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Posts from ‘June, 2017’

Friday random ten – All in, part 2

All there is is more songs that start with “All”. 1. All God’s Children Got Rhythm – Stan Getz 2. All I Ask – Adele 3. All I Ever – GEMS 4. All I Wanna Do – The Chesterfield Kings 5. All I Want – Susanna Hoffs 6. All In Love Is Fair – Mel […]

Hearing for that other SB4 lawsuit

The SB4 lawsuit that Ken Paxton filed, to get the law pre-emptively declared to be constitutional, had its hearing in Austin on Thursday. A federal judge on Thursday criticized the politics surrounding Texas’ new immigration-enforcement law and hinted that he’d be unable to take the case over from his colleague in Bexar County. U.S. District […]

Firefighters sue city over contract negotiations

These are busy days for the HPFFA. Houston’s fire union sued the city Wednesday alleging Mayor Sylvester Turner’s administration failed to act in good faith during contract negotiations, exacerbating tensions between firefighters and City Hall. The lawsuit filed in state district court came just two days before firefighters’ “evergreen” labor agreement with the city expires, […]

City of El Paso joins in on SB4

Add one more to the list. The city of El Paso voted on Tuesday to join the growing list of local governments that have filed a legal challenge in hopes of stopping Texas’ new immigration enforcement law from going into effect. The city council’s vote to join El Paso County and the cities of Dallas, […]

Mike Lunceford announces he is not running for re-election

Two-term HISD Trustee in District V Mike Lunceford posted the following on Facebook yesterday: Sometimes when you are passionate about something it is very hard to walk away from it. After 8 years on the Houston ISD School Board and over 25 years as an active participant in education in Houston I have decided not […]

WaPo looks at a couple of our Congressional primaries

This is supposed to be a story about how there’s a lot of people running for Congress as Democrats but (surprise!) they have different opinions about what to emphasize and how to win and stuff like that. Weird, right? Anyway, a large part of the story is about candidates in CD32 and CD07 right here […]

Bonds on the ballot

Mayor Turner has one more item to deal with this November. Mayor Sylvester Turner is poised ask voters to approve bonds this fall to fund improvements to city parks, community centers, fire stations and health clinics, adding hundreds of millions of dollars in debt to a crowded November ballot. The proposed five-year capital improvement plan, […]

State to help defend county bail policies

Of course it will. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and the top lawyers in five other states are backing Harris County in its protracted battle over money bail for poor low-level defendants, as the tally of those released on no-cash bail nears 1,000. Paxton and the lead attorneys in Arizona, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana and Nebraska […]

Texas blog roundup for the week of June 26

The Texas Progressive Alliance thinks lack of compassion should be treated as a pre-existing condition as it brings you this week’s roundup.

End Citizens United to back O’Rourke

Good. The 2018 Senate election in Texas remains more than 16 months away, but Rep. Beto O’Rourke picked up his first major organizational endorsement Monday in his long-shot bid to challenge Sen. Ted Cruz. End Citizens United PAC, a progressive group focused on reducing the role of money in politics with three million members across […]

Ellis seeks Harris County entry into SB4 litigation

From the inbox, an email from Commissioner Ellis: Despite strong opposition from law enforcement officials, faith leaders, local governments, civil rights organizations, constituents, and advocacy groups, Senate Bill 4 (SB4), the “show-me-your-papers” legislation, has been signed into law. The new legislation unfairly targets immigrant families, allows state-sanctioned racial profiling, and violates rights to due process. […]

Another look at redistricting in Texas

We’re in the spotlight right now. The odd shapes tell the story. A huge Republican majority in the Houston-area 2nd congressional district represented by Ted Poe curls around the region from Lake Houston, northeast of the city, makes a meandering, snakelike loop out to the western suburbs, and ends south of downtown near Loop 610. […]

RideAustin tries to hang on

I wish them luck. The return of Uber and Lyft to Austin has put the city’s only ride-hailing nonprofit in a fight for survival. RideAustin, one of several small companies that started operations in Austin after the ride-hailing giants left the city in May 2016, is now seeing its ridership cut in half since the […]

SB4’s day in court

Sparks were flying. Opponents of Texas’ state-based immigration law told a federal judge Monday that allowing the controversial measure to stand would pave the way for a nationwide police state where local officers could subvert the established immigration-enforcement powers of the federal government. But the state’s attorneys argued in tandem with their colleagues from the […]

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 […]

Ellis shakes things up

Good. It’s what he should be doing. When former state Sen. Rodney Ellis launched his campaign to succeed the late El Franco Lee as Precinct 1 commissioner last year, he said he would shake up Harris County government. He’s kept his promise. Not even three months into his tenure, Ellis filed court papers siding against […]

Smarter streets

They’re coming soon to Houston. Houston City Council on Wednesday will consider a $33.6 million contract – partially funded by a $10 million federal grant – to add hundreds of traffic-tracking devices across the city so officials can receive better up-to-date information, respond by adjusting traffic signals and provide current conditions to drivers more quickly. […]

Next round of voter ID briefs ordered

Moving right along: With the next election season looming, a federal judge has set a fast-paced schedule for determining whether Texas should be penalized for a voter ID law found to have been written by Republicans to intentionally discriminate against minority voters. Saying no additional hearings will be needed, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos gave […]

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 […]

Weekend link dump for June 25

“The AHCA would raise employment and economic activity at first, but lower them in the long run. It initially raises the federal deficit when taxes are repealed, leading to 864,000 more jobs in 2018. In later years, reductions in support for health insurance cause negative economic effects. By 2026, 924,000 jobs would be lost, gross […]

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, […]

Getting underway in Dallas

Candidate recruitment season is on. For Texas Democrats, the road out of the political wilderness winds through Dallas County. It’s here, in the Republican strongholds of the north, west and east, that Democrats hope to unseat up to seven GOP lawmakers. Their operatives were in Dallas this week to interview potential House candidates, raise money […]

More on Heights alcohol vote 2.0

From the Heights Examiner (now a section of the Wednesday Chron), the reasons why restauranteurs want in on the action. But the possible reversal of the century-old prohibition on restaurants would mean more than just no longer having to sign a slip of a paper before being served, said Morgan Weber who owns Revival Market […]

The Round Rock Bigfoot footprint

You know, it’s been too long since we had a good Bigfoot story to talk about. [Last] Saturday, the Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department released photos of foot prints found on various trails and parks in the Austin suburb. Officials have called it an “unexplained phenomena” and are urging anyone who knows about the […]

Saturday video break: Saturday Night

Hey, it’s Saturday! And here’s a song all about Saturday Night! It’s perfect! That was the Bay City Rollers, and the entire 1970s boiled down into a three-minute video. And for a slightly different view of the 70’s, here are the Eagles: Well, you can answer the question of whatever happened to Saturday night yourself, […]

What about Fort Worth?

Now that Houston has voted to join the litigation against SB4, there remains one big city on the sidelines. Holding signs that said, “No hate in my Texas” and “Diversity not division,” protesters on Tuesday urged city leaders to join a lawsuit seeking to have Texas’ so-called sanctuary cities law declared unconstitutional. Members of the […]

Doctors against bathroom bills

Good. [Last] week, the American Medical Association (AMA), the country’s largest medical organization, took several actions to solidify their defense of transgender people. This included a resolution opposing any policy or legislation — like “bathroom bills” put forth in North Carolina and Texas — that prohibits transgender people from living according to their gender identity throughout society. During its […]

No partisan gerrymandering claims (yet) in Texas

From Texas Redistricting: The three-judge panel in the Texas redistricting case has issued an order striking the expert report offered by the Texas Democratic Party in connection with its partisan gerrymandering claim. However, the court said that it would allow the TDP to make an offer of proof under Federal Rule of Evidence 103 so […]

Friday random ten – All in, part 1

I have a lot of songs that begin with the word “All”, so settle in and get comfortable. 1. All About Soul – Billy Joel 2. All Along The Watchtower – U2 3. All Around My Hat – The Mollys 4. All Around The World Or The Myth Of Fingerprints – Paul Simon 5. All […]

Feds join the state in defense of SB4

I suppose this was to be expected. About a month ago, the city of El Cenizo filed a lawsuit against the state, calling the bill unconstitutional. On Monday, the Trump administration got involved. The defendants in the lawsuit are the state of Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The fight started […]

One Republican judge doesn’t want that high-priced attorney for the bail lawsuit appeal

Credit where credit is due. One of 15 Harris County judges challenging a federal order altering how bail works for indigent defendants has dropped out of the group that hired a pricey D.C. law firm to appeal the lawsuit. Court at Law Judge Mike Fields, a Republican who has been on the bench since 1998, […]

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 […]

Houston officially gets in the SB4 litigation business

Well done. Houston City Council voted Wednesday to sue the state over its new “sanctuary cities” law, joining Texas’ three other largest cities in challenging the controversial measure. Council voted 10-6 to join San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, El Paso County and several other local governments and nonprofits in a consolidated case challenging the state. Councilman […]