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Posts Tagged ‘Greg Abbott’

What will happen with pre-K this session?

They say it’s a priority, though I would advise tempering one’s expectations. Currently, Texas funds a half day of preschool for 4-year-olds whose first language is not English, whose families have low incomes, whose parents are active duty military or who are in foster care. Texas has some of the weakest quality standards for preschool, […]

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 […]

The veto that keeps on giving

I haven’t closely followed the burgeoning scandal at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which involves no-bid contracts, up front tuition reimbursements for top level staffers, and rampant cronyism. It’s already cost three people their jobs and will likely eventually result in the HHSC Commissioner, Kyle Janek, either falling on his sword or getting […]

First hearing in Abbott’s immigration lawsuit

No clue what will happen with this. Saying South Texas is where the “rubber meets the road” on immigration issues, a federal judge used a folksy reference Thursday to note his court is the right place to decide whether to block President Obama’s recent order protecting millions of immigrants from deportation. “Talking to anyone in […]

Rallying to save the Texas DREAM Act

It won’t be easy. With a new Texas legislative session underway and incoming state leaders indicating a desire to repeal the Texas Dream Act, supporters of the law are gearing up for a renewed fight to keep it in place. A group of about 60 students, businessmen and legislators gathered on the south steps of […]

Local control, schmocal control

From Lisa Falkenberg: So, let me get this straight. Government is the problem, not the solution. It’s a bumbling bureaucracy run by tyrants, cronies and other self-important suits who think they know better than you or I how to live our lives – UNLESS, of course, that bumbling bureaucracy operates under a pink dome on […]

Bilski and Schubert advance in HD13

From the Secretary of State: State Representative District Becky Berger REP 1,076 10.72% Carolyn Cerny Bilski REP 4,318 43.45% Leighton Schubert REP 3,259 32.79% Cecil R. Webster, Sr. DEM 1,283 12.91% This race now joins the other three in requiring a runoff. As yet, there has been no date set for those runoffs – apparently, […]

From the Bad Editorial Timing department

From the Houston Chronicle Saturday edition: State Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, called Harris Health’s impending budget shortfall “one more casualty of Texas not participating in the Medicaid expansion. “We could at least stop the bleeding if we had the additional Medicaid funding,” said Coleman. “Treating people without insurance cards, particularly county hospitals but private hospitals, […]

Wake me up in June

As we prepare for the 84th Legislative session to begin, let’s pause for a moment and see what we can expect. Greg Abbott wants to make the world safe for plastic bags. Dan Patrick wants to cut his property taxes, and ensure that Texas never has enough money to meet its needs. Donna Campbell wants […]

Texas: Still not expanding Medicaid

This should put a stake through the heart of these stories. Governor-Elect Greg Abbott (R., Texas) will not expand Medicaid despite hopes by Obamacare supporters that he would do so following a report that he inquired about Utah’s variation of the health program. “Fear not — Governor-elect Abbott has fought Obamacare and will continue to […]

What do we expect from the Fifth Circuit and SCOTUS on same sex marriage?

Some people are very optimistic. Same-sex marriage will arrive in Texas before Easter, according to an attorney for two couples who are challenging the state’s marriage bans in federal court. Daniel McNeel Lane Jr., of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in San Antonio, made the prediction as he prepared for oral arguments in the […]

Bringing health insurance to the customers

It’s learning from experience. The federal government and insurers learned from the last year’s inaugural open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act that it takes more than low premiums to persuade the uninsured to buy federally mandated health coverage, especially in a state like Texas, where leaders oppose the health care law. These consumers, […]

Does any of this sound like “Medicaid Expansion” to you?

So Wonkblog, TPM, and BOR, all riffing off the same news story in which Greg Abbott had a clandestine meeting with Houston-area legislators and may have said some things that made them think he might be open to “Medicaid expansion”, are all talking about it as though it’s a thing that could happen. Here’s Wonkblog, […]

From the “Hope springs eternal” department

Texas Democrats have hope that the upcoming legislative session won’t be any worse than preceding ones. Despite all of the turnover in state government in 2014, the Texas Legislature will reconvene in January with a familiar balance of power. Democrats, resigned to a perennial minority, remain outnumbered by Republicans by a two-to-one margin. The majority […]

Plastic bag makers fight back

I expect they will be busy during the legislative session working to block municipal laws that tax, limit, or ban single-use plastic bags. For years, Superbag in northwest Houston quietly manufactured the sacks that grocers and retail chains hand out to customers in the checkout line. The business garnered little attention. Now, however, the industry […]

The Lege is unlikely to do anything substantive on education this session

Oh, there will be lots of sound and fury, as well as various sideshow distractions, but in the end the main issue to resolve – school finance – will be at best “tweaked”. For anything more than that, we will have to wait till the Lege is forced to act by the Supreme Court. Public […]

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 […]

Abbott puts on a moderate act

He cares about education! During a Capitol news conference in which he announced the selection of his senior staff, Gov.-elect Greg Abbott said Monday that education will be his top policy priority. Abbott said he wants to improve the educational foundation that students receive in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade. “I want to ensure that all […]

What’s the Lege going to do with the revenue?

Not as much as it should, of course, because the Lege never comes close to doing as much as it should. It’s a question of whether they’ll try to address some real problems, or just engage in an orgy of tax cutting. Texans can expect tax relief, a laser focus on border security and more […]

Abbott and the Latino vote

The Trib drops a number on us. Along with his 20-point margin of victory, Gov.-elect Greg Abbott accomplished something on Election Day that many naysayers doubted the Republican could: He took 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. For Texas conservatives, Abbott’s performance indicated that Republicans are making headway among this increasingly crucial voting bloc, which […]

Appraisal caps back on the agenda

The idea will never die, unfortunately. No matter what the effects are. Local officials in the Houston area say they are concerned that incoming state leaders will push for tax relief measures that could limit their ability to meet the needs of fast-growing urban and suburban areas. Gov.-elect Greg Abbott has spoken of “looking at […]

Abbott files his suit

As expected. Leading a 17-state charge up a steep legal hill, Attorney General and soon-to-be-Gov. Greg Abbott Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s moves to expand legal protections for undocumented immigrants. The lawsuit, the 31st Abbott has filed against the Obama administration during his 12-year tenure, fulfills his gubernatorial campaign pledge to […]

It’s still not Medicaid expansion

The Legislature may do something that could sort of be called “Medicaid expansion”, if only for lack of a better term, but we would all do well to remain deeply skeptical of what they might consider. The once taboo subject of expanding Medicaid in Texas has been broached in recent weeks by some Republicans and […]

Here come the new ozone standards

I have three things to say about this. Over the objections of Texas officials, the Obama administration on Wednesday proposed a long-delayed rule to slash levels of ozone – a smog-forming pollutant known to worsen asthma, lung disease and heart conditions. The regulation is the latest example of the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s use of […]

Abbott responds to motion to lift same-sex marriage ruling

He’s against it. Try not to be surprised. Texas officials want a federal judge to uphold the state’s same-sex marriage ban, calling a request by gay couples to be allowed to immediately marry “untimely” and “out of order.” “The plaintiffs offer no explanation for why they waited so long to file their motion,”Attorney General Greg […]

Abbott can’t stop talking about suing Obama

It’s what he does. A state lawsuit challenging President Obama’s executive order shielding as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation could come from Texas in the next two weeks, Gov.-elect Greg Abbott said during a Monday press conference. “Most everyone agrees that the immigration system in America is broken,” Abbott said. “Similarly, most […]

Fifth Circuit sets their schedule

Mark your calendars. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments about the constitutionality of Texas’ tough new abortion restrictions on Jan. 7. The law passed in 2013, known as House Bill 2, banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, placed heavy new restrictions on clinics and doctors who perform the procedure and […]

Texas same-sex marriage plaintiffs ask for stay to be lifted

I wish them luck. Two same-sex couples have asked U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia of San Antonio to allow gay marriages to begin taking place immediately in Texas. On Monday, couples Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes of Plano and Nicole Dimetman and Cleopatra De Leon asked Garcia to lift a stay he imposed this winter […]

Of course Greg Abbott wants to sue

It’s what he does. What else is there to him? Minutes after President Obama doubled down on his promise to change the country’s immigration system through executive action, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott made a vow of his own: Expect a lawsuit from Texas. But some legal experts doubt that Abbott, the governor-elect, could successfully […]

Texas asks for federal funding for pre-k vouchers

Not sure how I feel about this. Teacher groups are up in arms as Texas seeks millions from the federal government to fund a new pre-K voucher program that would begin next fall. Last month, the Texas Education Agency applied for $30 million in prekindergarten grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education, its share […]

What to expect from the DACA announcement

So today is the long-awaited, should-have-happened-months-ago announcement of executive action by President Obama on immigration enforcement and deportation. Stace, the Observer, and Politico have good overviews of what to expect. I personally hope Obama goes big, but whatever he does do the one other thing you can expect is a lawsuit. Rick Perry said Wednesday […]

Yet another lawsuit against Texas’ ban on same sex marriage

And then there were ten. Texas now has at least 10 pending lawsuits challenging the state’s bans on same-sex marriage — believed to be the most of any state. An Austin lesbian widow is the latest to challenge the marriage bans after her late partner’s family sought to exclude her from the estate — an […]

The privilege of voting

It’s not a right if you aren’t allowed to do it. A day before Texans go to the polls, an unusual group gathered for lunch at a Mexican restaurant not far from downtown: an unemployed African-American grandmother; a University of Houston student originally from Pennsylvania; a pregnant mother who had recently moved back to the […]

Expand Medicaid or else

Turns out the federal government has more leverage over Texas than you might think. If Texas wants to keep receiving billions of federal dollars to help hospitals care for uninsured patients, state lawmakers may have to look again at expanding Medicaid coverage for impoverished adults, some political observers say. That’s because in 2016, Texas will […]