Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘Jose Rodriguez’

Rep. McClendon to step down

She’ll be missed. State Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, a San Antonio Democrat and 19-year veteran of the Texas House who tenaciously championed social justice reform, said Wednesday that she is not running for re-election. McClendon was elected in 1996 to represent East Side voters in House District 120 and has emerged as a fixture in […]

Filibuster threat for open carry

We could have some end of session drama this year again. State Sen. José Rodríguez said Thursday that if the opportunity arises, he plans to filibuster a bill allowing the open carry of handguns in Texas. Speaking at a Texas Tribune event, the El Paso Democrat said he thought the legislation was “totally unnecessary” and […]

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 […]

Senate passes a voucher bill

Hopefully, this will die in the House. Some low-income families unhappy with their public schools would get help paying private school tuition under a plan that won tentative approval in the Texas Senate Monday. Senate Bill 4, which would use state tax credits to entice up to $100 million in business donations to fund a […]

Call to action: DREAM Act repeal hearing set for Monday

You know the drill. The push to repeal a 2001 law that allows some undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities is returning to the legislative spotlight, but on an unusual stage. On Monday, the border security subcommittee of the Senate’s Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee is scheduled to hear […]

Not looking good for medical marijuana

From Trail Blazers: A key lawmaker suggested Tuesday that a bill legalizing marijuana for medical use is probably “dead,” but the sponsor said she’s not discouraged by the “premature” pushback. The bill has not yet been referred to a committee, where it could be debated and voted on, but similar proposals have been referred to […]

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 […]

Sanctuary cities bill hearing rescheduled

Didn’t know you could do this in the Lege. A controversial immigration proposal scheduled for a public hearing Monday was postponed after a border Democrat argued that Republicans did not give the public sufficient notice about the meeting. The “sanctuary cities” measure, Senate Bill 185, by state Sen. Charles Perry, seeks to prohibit cities from […]

Bill to outlaw non-discrimination ordinances filed

From The Observer: A Fort Bend County Republican has introduced a bill that would bar cities from adopting or enforcing non-discrimination ordinances that include protected classes not contained in state law. Texas law doesn’t include sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. As a result, state Rep. Rick Miller’s House Bill 1556 would undo LGBT […]

Statewide non-discrimination ordinance filed

From the Inbox: On the 179th anniversary of Texas Independence Day, Senator José Rodríguez (D-El Paso) filed Senate Bill 856, a bill that would prohibit discrimination in the areas of employment, public accommodation, housing, and state contracting based upon sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. The bill was joint-authored by Senators John Whitmire (D-Houston), […]

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 […]

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 […]

Maxey Scherr kicks off her campaign

From the inbox: Maxey Scherr, an El Paso attorney, officially kicked-off her campaign for United States Senate today with a web video and event over a hundred supporters in El Paso. Scherr is vying to be the first person from El Paso to serve in the U.S. Senate. Watch the web video, “Get Texas Off […]

Kinky for Ag Commish, Sam Houston (maybe) for AG

One and a half candidate announcements to note from the weekend. First, from the Trib, is the quadrennial appearance of Kinky Friedman. Singer, songwriter, novelist, humorist and former Independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman will run for the Democratic nomination to be the state’s next agriculture commissioner. A formal announcement is expected on Monday. This will […]

Democratic ballot update

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte: State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte of San Antonio is exploring a run in 2014 as the Democratic challenger in the lieutenant governor’s race, but she said there is still a lot to consider. “We’ve really had so many family losses, so first and foremost my concerns are with my […]

Senate passes non-abortion bills, committee passes HB2

The decks are cleared on the Senate side for the main event. In a speedy Thursday morning meeting with little debate, the upper chamber passed Senate Bill 2 with a 30-1 vote, allowing Texas judges and juries to sentence 17-year-olds convicted of capital murderers to life in prison with parole after 40 years. It also […]

Senate committee votes to repeal state sodomy law

About time. The Senate Criminal Justice Committee voted on Wednesday to repeal the state’s anti-gay sodomy law, a decade after the U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. Texas, along with Oklahoma and Kansas, will be the only states that still have the law on the books after Montana’s legislature approved its repeal of the measure […]

Charter bill passes Senate, voucher bill passes out of committee

Score one for Sen. Dan Patrick. As colleagues praised Education Chairman Dan Patrick’s efforts at building consensus, a significantly altered version of his expansion of the state’s charter school system quickly passed out of the Senate Thursday afternoon. Patrick, R-Houston, said the bill accomplished what should be the goal of lawmakers — lifting everyone through […]

Senate passes its budget

Let the damning with faint praise for this jerry-rigged excuse for not adequately funding our needs yet not eviscerating them as badly as last time begin. The Texas Senate approved a $195.5 billion two-year budget Wednesday, with Democratic state Sens. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth and Sylvia Garcia of Houston voting against the spending plan. […]

TSTA polls about public education

From the inbox, via the TSTA: A strong majority of Texas voters support using some of the $12 billion in the state’s Rainy Day Fund to restore the $5.4 billion cut from the public education budget two years ago, and the support is strong across party lines, a poll commissioned by the Texas State Teachers […]

Marriage equality bill filed

As I said before, some things you do because they’re the right thing to do. State Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, filed a bill Thursday to permit same-sex couples to marry, calling it a “Valentine’s Day gift to all Texans.” His measure is one of several bills filed recently that deal with gay rights issues. […]

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 […]

The revenue estimate is in

And under normal circumstances it would be very good news. Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, laying out the parameters for state spending on the eve of the legislative session, said Monday that the rebounding Texas economy gives lawmakers $8.8 billion unallocated in state coffers for this budget period and an improving picture for the next two […]

Planned Parenthood sues Texas

Two can play at that game. Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday to block a rule aimed at excluding their health centers from the Medicaid Women’s Health Program. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Austin, asks the court to file a preliminary injunction to block a rule aimed at excluding […]

Outsourcing Texas border security

What could possibly go wrong? A little-known private defense contractor from Virginia has quietly received about $20 million under a series of no-bid contracts with the State of Texas to develop its border security strategies, an effort that included shaping the state’s public message on the increasingly controversial nature and extent of violence spilling into […]

“Sanctuary cities” bill passes the Senate

Once it was added to the call, this became inevitable. Senate Republicans finally passed a priority issue for their party early Wednesday morning when they outmuscled their Democratic colleagues on an immigration-related bill intended to make it easier for law enforcement to corral illegal immigrants. At its core, SB 9 allows law enforcement officers to […]

Seliger-Solomons 2.0

Go to and have a gander at Plan C130 to see the version of the Seliger-Solomons Congressional plan that was passed last night by the Senate redistricting committee. The biggest changes are in and around Harris County, mostly due to CD36, which Rep. Solomons had admitted was ridiculous. Gone is its bizarre shape, which […]

Davis filibusters SB1811, special session looms for tomorrow

Hoo boy. Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, filibustered for a little more than an hour Sunday night, probably killing a school finance and revenue bill critical to the budget (it’s still possible for a four-fifths supermajority of the Senate to pull it up for a vote today). And the House hit a midnight deadline without […]

Budget passes

It’s official. The Texas House and Senate passed a state budget Saturday that cuts billions from public schools, state universities and health care for the elderly. The $172 billion legislation now goes to Gov. Rick Perry for his signature. Facing a massive revenue shortfall, lawmakers crafted the budget by making cuts and using deferrals rather […]

“Sanctuary cities” bill lives again

This is why no bill is truly dead until sine die. In another surprise move by the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security committee, Chairman Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, made a motion to reconsider a vote the committee took Wednesday that replaced the original language of House Bill 12, the sanctuary cities legislation. It would prohibit […]

Senate approves modified Senate map

From the Trib: The Texas Senate approved new political districts that protect all of the Republican and all but one of the Democratic incumbents in that body, but stalled on a House redistricting map already approved in the House. […] After knocking down two amendments from Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, and approving one by […]

The Rodriguez response to “sanctuary cities”

More like this, please. Freshman state Sen. José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, filed SB 600 on Friday, which would prevent law enforcement from asking the immigration status or nationality of a witness to or victim of a crime “except as necessary to investigate the offense.” Rodríguez is one one of several outspoken Democrats who believe Gov. […]

The state of the state

Is strong, according to Rick Perry. So strong, in fact, that we’re going to kick the legs out of social services, because clearly we don’t need them. When the state faced a budget crisis in 2003, Gov. Rick Perry’s office released a budget proposal that was full of zeros, stating that each agency would have […]