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Posts from ‘May, 2017’

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 […]

5th Court rules Paxton judge overstepped

Yet another bizarre turn in this increasingly bizarre case. A state appeals court sided Tuesday with Attorney General Ken Paxton in his bid for a new judge in his securities fraud case, ruling the current judge lost jurisdiction when he changed venue to Harris County in April. The court also directed the judge, George Gallagher, […]

Runoff endorsement watch: Moon for Mayor

The Chron picks their second choice for Mayor of Pasadena. The second-largest city in Harris County could use a good shake-up. That’s why voters should elect John “J.R.” Moon Jr. for mayor in the city’s runoff election. Moon, 58, would bring the outsider perspective that Pasadena needs. He has spent the past decade as a […]

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 […]

Things get ugly in the Pearland runoffs

Nasty. The hijab that Dalia Kasseb wears in public never seemed to disturb Woody Owens, her opponent in a June 10 runoff for a Pearland City Council position. Owens, Kasseb told me, has been perfectly cordial when their paths have crossed on the campaign trail. Imagine Kasseb’s surprise, then, when she watched a video that […]

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 […]

ACLU joins first “sanctuary cities” lawsuit

From the inbox: The ACLU of Texas and the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project have joined the lawsuit challenging Texas Senate Bill 4 (SB4), which demands that local governments and their employees engage in federal immigration enforcement practices. The case, City of El Cenizo, Texas, et al. v. State of Texas, et al., was filed earlier […]

Weekend link dump for May 28

“Two big reasons Trump will have a tough time pushing the special counsel around”. “The growing frustration with the Trump administration’s management — reflected in letters to state regulators and in interviews with more than two dozen senior industry and government officials nationwide — undercuts a key White House claim that Obamacare insurance marketplaces are […]

Budget passes

The Legislature’s one mandated duty has been completed. Both chambers of the Texas Legislature voted Saturday evening to approve a $217 billion, two-year budget that would boost funding for the state’s beleaguered child welfare agency, increase the number of state troopers on the Texas-Mexico border and avoid serious reforms to the state’s much-criticized school finance […]

On to the revenue cap

With one major accomplishment (basically) finished, Mayor Turner moves on to the next major challenge facing him. “This is the most consequential campaign of the mayor’s career,” University of Houston political scientist Brandon Rottinghaus said. “These things are more complicated and more politically fraught than either his mayoral campaign or the lobbying to get the […]

Busy hurricane season predicted

Welcome to summer, y’all. The nation’s climate agency on Thursday predicted an above-normal 2017 hurricane season with 11 to 17 named storms, five to nine of them hurricanes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted a 45 percent chance of the hurricane season that begins June 1 being above normal, a 35 percent chance of […]

Saturday video break: Royals

Here’s Lorde’s global hit: She’s going to be in Houston for the 2017 Free Press Summerfest, which I will be unable to attend. One presume she isn’t coming all this way just to play a couple of days in Houston, but her tour schedule doesn’t actually include many American appearances, so check her out while […]

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 […]

No Metro vote this year

One less to worry about. Agency officials expect to begin public meetings to gather input on where expanded bus and rail lines might go in late June. But the critical public response – the money to fund preferred projects via a voter referendum – likely is 18 months away, Metropolitan Transit Authority officials said. “The […]

Paxton’s pastor sues Servergy case witnesses

My head is spinning. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s pastor has sued the lead witnesses against him in his upcoming criminal trials. Last week, Prestonwood Baptist Church Executive Pastor Mike Buster filed a lawsuit against Rep. Byron Cook and Florida businessman Joel Hochberg, the two men named on Paxton’s fraud indictments. Paxton attends Prestonwood’s main campus […]

Friday random ten: NPR Music

One other big source of new music for me last year was NPR Music’s The Austin 100 (2016), which was a free download of over 100 songs. Here’s a selection of them 1. Ugly Cherries – PWR BTTM 2. Every Which-A-Way – The Quebe Sisters 3. Drinkee – Sofi Tukker 4. Somebody To Anybody – […]

No special session for redistricting

Buried in my Wednesday post about the SCOTUS ruling that declared North Carolina’s Congressional map to be an illegal gerrymander was a note that the court in the Texas redistricting case asked the state to consider a special session to redraw Texas’ map, taking that ruling into account. The DMN had a story about that: […]

No changes to HISD magnet programs

Not this year, anyway. Houston ISD Superintendent Richard Carranza this week withdrew a plan to deeply cut funding for the district’s magnet programs over the next three years, shelving a proposal that had angered parents and some school board members who consider the specialized academic programs to be jewels in an oft-troubled school system. The […]

Time for the 5th Court to decide on Paxton prosecutor pay

Do your job, y’all. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s months-long effort to remove the judge in his securities fraud case is coming to a head in a Dallas appeals court. Prosecutors say the 5th Court of Appeals has no jurisdiction to get rid of the judge, George Gallagher, because he has moved the case out […]

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 — […]

Texas blog roundup for the week of May 22

The Texas Progressive Alliance is old enough to remember when even Republicans considered giving classified information to the Russians a bad thing as it brings you this week’s roudup.

The SCOTUS ruling on North Carolina’s gerrymandering could affect Texas

This is potentially a very big deal. In striking down North Carolina’s congressional district map, the Supreme Court sent Texas a firm warning Monday about how the state’s case may fare if it reaches that stage. The 5-3 North Carolina ruling affirmed a previous district court decision, which found that Republican state legislators there had […]

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 […]

MALDEF gets injunction in recapture lawsuit

From their website: Please attribute the following statement on a Texas court ruling ordering state education officials to cease bypassing existing school funding rules to Marisa Bono, Southwest regional counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund): “MALDEF is pleased that the District Court saw through efforts by the Texas Education Agency to […]

El Paso files “sanctuary cities” lawsuit

Two and counting, as El Paso gets in on the anti-SB4 action. The lawsuit, filed by El Paso County, its Sheriff Richard Wiles and the Texas Organizing Project Education Fund, a client of the Texas Civil Rights Project, charges that the law, if enacted, would violate several provisions of the U.S. Constitution, including the 14th […]

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 […]

Collin County punts prosecutor pay question back to appeals court

Incoming! The Collin County Commissioners Court has voted to not pay the prosecutors pursuing criminal charges against Attorney General Ken Paxton. The 5th Court of Appeals last week directed the commissioners to vote on the prosecutors’ latest bill before it can rule on a lawsuit challenging the fees’ legality. On Monday, the commissioners voted against […]