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Posts Tagged ‘Harris County’

OutSmart talks to Kim Ogg

Another good read about our new DA, one that goes into her personal background in some depth. John Wright: Your father, Jack Ogg, was a longtime Texas state legislator, and your late mother was well-known for her charity work. What it was like coming out to your parents? Kim Ogg: It was traumatic. My parents […]

The rural/suburban tradeoff

Martin Longman returns to a point he has been making about the way the vote shifted in the 2016 election. Let’s try to be clear about what we mean. Hillary Clinton won a lot of votes in the suburbs from people who had voted for John McCain and Mitt Romney. She lost even more votes […]

Lina Hidalgo for Harris County Judge

From the inbox, our first announced candidate for Harris County Judge: Today, Lina Hidalgo, a young, Harvard and Stanford-educated immigrant, announces her candidacy for Harris County Judge, the top seat on the Harris County Commissioners Court. Ms. Hidalgo and her family fled Colombia in the height of the drug war, and arrived in Houston after […]

July campaign finance reports – Harris County candidates

The Harris County situation for candidates and campaign finance reports is a bit complicated. Take a look at my January summary and the reports and data that I’ve found for July, and we’ll discuss what it all means on the other side. Ed Emmett Jack Morman Jack Cagle Stan Stanart Chris Daniel Diane Trautman David […]

Marilyn Burgess to announce for District Clerk

In addition to a large slate of judicial offices, there are four countywide executive offices on the ballot next year. Democrats in Harris County have nearly all of the judicial races covered, and Diane Trautman has been in the race for County Clerk since early in the year. We are still awaiting candidates for County […]

Fifth Circuit sets bail hearing

Mark your calendars. Harris County will have another chance to defend its embattled cash bail system this fall in a lawsuit brought by indigent defendants who languished in jail for days because they couldn’t afford money bail. The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced Tuesday it has set oral arguments for the week of […]

Let’s do talk about Democratic legislative candidates

I have so many things to say about this. The hottest new trend in Democratic politics these days is running for Congress — everybody’s doing it. So far, more than 200 Democrats have filed to challenge Republican incumbents and raised at least $5,000. That’s more than the number of Democratic congressional candidates who had announced […]

The Observer talks to Kim Ogg

A good read: You decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Jeff Sessions has signaled that he seeks to ramp up the war on drugs. What power does the federal government hold over your policy decisions? I enjoy total discretion under Texas law as to who I charge and with what crime. The federal […]

New county risk assessment system coming

We’ve been waiting. Harris County officials on Tuesday touted their revamped strategy for deciding whether tens-of-thousands of individuals should be jailed before their criminal trials, a process that critics and a federal judge say disproportionately affects the poor who are unable to come up with the money to make bail. On July 29, the county […]

Stanart pushes back on election security claims

Our County Clerk is not happy with recent stories about the potential for vulnerability in our election systems. Despite reports from federal intelligence agencies and media outlets of Russia’s widespread targeting of state and local elections around the country and in Texas, election administrators in the nation’s third-largest county say Vladimir Putin’s government does not […]

Paxton’s trial date set

Mark your calendars. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will face trial in December for the first of three criminal charges, a Houston judge ruled Thursday. Jury selection will begin Dec. 1 and testimony will start on Dec. 11 for the single count of failing to register as an investment adviser with the state. Paxton, who […]

Was the Harris County election system hacked?

Wouldn’t you like to know? Despite widespread alarm over the breadth of Russian cyber attacks on state and local election systems last year, including revelations of Dallas County being targeted, Harris County officials are refusing to say whether hackers similarly took aim at the nation’s third-largest county. Releasing information on whether Harris County election systems […]

Harris County Attorney files amicus brief in SB4 lawsuit

Good. Last week, Harris County Commissioners Court opted not to join a lawsuit challenging the state’s controversial “sanctuary cities” law as unconstitutional. Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, however, has filed a brief asking a federal court to halt its implementation on Sept. 1. “S.B. 4 will do irreparable damage to this State’s child welfare process, […]

Still a few bugs in the system

A continuing story. While Harris County officials are complaining that a federal judge’s bail order threatens public safety, the county has failed to provide more than 100 low-level defendants with pretrial services aimed at ensuring they make their court dates. The latest revelations come amid criticism from District Attorney Kim Ogg, who accused county officials […]

Harris County will not enter SB4 litigation

Unfortunate. Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday decided not to join a lawsuit against the state’s controversial sanctuary cities law. A motion made by Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis to move to join the lawsuit died after it failed to receive a second by another court member. The move comes as pressure had been building […]

Who gets the VW settlement money?

That’s the fifty million dollar question. Volkswagen faces billions of dollars in fines in Texas for its admitted cheating on emissions tests, but the potential payday is being held up as the state Attorney General and county officials fight in court over which government agencies will get to claim a share of the proceeds from […]

Judicial Conduct commission suspends JP Hilary Green

Bam! The Texas Supreme Court on Friday issued an order to suspend Harris County Justice of the Peace Hilary Green from office immediately based on allegations that Green illegally abused prescription drugs, sent sexually explicit texts to a bailiff while on the bench and paid for sex. It’s the first time any Texas judge has received […]

Precinct analysis: Humble ISD

I’d been meaning to go back to the Humble ISD election in May, where two Project LIFT candidates were running against incumbent members, to see what I could learn. The canvass reports are up on the Harris County Clerk website, and I had a bit of spare time, so here we go. Pcnct Whitmire Cunningham […]

Trumpcare would be a hospital killer

This is hardly a new problem, but it’s yet another aspect of Trumpcare that gets too little attention. Texas hospitals stand to lose billions under the Republican-backed health plan, as federal Medicaid dollars shrink, leading to a rise in uncompensated care, according to a new analysis by the Commonwealth Fund, a national health policy foundation. […]

June CEC meeting candidate update report

The June County Executive Committee meeting for the Harris County Democratic Party was a few days ago. There was some official business to take care of, mostly swearing in new precinct chairs, but in addition to the good crowd in attendance there were numerous judicial candidates, there to collect petition signatures to get on the […]

How much will the county get repaid for Super Bowl activities?

Quite possibly not very much, as it turns out. After the New England Patriots stunned the Atlanta Falcons with a storybook comeback in Super Bowl LI, after the crowds drained away and the national spotlight left Houston, Harris County officials turned to organizers and asked to be repaid for security and around-the-clock support, part of […]

County’s new bail system not quite ready

Real soon now. Harris County’s long-trumpeted new system for setting bail for people awaiting trial will be up and running by the end of July, nearly a month later than the July 1 effective date the county had promised a federal judge, officials said Monday. The new approach won a green light late Friday from […]

First Paxton trial hearing in Harris County

Not much happened, but there are some big questions to address. The securities fraud case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton kicked off Thursday in Harris County with no new trial date being set. Instead, the new judge in the case, Robert Johnson, asked both sides to come back July 27 to continue discussing a […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

Collin County would like us to pick up the Paxton prosecutor tab

I’ll bet they would. As Attorney General Ken Paxton’s legal troubles head into their third year, there’s another question aside from whether he’ll beat the rap — who will pay for it all? Taxpayers in Collin County, where Paxton was indicted on three felony charges, have had to pick up the tab. This hasn’t gone […]

There is always some risk

I get the concern, but the alternative was unacceptable and now is illegal. Get used to it. More than 600 people charged with misdemeanors have been released since June 7 when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an emergency motion by the county to block [federal judge Lee Rosenthal’s] order, according to estimates provided to the […]

Paxton gets his new judge

From the Be Careful What You Wish For department: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has received a new judge in his securities fraud case. Harris County District Judge Robert Johnson’s court has been randomly assigned to the case, according to Bill Murphy, a spokesman for the county district clerk. Paxton’s lawyers had fought for months […]

We have the Paxton case

By “we”, I mean Harris County. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s criminal case is officially moving to Harris County. In an order signed Friday morning, Judge George Gallagher vacated several previous orders scheduling hearings in the case and directed the Collin County District Clerk’s Office to transfer the proceedings to the Harris County District Clerk. Gallagher’s […]

SCOTUS will not hear Harris County bail appeal

Let this please be the end of the line. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has denied Harris County’s request to stop the release of misdemeanor inmates who can’t afford to post cash bail. The county had appealed late Tuesday to halt Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal’s directive that it begin releasing some […]