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Posts under ‘That’s our Lege’

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 […]

Texas Central survives the session

It looked bad for awhile there. but in the end no significant bill that would have obstructed the high speed rail line was passed. In the recent Legislature, over 20 bills were filed that took aim at a high-speed rail project between Dallas and Houston, including some that may have killed the plan. Ultimately, just […]

Next round of bathroom bills getting prepped

Meet the new bills, same as the old bills. Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, is expected to introduce two bills in the upcoming special session of the Texas Legislature that would regulate which public bathrooms transgender Texans, including schoolchildren, can use. The first bill, which will closely resemble his bill that failed during the regular session, […]

Even the SBOE opposes vouchers and the bathroom bill

A rare bout of sanity. The Texas State Board of Education is known for its conservative ideals, but a majority of its Republican members said Tuesday they oppose GOP Gov. Greg Abbott’s demand that lawmakers pass a school voucher program and a bathroom law in next month’s special session. Most of the education issues Abbott […]

Ten best and worst 2017

This is always the most anticipated part of a legislative session. Around the Texas Capitol this year, it wasn’t unusual to hear the 85th Legislature described as the worst anyone could remember. While we wouldn’t go that far, this session had more than its fair share of dispiriting moments. Quite a few of those came […]

Signings and vetoes

Greg Abbott does his thing. Gov. Greg Abbott has vetoed 50 bills that were passed during the regular legislative session, his office announced Thursday. That’s several more than he vetoed following the last session and the most a governor has doled out since 2007. Abbott offered a number of common explanations for his vetoes, calling […]

The special session could get a little testy

Sow a little discord, Joe. We approve. Speaking to educators Wednesday, House Speaker Joe Straus took some jabs at the Senate for focusing on a bill to regulate public bathroom use instead of putting more than a billion dollars into public schools. The lower chamber’s leading politician spoke about the upcoming special session to hundreds […]

Greg Abbott’s war on trees

This is just bizarre. One of the 20 items Gov. Greg Abbott has asked lawmakers to consider during the upcoming special session, which will begin July 18, is outlawing local tree regulations. More than 50 cities and towns in Texas have ordinances aimed at protecting trees; many of the local rules require property owners to […]

The DPS two-step

First, there was this. Despite a two-year budget of $2.4 billion, the Texas Department of Public Safety, with little notice, has reduced office hours at 11 of the state’s busiest driver’s license offices and plans to lay off more than 100 full-time employees to deal with a $21 million funding crunch. The statewide police agency’s […]

Bathroom bill or NFL draft?

Back to some familiar questions as the special session looms. The Cowboys have made their pitch to host the NFL draft. Whether that occurs depends, in large part, on what happens in Austin this summer. NFL officials have no interest in drawing a line in the ideological sand heading into next month’s special session of […]

Our electors can continue to be faithless

So much for that. The momentum seemed to be there. After Donald Trump easily defeated Hillary Clinton in Texas, two of the state’s 38 Electoral College members cast ballots for someone other than the Republican nominee — a less-than-flattering moment for a state with a strong GOP tradition. In the days — even hours — […]

Abbott signs texting while driving ban

That’s the good news. The bad news is that being Greg Abbott, he wants to make it worse. Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed into law a bill that creates a statewide ban on texting while driving. The measure, authored by state Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, goes into effect Sept. 1. This is the fourth […]

Abbott calls for special session

To begin July 18, with a laundry list of wingnut wet dreams. Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday called a special session of the Texas Legislature starting July 18 and promised to make it a sweeping one if lawmakers cooperate. Abbott gave legislators an ambitious 19-item agenda to work on — including a “bathroom bill” — […]