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Posts under ‘That’s our Lege’

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 […]

Another take on the potty drama

Ross Ramsey plunges in, and no I don’t regret that at all. Gov. Greg Abbott wants lawmakers to take a bathroom break, and you can’t blame him for trying to find relief. The next legislative session hasn’t even started and regulation of which restrooms transgender Texans use is getting the kind of attention usually reserved […]

Making divorce harder

I have no idea why anyone would want to do this, but here we are. Conservative Republican Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, said he wants to strengthen families and reinforce the sanctity of marriage by eliminating no-fault divorces, which now allow couples to split amicably with neither legally alleging blame. “I don’t know if we […]

Fighting the bathroom bill

It will take all hands on deck. During a panel discussion hosted by the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, [Sen. Sylvia] Garcia suggested that lawmakers should concentrate on issues like education funding and the state’s ongoing child welfare crisis. “It’s a huge distraction, but it is nothing but a good political hot-button issue for the Republican […]

Who is paying for public education

The state is paying less, while local districts are paying more. The state of Texas will spend a projected $40.5 billion on public education during the current 2016-17 budget period, and when state officials tell you they’re spending more on education, they’re telling the truth. Not all of the truth, but some of it. Their […]

It’s just school bathrooms Dan Patrick really cares about

So claims a surrogate, who may have been floating a trial balloon. An incoming state senator suggested Thursday that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick will focus on schools, not businesses or sporting venues, as he crafts an already controversial proposal to prohibit transgender Texans from using bathrooms that match their gender identity. The remarks by state […]

More on the cost of a bathroom bill

Whatever one thinks of the Texas Association of Business, you have to hand it to them for their lobbying focus on the great potty issue. With the legislative session just weeks ahead, the Texas business community is digging in its heels in opposition to Texas Republicans’ anti-LGBT proposals, warning they could have dire consequences on […]

Straus not very excited about Patrick’s potty bill

Take this for what it’s worth. Texas House Speaker Joe Straus doesn’t think passing a transgender bathroom bill is a pressing issue state lawmakers need to address during the 2017 legislative session. “This isn’t the most urgent concern,” Straus, R-San Antonio, said on Tuesday during an interview with Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith. When asked […]

We’re going to be fighting about vaccinations for a while

I wish it weren’t so, but it is. Texas is one of 18 states that allow non-medical exemptions to the vaccines required for school attendance. California had a similar law allowing non-medical exemptions, until last year when it enacted a law that has one of the strictest requirements in the country after a 2014 outbreak of measles traced […]

Texting while driving ban bills filed again

We’ll see if this gets a different result. Drivers know the risks, and in more than 95 Texas counties they live under local cell phone ordinances that ban texting while driving. But the Lone Star State remains one of four states in the country without a statewide ban on the practice. Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, hopes to […]

Pot bills get their own post

They got their own story in the Trib, so why not their own post. Texas lawmakers across the state say they want leniency in how the state prosecutes marijuana crimes. In an interview with Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith Monday, State Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, said he thinks the Legislature could decriminalize possession of small […]

It’s bill-filing season

And they’re off. Today is the first day of early filing in the Texas Legislature. Lawmakers in both the House and Senate may begin filing the bills that will be discussed when the legislature convenes in January 10, 2017. So how does that work and what does it mean? For the most part bills are […]

How much is that bathroom bill worth to you, Danny?

Is it worth $8.5 billion and 185,000 jobs? The Texas economy stands to lose $8.5 billion and 185,000 jobs if anti-LGBT legislation passes in next year’s session, according to an analysis from the Texas Association of Business, the state’s chamber of commerce. The TAB analysis is based on actual or projected losses in four states […]

Wait, who supports paper ballots now?

I have three things to say about this. Following repeated allegations by Republican Donald Trump that the election may be rigged to ensure a win for Democrat Hillary Clinton, Texas lawmakers are actively considering ways to boost confidence in the state’s elections during next year’s legislative session. Among the ideas drawing interest: adding paper trail […]

Business owners tell Dan Patrick to back off on bathrooms

More like this, please. Saying Texas Republican leaders are threatening jobs and the economy, more than 200 small-business owners issued an open letter Tuesday urging legislators to abandon plans for a state law targeting transgender bathrooms. The letter described “a growing sense of dread” that Texas will follow the path set by North Carolina, where […]

Dan Patrick doesn’t care about sexual assault

Such a moral exemplar you are, Danno. Amid a wave of reports of women alleging Donald Trump kissed or groped them without their consent, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrickmaintained Thursday that the Republican presidential nominee has effectively pushed the issue behind him. Patrick, who is Texas Chairman for Trump’s presidential campaign, initially addressed the scandal currently […]

How anti-business does Dan Patrick have to be for businesses to oppose him?

I remain skeptical that there is such a threshold, but if one does exist, the next legislative session will test it. The Texas Association of Business (TAB) has formally come out against discriminatory anti-LGBT legislation, including so-called “bathroom bills.” The board of the state’s 4,300-member chamber of commerce overwhelmingly approved a resolution Friday opposing “legislation […]

Hey, here’s an idea: Increase funding for public education

That’s just crazy talk. Texas House budget and public education leaders said Wednesday that the best way to overhaul the state’s school finance system is to increase the base amount of money it gives to each district per student. While costly, boosting the “basic allotment” — currently $5,140 per student — would help ease systemic […]

More on the Sandra Bland settlement

State Rep. Garnet Coleman is working to implement the reforms mandated by the Sandra Bland lawsuit settlement. House Democrats sparred with state law enforcement officials over questions of racial profiling Tuesday at a sometimes contentious hearing. It was the latest in a series of House County Affairs Committee hearings on policing in advance of the […]

The recapture blues

What are you gonna do? At least once a year, an official from a property-wealthy Texas school calls Christy Rome and tells her they’re just not going to do it. They don’t want to send a big chunk of their tax dollars to the state, even though they’re required to do so under a state […]

How do other states regulate ridesharing?

The Texas Legislature would like to know. As Texas lawmakers consider filing legislation next year related to ride-hailing companies, they learned Tuesday that more than 30 states have passed laws calling for some level of regulation of companies like Uber and Lyft. A report presented by Texas A&M University’s Transportation Institute analyzed state and municipal […]

Senate whinefest about ballot propositions

Spare me. Members of a state Senate committee called Monday for changes in Texas law to prevent cities from thwarting or blocking citizen petition drives, a key issue for conservative and tea party groups in Houston and other cities in recent years. At a meeting of the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee, members made it clear […]

Law enforcement versus open carry, round 2

This ought to be interesting. After two shootings targeting police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, there’s been an uptick in the national conversation about how best to support law enforcement. Politicians and lawmakers such as Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who used his platform during a town hall on race and policing to ask President Obama […]

The Lege will look at voter ID again next year

This isn’t over. Local representatives said the [agreed-upon changes to the voter ID law are] fine for a quick fix, but they fully expect to revisit the issue next session. The proposed Texas changes would require registered voters who don’t have one of the seven forms of suitable ID, in addition to signing an affidavit, […]

Legislation to ban the jailing of rape victims proposed

Hard to argue with, I must say. The controversial jailing of a rape victim to ensure her testimony could lead to a new state law protecting victims’ rights to an appointed attorney. State Sen. Joan Huffman is joining with Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson and Sheriff Ron Hickman to push for new legislation to […]

More on the “fetal remains” rule change

It’s stupid, harmful, unnecessary, expensive, and almost certainly in violation of the SCOTUS ruling in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt. But other than that, no biggie. In the aftermath of a car accident in 2014, Denee Booker was told by her doctor that the child she was carrying had died in utero. To avoid complications, […]