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Posts Tagged ‘Joe Straus’

Next round of bathroom bills getting prepped

Meet the new bills, same as the old bills. Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, is expected to introduce two bills in the upcoming special session of the Texas Legislature that would regulate which public bathrooms transgender Texans, including schoolchildren, can use. The first bill, which will closely resemble his bill that failed during the regular session, […]

Ten best and worst 2017

This is always the most anticipated part of a legislative session. Around the Texas Capitol this year, it wasn’t unusual to hear the 85th Legislature described as the worst anyone could remember. While we wouldn’t go that far, this session had more than its fair share of dispiriting moments. Quite a few of those came […]

An interesting shift in approval ratings for state leaders

More UT/Trib poll data: The figurative wrestling match between the state’s top three officials jiggled their approval ratings, but not by much, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. Gov. Greg Abbott remains the highest rated of the state’s high officials, with 45 percent of voters saying they approve his job performance and […]

The special session could get a little testy

Sow a little discord, Joe. We approve. Speaking to educators Wednesday, House Speaker Joe Straus took some jabs at the Senate for focusing on a bill to regulate public bathroom use instead of putting more than a billion dollars into public schools. The lower chamber’s leading politician spoke about the upcoming special session to hundreds […]

House will not negotiate on “bathroom bill” amendment

Well, this is it. Refusing to go any further to regulate bathroom use for transgender Texans, House Speaker Joe Straus said on Friday that the House will not appoint members to negotiate with the Senate on its proposed compromise on a “bathroom bill.” “For many of us — and especially for me — this was […]

How bad is the “Patrick Lite” bathroom bill?

For one view, there’s this, from Texas Competes: A review of press coverage shows that the Texas “bathroom bill” debate generated $216 million in publicity for the state of Texas in the period from January 10, 2016 through May 22, 2017. During the 85th Texas legislative session, 25,774 local, state, and national articles were written […]

Amendment focused on school bathrooms passes the House

I had some hope that we could make it through this session without something like this happening, but clearly we could not. Amid threats of a special legislative session over the “bathroom bill,” the Texas House on Sunday took a last-minute vote to approve a proposal that would keep transgender students from using school bathrooms […]

Patrick takes some hostages

This is what passes for leadership in our state. With deadlines looming, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Wednesday threatened to push for a special session of the Legislature to pass a bill to regulate bathroom use for transgender Texans and legislation to set new thresholds for when cities and counties must get voter approval for […]

House passes its budget

Mostly shenanigan-free, with a nice little side order of shade for a few people who deserve it. After 15 and a half hours of debate on hundreds of amendments to the Texas House budget, lawmakers in the lower chamber passed the two-year, $218 billion document, with 131 votes in favor and 16 votes against. The […]

First shenanigan spotted

There will be more to come, I’m sure, but this will be happening today. A Tuesday debate over the future of the state agency that regulates the oil and gas industry could instead become a showdown over immigration and where transgender Texans use the bathroom. House Republicans will look to force a vote on the […]

Straus is a big No on SB6

Very good to hear. Texas House Speaker Joe Straus on Friday gave perhaps his harshest condemnation yet of the controversial “bathroom bill” championed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Straus said the bill, which has drawn the ire of Texas businesses and been criticized as discriminatory against transgender people, felt “manufactured and unnecessary.” “If we’ve gotten […]

Who loves budget gimmicks?

The Senate Budget Committee, that’s who. Texas Senate budget writers on Wednesday unanimously approved their two-year budget, which avoided some steep cuts by using an accounting trick to free up $2.5 billion state dollars that were originally slated to go to the state highway fund. By delaying a diversion of sales tax money from August […]

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 […]

Patrick versus the House

The Texas House isn’t all onboard with Dan Patrick’s agenda, and our Lite Guv has his shorts in a bunch about it. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick celebrated a milestone Wednesday: His Senate had acted on all four of Gov. Greg Abbott’s emergency items with many more days to go in the 85th legislative session. “It’s […]

Global investors against SB6

From the inbox: Led by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and Trillium Asset Management, a group of some of the largest investors in the world, with a combined $11 trillion of assets under management, today spoke out against Texas Senate Bill 6 (or SB6), a “Bathroom Bill,” as well as similar discriminatory legislation. […]

Keep those calls and letters coming

Dan Patrick needs to hear from you. As Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick relentlessly pushes a bill that would restrict the public restrooms transgender people can use, opposition to the measure is pouring in to his office. Patrick’s office received more than 10,000 calls, emails or letters opposing the bill and just over 200 cheering it […]

Is the end near for straight-ticket voting?

It could be. Partisan efficiency experts might love the time-saving charms of straight-ticket voting, but a number of the state’s top elected officials are ready to outlaw the practice. Straight-ticket, or one-punch, voting allows people to cast a ballot for all of one party’s candidates with one pull of the lever, stroke of the pencil […]

Senate “sanctuary cities” bill hearing

Lots of people came out to testify against it, which is a good thing. After a 16-hour hearing that included tears, heckling, bursts of anger and warnings from lawmakers to witnesses to respect the rules of the Capitol’s upper chamber, the Texas Senate’s State Affairs Committee voted 7-2 along party lines early Friday morning to […]

A warning from North Carolina

Are we listening? A North Carolina mayor issued a warning Thursday to Texas lawmakers concerning Senate Bill 6, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s anti-transgender bathroom bill. Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan said a similar law in the Tarheel State — House Bill 2 — has created a “manmade recession,” and recently prompted a Fortune 500 company to […]

Paxton courts the business lobby

Not sure what to make of this. Making his case for the “bathroom bill” to Texas business leaders, Attorney General Ken Paxton said Tuesday that Senate Bill 6 would have a narrow focus, and he urged them to listen to parents “just concerned about the safety of their children.” […] Paxton, who has been battling […]

This fight feels different

The more I read about the forthcoming fight between Dan Patrick and his minions and everyone else over the bathroom bill, the more I am struck by the thought that we have never seen anything quite like this before in Texas. Standing in front of reporters Thursday, Patrick was still a man on the mission, […]

Patrick plunges ahead with his potty bill

Brace yourselves. After months of sparring over whether transgender Texans should be allowed to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Thursday officially set the legislative stage for the debate. Following North Carolina’s lead, Texas Republicans announced Senate Bill 6, which would require transgender people to use bathrooms […]

Another take on the potty drama

Ross Ramsey plunges in, and no I don’t regret that at all. Gov. Greg Abbott wants lawmakers to take a bathroom break, and you can’t blame him for trying to find relief. The next legislative session hasn’t even started and regulation of which restrooms transgender Texans use is getting the kind of attention usually reserved […]

Straus not very excited about Patrick’s potty bill

Take this for what it’s worth. Texas House Speaker Joe Straus doesn’t think passing a transgender bathroom bill is a pressing issue state lawmakers need to address during the 2017 legislative session. “This isn’t the most urgent concern,” Straus, R-San Antonio, said on Tuesday during an interview with Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith. When asked […]

“Denied”, continued

Here’s Part 2 of the Chron’s reporting on special education limits. A few days before school began here in 2007, district administrators called an emergency staff meeting. The Texas Education Agency had determined that they had too many students in special education, the administrators announced, and they had come up with a plan: Remove as […]

Hey, here’s an idea: Increase funding for public education

That’s just crazy talk. Texas House budget and public education leaders said Wednesday that the best way to overhaul the state’s school finance system is to increase the base amount of money it gives to each district per student. While costly, boosting the “basic allotment” — currently $5,140 per student — would help ease systemic […]

TEA will review special ed limits

It’s a start. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said Wednesday that his office is reviewing a monitoring system that sets an 8.5 percent benchmark for special education enrollments and strictly audits school districts with enrollments that exceed that rate for students with disabilities. The Chronicle reported Sunday that TEA officials had arbitrarily selected the 8.5 […]

Some officials take note of special education funding restrictions

It’s a start. The vice chairman of the State Board of Education, a Houston school board member, a key state senator and scores of parents and disability advocates all expressed strong opposition on Monday to a Texas Education Agency performance-based monitoring system that has kept thousands of disabled children out of special education since 2004. […]

Legislative hearing on emergency leave

Figure this will be on the legislative agenda next spring. At a Texas House hearing Tuesday looking into how some state agencies were able to keep some departing employees on the public payroll by granting them emergency leave, lawmakers expressed frustration that vague state rules may have allowed the practice. “I want to know exactly […]

Straus wants to study school finance

I appreciate the effort, but I plan to keep my expectations low. Citing a recent Texas Supreme Court decision that upheld the state’s public school funding system while deeming it “undeniably imperfect,” state House Speaker Joe Straus on Thursday ordered representatives to study the school finance system and recommend reforms before the 2017 legislative session. […]

The state is starting to feel the squeeze

Things are tough all over. The state is facing big problems affecting vulnerable populations that will take significant money to fix at the same time that a slump in the energy industry is chipping into its revenues, House Speaker Joe Straus warned Tuesday. “Writing a balanced and disciplined budget that appropriately funds our top priorities […]

Runoff watch: Legislative races

I’m going to spend a few posts looking at the runoff elections that will be on the ballot this May. Primary runoffs are completely different than regular primaries, mostly because the races involved are low profile and only the hardest of hardcore voters come out for them. Remember how much time we spent this primary […]

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 […]