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Posts Tagged ‘Garnet Coleman’

A different push for health care expansion

This ought to spark some interesting conversations. Two Democratic lawmakers called Wednesday for Texas leaders to explore a new type of Medicaid waiver that they say could provide health coverage to many of the state’s millions of uninsured. The waiver, characterized by the legislators as the kind of block grant that Republicans favor, is not […]

Metro board seeks to expand

It’s change that has been anticipated since the 2010 Census data was released. With all indications pointing to more people in the Metropolitan Transit Authority service area living outside Houston than inside the city, Metro officials are asking to accelerate a state-mandated expansion of the transit agency’s board. The change would mean more members appointed […]

Alvarado’s term limits bill

From the inbox: State Representative Carol Alvarado has filed HB 2917 that, if passed by the Legislature and approved by voters, would change the city’s term limit structure to two four-year terms for the mayor, city controller and councilmembers. “The city’s current structure of three two-year terms restricts an elected official’s ability to truly dive […]

Not a good session for equality

I know, duh, right? Texas lawmakers have filed at least 20 anti-LGBT proposals this year—likely the most in the history of any state. It’s the type of onslaught that was widely expected among LGBT advocates, due to backlash over the spread of same-sex marriage. Daniel Williams, legislative specialist for Equality Texas, said the group is […]

Bill filing deadline has passed

Believe it or not, we are almost halfway through the legislative session, and we have now passed the point where new bills can be filed. Racing to beat a deadline for filing bills, state lawmakers on Friday submitted hundreds of measures on everything from abolishing the death penalty to the licensing of auctioneers. By the […]

Republicans demand something for nothing on Medicaid

Um, okay. Leading Texas Republicans on Monday asked the Obama administration for greater flexibility to administer Medicaid — a move that has gotten little traction in the past — while reiterating that they would not participate in an expansion of the program under the Affordable Care Act. “Any expansion of Medicaid in Texas is simply […]

We still have those outsourcing blues

We never learn from history. That’s just how we roll in this state. In 1991, the Texas attorney general’s office signed an $11 million contract to computerize its child-support payments system. By 1997, the deal with Andersen Consulting had ballooned to more than $68 million and was three years behind schedule. A state audit found […]

Don’t look for a meet-and-confer bill in the Lege this year

Buried in this story about the city and the county preparing to play defense during the legislative session is this update on the state of relations between the city and the firefighters. In her first two sessions, Houston Mayor Annise Parker failed to gain traction with legislation that would grant the city meet-and-confer powers that […]

Expect to hear more about Perry vetos and no-bid contracts

Bring it on. Democratic lawmakers and government watchdog groups on Saturday called for the reopening of an investigation into no-bid state contracts that ended in 2013 after Gov. Rick Perry vetoed funding for the team conducting it. The critics decried the millions of dollars in Department of Public Safety contracts and another set of similar […]

Working for progress on LGBT issues

I’m always a little wary when I see a phrase like “chipping away” in a story about LGBT issues, but in this case it refers to obstacles, not hard-won victories, so it’s OK. The rights and interests of homosexual Texans will be in the spotlight like never before next year, as the state’s same-sex marriage […]

Some Republicans embrace tuition re-regulation

This is a welcome change, but let’s not be distracted by what isn’t being said. Tuition and fees at the state’s public colleges and universities would be capped at their current levels and only be permitted to grow at the rate of inflation under a bill filed Tuesday by state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown. Schwertner […]

Legislation to overturn same sex marriage ban filed

Someone’s gotta do it, and you know it won’t be Republicans. Kriselda Hinojosa recalls how she unintentionally came out to her father in sixth grade. “He actually saw me kissing my girlfriend at the time,” Hinojosa said. “So he caught me, but he didn’t get upset. He never yelled at me or anything. He was […]

The Third Ward

Good story about a great historic neighborhood. In 1872, four influential African-American ministers and businessmen pooled $800 to buy 10 acres of land along Dowling Street. That was the birth of Emancipation Park, a safe place to celebrate Juneteenth and freedom from slavery. TSU, still thriving in the Third Ward today, got its start as […]

Convention coverage

Wendy and Leticia and a whole host of others rally the crowd in Dallas. Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte shared the spotlight at the Texas Democratic Party convention on Friday night, promising to change the direction of the state, ripping their Republican opponents and imploring Democrats to break the GOP’s two-decade grip on […]

734K ACA enrollments in Texas

Pretty damn impressive, all things considered. New numbers out show that 734,000 Texans bought health insurance through the federal marketplace from last October to April 19, 2014, a report released by Health and Human Services shows. Prior to March 1, an anemic 295,000 people had signed up, but in the final stretch of the Affordable […]

The farm team

Roll Call takes a look at the Texas Democrats of the future. Democrats rarely fielded competitive Senate candidates over the past two decades — the party’s three best performers in that time span received 44 percent, 43 percent and 43 percent — but that may change by the next midterm cycle. State and national Democrats […]

Somewhat less onerous navigator rules published

They could have been worse, but they could still be better. The Texas Department of Insurance on Tuesday issued state regulations for health care “navigators,” the workers who assist people seeking health insurance in the federal marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. The rules take into account some of the criticism aired recently by […]

Who enforces voter registration requirements?

My guess upon reading this is in effect nobody. A combination of lax enforcement in the state’s election code, a faulty voter registration system and lack of leadership by state election officials have led to the disenfranchisement of thousands of Texans who faced challenges while registering to vote in the 2012 elections, according to a […]

Who watches the private police departments?

Not good. A veteran state lawmaker said Monday he is outraged by televised images of Rice University police officers striking a suspected bicycle thief with batons and appalled the university can refuse to release details because it is a private institution. “We need to make certain we stop police officers from being able to hide […]

Less is more, local legislative edition

Harris County and the city of Houston generally play more defense than offense when the Legislature is in session, so as a rule the fewer bills that get passed that affect them, the better. County and city lobbyists said their efforts to scuttle unfunded mandates and bills that would have handcuffed local governments’ powers largely […]

Equality Texas’ best and worst legislators for 2013

Two good lists to peruse while you wait for the Texas Monthly “Best and Worst” lists. It was a good session for Equality Texas with a record 31 endorsed bills in our Legislative Agenda, including multiple pieces of legislation that were filed for the first time ever, bills that advanced out of committee for the […]

Calling to add to the call

The special session is just a day old, and already legislators are lining up to extend its agenda to cover things that didn’t get done during regulation time. Senate Finance Chairman Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, and Senate Transportation Chairman Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, have filed a resolution that would ask voters to approve diverting some of […]

If Medicaid is broken, who broke it?

Patricia Kilday Hart asks an excellent question. [Rep. Garnet] Coleman’s observation provides part of the answer: Just last session, the Legislature trimmed $486 million in state money paid to Medicaid providers, and ended a student loan-forgiveness program for new doctors exclusively serving Medicaid patients. The federal government, which has established some rules that restrict the […]

What Obamacare will do for Texas

Even without Medicaid expansion, the Affordable Care Act will help millions of Texans get access to health care. Nearly 2.6 million Texans could qualify for tax credits to purchase health insurance in 2014, according to a report released Thursday by Families USA, a nonprofit that advocates for health care consumers. The tax credits will be […]

House discusses Medicaid expansion

Sounds like a sincere effort, though whether it can get anywhere is an open question. Amid hours of testimony from advocates in support of Medicaid expansion on Tuesday, state Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, described his proposal to create an alternative program that could draw down federal financing to provide health coverage for poor and uninsured […]

Texas On The Brink 2013

Quantifying what we long suspected to be true. Texas remains behind most other states on issues related to educational achievement, public health and the environment, according to the latest version of the “Texas on the Brink” study released Monday. The sixth edition of the report from the Texas Legislative Study Group, a left-leaning research caucus […]

Romeo and Romeo and Juliet and Juliet

This is a small step forward, but it’s an important step. In a state where attempts to expand gay rights have hit a wall of conservative Republicans, a Senate committee on Tuesday approved a bill to provide a new legal protection for sexually active gay teens. Under Senate Bill 1316, gay and lesbian teens who […]

Harris Health System plans to serve more patients via Medicaid waiver

The story about what they’re going to do leaves a few details out, however. Harris Health System leaders plan to serve 100,000 new patients in the next three years. That is a 37 percent increase from today, and is particularly ambitious when you consider how many patients the system added in the last year: about […]

Bike trail on utility rights-of-way bills filed

This is a big show of support for making bike trails on CenterPoint’s rights of way happen. Houston voters last fall approved a $166 million bond measure to expand the city’s trail system, to be matched by $105 million in private donations via the Houston Parks Board. About 78 miles of trails would get built, […]

Medicaid expansion pressure is having an effect

Despite the mountains of evidence in its favor, I still can’t say that I see a path to Medicaid expansion in Texas. But stories like this do give me some hope. Adamantly opposed to expanding Medicaid coverage under President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst had seemingly […]

Repealing the Texas double secret illegal anti-gay marriage amendment

Some things you do because they’re the right thing to do. Reps. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, and Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, are seeking to reverse the state’s prohibition against gay marriage or same-sex civil unions. Their proposed constitutional amendments — HJR 77 and HJR 78 – would repeal a 2005 amendment passed by Texas voters that bans […]

TMA sort of endorses Medicaid expansion

Hard to say what this means. Trustees of the Texas Medical Association passed a resolution urging state leaders to snare all federal Medicaid matching dollars that are on the table. The group hinged its support, though, on simultaneous actions by state officials to make doctors’ participation in Medicaid more palatable and federal dispensations of flexibility […]

Is there a way forward on expanding Medicaid in Texas?

It’s a little hard to know what to make of this. The Affordable Care Act is the federal law that Texas Republicans love to hate, but one top lawmaker says expanding health care for the working poor could happen if federal authorities are willing to strike a deal. Republican Sen. Jane Nelson, chair of the […]

How long before marriage equality comes to Texas?

As is so often the case, the state of Texas will lag behind the rest of the country on the issue. If DOMA is struck down, questions will be raised about states that don’t recognize same-sex marriages and if it matters where a couple lives to receive federal benefits, [Ken Upton, a senior staff attorney […]