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Posts under ‘That’s our Lege’

Bell’s anti-same sex marriage license bill lives again

WTF? A Democratic state senator has dredged up anti-gay marriage legislation that advocates thought was dead this session, attaching the language to an uncontroversial county affairs bill under the noses of his fellow Democrats. While gay rights advocates decried the move, the bill’s original sponsor in the House said he would never let his legislation […]

There’s still time for bad bills to be passed

Bad bill #1: After four hours of debate and more than a dozen failed amendments offered by Democrats, the Senate on Monday gave preliminary approval to far-reaching restrictions on minors seeking abortions in Texas without parental consent. On a 21-10 vote, the upper chamber signed off on House Bill 3994 by Republican state Rep. Geanie […]

Red light camera bill dies in House committee

Better luck next time. A drive to outlaw red-light cameras in Dallas and other Texas cities has reached a red light of its own. The House Transportation Committee on Friday voted to reject a Senate bill that would’ve gradually phased out the divisive cameras. That means the effort, opposed by police departments, is effectively dead […]

House passes AG butt-in bill

Boo. The state attorney general is on the verge of having new powers to influence cases on school finance and legislative redistricting, as part of the GOP’s latest efforts to diminish Democratic challenges to their policies. The House on Monday voted 91-49 to give preliminary approval to a bill that would allow the attorney general […]

Pointless “pastor protection” bill passes House

Whatever. The House tentatively approved Thursday a bill saying that Texas pastors, churches and religious institutions can’t be sued by private parties or penalized by government for spurning gay weddings. Many clergy, especially Southern Baptist ministers opposed to gay marriage, have testified they very much need the legal shield. “Maybe pastors won’t be sued. But […]

Anti-high speed rail budget rider removed

Good. A proposed bullet train between Dallas and Houston has survived a budgeting measure that could’ve derailed the push in Texas to have the nation’s first high-speed rail line. Budget writers on Thursday removed a Senate-inserted rider in the spending plan that said the Texas Department of Transportation couldn’t spend any state money on “subsidizing […]

Local control still under assault

Sucks to be us, Harris County. With Harris County in its crosshairs, the Senate on Wednesday tentatively approved legislation that could make it tougher for Texas Counties to sue big-time polluters. If finally passed, House Bill 1794 would notch another victory for a wide range of business groups in a legislative session that’s been kind […]

Pointless “pastor protection” bill comes to the House

From the Observer. Rep. Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia) said Wednesday he doesn’t plan to introduce an anti-gay marriage amendment to the so-called Pastor Protection Act scheduled for a House vote Thursday. However, with 12 days remaining in the session, Bell said he continues to look for another means of resurrecting House Bill 4105, which was designed […]

Where the education reform bills stand

As we know, the attempt to take a first stab at school finance reform did not make it to the House floor. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t some action on school-related issues. This Chron story from the weekend recapped a couple of the major bills that did make it through. Lawmakers likely could have killed […]

Senate still trying to pass “sanctuary cities” and DREAM Act repeal

Time is running out on these bad bills, but as the man said, it ain’t over till it’s over. After sitting idle in the Senate for more than a month, a controversial bill to eliminate in-state tuition rates for undocumented immigrants is back on the upper chamber’s calendar. But it remains unclear whether the Senate […]

House approves limited medical marijuana bill

And there it is. On a 96-34 vote, the House passed Senate Bill 339, from state Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, which would legalize oils containing CBD, a non-euphoric component of marijuana known to treat epilepsy and other chronic medical conditions. If the House gives final passage in a follow-up vote, the measure will be Gov. […]

Bell’s anti-marriage bill goes down

From the inbox, a celebration of victory: Civil liberties and LGBT rights groups tonight are hailing the failure by the Texas House of Representatives to pass HB 4105, which would bar the state from granting, enforcing or recognizing marriage licenses for same-sex couples even if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down state bans on such […]

School finance bill dies

Alas. A months-long effort to reform the state’s problem-plagued school finance system before the Texas Supreme Court weighs in came to an end on Thursday. Facing a slew of amendments and attempts to kill his bill on procedural grounds, House Public Education Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock withdrew his measure from consideration less than an hour […]

Statewide Uber bill appears dead

Close, but no cigar. A bill to establish statewide rules for “transportation network companies” like Uber and Lyft has apparently run out of road. Rep. Chris Paddie, who authored the measure, said on Tuesday that looming legislative deadlines had rendered the idea all but dead. He said he would look for other avenues for the […]

Grand jury reform bill in trouble

Not good. Six weeks after sailing through the Texas Senate, efforts to reform the state’s controversial grand jury selection system have stalled in the House. A closely watched bill to end the “pick-a-pal” system suffered an unexpected setback late Monday when the lawmaker carrying the bill in the House weakened it and then withdrew the […]

Here comes that anti-gay marriage bill

Ready or not. “Texas is pioneering a legislative effort to subvert a potential Supreme Court ruling on marriage and lock in discrimination against gay and transgender people and their families,” Kathy Miller, president of the left-leaning Texas Freedom Network, told reporters in a conference call Monday morning. “If successful, the strategy could spread to other […]

Senate belatedly addresses one voter ID concern

Better really late and at least mildly coerced than never, I guess. The Texas Senate, with scant attention during an early morning vote, gave its unanimous answer to a lingering question the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals posed about the state’s embattled voter ID law. Among the first votes taken by the chamber on […]

Anti-gay marriage bill set for House vote on Tuesday

Here it comes. House Bill 4105 would prohibit state or local tax money from being spent to “issue, enforce or recognize” a same-sex marriage. It also would ban any government employee in Texas from issuing a same-sex marriage license or recognizing such a marriage legally performed in another state. State agencies and county officials also […]

Rangers to investigate Stickland

It’s starting to get real. The Texas Rangers will investigate allegations that witnesses were improperly registered to testify last week on a bill banning red light cameras at a House Transportation Committee hearing. The House General Investigating and Ethics Committee voted Thursday evening to refer the investigation to the Rangers, a division of the Texas […]

Senate approves limited medical marijuana bill

Wow again. Epilepsy patients in Texas would have access to medicinal oils containing a therapeutic component found in marijuana under legislation the state Senate passed Thursday. Senators voted 26-5 to pass Senate Bill 339, by Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, which would legalize oils containing cannabidiol (CBD), a component found in marijuana known to treat epilepsy […]

Anchia birth certificate bill passes out of committee

Good news. House Bill 537, by Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas), would allow same-sex parents to have both names on the birth certificates of adopted children. […] On Monday, the committee quietly voted 7-4 to advance HB 537, with Cook and Rep. Patricia Harless (R-Spring) joining five Democrats who voted in favor of the bill. Four […]

One marijuana reform bill passes out of committee

This is a pleasant surprise. For the first time, a committee in the Legislature has approved a bill to decriminalize possession of marijuana, a move advocates hailed as a milestone moment in Texas. The state House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee passed House Bill 507 late Monday, just three days after narrowly voting it down. The tally […]

Stickland responds

He says he did nothing wrong. esponding to claims that he improperly registered witnesses at a committee hearing, state Rep. Jonathan Stickland released a statement Monday standing by his actions. During a Thursday night hearing of the House Transportation Committee, Stickland, R-Bedford, and state Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, the committee’s chairman, got into an […]

Online voter registration bill appears to be dead

Alas. A group of Harris County officials have succeeded in scuttling a bipartisan bill that would have made Texas the 27th state to let citizens register to vote online. The proposal was co-sponsored by a majority of the House, but stalled in the chamber’s Elections Committee after the Harris County Clerk and the Harris County […]

I repeat, no one will be forced to perform a same sex wedding

This really is a huge waste of time. For some gay rights advocates, a bill in the Texas Legislature that would allow clergy to refuse to marry same-sex couples would be acceptable if it just included four more words. As the Senate State Affairs Committee heard testimony Monday morning on Senate Bill 2065 by Sen. […]

Tesla going nowhere

We have entered the period of the legislative calendar where bills that have not been voted out of committee or aren’t scheduled for a vote begin to get pronounced dead. Here’s the Tesla bill’s obituary. A crusade waged by Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk to change Texas law to allow his company to sell electric […]

Dallas writes a letter to the Lege about Lyft and Uber

They would like for the Lege to not overrule them on regulating these transportation network companies. Dallas city leaders, writing to House Speaker Joe Straus, have underlined their opposition to a bill that would create statewide rules for “transportation network companies” like Uber and Lyft. Mayor Mike Rawlings and two City Council members wrote Tuesday […]

As Jonathan Stickland turns

Cue dramatic organ music. The chairman of the House Committee on General Investigating and Ethics said Friday he plans to investigate allegations that witnesses were signed up improperly to speak at a transportation committee meeting from which state Rep. Jonathan Stickland was escorted out. “There will be an investigation into allegations of broken rules,” said […]

Three bad bills

Bad bill #1: State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, has been trying for months to pass legislation that would make it tougher for local entities to bring in more tax revenue by taking advantage of rising property values. On Thursday, he managed to add language to a bill from state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, that could […]

Transgender activists rally at the Capitol

They’re working for understanding and playing defense. Elder was one of two dozen transgender Texans and their advocates who rallied outside the Texas Capitol early Monday, just three days after gold medal decathlon winner Bruce Jenner declared, “I am a woman” in an interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC News. The Austin gathering came amid […]

Medical marijuana gets its committee hearing

Don’t know that it will get more than just that committee hearing, however. House Bill 892 would legalize oils containing CBD, a non-euphoric component of marijuana known to treat epilepsy and other chronic medical conditions. By 2018, the measure would allow the state to regulate and distribute the oils to epilepsy patients whose symptoms have […]

No one is going to be forced to perform a same sex wedding

Would someone please reassure Dan Patrick of this before he wets himself? Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, said he sponsored Senate Bill 2065 at the urging of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. The Senate suspended its rules to allow the bill to be introduced on Tuesday, weeks past the session’s filing deadlines. The legislation would allow […]

Not everyone likes the idea of online voter registration

And most of them are from Harris County. A House panel got a taste late Monday of the deep skepticism toward bringing online voter registration to Texas, skepticism coming from at least one population-rich part of the state. It was mostly shared by a handful of Harris County officials who expressed concerns the practice could […]

Anti-immigration bills dying on the vine

I think I’m going to just got to the executive summary at the bottom of this DMN story. AT A GLANCE: WHERE 3 KEY MEASURES STAND 1. Repeal of tuition law: Seeks to change the 2001 law that allows some students who are in the country illegally to pay college tuition at in-state rates. Status: […]