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Posts Tagged ‘Joe Straus’

Vetoes: You’re doing it wrong

Oops. Some of Gov. Greg Abbott’s line-item vetoes in the state budget might be invalid, the state’s Legislative Budget Board said in a 14-page letter sent Tuesday to Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar. The director of the LBB said the governor’s veto proclamation, listing line items he chose to excise from the new budget, doesn’t have […]

Rep. Scott Turner not running for re-election

Another one heads for the exit. State Rep. Scott Turner, the Frisco Republican who unsuccessfully ran for speaker this year, has decided not to seek re-election. Turner announced his decision in an email to constituents Thursday, hinting that he is not done with politics. “One chapter is closing for now, and I am beginning new […]

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 […]

Tighter spending cap defeated

I consider this to be a victory. The state’s constitutional spending cap will remain untouched this session, and House and Senate leaders are blaming each other for the lack of action on the arcane but politically important measure. Senate Republicans had sought to tighten the rules that guide how much future state budgets can grow, […]

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 […]

A brief lesson in the value of disclosure and transparency

I confess, I have not been following the “wingnut activists videoing everyone at the Capitol” clown show very closely, but the absurdity of it all has been kicked up to the point where I couldn’t ignore it any more. The activist group employing people who have been secretly recording lawmakers have talked about having a […]

Anti-immigration bills dying on the vine

I think I’m going to just got to the executive summary at the bottom of this DMN story. AT A GLANCE: WHERE 3 KEY MEASURES STAND 1. Repeal of tuition law: Seeks to change the 2001 law that allows some students who are in the country illegally to pay college tuition at in-state rates. Status: […]

A little trouble in paradise

It’s that time of the biennium, y’all. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s tea party advisory panel on Tuesday blasted Gov. Greg Abbott’s quality pre-K legislation as “socialistic” and “a threat to parental rights,” contributing friction to the already tense balancing act between the state’s top Republican leaders. “We are experimenting at great cost to taxpayers with […]

Voodoo economics

Also known as Dan Patrick’s budgetary contortions. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, joined by the Texas Senate’s lead budget writers, announced “a new bold proposal” Wednesday morning to allow lawmakers to cut property taxes and pay down the state’s debt without busting the state’s politically charged spending cap. “Gosh darn, we know our businesses and taxpayers […]

Expect “dark money” to stay dark

Nice recommendations, but they’re not going anywhere. Labeling so-called dark money spending a corrupting force in the democratic process, the House Committee on State Affairs issued a set of recommendations after Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, directed the panel a year ago to dive into the topic during the interim. Strauss and his lieutenants have […]

Voter ID trial testimony ends

The state of Texas put on its case in the voter ID trial. Lawyers from the Texas attorney general’s office presented witnesses Wednesday in federal court defending the state voter ID law as necessary and attempting to rebuff claims that it is discriminatory. The state’s case in the federal trial, now in its second week, […]

What else is at stake in the redistricting trial

It’s about more than just the maps. Efforts by the Obama administration to wring protections out of a weakened Voting Rights Act begin Monday in Texas over allegations that Republicans intentionally discriminated against minorities when drawing new election maps. A federal trial in San Antonio comes a year after the U.S. Supreme Court made a […]

We could have better transportation infrastructure if we wanted it

House Speaker Joe Straus embraces the end-the-diversions approach to transportation funding. Texas’ booming economy and massive transportation needs are inching the state toward simplifying highway spending, officials say. The latest move to end so-called diversions from the State Highway Fund came Wednesday, when Speaker Joe Straus said the next Texas budget proposed by the House […]

No hiding behind privilege

Here’s your latest voter ID litigation update, from the Brad Blog: Just over a week ago, it was North Carolina legislators ordered by the court to cough up documentation relating to passage of new, draconian restrictions on voting rights in their state. Now, legislators in Texas are facing much the same thing, as that state’s extreme polling […]

Mostly looking good for Prop 6

A good poll result for the water infrastructure Constitutional amendment. Texans support $2 billion in water infrastructure financing by a better than 2-to-1 margin, but nearly a quarter haven’t decided how they will vote on the issue this November, according to a new University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. The respondents favored the measure, known as […]

Arkansas will expand Medicaid

If they can do it… [Friday], the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services notified state officials in Arkansas that it has approved the states’ Medicaid expansion plan. And this is not any old expansion plan: Arkansas will be the only state in the country that will use Medicaid dollars to purchase private health insurance for […]

The water campaign begins

The most high profile constitutional amendment now has a campaign behind it. Supporters are laying the groundwork for an aggressive effort to educate voters and drown out opposition with roughly one month before early voting starts. A coalition of political action committees and business groups are leading the push. The strategy will be bankrolled by […]

Maybe the same failed approach will work this time

It could happen, right? Transportation experts now estimate that the state needs $5billion a year to keep Texas moving. The proposal that fell apart in the House this week would add less than a billion annually. And after months of wrangling, relations between the House and Senate have grown increasingly testy. Republicans, who control both […]

Special Session 3: Beyond Thunderdome

Beyond ridiculous, if you ask me, not that they did. Standing before mostly empty chairs in the 150-member Texas House on Tuesday, House Speaker Joe Straus adjourned the second special session and announced that Gov. Rick Perry would be calling them all back for a third special session later in the day. After gaveling in […]

Transportation deal dies

Technically, it’s not dead till sine die, but it sure is on life support. A compromise plan to spend $848 million on Texas highways just landed in a ditch. House members voted down a plan to split oil and gas production money between the state’s economic stabilization fund and highway spending. It needed 100 votes […]

Public Integrity Unit employees get layoff notices

What is to come if nothing changes. Travis County commissioners are still holding out hope the state will fund the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, but took an early step to let employees know their jobs are on the line. Voting unanimously Tuesday, commissioners are giving layoff notices to more than 30 employees whose jobs […]

No override of Public Integrity Unit funding veto

Alas. A legislative move to restore state funding for the ethics-enforcing Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County district attorney’s office died Friday afternoon. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, said no vote is expected on House Concurrent Resolution 6 — the attempt by state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, to override Gov. Rick Perry’s […]

Monday House action

The main action on Monday in the House was the House Redistricting Committee hearing. Where there’s a redistricting hearing, there’s Greg with a liveblogging session. Pay close attention to the stuff Greg writes about the questions that the Dems, in particular Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer (TMF) are asking, because they’re all about the future court fights. […]

Turner seeks a way to get around Public Integrity Unit de-funding

Rep. Sylvester Turner takes aim at one of Perry’s vetoes. Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, said he would propose a House Concurrent Resolution advocating restoration of funding for the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County district attorney’s office, which was vetoed by Gov. Rick Perry last week. […] This morning on the floor of the […]

Here are the Texas Monthly Ten Best and Ten Worst lists for 2013

This came out Wednesday, but the full story will not be published till next week. BEST: Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R-Killeen) Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock) Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth) Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D- San Antonio) Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie) Speaker Joe Straus (R-San […]

Abbott predicts special session for redistricting

For the first time, someone says out loud the rumor of a special session on redistricting. Attorney General Greg Abbott let House members know in the Republican caucus meeting on Tuesday that he expects and is hoping for a special session on redistricting — sooner than later. Several lawmakers in the meeting confirmed that Abbott […]

Senate to consider expanded gambling

I didn’t really take it seriously when I heard that Sen. John Carona had filed his own gambling expansion legislation, but it seems it’s got some traction. A proposal from Dallas Republican Sen. John Carona would establish a commission that licenses 21 casinos throughout the state, including three mega-resorts in Bexar, Dallas and Tarrant counties […]

Patrick files his own voucher bill

I guess if you want something done right, you do it yourself. Ending speculation over when — or whether — his widely promoted school choice legislation would emerge, state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, has filed a bill creating a business tax scholarship for students to attend private schools. The Equal Opportunity Scholarship Program, or Senate […]

Straus wants someone to do something on Medicaid

Don’t we all, Joe. Don’t we all. Seeking to light a fire under fellow Republicans to provide health care to more uninsured Texans, House Speaker Joe Straus said Wednesday that it is time to “get our heads out of the sand” and find an alternative to Medicaid expansion that would bring billions of federal dollars […]

Here come the voucher bills

The Observer reports from the Senate, where two voucher bills were on display. In fact, the business-tax-credit-totally-not-vouchers bill had already been filed Monday, by McKinney Republican Ken Paxton. So ends the great mystery, begun in a little Catholic schoolroom last December, of who would carry Sen. Dan Patrick’s voucher bill. That leaves two school voucher proposals—defined […]

School districts are still a long way from getting relief

School districts may have gotten a favorable ruling in the latest school finance lawsuit, and if it survives appeal it could have far-reaching effects on the current system, but that doesn’t mean that things will get better for them now. If anything, they’re likely to get worse first. “It’s pretty bleak for next year,” said […]

Here come the STAAR reform bills

Fire one: State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, the newly appointed chairman of the House Public Education Committee, filed legislation Wednesday that would restructure the state’s high school graduation and student testing requirements. Aycock’s proposal, House Bill 5, would move public schools to an accountability system with grades of A through F, a concept that […]

Committee time

Now the real work gets started. House Speaker Joe Straus announced committee assignments for the Legislature’s lower chamber on Thursday, ending speculation over key chairmanships and giving lawmakers the go-ahead to start considering bills. Here’s his list. Of the standing committees, 32 are chaired by men, six by women. That’s one more female chair than […]

Point of disorder

New House, new rule. The Texas House’s Democratic minority was dealt a blow Monday when the House passed an amendment to the chamber’s rules to limit legislators’ ability to derail a bill based on clerical errors. Calling “points of order” on such errors is a strategy lawmakers have often used to block measures they oppose. […]