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Posts under ‘That’s our Lege’

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” — […]

AirBnB bill fails to pass

One minor surprise from this now-ended legislative session. A conference committee Saturday voted to strip an amendment that would have blocked cities from regulating short-term rentals like Airbnb, all but killing the measure with less than two days left in the legislative session. The move comes during a legislative session in which lawmakers have otherwise […]

No Astrodome vote this fall

This is a bit of a surprise. [Sen. John] Whitmire filed a bill that would force the county to get voter approval before spending any money on the Dome. “It’s a dream and you shouldn’t spend taxpayer dollars on a dream,” Whitmire said. Whitmire’s bill sailed through the Senate, but hit a brick wall in […]

More big employers against a bathroom bill

I don’t know what it will take to get this message to sink in, but it won’t be for lack of trying. The CEOs of 14 top companies, including Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon, have sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott urging him not to pass discriminatory legislation. “As large employers in the state, […]

Are we headed for a special session?

Maybe. Who knows? We’ll find out soon enough. Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday promised to make an announcement “later this week” on whether he will call a special session. “I can tell you this, and that is when it gets to a special session, the time and the topics are solely up to the governor […]

Uber and Lyft come rolling back

To Austin: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday signed into law a measure creating a statewide regulatory framework for ride-hailing companies, overriding local measures that prompted businesses such as Uber and Lyft to leave Austin and other cities. Uber and Lyft said they resumed operations in Austin on Monday. Lyft also said it would relaunch […]

Session ends in chaos

Seems fitting. The normally ceremonial last day of this year’s regular session of the Texas Legislature briefly descended into chaos on Monday, as proceedings in the House were disrupted by large protests and at least one Republican representative called immigration authorities on the people making the noise. Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, said he called U.S […]

Voter ID 2.0 gets final passage

Hopefully, this will turn out to have been a waste of time. The Texas House and Senate have approved a deal to relax the state’s voter identification requirements, meaning the closely watched legislation now only awaits Gov. Greg Abbott’s approval. The Republican is expected to sign Senate Bill 5, capping a flurry of late activity […]

House will not negotiate on “bathroom bill” amendment

Well, this is it. Refusing to go any further to regulate bathroom use for transgender Texans, House Speaker Joe Straus said on Friday that the House will not appoint members to negotiate with the Senate on its proposed compromise on a “bathroom bill.” “For many of us — and especially for me — this was […]

This session’s unconstitutional abortion bill passes

Here we go again. Texas senators voted Friday to send a bill banning the most common second-trimester abortion procedure and changing how health care facilities handle fetal remains to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. Under Senate Bill 8, which passed 22-9, health care facilities including hospitals and abortion clinics would be required to bury or cremate […]

Weird taproom bill gets final passage

Bummer. A bill that would force Texas breweries, once they’ve grown beyond a state-limited size, to sell and buy back their own beer before offering it in their own taprooms has now passed both houses of the state Legislature. “To say that today’s outcome was incredibly disheartening would be to put it mildly,” the Texas […]

Houston pension reform bill passes

It’s done. The Texas House on Wednesday approved the controversial Senate version of a bill that aims to overhaul Houston’s failing pension funds — over the passionate objections of current and former firefighters. Senate Bill 2190, which passed in a 103-43 vote, now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. But the months of rancor between […]

School finance bill is dead

It started with this. State Rep. Dan Huberty said Wednesday that he would not accept the Senate’s changes to his school finance bill, launching a last-ditch effort to hammer out a compromise with less than a week left in the session. After a passionate speech railing on the Senate for gutting his bill, Huberty, a […]

House passes Voter ID 2.0

Some minor changes, but the same basic idea. The Texas House on Tuesday tentatively approved legislation to overhaul the state’s embattled voter identification law, moving it one step closer to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. Senate Bill 5 would in several ways relax what some had called the nation’s most stringent ID requirements for voters — […]

How bad is the “Patrick Lite” bathroom bill?

For one view, there’s this, from Texas Competes: A review of press coverage shows that the Texas “bathroom bill” debate generated $216 million in publicity for the state of Texas in the period from January 10, 2016 through May 22, 2017. During the 85th Texas legislative session, 25,774 local, state, and national articles were written […]

Amendment focused on school bathrooms passes the House

I had some hope that we could make it through this session without something like this happening, but clearly we could not. Amid threats of a special legislative session over the “bathroom bill,” the Texas House on Sunday took a last-minute vote to approve a proposal that would keep transgender students from using school bathrooms […]

House and Senate concur on pension bill

One more vote in each chamber, then it’s on to get a signature. The Legislature is expected to take its final votes on Houston’s pension reform legislation within days after a group of House and Senate lawmakers Sunday night hashed out the differences between their chambers’ versions and produced a final bill. Stripped from the […]

Senate wrecks school finance bill

It’s what they do. The Texas Senate has scrapped much of a proposal to revise how the state funds education in place of a plan to create a school voucher program for children with disabilities. The bill passed the Senate 21-10 at 12:50 a.m. Monday, marking the second time in two months the chamber has […]

Budget deal reached

The one bill that must get passed is on its way. After months of private squabbling and public threats of a legislative overtime session, the Texas House and Senate finally compromised to unveil a joint budget late Saturday. Lawmakers, scrounging for cash in a tight-fisted legislative session, agreed to dip into the state’s savings account […]

Texting while driving ban passes the Senate

We’ll see if this one gets signed into law. Legislation that would create a statewide texting-while-driving ban overcame a last-ditch attempt in the Senate on Friday to gut the bill. The bill’s author, state Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, said he will concur with the changes the Senate made. The measure will then head to Gov. […]

Sandra Bland Act passes

Good. The Texas House initially approved the Sandra Bland Act on Friday with a unanimous vote. The body now has to vote on the mental health bill one more time before it reaches Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. (Update, May 20: The House voted 137-0 to give the bill final approval) Senate Bill 1849 would mandate […]