which would require transgender people to use bathrooms […]

Rep. Martinez to introduce “don’t shoot guns in the air” bill

You’d think this wouldn’t be necessary, but it is. After being hit in the head with a bullet shortly after midnight on New Year’s Eve, state Rep. Armando Martinez plans to file legislation aimed at reducing or preventing celebratory gun firings. “If my legislation could help save a life, you know, then definitely that’s what […]

How not to celebrate New Years Eve

DO NOT SHOOT GUNS IN THE AIR! Seriously. Local law enforcement authorities here have confirmed that State Rep. Armando “Mando” Martinez, District 39, is recovering after being struck by a “stray bullet.” According to Weslaco police, Martinez underwent surgery today related to a gunshot wound to the head. Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra confirmed that […]