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Posts Tagged ‘Byron Cook’

Halfway through the session

The House is doing House things, and that’s fine. Brushing aside concerns that they are not moving swiftly enough to enact Gov. Greg Abbott’s 20-point agenda, Texas House members opened the second half of the special session Wednesday with a flurry of activity Wednesday. “We made good progress, and we’re only half the way through,” […]

Dear business community: Dan Patrick is not your ally

Here’s the full Chron story about the latest group of business leaders to call for a stop to the bathroom bill. I want to focus on one key aspect of this: A week after police chiefs from Houston, San Antonio and Austin joined in protest against the bill, Abbott said the legislation specifically attempts to […]

The bathroom bill in the House

Mostly good news here. Dangerous. Discriminatory. Chilling. Hurtful. Those are words used by House State Affairs Chairman Byron Cook to describe bathroom legislation headed to his committee in the Texas House in the coming days. The Republican from Corsicana said legislation that would force transgender people to use bathrooms in line with their birth sex […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

More on the House bathroom bill

Still a very bad idea. After largely avoiding discussions so far on proposals to regulate bathrooms, the Texas House will wade into the debate this week with a measure some are hoping will serve as an alternative to the Senate’s “bathroom bill.” Setting aside the Senate’s proposal, the House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday will […]

Bathroom bill 2.0

Beware. House lawmakers will debate a so-called “bathroom bill” next week that supporters hope will be less worrisome to business interests concerned the measure could hurt the Texas economy. The decision to debate the House bill, and to set aside a more severe version passed last month in the Senate, marks the latest split the two chambers have endured during a […]

Beware the coming shenanigans on SB6

The full House may not get to vote on Dan Patrick’s bathroom bill, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t get a chance to vote onwhat’s in the bill. But speculation that SB 6 may not make it to the House floor for a vote by the 150-member chamber has left House Democrats on high […]

Athletes against SB6

From Athlete Ally: Dear Texas, The love of sport is in part what makes Texas great. The passion and competitive spirit that reverberates throughout the Texas athletic community is hard to match across the United States. It’s that passion – and the storied history of Texas athletics – that often makes the state a go-to […]

The “Man’s Right To Know” Act

This is some high-quality trolling. Texas State Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, filed a bill Friday that would penalize men for “unregulated masturbatory emissions.” The satirical House Bill 4260 would encourage men to remain “fully abstinent” and only allow the “occasional masturbatory emissions inside health care and medical facilities,” which are described in the legislation as […]

House hears “fetal remains” bill

Seriously? [House Bill 35] would create a registry of organizations that can help pay for burial or cremation of fetal remains. That way, the cost associated with burials would not fall on women, [bill author Rep. Byron] Cook said. The measure would not apply to miscarriages that happen at home. “Let me be clear: this […]

Here come the anti-Texas Central bills

From the inbox: [Tuesday], a group of key state lawmakers filed a slate of legislation to push back against Texas Central Railway’s controversial proposal to construct a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston. Senators Birdwell (R-Granbury), Creighton (R-Conroe), Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), Perry (R-Lubbock), and Schwertner (R-Georgetown) joined with Representatives Ashby (R-Lufkin), Bell (R-Magnolia), Cook (R-Corsicana), […]

More Paxton-versus-SEC stuff

Keeping the lawyers busy. Lawyers for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton say the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission cannot “shoot first and investigate later” as they seek to block 15 new subpoenas issued by the SEC. It is the latest argument by Paxton’s attorneys in their effort to show the SEC is scrambling to save […]

Paxton wants SEC’s documents on him

More twists and turns. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s attorneys have gone to court, seeking to force the Securities and Exchange Commission to produce notes of their interviews with the investors whose allegations form the basis of the civil case against him. Paxton’s attorneys filed the motion to compel the SEC to turn over the […]

AG asked to investigate Hill County ballot irregularities

Weird, but we’ll see. The Texas Attorney General’s office has been asked to launch an investigation into allegations that multiple people voted illegally in the 2016 Republican primary elections in Hill County, despite local officials’ claims that the discrepancies were caused by human error and would not have affected the results of any elections. The […]

AG opinion sought on eminent domain power for Texas Central

This could be a big deal. State Rep. Byron Cook asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday to rule on whether a private company developing a high-speed train project in the state has the power of eminent domain. Texas Central Partners has been developing a privately funded bullet train intended to travel between Houston […]

SEC files charges against Paxton

Bam! Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been charged in federal court with allegedly misleading investors in a technology company. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed the charges Monday in a Sherman-based court. They are similar to the allegations Paxton faces in a pending indictment handed up by a Collin County grand jury last […]

2016 primary reactions and initial impressions

First, a couple of minor notes. Rep. Byron Cook ultimately pulled out a win in his nasty and high-profile primary. That’s good news for Speaker Joe Straus and the general forces of “government that isn’t like a three-year-old coming off a sugar high”. Rep. Wayne Smith was forced into a runoff but did not lose […]

2016 primaries: State races

Let’s start with the Democratic race for Railroad Commissioner, and a few words from Forrest Wilder: The Gene Kelly Effect: Texas Democrats are almost perennially embarrassed by what you might call the Gene Kelly Effect — the depressing tendency of many Democratic primary voters to vote for a name they recognize on the ballot, without […]

Former Servergy CEO sues over Paxton-related costs

What a tangled web. The former CEO of the technology startup named in Ken Paxton’s indictments is suing the company he founded for costs associated with the attorney general’s criminal investigation and ongoing legal battle. William Mapp III, the founder and ex-CEO of McKinney tech firm Servergy Inc., says he “incurred and continues to incur […]

Paxton reindicted

On the same charges, with slightly different wording. After re-filing indictments against Attorney General Ken Paxton in his securities fraud case, two special prosecutors are pushing back against criticism from Paxton’s attorney, who says the recent action shows that they “botched” the proceedings. “It is not unusual in any felony case, particularly fraud cases, for […]

Ken who?

State Republican leaders don’t have much to say about our allegedly felonious Attorney General. Texas’ Republican leaders Sunday continued their radio silence on the indictment of Attorney General Ken Paxton on three felony fraud charges. Paxton, who was elected as part of a conservative GOP sweep that put Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan […]

Keffer to retire

The original Straus gang shrinks again. State Rep. Jim Keffer, an Eastland Republican who was one of the earliest supporters of House Speaker Joe Straus, has decided not to seek reelection next year, according to a statement he prepared for the Hood County News that was widely posted on social media Tuesday evening. Sources familiar […]

Ethics reform dies its expected death

The only surprise is that it took this long. With no collective will to expose dark money contributions in Texas, a major ethics overhaul was snuffed out in the waning hours of the 2015 legislative session. “It’s dead,” Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, said Saturday afternoon. “When the Senate chose not to include campaign disclosure reform […]

The fallout from the chubfest

Cleaning up some loose ends…The campus carry bill that was the subject of much chubbing passed on final reading. The battle over “campus carry” is headed back to the Texas Senate after House lawmakers gave final approval Wednesday to legislation requiring universities in the state to allow concealed handguns on campus. Senate Bill 11 from […]

House chubfest kills several bad bills

Some good news, though as always at the end of a session, the outcome isn’t clean and the details are very murky. As the clock struck midnight, the failure of an anti-abortion initiative — dear to the hearts of the far right — marked the end of a tumultuous day on the floor of the […]

There’s still time for bad bills to be passed

Bad bill #1: After four hours of debate and more than a dozen failed amendments offered by Democrats, the Senate on Monday gave preliminary approval to far-reaching restrictions on minors seeking abortions in Texas without parental consent. On a 21-10 vote, the upper chamber signed off on House Bill 3994 by Republican state Rep. Geanie […]

Anchia birth certificate bill passes out of committee

Good news. House Bill 537, by Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas), would allow same-sex parents to have both names on the birth certificates of adopted children. […] On Monday, the committee quietly voted 7-4 to advance HB 537, with Cook and Rep. Patricia Harless (R-Spring) joining five Democrats who voted in favor of the bill. Four […]

Two anti-gay bills advance

Look out. Gay rights advocates began sounding the alarm Wednesday after two anti-LGBT bills cleared House committees and another received a favorable hearing. Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, said if LGBT groups and their corporate allies don’t work quickly to generate the type of backlash seen over a religious freedom bill in […]

Still no action on fixing birth certificates

It’s shameful that this doesn’t have the votes to get out of committee. Prior to a hearing on a bill that would permit faith-based adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBT people, Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) delivered an impassioned speech on the House floor in support of a proposal to allow the adopted children of same-sex […]

Call to action: DREAM Act repeal hearing set for Monday

You know the drill. The push to repeal a 2001 law that allows some undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities is returning to the legislative spotlight, but on an unusual stage. On Monday, the border security subcommittee of the Senate’s Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee is scheduled to hear […]

Backlash anti-gay marriage bill heard in committee

Turns out bigotry has a price tag. House Bill 1745, by Rep. Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia), seeks to bar Texas officials from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples or recognizing their marriages—regardless of whether courts determine the state’s ban is unconstitutional. More than a dozen witnesses gave nearly two hours of sometimes emotional testimony during a […]

Trying again to fix birth certificates

This is encouraging. A Republican committee chairman smacked down an anti-LGBT witness Wednesday during a hearing on a proposal to allow same-sex parents to have both their names on the birth certificates of adopted children. Julie Drenner, of Texas Values, claimed the bill would lead to threesomes adopting, affect all birth certificates and require the […]