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Posts under ‘That’s our Lege’

The explosion in West will change nothing

That’s just how we roll around here. A year after the blast killed 15 people and injured hundreds, Texas lawmakers have yet to propose or put into action any major reforms in an attempt to prevent future industrial accidents, whether it’s at a small, rural fertilizer retailer or a petrochemical plant along the Houston Ship […]

The microbreweries aren’t done with the Legislature

Microbreweries took a big step forward in 2013, but there’s still more to be done. The 2013 legislative session, which featured the largest overhaul of the beer industry since 1993, was viewed by many observers as a watershed moment for craft brewers in Texas. But in testimony before the House Economic and Small Business Development […]

Just a reminder, the Ledbetter bill was bipartisan

I mean, it had to be bipartisan to pass in the Lege, but let’s keep that in mind as the debate continues. After 42 years in the Texas House, Rep. Senfronia Thompson has earned a nickname – “Miz T” – that evokes equal parts respect, affection and fear. When she filed the Texas version of […]

Good times for craft distillers

Just as Texas’ craft brewing industry finally got legislation passed that will allow them to operate more freely, so too did Texas craft distillers. Gov. Rick Perry on Monday declared September “Texas Craft Spirits Month” as the state begins to implement new laws that give distillers more freedom to produce and sell in the state. […]

On selling junk food in Texas schools

Every session, there’s at least one bill that gets passed with little to no notice that has completely unforeseen effects. The Lunch Tray breaks a story about one such bill from this past regular session, which has to do with the sale of junk food in Texas schools. When it comes to the sale of […]

There will be an app for your auto insurance

Do you frequently forget to put your proof of insurance in your car and/or your wallet? The Lege has provided a solution for you. Thanks to a law passed during the 83rd legislative session, motorists will be able to pull up proof of insurance on their phones to show officers. Lawmakers and insurance industry professionals […]

Unfair pay

Patricia Kilday Hart uncovers some skulduggery in one of Rick Perry’s vetoes. Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a bill that would have let victims of wage discrimination sue in state court after receiving letters against the measure from the Texas Retailers Association and five of its members, mostly grocery stores, according to records obtained by the […]

And that’s a wrap on Special Session 3

Hallelujah. The Texas Legislature adjourned its third special session since May on Monday night after passing a measure estimated to increase transportation funding by $1.2 billion annually if Texas voters approve it next year. “Let’s adjourn this mutha,” said state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, after the Senate had sent House Bill 1 back over to […]

Yeah, they’re still working on a transportation funding bill

The committee hearings will continue until morale improves. After consulting with members from both the House and Senate, state Rep. Joe Pickett decided to make some minor changes to his latest transportation funding proposal. On Thursday — the third day of the third special session — a House committee gave his altered proposal its endorsement. […]

On sexism in the Legislature

Just go read Olivia Messer’s story in The Observer about that great bastion of good-ol-boyism, the Texas Legislature. It’s appalling, but sadly not unexpected, nor unsurprising. I’ve heard way too many stories like it, from way too many women, in way too many contexts, to claim otherwise. I don’t have a good answer other than […]

Maybe the same failed approach will work this time

It could happen, right? Transportation experts now estimate that the state needs $5billion a year to keep Texas moving. The proposal that fell apart in the House this week would add less than a billion annually. And after months of wrangling, relations between the House and Senate have grown increasingly testy. Republicans, who control both […]

Special Session 3: Beyond Thunderdome

Beyond ridiculous, if you ask me, not that they did. Standing before mostly empty chairs in the 150-member Texas House on Tuesday, House Speaker Joe Straus adjourned the second special session and announced that Gov. Rick Perry would be calling them all back for a third special session later in the day. After gaveling in […]

Transportation deal dies

Technically, it’s not dead till sine die, but it sure is on life support. A compromise plan to spend $848 million on Texas highways just landed in a ditch. House members voted down a plan to split oil and gas production money between the state’s economic stabilization fund and highway spending. It needed 100 votes […]

Transportation funding deal completed

All over but for the voting. House and Senate leaders reached final agreement Saturday afternoon on how to protect the state’s rainy day fund as they propose to shift half of future rainy day dollars into roads, according to an official close to the negotiations. There would be no “floor” — or minimum balance for […]

Lege may have found a way on transportation funding

As of Thursday, Special Session 3: Beyond Thunderdome was looming. Both chambers of the Legislature were filled with activity Thursday afternoon but they ended up essentially where they had started: waiting on House and Senate negotiators to come up with a transportation funding plan most lawmakers could agree on. There was little sign Thursday that […]

Transportation bill heads to conference committee

There’s still that fundamental disagreement in approach to be worked out somehow. Representatives from the House and Senate are preparing to spend the next week informally negotiating a compromise proposal to boost funding for the Texas Department of Transportation, with the goal of fully passing a measure by next Friday. Senators convened briefly Friday to […]

House passes different transportation bill than the Senate passed

Our endless summer of special sessions isn’t over yet. The Texas House on Thursday gave final passage to a measure to boost funding for transportation projects, though few members expect it to survive the Senate without significant changes. After more than an hour of debate, the House voted 108-25 for House Joint Resolution 2, clearing […]

When tampons are outlawed, only outlaws will have tampons

This is one of those things you just can’t make up. Inside Texas’ state legislature, loaded guns are fairly common. As the New York Times reported in March, “Just as Texas has long embraced its guns, so has the Capitol. Legislators have walked the terrazzo hallways, attended committee hearings, met with constituents in their offices […]

Senate passes non-abortion bills, committee passes HB2

The decks are cleared on the Senate side for the main event. In a speedy Thursday morning meeting with little debate, the upper chamber passed Senate Bill 2 with a 30-1 vote, allowing Texas judges and juries to sentence 17-year-olds convicted of capital murderers to life in prison with parole after 40 years. It also […]

Four things to work on now that the omnibus anti-abortion bill is reality

1. Organize, organize, organize. Maintain the energy and sense of urgency that originated with the #StandWithWendy filibuster. This is a good way to draw people in while the iron is hot. Progressives and Planned Parenthood took their opposition to the abortion-restricting bill winding its way through the Texas Legislature on the road to Houston Tuesday […]

Elsewhere in the House

No action on transportation yet. House budget writers on Tuesday ended a hearing on transportation funding with no clear decision about how to raise money for Texas roads. The House Appropriations Committee is considering several proposals to see which has the most support, even if that means trying to pass a combination of bills in […]

Back to the House

After the Senate adjourned on Tuesday morning without a committee vote on its omnibus anti-abortion bill following the long hearing in which there was a lot more hearing than listening, the House took up its bill, with more of the same in store. State Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, the chairwoman of the House women’s health […]

Senate begins omnibus abortion bill hearings

Remember, it’s all about women’s health. Senate Bill 1, and its companion, House Bill 2, would ban abortion at 20 weeks post-fertilization and recognize that the state has a compelling interest to protect fetuses from pain; require doctors performing abortions to have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of the facility; require doctors to administer […]

Coming attractions in the Senate

From Jessica Luther, a guide to Monday’s Senate hearing on their version of the omnibus anti-abortion bill. On Tuesday, the House Committee had their hearing for HB2 (what a sham that was, huh?). The Senate version of that bill – SB1 – will be heard by committee this upcoming Monday at 10am. Here is the […]

Public Integrity Unit employees get layoff notices

What is to come if nothing changes. Travis County commissioners are still holding out hope the state will fund the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, but took an early step to let employees know their jobs are on the line. Voting unanimously Tuesday, commissioners are giving layoff notices to more than 30 employees whose jobs […]

There are other items on this session’s agenda

I know, hard to believe, but there are two non-abortion items on the session agenda, and the Senate has already taken preliminary action on two of them. Six hours before a marathon state House committee hearing on abortion, two Senate committees quickly kicked out less controversial bills on transportation funding and criminal justice reform to […]

Protest day at the Capitol

Pretty impressive: The story: Opponents of Republican-backed legislation to dramatically curtail abortion rights in Texas descended on the Capitol by the thousands on Monday, spurred on by musicians, celebrities and their new hero: filibustering state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth. Meanwhile, about 100 supporters of the omnibus abortion legislation marched to the Capitol on Monday […]

I do not expect another Ardmore

The AusChron tries to get out the Democrats’ strategy for Special Session 2. When the Texas House convened last last month to pass, on third reading and onto the Senate for final passage, Senate Bill 5, the omnibus abortion regulations bill, Austin Rep. Elliott Naishtat heard several colleagues discussing whether House Dems would be ready […]

Burnam to re-file marriage equality bill for Special Session 2

From the inbox: Upon the announcement [Wednesday] of a second special legislative session by Governor Rick Perry, as well as the Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act, State Representative Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth) today announced his intention to re-file his Marriage Equality bill from the 83rd regular Legislative Session, HB 1300. “The […]

Time to lace up your Mizunos and head back to the Capitol

Special Session 2 starts today. If you can be there to watch the proceedings in the Legislature, that would be great. RSVP here, and while you’re at it, give a Like to the Stand With Texas Women Facebook page. The rally on the Capitol steps will be Monday, July 1, from 12 to 2 PM. […]

Patrick and Williams keep squabbling

Just as a reminder that Senate Republicans don’t need Democrats to stir up trouble, here’s a flare-up of an earlier kerfuffle. Fire one. In a recent interview with The Texas Tribune, my colleague, state Sen. Dan Patrick, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, attempted to explain his vote against our no-new-tax balanced state budget that […]

Filibusted

I figure this is about how the Republicans think of Sen. Wendy Davis right now: Well, they probably think a few more things, too, but this is a family blog. If you didn’t stay up late last night and follow the Wendy Davis filibuster by one means or another – I’m pretty sure the Senate […]

No action on SB5 in the Senate

The name of the game is running out the clock. Texas Democrats, far outnumbered by Republicans in both the House and the Senate, are nonetheless on the verge of killing one of the most restrictive abortion proposals in the nation — at least for now. Using delaying tactics and parliamentary rules, the minority party argued […]

Last redistricting bill passes Senate, House debates abortion bills

It was destiny. The Texas Senate on Sunday wrapped up final redistricting loose ends by concurring with changes made by the House to political boundaries for the lower chamber. In an 18-11 vote, the Senate signed off on a series of small tweaks to the House maps — changes that swap a couple of precincts […]