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Posts under ‘That’s our Lege’

Senate passes ban on straight-ticket voting

It’s happening. The Texas Senate gave initial approval Wednesday to legislation that would eliminate straight-ticket voting in all elections. By a vote of 20-10, senators passed House Bill 25 over objections from Democrats who warned of unintended consequences — including a disproportionate impact on minority voters. “Frankly, I don’t see any purpose for this legislation […]

Patrick takes some hostages

This is what passes for leadership in our state. With deadlines looming, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Wednesday threatened to push for a special session of the Legislature to pass a bill to regulate bathroom use for transgender Texans and legislation to set new thresholds for when cities and counties must get voter approval for […]

Senate passes statewide rideshare bill

It’s a done deal. After a debate among lawmakers over the best way to regulate services like Uber and Lyft, the Texas Senate on Wednesday backed a proposal that would override local regulations concerning ride-hailing companies. House Bill 100 would establish a statewide framework to regulate ride-hailing companies and undo local rules that the two […]

A bipartisan bill to address actual vote fraud

Miracles do happen. Here’s something folks rarely see in Austin, or other statehouses, in these politically prickly times: a bipartisan effort to crack down on voter fraud. In the waning days of the 85th Texas Legislative Session, a group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers — backed by party leaders — are pushing to tighten oversight […]

SB4 is what you get when you vote for Greg Abbott

This is me, shaking my head. Duque, who is Latina and Catholic, represents two constituencies Abbott courted during his campaign. The same constituencies strongly opposed the sanctuary cities ban, which Abbott made an emergency item in January and championed throughout the legislative session. Now, his crusade may have cost him the support of some Latinos […]

Rideshare bill advances in Senate

It was almost different and then it wasn’t, but it still could be. Paid ride companies such as Uber and Lyft are one step closer to the statewide oversight they crave, after a state Senate committee approved a revised plan to regulate them, as opposed to cities. Members of the Senate State Affairs committee approved […]

Sandra Bland bill clears the Senate

Good news. The Texas Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a bill aimed at protecting people with mental illnesses who are arrested and may harm themselves in jail. The legislation — Senate Bill 1849 — was filed after a high-profile incident in 2015 in which Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old Illinois woman, was found dead in the […]

Bill to ban straight-ticket voting advances in the Senate

This could happen. A Texas Senate panel approved legislation Thursday that would end straight-ticket voting in all elections. The Senate Committee on Business & Commerce voted 7-0 to send House Bill 25 for potential consideration by the full chamber. Two members, the only Democrats on the panel, were absent. The vote came less than a week […]

Senate rejects House changes to Houston pension reform bill

Conference committee, here we come. The Texas Senate on Wednesday refused to concur with House-passed amendments to a reform bill designed to resolve financial problems for Houston’s pension system. Sen. Joan Huffman, a Houston Republican who is the author of the legislation, said the House changes would be too costly and would derail a tentative […]

Bill to allow discrimination in adoptions and foster care passes the House

Shameful. Under House Bill 3859, which advanced on a 94-51 vote, providers would be protected from legal retaliation if they assert their “sincerely held religious beliefs” while caring for abused and neglected children. The measure would allow them to place a child in a religion-based school; deny referrals for abortion-related contraceptives, drugs or devices; and […]

Weird taproom bill passes the House

I don’t understand this at all. The Texas House on Saturday voted overwhelming to place new constraints on craft breweries that grow beyond a set size or become acquired by a larger beer company. Supporters of House Bill 3287 also fought back efforts to amend the legislation to give craft brewers the right to sell […]

House passes pension reform bill

One step closer, though there are still issues to be worked out. The Texas House gave early approval Monday to a bill that would reform Houston’s three problematic pension funds, which have caused financial woes and spurred political battles for years. The 112-28 vote for Senate Bill 2190 came after lawmakers made some key changes […]

House bathroom bill will not get a committee vote

Good news. A proposal to gut cities and school districts’ trans-inclusive bathroom policies did not advance in the House ahead of a crucial deadline, nixing the measure’s chances of getting a vote by the full chamber. But that doesn’t mean that the issue itself is dead. Up against bill-killing deadlines, the House State Affairs Committee […]

When will the lawsuits against the “sanctuary cities” bill begin to be filed?

Soon. The question isn’t whether or not the Texas attorney general’s office will be hauled to court over a Texas Senate bill to ban “sanctuary” policies in Texas — but, more likely, when they’ll be asked to defend Senate bill 4 in a federal court. “There are ways to challenge the bill before September to […]

Bill to eliminate straight-ticket voting passes the House

Here we go again. The Texas House late Friday night gave preliminary approval to a bill that would eliminate “one-punch” voting, forcing voters to make an individual decision on every ballot item, starting with the 2020 election. House Bill 25, approved 85-59, could drastically change Texas politics considering straight-ticket ballots accounted for almost 64 percent […]

Where do we stand with the anti-Texas Central bills?

They’re in the House, and we’ll see what happens from there. The four bills before the House Transportation Committee represented some of opponents’ latest efforts to stop the project in its track. But project supporters and Texas Central Partners executives told the committee that some of the bills were unusually anti-free market for Republican-backed legislation […]

LGBT anti-discrimination bills voted out of House committee

One bit of good news this week. In an unprecedented vote, a House committee on Wednesday approved two bills to prohibit housing and employment discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Dallas Republican Rep. Jason Villalba split with his party and provided the tie-breaking vote for both bills, which passed the House Committee on […]

Revenue cap will be on the November ballot

Here it comes, assuming the pension reform bill doesn’t get mugged in a dark alley. Mayor Sylvester Turner plans to ask voters to lift Houston’s cap on property tax collections in November, a move that could loosen one of the city’s primary fiscal constraints as it confronts still-hefty pension and debt costs that leave little […]

Senate approves bail reform bill

Good. After weeks of politically touchy negotiations capped by a shove from a Houston federal judge, the Texas Senate on Thursday approved significant changes in the state’s bail bond system designed to keep low-level offenders from sitting in jail because they cannot afford to pay cash bail. While the reforms had once been touted as […]

“Sanctuary cities” bill gets final passage

It’s done. The Texas Senate on Wednesday voted 20-11 to accept the House’s version of Senate bill 4, legislation that would ban “sanctuary” jurisdictions in Texas and allow police to inquire about the immigration status of people they lawfully detain. The bill now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott, who declared the legislation an “emergency item” […]

Faith leaders against discrimination

More of this, please. Prayer is a staple of the Texas Capitol, where lawmakers begin each legislative day with an invocation and bowed heads. But on Wednesday, about 50 faith leaders of various denominations lined the stairs outside the Texas House in protest. Their prayer was silent, but their message was clear: don’t legislate against […]

Senate passes “driverless car” bill

This is a first. Texas took a step toward self-driving vehicles zipping up and down its highways and streets under a first-of-its-kind measure approved Thursday by the Texas Senate. Approved by a 31-0 vote, Senate Bill 1622 would implement minimum safety standards for so-called “autonomous vehicles” and “automated driving systems” — the first time the […]

Senate passes pension reform bill

Progress. Houston’s pension reform package passed the Texas Senate by a 25-5 margin Monday, as a possible political blockade dissolved to provide the landmark proposal a speedy passage. Mayor Sylvester Turner’s reforms now await a hearing in the state House on Saturday. “I believe this current version is our best chance at significant pension reform […]

Get ready for the “sanctuary cities” lawsuits

It’s just a matter of time. Now that Senate Bill 4 is on its way to becoming law, opponents are looking to the courts for relief – and a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court case is giving them hope. The high court struck down parts of a controversial 2010 immigration law in Arizona on the grounds […]

House passes its “sanctuary cities” bill

Terrible. After more than 16 hours of debate, the Texas House of Representatives early Thursday morning tentatively gave a nod to the latest version of a Senate bill that would ban “sanctuary” jurisdictions in Texas. The 93-54 vote on second reading fell along party lines and came after one of the slowest moving but most […]

Where are the marijuana bills?

There have been no hearings on two bills to expand the usage of medical marijuana in Texas. [Dr. Robert S.] Marks was among about two dozen advocates for so-called medical marijuana, including health-care professionals and patients, who gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday. They said they are hoping to jump-start momentum for two bills — […]

Federal court blocks Trump “sanctuary cities” order

Good. A federal judge in San Francisco dealt the Trump administration another legal blow Tuesday, temporarily halting President Donald Trump’s threat to withhold federal funding from cities and towns that refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities. U.S. District Judge William Orrick imposed a nationwide injunction against a Jan. 25 executive order authorizing the attorney general […]

Uber and Lyft speak on the “biological sex” amendment in statewide rideshare bill

It’s a start. Five days after a controversial amendment defining “sex” as “male or female” was added to a statewide ride-hailing bill, representatives from Uber and Lyft called the addition disappointing and unnecessary — though both companies stopped short of saying they’d withdraw their support. “We are disappointed that this unnecessary amendment was added to […]

Senate approves special ed reform bill

Good. The Texas Senate moved Wednesday to ban state officials from ever again imposing a cap on the percentage of students allowed to receive special education services. The chamber voted unanimously in favor of Senate Bill 160, putting the legislation just one step away from the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott, who already has indicated […]

Investigation requested into voucher astroturfing

From the Quorum Report: Following a criminal complaint by a GOP former lawmaker, an Austin representative has asked the Travis County District Attorney’s Office to look a letter-writing campaign that has deeply troubled rural Republicans in the Texas House who are opposed to school vouchers. In a letter obtained by Quorum Report this evening, Rep. […]

House passes school finance reform bill

Well done. State Rep. Dan Huberty succeeded at a difficult task Wednesday: getting the Texas House of Representatives to vote for legislation overhauling the funding system for public education, without a court mandate. After a four-hour discussion of more than 30 proposed amendments, the House voted 134-16 to tentatively accept its top education leader’s plan […]

Bathroom bill 2.0 gets its committee hearing

It’s the same old garbage in a new package. Amid concerns about rolling back local protections for vulnerable Texans and dire economic fallout, a panel of House lawmakers considered a measure into the early hours of Thursday morning that some are hoping will serve as an alternative approach to regulating bathroom use for transgender Texans. […]

House passes statewide rideshare bill

Made it farther than it did last session. After a lengthy debate among lawmakers over the best way to regulate services like Uber and Lyft, the Texas House backed a proposal that would override local regulations concerning ride-hailing companies. House Bill 100, by state Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, would establish a statewide framework to regulate […]

Senate passes AirBnB bill

As you know, I don’t care for this. A Senate bill that would limit local government control of short-term home rentals in Texas passed out of the upper chamber Tuesday in a 21-9 vote. Under Senate Bill 451 by state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, Texas cities would be prevented from banning short-term rentals […]