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Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Eltife’

The Senate is likely to get stupider again

The cause. The Texas Tech University System Board of Regents officially named state Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, the sole finalist to be the system’s next chancellor in a press release issued Monday afternoon. Duncan is expected to start in his new position on July 1. A special election will have to be held to replace […]

Lege may have found a way on transportation funding

As of Thursday, Special Session 3: Beyond Thunderdome was looming. Both chambers of the Legislature were filled with activity Thursday afternoon but they ended up essentially where they had started: waiting on House and Senate negotiators to come up with a transportation funding plan most lawmakers could agree on. There was little sign Thursday that […]

Transportation funding advances

Between redistricting and abortion, transportation funding has taken a bit of a back seat in the special session despite being the first additional item on the agenda. The Senate took the first step on that yesterday. Despite concerns raised by both Republicans and Democrats, senators on Tuesday tentatively passed a resolution that aims to solve […]

Craft beer bills pass the House

Hallelujah! A raft of bills that would dramatically alter the way beer is sold and consumed in Texas sailed through tentative approval from the House on Friday after a lengthy and disputatious process between brewers and beer distributors. If finally approved next week, the legislation will go straight to the governor’s desk without another stop. […]

There’s no such thing as a free road

I have an issue with this. Texas’ boom of toll roads has made the “free” part of freeway mean something different lately. As toll lanes become the preferred choice for adding capacity to Texas roads, a growing number of state lawmakers and toll critics are looking for assurances that state-built freeways will stay open to […]

Craft beer bills pass out of the Senate

A good day indeed. The Texas Senate voted Monday to give craft brewers and brewpubs new opportunities to sell their beer. “To see that happen was amazing,” said Scott Metzger, a San Antonio brewpub owner who worked with other brewers, legislators and wholesalers in negotiating a compromise. Brock Wagner, owner of Houston’s Saint Arnold Brewing, […]

Term limits measure approved by the Senate

Coming to your ballot this fall, barring anything strange. State­wide elected officials would be limited to two consecutive terms under a proposed constitutional amendment approved 27-4 by the Texas Senate on Tuesday. Gov. Rick Perry, Texas’ longest serving governor, and other current officeholders would be “grandfathered” and allowed to seek two more terms if the […]

Craft beer legislation advances

Moving forward. Legislation authorizing the most significant changes in 20 years to the way beer is bought and sold in Texas passed a key Senate committee Tuesday with broad support. Under terms of the bills, Houston’s Saint Arnold and other Texas craft breweries could sell a limited amount of beer on site and brewpubs like […]

Craft beer bills get their hearing

From the Trib: The Senate Business and Commerce Committee on Tuesday acted as legislative referee over bills that would allow craft breweries to sell on their premises and self-distribute in Texas, but critics said the legislation would hurt the state’s system of alcohol production and distribution. “It’s two different visions of where the beer industry […]

We’re not going to solve our transportation issues without new revenue

The choice isn’t whether or not to pay, it’s how do you want to pay. Despite broad agreement that repairing and improving Texas highways will cost more money than it has in the past, legislators split Monday on whether now is the time to impose new transportation taxes or fees. House members attending the annual […]

Here come the craft beer bills

From Brewed and Never Battered. Senator Kevin Eltife (R-District 1) introduced bi-partisan legislation along with Co-Authors, Senators Brian Birdwell (R-District 22), John Carona (R-District 16), Eddie Lucio (D-District 27), Leticia Van de Putte (D-District 26), Kirk Watson (D-District 14), and John Whitmire (D-District 15) to modernize the state’s alcohol regulatory system to make more competitive Texas’s small, […]

Compromise on microbrew bills

As Brewed and Never Battered noted, HB660 and HB602 were scheduled for a public hearing in committee today. I’m delighted to say that it looks like there was progress achieved on them. Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, laid out HB660 before the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee today. The measure, in its original form, […]

Still going through the couch cushions

The Senate is looking for funds wherever it can find them. Hoping to cushion the impact of proposed state budget cuts to public education and health care, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said Wednesday that a special subcommittee will be named Monday to find $5 billion in nontax revenue for use in the next two-year budget […]

Two Republican Senators oppose Bradley’s nomination to the Forensic Science Commission

Excellent. The confirmation of Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley as chairman of the state Forensic Science Commission appears to be in deep trouble, as two Senate Republicans confirmed today that they will vote no. That would leave Bradley four votes short of the required 21 needed to bring his name up for a Senate […]

One Republican for the Rainy Day Fund

State Sen. Kevin Eltife says what I suspect more than a few Republican legislators are thinking. “We have to find more revenue,” the former Tyler mayor and senator of seven years said [Thursday] morning during a committee hearing. “It’s insane not use the Rainy Day Fund. We also have to find additional revenue.” Republican leaders […]

Where the state cuts meet the local budgets

Via Grits, an editorial in the Longview News-Journal of interest: Routine mental health services were the first to fall during the 2003 budget crisis, which was preceded by pre-session cuts the fall and summer of 2002. East Texas mental health professionals, judges, law enforcement and elected officials tell us such cuts already have curtailed routine […]

Just a reminder about Perry’s unemployment tax increase

Lisa Falkenberg watches some video of Texas Workforce Commission Executive Director Larry Temple testifying before the Senate and reiterates something we knew. Temple acknowledged Thursday to the Senate Committee on Economic Development that Texas’ decision not to take $556 million in unemployment stimulus dollars directly led to higher taxes for business owners and more borrowing […]

Dewhurst fibs about the budget and the stimulus

What Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says: Given recent comments about our state’s budget, I feel it is time to separate fact from political fiction. The fact is, in stark contrast to the U. S. Congress, the Texas Constitution requires the Legislature to balance the state budget every two years, and that would have happened with […]

Friends and foes

The Texas Observer poo-poos the idea of “Best Of” and “Top Ten” lists, then gives us its stab at a Best and Worst tabulation by naming six of “The People’s Friends” and five “Foes”. Where Texas Monthly focuses more on effectiveness in getting things done, the Observer takes the position that it’s not just about […]

More unemployment funds available

The bad news is that Texas’ rate of unemployment continues to rise. The good news is that this means more federal funds for unemployment insurance are available, and these come with no conditions on them. Texas now qualifies, thanks to the state’s steadily rising unemployment rate, for $250 million of string-free federal money. That money […]

Perry’s ongoing war on the unemployed

You have to say this about Governor Perry: He never goes off message, no matter how ridiculous that message may be. Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday re-stated his opposition to legislation that would allow the state to accept federal stimulus dollars for expanded unemployment programs. A key part of Perry’s argument is that once Texas […]

Senate passes SB1569, but may not be able to override a veto

The Senate passed SB1569, the bill that accepts stimulus funding for unemployment insurance, by a 19-11 vote today. As Elise noted on Twitter, two Senators flipped to No for final passage; one other Senator was either absent or did not vote. We don’t know who exactly the changed and missing voters were yet. For the […]

Senate approves stimulus funds for unemployment insurance

Good. The Texas Senate tentatively approved Sen. Kevin Eltife’s bill to change the state’s unemployment laws so that Texas can accept an estimated $555 million in federal stimulus dollars. [...] Eltife’s bill was supported by 22 senators and opposed by nine. It faces a final vote before going to the House for consideration. SB 1569 […]

UI update

The headline says it all: GOP holds key to unemployment stimulus dollars. Against the wishes of Gov. Rick Perry, lawmakers are pressing ahead with efforts to claim $555 million in federal economic stimulus money for unemployment benefits. With all of the Senate Democrats already on board, a small group of Republican senators hold the key […]

Senate committee passes unemployment insurance reform

You’d think, after all the high-profile squabbling over stimulus funds for the unemployment insurance trust fund, that the news of SB1569‘s advancement in the Senate might get a bit more notice than this, but apparently not. The only other story I could find was this from the Tyler Telegraph: A Senate bill authored by a […]

Parker versus Perry

I like this. Houston City Controller Annise Parker sharply criticized Texas Governor Rick Perry today for rejecting $555 million in federal stimulus money that would have funded unemployment benefits for out-of-work Texans. “In January alone, more than 65,000 Houstonians were unemployed – the most since 2004 – and our economy is slowing,” said Parker. “While […]