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Posts under ‘That’s our Lege’

Let’s play two?

Oh, God, please, no. Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday put blame on the House — particularly Speaker Joe Straus — for the shortcomings of the special session and left the door open to calling another one. “I’m disappointed that all 20 items that I put on the agenda did not receive the up-or-down vote that […]

Smell ya later, Senate

How about that? The special legislative session is over — in one chamber, at least. The Texas House abruptly gaveled out Sine Die – the formal designation meaning the end of a session – on Tuesday evening after voting to approve the Senate’s version of a school finance bill that largely stripped provisions the chamber […]

From the “Actions speak louder than words” department

RG Ratcliffe of Texas Monthly speaks to former Railroad Commissioner and Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams about his disapproval of bathroom bills. RGR: You told me political parties over time curdle and spoil, but is there something about the debate over the bathroom bill that is particularly disappointing to you? MW: Yes, there is. Where […]

And then there’s the birth certificate issue

Just another problem that would be exacerbated by a bathroom bill. In order to modify a birth certificate in Texas, the Department of State Health Services requires transgender individuals to present a certified court order stating the recorded sex on a birth certificate should be changed. But a transgender person’s ability to obtain that court […]

Ethics, schmethics

This little exchange says so much about our weak and insecure Governor. The fireworks began with a press conference called by GOP Rep. Sarah Davis, chair of the House Committee on General Investigating and Ethics. Davis, flanked by both Democratic and Republican members of the committee, noted that Abbott had made ethics reform an “emergency” […]

House passes school finance bills

I doubt they’ll meet a different fate than they did in the regular session, but kudos anyway. The Texas House on Friday passed a package of bills that would put $1.8 billion into public schools and help out struggling small, rural school districts. House members voted 130-12 to approve the lower chamber’s main piece of […]

Halfway through the session

The House is doing House things, and that’s fine. Brushing aside concerns that they are not moving swiftly enough to enact Gov. Greg Abbott’s 20-point agenda, Texas House members opened the second half of the special session Wednesday with a flurry of activity Wednesday. “We made good progress, and we’re only half the way through,” […]

Republican voters are “meh” on the bathroom bill

From the inbox: The Texas Association of Business conducted surveys in five GOP-controlled legislative districts across the state the week of July 24th. “Texas business has long opposed the bathroom bill because it is unnecessary and will have significant negative economic impact on Texas.  The significance of these surveys, is the voice of individual Republican […]

Dear business community: Dan Patrick is not your ally

Here’s the full Chron story about the latest group of business leaders to call for a stop to the bathroom bill. I want to focus on one key aspect of this: A week after police chiefs from Houston, San Antonio and Austin joined in protest against the bill, Abbott said the legislation specifically attempts to […]

Maternal mortality bills pass the House

Good. House lawmakers tentatively approved a series of bills Monday aimed at helping Texas curb its unusually high rate of women dying less than a year after childbirth. The primary measure, House Bill 9, would direct the state’s Task Force on Maternal Mortality and Morbidity to continue studying pregnancy complications and maternal deaths until 2023. […]

Still more big businesses against the bathroom bill

It’s like there’s a strong, overwhelming consensus or something. Top executives of big oil companies and other major Houston firms and organizations on Monday weighed into the political dogfight over the controversial bathroom bill, calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to block passage of the legislation that they warned will harm Texas’ ability to grow its […]

Pushing the NFL Draft angle

Every angle is going to be needed, and this is one that ought to speak to some folks. The Cowboys’ efforts to land the NFL draft and how it could be derailed by the legislative push for a bathroom bill is part of a $1 million ad buy that will begin to play on radio […]

The bathroom bill would affect disabled people, too

Yet another problem caused by this harmful “solution”. As lawmakers this summer debate yet another controversial measure regulating bathroom use based on biological sex, disabled Texans say they — like many transgender men and women — believe the Legislature is further complicating something that’s already difficult to navigate. On Tuesday, the Texas Senate advanced Senate […]

House takes a different direction on trees

Better than the Senate version, for sure. The Texas House added a potential wrinkle to Gov. Greg Abbott’s special session agenda on Thursday, giving early approval to a bill that would allow property owners to plant new trees to offset municipal fees for tree removal on their land. The initial 132-11 vote on House Bill […]

The bathroom bill in the House

Mostly good news here. Dangerous. Discriminatory. Chilling. Hurtful. Those are words used by House State Affairs Chairman Byron Cook to describe bathroom legislation headed to his committee in the Texas House in the coming days. The Republican from Corsicana said legislation that would force transgender people to use bathrooms in line with their birth sex […]

Abbott versus the cities

The continuing story. If Gov. Greg Abbott has disdain for how local Texas officials govern their cities, it didn’t show in a Wednesday sit-down with three mayors who were among 18 who jointly requested a meeting to discuss legislation that aims to limit or override several municipal powers. “Whether we changed anybody’s mind or not, […]

House committee hears largely pointless property tax bills

Something will probably come out of this, but it’s hard to understand why. A Texas House committee on Tuesday spent more than seven hours plowing through more than 30 bills that aim to tackle rising property tax bills — months after similar legislation died amid an intra-GOP war over how conservatively state officials should govern. […]

Law enforcement against the bathroom bill

Add another group to an ever-expanding list. Police chiefs from three of the five biggest cities in the state gathered at the Texas Capitol on Tuesday to spurn proponents’ claims that such legislation is needed to protect privacy, arguing that proposals being considered by the Legislature are discriminatory, won’t keep people safe and would divert […]

Senate has mostly completed the Abbott special session agenda

I’m just going to hit the highlights here because this stuff is happening quickly and often late in the day, but most of the Abbott 20-point special session agenda has been turned into bills that have as of this morning passed the Senate. Yesterday’s action included vouchers and still more unconstitutional abortion restrictions, while the […]

The bathroom bill is a threat to Quidditch

How much more do you need to know? It’s not quite time to get out the broomsticks in Round Rock. A national quidditch tournament headed to town next year has been put on hold while legislators consider the bathroom bill during their special session, said Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan. U.S. Quidditch recently told the […]

War on local control update

Example one: Sen. Craig Estes’ Senate Bill 18 would require cities and counties to get voter approval if they plan to spend a certain amount more than they did in a previous year. His bill ties such an election trigger to inflation and statewide population growth. “You ask people about that and they generally think […]

Anticipating the future bathroom-related litigation

It will be a matter of when, not if, should a bathroom bill passes. [B]oth sides agree if any version of the bathroom bill becomes law, it will likely trigger a protracted legal battle that could have implications for the transgender community in Texas and nationwide. “If it does in fact pass, it will be […]

Mayors to Abbott: Don’t mess with our cities

Good luck getting through. Less than 24 hours after Gov. Greg Abbott blasted local government restrictions like tree ordinances as a threat to the “Texas brand,” city government leaders statewide are seeking a meeting with the Republican leader. “We would like the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the role cities play in attracting […]

Senate will hold bathroom hearing tomorrow

They just can’t wait. From the inbox: BREAKING: The Senate State Affairs Committee is pushing for a hearing on anti-transgender “bathroom bill” legislation this Friday at 9AM, Charles. Intel from the Capitol tells us that Sen. Lois Kolkhorst will introduce a FOURTH discriminatory “bathroom bill” later today. That’s the bill that the Senate State Affairs […]

Long read on the ongoing bathroom bill fight

From the Daily Beast. Covers a lot of ground, some of which is familiar but quite a bit of which is new or at least additive. A small sample: Two bills, HB 46 and HB 50, have so far been filed for the special session, sponsored by state Rep. Ron Simmons. A further Senate Bill, […]

Special session starts today

It was a good summer before now, but all of that comes to an end today. In the best case scenario, the sunset bills get passed and nothing else happens. I don’t know what will happen, but at least the ongoing animosity between the House and the Senate gives the “nothing happens” scenario a chance. […]

News flash: Businesses still hate bathroom bills

IBM hates them. As state lawmakers return to Austin for legislative overtime, tech giant IBM is stepping up its fight to defeat legislation it says would discriminate against children and harm its Texas recruiting efforts. In an internal email sent Monday to thousands of employees around the world, IBM’s human resources chief outlined the New […]

This special session is going to be so much fun

So much repressed hostility… Five days before the Texas Legislature is scheduled to open a special session, it is clear the relationship between the leaders of the House and Senate remains as strained as it was at the end of the regular session. On Thursday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick used a press conference to blast […]

There is trouble with the trees

More to the point, there is trouble with the idea that municipal tree ordinances are somehow a bad thing, but that’s where we are, and it’s got some folks worried. More than 40,000 trees were lost to [Hurricane] Ike, according to the nonprofit Galveston Island Tree Conservancy. A replanting campaign that began in 2010 has […]

Special session officially set

Brace yourselves, it starts next week. Gov. Greg Abbott issued a declaration for a special session of the Texas Legislature Monday, formally inviting lawmakers back to Austin to pass “sunset legislation” that will keep several key state agencies open. The long-awaited procedural move allows lawmakers to begin filing bills for the special session set to […]

“America’s future is Texas”

Here’s that long story in the New Yorker that everyone is talking about. It covers basically the entire legislative session with a bunch of preliminary background info, most of which is very familiar to all of us, so I’m just going to focus on a couple of bits relating to Speaker Joe Straus and the […]

What West Texas can do to improve their schools

Here’s an op-ed from the Statesman about one educator in West Texas who has had enough. My hero this week is Graydon Hicks, Fort Davis superintendent of schools. A West Texas publication published his open letter to Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick raking them over the coals for “the lack of positive […]

House still opposes vouchers

Keep on keeping on, y’all. The top House education leader said Sunday that “private school choice” is still dead in the lower chamber. “We only voted six times against it in the House,” House Public Education Committee Chairman Dan Huberty said. “There’s nothing more offensive as a parent of a special-needs child than to tell […]

The anti-vaxxers had another good legislative session

Sure would be nice if we could put a stop to this. It was mid-April, more than halfway through the legislative session, and Texans for Vaccine Choice was finally getting the fight it had been spoiling for. On April 11, a bill to require schools to report the number of unvaccinated kids had been heatedly […]