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Posts from ‘March, 2017’

Friday random ten: Ladies’ night, part 39

This list is so fine it will blow your mind. 1. Dancing In Isolation – Terri Nunn 2. The Waltz – Theresa Andersson 3. Road To Nowhere – Theresa Miller 4. Voices Carry – ‘Til Tuesday (Aimee Mann) 5. Cacophony – Tilly and the Wall (Kianna Alarid, Neely Jenkins, Jamie Pressnall) 6. Life Is Hard […]

O’Rourke to announce for Senate today

Here he comes. U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke will launch a campaign to challenge U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018 on Friday, according to a colleague with direct knowledge of the El Paso Democrat’s thinking O’Rourke’s campaign team sent an email to supporters Wednesday morning revealing that “a big announcement” was coming Friday. “Together, we can […]

Paxton case gets moved out of Collin County

Well, well, well. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s upcoming trials will be moved out of Collin County, the judge presiding over his criminal fraud case decided Thursday. The ruling is a major victory for the prosecutors, who have for months argued that Paxton’s friends and political allies have sought to malign them in the court of […]

North Carolina “repeals” HB2

It’s “repeal” in a mostly meaningless sense. Late Wednesday night, for the second day in a row, North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R) and Senate leader Phil Berger (R) held a press conference announcing that they’d established yet another “compromise” to repeal HB2 with Gov. Roy Cooper (D). They are planning to force it […]

Commissioners get testy over bail practices lawsuit

Let’s hash it all out. Tensions flared at Harris County Commissioners Court Tuesday after new Commissioner Rodney Ellis filed legal papers supporting civil rights groups in their high-profile federal lawsuit against the county and its bail system. In a rare public argument before dozens of onlookers at the meeting Tuesday, Ellis’ colleagues — all Republicans […]

Senate passes its budget

It’s the one bill that has to pass. The Texas Senate unanimously approved a two-year budget on Tuesday that would shift nearly $2 billion in public education costs from the state to local taxpayers. The Senate’s $218 billion document now goes to budget writers in the House for debate. “This is a lean budget, but […]

Busy day in the Senate

They got stuff done, I’ll give them that. Whether it was stuff worth doing or not, I’ll leave to you. 1. Senate bill would let Houston voters weigh in on fix to pension crisis. The Senate on Wednesday voted 21-10 to give preliminary approval of a bill that would require voters to sign off before […]

Metro still fixing rail car issues

Someday this will all be over. Houston’s light rail system is fully open, but closing out a complicated rail car purchase that nearly derailed the new lines remains a challenge for transit officials. Metropolitan Transit Authority officials continue withholding $12.9 million from CAF U.S.A. – the builder of the vehicles – as they debate the […]

Texas blog roundup for the week of March 27

The Texas Progressive Alliance promises to repeal last week’s roundup and replace it with something better and cheaper this week. It’ll be easy.

Harris County’s growth slows

We’re still growing, we just didn’t grow as fast last year as we had in previous years. After eight straight years of boom – adding more new residents than any county in the nation – Harris County in 2016 felt some of the oil bust’s sting. The county gained a total of about 56,600 people […]

House hearing for pension bill

Another step in the process. Houston’s pension reform plan got its first hearing Monday in the state House, where rows and rows of current and retired firefighters appeared to voice opposition to the plan. Municipal and police leaders testified in support, however, as did representatives of the Greater Houston Partnership and, of course, Mayor Sylvester […]

The North Carolina bathroom bill price tag

How does $3.76 billion, at a minimum, grab you? Despite Republican assurances that North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” isn’t hurting the economy, the law limiting LGBT protections will cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years, according to an Associated Press analysis. Over the past year, North Carolina has suffered […]

Stockman indicted

And here the troubles begin. Former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman and a former congressional aide were indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on charges they stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from charitable foundations to fund campaigns and pay personal expenses. Stockman, 60, and his former director of special projects, Jason Posey, 46, were […]

Voter ID 2.0 passes out of the Senate

Meh. The Texas Senate tentatively approved legislation Monday that would revamp the state’s voter identification rules, a response to court rulings that the current law discriminates against minority voters. Following more than an hour of debate, the chamber voted 21-10 to move the bill to a final vote, likely later this week. Sen. Joan Huffman’s […]

First shenanigan spotted

There will be more to come, I’m sure, but this will be happening today. A Tuesday debate over the future of the state agency that regulates the oil and gas industry could instead become a showdown over immigration and where transgender Texans use the bathroom. House Republicans will look to force a vote on the […]

A tale of two Congressmen

Rep. Ted Poe has a status update. U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, a Republican from Humble, announced Sunday afternoon he is resigning from the hardline Republican group that helped sink GOP attempts to repeal former President Obama’s 2010 health care law. “I have resigned from the House Freedom Caucus. In order to deliver on the conservative […]

Two for HISD V

In the past week or so, I have become aware of two candidates for HISD Board of Trustees, District V, which is the seat that is now held by Trustee Mike Lunceford but will be open in November as Lunceford will be stepping down at the end of his term. Both of them are Democrats. […]

January 2017 campaign finance reports: Harris County officeholders

We may or may not have City of Houston elections this year, but we will definitely have Harris County elections next year. Here’s a brief tour of the finance reports for Harris County officeholders. First up, Commissioners Court: Rodney Ellis Jack Morman Steve Radack Jack Cagle (PAC) El Franco Lee Gene Locke Name Raised Spent […]

This is not how you put the interests of the child first

It’s the opposite of that, honestly. Rep. James Frank, R-Wichita Falls, vice chairman of the House Human Services Committee, has authored House Bill 3859, which would protect faith-based providers from retaliation if they assert their “sincerely held religious beliefs” while caring for abused and neglected children. The bill would include allowing faith-based groups to deny […]

An ironic might-have-been on redistricting

From Rick Casey. The three judges who decided the case include one Democrat and two Republicans. Ironically, the decision may have gone the other way if one of the judges hadn’t been punished for joining in an earlier ruling in the case. Here’s the backstory. Judge Rodriguez, a graduate of Harvard University and the University […]

Weekend link dump for March 26

Air pollution denial is the new climate change denial. This is why I always use the Oxford comma. That’s Sir Ray Davies to you, bub. “Did you agree that FitBit owns your information? You probably didn’t think about that when you bought the device.” Sesame Street‘s newest Muppet has autism. “YouTube says it is looking […]

Stockman’s first day in court

Oh, this is going to be so much fun. Appearing carefree and relaxed with his wife by his side, former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman told reporters outside a court hearing downtown Friday that he expected “to be vindicated” on allegations that he conspired with staffers to take $775,000 in donations intended for charitable purposes or […]

When your gender doesn’t match your birth certificate

The Daily Beast looks at what it means in practice to be a transgender person in Texas facing the prospect of having to use your birth certificate to use the bathroom. According to the Williams Institute, an LGBT think tank based out of the UCLA School of Law, there are over 125,000 transgender adults in […]

Major League Rugby in Houston

Meet the Houston Strikers. A group of rugby supporters are kicking around plans to build a rugby stadium in the area. The ownership group behind the new Major League Rugby franchise the Houston Strikers is finalizing plans to develop a plot of land adjacent to the Houston Sports Park along TX-288 and south of Mowery […]

Saturday video break: Over You

For the second week in a row, here’s Roxy Music: Sorry, couldn’t find a good live version, so I have no idea if there’s an oboe player on this one. Add Bryan Ferry to your list – OK, my list – of musicians you knew more about that you thought. Now here’s Ingrid Michaelson: Lots […]

Straus is a big No on SB6

Very good to hear. Texas House Speaker Joe Straus on Friday gave perhaps his harshest condemnation yet of the controversial “bathroom bill” championed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Straus said the bill, which has drawn the ire of Texas businesses and been criticized as discriminatory against transgender people, felt “manufactured and unnecessary.” “If we’ve gotten […]

Bail practices lawsuit wraps up

It’s up to the judge now. The call by two civil rights groups for an immediate fix to Harris County’s bail system is now in the hands of a federal judge after high-stakes arguments over whether poor people should remain in jail on misdemeanor offenses because they can’t afford to post bail. Key criminal justice […]

Let’s use mutant mosquitoes to fight Zika

What could possibly go wrong? The Bayou City’s teeming mosquito population spawns in dark, wet nooks and carries a slew of deadly tropical diseases that could ravage the region. So Houston is pondering a sneak attack, something akin to a Trojan Horse. Harris County officials are negotiating with a British biotech company, Oxitec, to create […]

Friday random ten: Ladies’ night, part 38

The boogie fever, it is going around. 1. Blue Shadows On The Trail – Syd Straw 2. Boogie Fever – The Sylvers (Olympis, Charmaine, Angelia, and Patricia Sylvers) 3. Heartbeat – Taana Gardner 4. Sweet Child O’ Mine – Taken By Trees (Victoria Bergsman) 5. Once In A Lifetime – Talking Heads (Tina Weymouth) 6. […]

Motion filed to block current Congressional map

From the Lone Star Project. Moments ago the Plaintiffs in the ongoing Texas congressional redistricting case filed a joint motion asking the San Antonio Federal District Court for an injunction to block the use of the current congressional map during the 2018 mid-term elections.  The motion also suggests a schedule to adopt a new map […]

Vouchers get their Senate hearing

Here we go again with this nonsense. Senate Bill 3, authored by Republican Sen. Larry Taylor of Friendswood, would establish educational savings accounts and tax credit scholarships to fund various costs associated with parents moving their children from traditional public schools to private, parochial, or charter schools. In an online payment process, parents could use […]

“It’s harder to paint us as monsters when there’s a human face on it”

Words of wisdom from one very dedicated and engaged citizen. Monday marked Stephanie Martinez’s 12th time participating in a lobby day hosted by Equality Texas at the Capitol. But this session, in response to Senate Bill 6, the 48-year-old transgender woman from Austin felt compelled to do more. After waiting 16 hours to testify against […]

More on the Stockman arrest

I’m just going to leave this here. Former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, a Republican whose district stretched from Houston to Beaumont, allegedly conspired with two staffers to bilk conservative foundations out of at least $775,000 in donations meant for charitable purposes or voter education, according to federal court records. Details of the alleged scam are […]

What might it take to beat Ted Cruz?

Roll Call considers the question. As Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro mulls a challenge to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Democrats and Republicans both say it would be a tall order in a deep-red state with little Democratic power. “I think what Joaquin would have to do right is to begin with a premise that Texas Democrats […]