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Posts under ‘That’s our Lege’

Federal court blocks Trump “sanctuary cities” order

Good. A federal judge in San Francisco dealt the Trump administration another legal blow Tuesday, temporarily halting President Donald Trump’s threat to withhold federal funding from cities and towns that refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities. U.S. District Judge William Orrick imposed a nationwide injunction against a Jan. 25 executive order authorizing the attorney general […]

Uber and Lyft speak on the “biological sex” amendment in statewide rideshare bill

It’s a start. Five days after a controversial amendment defining “sex” as “male or female” was added to a statewide ride-hailing bill, representatives from Uber and Lyft called the addition disappointing and unnecessary — though both companies stopped short of saying they’d withdraw their support. “We are disappointed that this unnecessary amendment was added to […]

Senate approves special ed reform bill

Good. The Texas Senate moved Wednesday to ban state officials from ever again imposing a cap on the percentage of students allowed to receive special education services. The chamber voted unanimously in favor of Senate Bill 160, putting the legislation just one step away from the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott, who already has indicated […]

Investigation requested into voucher astroturfing

From the Quorum Report: Following a criminal complaint by a GOP former lawmaker, an Austin representative has asked the Travis County District Attorney’s Office to look a letter-writing campaign that has deeply troubled rural Republicans in the Texas House who are opposed to school vouchers. In a letter obtained by Quorum Report this evening, Rep. […]

House passes school finance reform bill

Well done. State Rep. Dan Huberty succeeded at a difficult task Wednesday: getting the Texas House of Representatives to vote for legislation overhauling the funding system for public education, without a court mandate. After a four-hour discussion of more than 30 proposed amendments, the House voted 134-16 to tentatively accept its top education leader’s plan […]

Bathroom bill 2.0 gets its committee hearing

It’s the same old garbage in a new package. Amid concerns about rolling back local protections for vulnerable Texans and dire economic fallout, a panel of House lawmakers considered a measure into the early hours of Thursday morning that some are hoping will serve as an alternative approach to regulating bathroom use for transgender Texans. […]

House passes statewide rideshare bill

Made it farther than it did last session. After a lengthy debate among lawmakers over the best way to regulate services like Uber and Lyft, the Texas House backed a proposal that would override local regulations concerning ride-hailing companies. House Bill 100, by state Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, would establish a statewide framework to regulate […]

Senate passes AirBnB bill

As you know, I don’t care for this. A Senate bill that would limit local government control of short-term home rentals in Texas passed out of the upper chamber Tuesday in a 21-9 vote. Under Senate Bill 451 by state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, Texas cities would be prevented from banning short-term rentals […]

Another study of bathrooms and business

Short answer: Bathroom bills are bad. Legislation viewed by many as discriminatory toward LGBT Texans — including proposals to regulate which bathrooms transgender individuals may use — could cost the state $3.3 billion in annual tourism dollars and more than 35,600 full-time jobs associated with leisure travel and conventions, according to a study by the […]

More on the House bathroom bill

Still a very bad idea. After largely avoiding discussions so far on proposals to regulate bathrooms, the Texas House will wade into the debate this week with a measure some are hoping will serve as an alternative to the Senate’s “bathroom bill.” Setting aside the Senate’s proposal, the House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday will […]

Hog apocalypse update

The poison plan for controlling feral hogs is set to be put on pause by the Legislature. A bill poised to pass the Texas House would amend the Texas Agriculture Code to prohibit the Department of Agriculture from registering, approving for use or allowing use of any pesticide for feral hog control unless a study […]

“Sanctuary cities” bill passes House committee

Something like this is going to pass, it’s just a matter of what form it takes. A state House committee on Wednesday passed a “sanctuary cities” bill that is less harsh than the version passed by the Senate, but that still would require local sheriffs and jailers to comply with federal requests to hold on […]

Bill to fix voting interpreters considered

This needs to happen, and it really shouldn’t be a big deal. Almost three years after Mallika Das, a naturalized citizen who spoke Bengali, was unable to vote properly because she was not proficient in English, Texas lawmakers are considering a change to an obscure provision of Texas election law regarding language interpreters. Members of […]

Bathroom bill 2.0

Beware. House lawmakers will debate a so-called “bathroom bill” next week that supporters hope will be less worrisome to business interests concerned the measure could hurt the Texas economy. The decision to debate the House bill, and to set aside a more severe version passed last month in the Senate, marks the latest split the two chambers have endured during a […]

Making vaccination information public

I support this. While most parents in Texas vaccinate their children, the number of parents opting out of immunizations for non-medical reasons is on the rise. Since Texas changed its laws to allow parents to opt out citing a conscientious objection, the number of unvaccinated children has shot up more than 1,700 percent in 13 […]

“Strongly held religious beliefs” do not justify discrimination

This is a very bad idea. Legislation that would allow county clerks in Texas to decline to issue same-sex marriage licenses if it conflicts with their religious beliefs was tentatively approved Tuesday by the Texas Senate. State Sen. Brian Birdwell, a Granbury Republican who authored the measure, said the Senate Bill 522 would allow clerks […]

The first step is admitting you have a problem

Rewire points out an issue that should have been obvious. Earlier this month, about 70 Texas businesses signed a letter condemning a discriminatory bill now circulating in the state legislature that would largely bar transgender people from using public restrooms or changing facilities that match their gender identity. “We believe everyone should be treated with […]

One more thing about vouchers

I’m going to enjoy this just a little bit more. The Texas House of Representatives all but killed Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s prized school choice bill Thursday, dealing the powerful Republican a major loss as he struggles to push his agenda through this year’s legislative session. House members considering the state’s budget plan for the […]

Pension reform bill passes House committee

Two for two. Houston’s pension reform bill will now move to the floor of each legislative chamber after a Texas House committee joined its Senate counterparts in passing the measure 6-1 Wednesday. With Rep. Roberto Alonzo, D-Dallas, opposed, the pensions committee adopted House Bill 43, which will now head to a scheduling committee to be […]

Marijuana decriminalization bill passes House committee

Progress. The House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee advanced a marijuana decriminalization bill on Monday with the help of two Republicans. With a 4–2 vote, the committee approved House Bill 81, authored by Chair Joe Moody, D-El Paso, at Monday’s hearing. Under HB 81, police would ticket someone caught with an ounce or less of marijuana rather […]

Five anti-Texas Central bills approved by Senate committee

It just got real. Five bills filed by state lawmakers fearful a high-speed rail project planned between Houston and Dallas will be a dud and need help from the state passed a key committee Wednesday, breezing their way past opposition from supporters of the line. The bills approved Wednesday by the Senate Transportation Committee, three […]

Bail bondsmen complain about bail reform bill

I understand their concerns, but that doesn’t mean I agree with them. Legislation touted as a fix-all to reform Texas’ controversial jail-release system was blasted Tuesday by bail bondsmen and attorneys who said it would destroy the bail-bond industry and leave taxpayers footing a multimillion-dollar tab. “The whole industry will be out of business” if […]

NCAA rewards North Carolina for its weaksauce HB2 repeal

So this happened. Discrimination won the championship this year. The NCAA announced Tuesday morning that it completely fell for the bait-and-switch concocted by Republican leadership in North Carolina’s legislature and Gov. Roy Cooper (D). Last week, they passed a compromise bill that repealed HB2, the state’s infamous anti-LGBT law, and replaced it with HB142, which […]

This could be the session that a statewide texting-while-driving ban passes

I haven’t followed the progress of the filed-every-session statewide-band-on-texting-while-driving bill, but recent tragic events have put a spotlight on it and raised the probability of it actually becoming law. Texas is one of four states that do not have a statewide ban on texting and driving. That distinction has drawn renewed attention in recent days […]

Crowler conundrum concluded

Finally. Mike McKim held an empty aluminum can under a tap and pulled the handle, filling the can with Real Ale Brewery’s Helles beer. He fitted a pull tab lid on top, slotted the can into his “crowler” machine, and pushed a button. He told the story of the equipment’s origins, invented by Colorado-based brewery […]

The kindergarten face of SB6

Meet the Shappley family of Pearland. Kimberly Shappley’s former self is about as by-the-book right-wing as you can get: a Southern Baptist-identified evangelical, a Republican stalwart, an “ultraconservative” Tea Partier. When she heard of other parents with transgender kids, she remembers derisively thinking, “If my kid wants to be a dinosaur, am I just supposed […]

Firefighters will oppose pension reform bill

So it goes. Hopes that Houston’s firefighter pension board might agree to a compromise set of benefit reforms and end their opposition to Mayor Sylvester Turner’s landmark reform package proved too optimistic, after the two sides passed a Thursday deadline without a deal. It remains unclear what effect counting the firefighters as confirmed foes will […]

Let the clerks out of it

I approve of this. The state’s leading LGBT advocacy group has thrown its support behind a bill that would accommodate county clerks with religious objections to same-sex marriage. Under Senate Bill 911, by state Senator Joan Huffman, R-Sugar Land, marriage licenses in Texas would no longer specify the names of clerks who issue them, instead […]

North Carolina “repeals” HB2

It’s “repeal” in a mostly meaningless sense. Late Wednesday night, for the second day in a row, North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R) and Senate leader Phil Berger (R) held a press conference announcing that they’d established yet another “compromise” to repeal HB2 with Gov. Roy Cooper (D). They are planning to force it […]

Busy day in the Senate

They got stuff done, I’ll give them that. Whether it was stuff worth doing or not, I’ll leave to you. 1. Senate bill would let Houston voters weigh in on fix to pension crisis. The Senate on Wednesday voted 21-10 to give preliminary approval of a bill that would require voters to sign off before […]

House hearing for pension bill

Another step in the process. Houston’s pension reform plan got its first hearing Monday in the state House, where rows and rows of current and retired firefighters appeared to voice opposition to the plan. Municipal and police leaders testified in support, however, as did representatives of the Greater Houston Partnership and, of course, Mayor Sylvester […]

The North Carolina bathroom bill price tag

How does $3.76 billion, at a minimum, grab you? Despite Republican assurances that North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” isn’t hurting the economy, the law limiting LGBT protections will cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years, according to an Associated Press analysis. Over the past year, North Carolina has suffered […]

Voter ID 2.0 passes out of the Senate

Meh. The Texas Senate tentatively approved legislation Monday that would revamp the state’s voter identification rules, a response to court rulings that the current law discriminates against minority voters. Following more than an hour of debate, the chamber voted 21-10 to move the bill to a final vote, likely later this week. Sen. Joan Huffman’s […]

First shenanigan spotted

There will be more to come, I’m sure, but this will be happening today. A Tuesday debate over the future of the state agency that regulates the oil and gas industry could instead become a showdown over immigration and where transgender Texans use the bathroom. House Republicans will look to force a vote on the […]