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Posts from ‘April, 2017’

Weekend link dump for April 30

Other Congressional districts that could be as competitive as the 6th District in Georgia was. The evolution of the TV mom. From the archives, how to deal with a psychopath. (Spoiler: If at all possible, don’t.) “It’s hard to call these meetings political, at least in the narrow sense of partisan politics (save, perhaps, for […]

Harris County bail system ruled unconstitutional

Damn right. A federal judge in Houston Friday issued a scathing denouncement of Harris County’s cash bail system, saying it is fundamentally unfair to detain indigent people arrested for low-level offenses simply because they can’t afford to pay bail. In a 193-page ruling released Friday, Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal ordered the county […]

House approves bill to kill margins tax

Dumb. The Texas House on Thursday approved a proposal that would phase out an unpopular business tax that provides funding for public schools. The proposal by state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, would not reduce the state’s franchise tax during the current penny-pinching legislative session, but it would do so in future years. Under Bonnen’s bill, […]

Winning the battles but losing the war

That’s the story of reproductive rights, and access to reproductive health care in general, in Texas. “We have made tremendous gains,” said Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life. He hopes that someday, perhaps under Trump, the Supreme Court will overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling upholding abortion rights. In the meantime, […]

Texas asks for Ike Dike money from the feds

Good luck with that. Almost a decade after Hurricane Ike killed dozens of people and caused $30 billion in damage, a group of Texas politicians and business leaders say they finally have “all the support necessary” to break ground on a massive coastal barrier that would protect the Houston area from another devastating hurricane. Now […]

Saturday video break: Reason To Believe

Here he is, in all his cheesy glory, Rod Stewart: As much as I love 70s music, I’ve never much cared for Rod Stewart. It’s just too much, you know? I know, we were never meant to take any of it seriously, but I’m still left cold by Rod Stewart. That said, this is one […]

Early voting Day Five: Can we make any guesses yet?

Mike Snyder wonders about the turnout so far in the May elections. When Pasadena last chose a mayor, in 2013, about 7 percent of its registered voters determined who would lead the industrial port city of 150,000. Mayor Johnny Isbell, who won re-election by an overwhelming margin, attributed the paltry turnout to public satisfaction with “the […]

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 […]

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a flying car!

Seriously. Uber is looking to North Texas as a testing ground for its initiative to make intra-urban flying vehicle rides a reality. The company announced Tuesday that Dallas and Fort Worth are its first U.S. partner cities for what its dubbing the “Uber Elevate Network.” The company hopes to have the first demonstration of how […]

Friday random eleven: Ladies’ night, part 43

We come to the end of this long-lived theme. 1. I Wonder – Yma Sumac 2. Walking On Thin Ice – Yoko Ono 3. How ‘Bout You – Yonder Mountain String Band (Allie Kral) 4. Nightswimming – You Say Party! We Say Die! (Carissa Ropponen) 5. Credit In The Straight World – Young Marble Giants […]

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 […]

Trial to be set to determine 2018 maps

Some questions answered, still more raised. As the 2018 election cycle nears, it appears Texas and its legal foes are headed for a trial — yet again — over what the state’s House and congressional boundaries will look like, and it will likely come this summer. “I think the trial is certain,” said Jose Garza, […]

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 — […]

Stockman trial delayed

Alas. Former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman’s trial on federal corruption charges has been pushed back to next year. The trial, originally scheduled to begin June 5, will now kick off on Jan. 29, 2018, according to an order issued Wednesday by Chief U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal. Stockman’s lawyer had requested the delay last week, […]

Paxton still pushing for a new judge

Still, he persisted, I guess. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawyers are not giving up in their bid to get a new judge in his securities fraud case. Earlier this month, Judge George Gallagher ordered Paxton’s trial be moved to Harris County from Collin County, where Paxton lives, after prosecutors argued Paxton and his allies […]

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 […]

No more feral hog poison

It was not to be. The manufacturer of a controversial bait used to kill feral hogs withdrew its state registration for the poison, putting Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s plans for a Texas “Hog Apocalypse” on hold. “We have received tremendous support from farmers and ranchers in the State of Texas, and have empathy for the […]

Texas blog roundup for the week of April 24

The Texas Progressive Alliance knows why the alligator crossed the road as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Big day for redistricting in court

Tomorrow the questions of what happens next in the redistricting lawsuits begin to get answered. Will Texas soon see new political maps that are friendlier to Latino and black voters and, in turn, Democrats? If so, who would draw them: the scolded Republican-led Legislature or the courts themselves? Will the maps land ahead of the […]

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 […]

Business groups endorse a Yes on recapture re-vote

It’s a very different campaign this time around. The Greater Houston Partnership and other local organizations whose members own some of the city’s priciest commercial real estate have come out in support of a ballot measure over whether the Houston Independent School District should pay its share of property taxes to the state as part […]

Early voting so far

The Chron looks at the first day of early voting and some area races. Early voting began Monday for local elections next month that will determine who leads increasingly diverse Pasadena, the fate of a major school bond referendum in League City and whether Houston’s largest school district pays tens of millions to the state […]

What will Joaquin do?

Getting to be close to decision time. After U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro wrapped up speaking here Wednesday, completing the latest stop on his statewide tour ahead of a potential Senate run, one man in the crowd turned to another and voiced some ambivalence. “I don’t know if he should do it,” the man said, alluding […]

Two more redistricting updates

From KUT, will we have a new Congressional map for next year? [Gerry Hebert, one of the plaintiff attorneys], says he’s hopeful there won’t be yet another election with the old maps. “The timing of the court’s decision is absolutely giving us an opportunity to get a new congressional redistricting plan for the 2018 election,” […]

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 […]

Endorsement watch: Project LIFT

The Texas Democratic Party has endorsed a slew of progressive candidates enrolled in their Project LIFT (Local Investment in the Future of Texas) program. There were five rounds of endorsements, beginning on March 10: Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 The endorsements cover races all over the state. I’m going to […]

Very early speculation about Congressional campaigns

The Trib rounded up all the scuttlebutt about who may be running for various Congressional districts next year. I’ve picked out a few to comment on. CD07: National Democrats are interested in Houston attorney Collin Cox and Alex Triantaphyllis, the director of Immigration and Economic Opportunity at Neighborhood Centers Inc., a Houston nonprofit, as possible […]

Petitions submitted to force another pension vote

Oh, good grief. Voters soon could decide whether to close Houston’s traditional pension plans to new employees after political activists submitted a petition to City Hall to force a referendum this November. The petition further complicates Mayor Sylvester Turner’s efforts to pass a pension reform bill, which already had hit a hurdle in the state […]

ADA voting rights lawsuit update

Interesting. A federal judge in Houston put Harris County on notice Friday that the scope of accessibility violations at local polling places could be so vast that a special master may be needed to sort them out. U.S. District Judge Alfred H. Bennett said he is considering an independent review of the county’s 765 polling […]

Endorsement watch: Chron for Van Houte and recapture

Here are your Chronicle endorsements for the May election. First, for Mayor of Pasadena: Of the five candidates who met with the Chronicle editorial board – two declined – only Van Houte was willing to bluntly and accurately diagnose the challenges facing Harris County’s second-largest city. Legacies of favoritism, opacity and, yes, discrimination continue to […]

Weekend link dump for April 23

Meet Jean Afterman, the highest-ranking woman in MLB’s front offices. “So now, 133 years later, in a 7-1 game in the ninth, you have to watch some 27-year-old failed starter huff and puff for 23 seconds, catching his breath while deciding between his fastball and his fastball, all because Pud Galvin and his ilk cheated […]

Early voting for May elections begins tomorrow

Tomorrow is the first day of the nine-day early voting period for the May 6 election. I’ve generally not paid a great deal of attention to these May elections, but it’s safe to say that This Time It’s Different, and not just because I myself have an election to vote in. The people who live […]

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. […]

The post-Uber Austin rideshare experience

Texas Monthly notes the issues that some people faced during SxSW hailing a ride, and considers the rideshare landscape in Austin post-Uber and Lyft. But the thesis that Austin is experiencing a crisis around ride-hailing apps is an old one, and it’s incomplete. RideAustin, which as a non-profit makes all of its numbers public, gave […]