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Posts Tagged ‘Kirk Watson’

Look behind the scenes

There’s another angle to consider the Perry indictment saga, which is that the indictment isn’t so much about what Rick Perry said publicly regarding Rosemary Lehmberg and the Public Integrity Unit but what he was saying behind the scenes. Erica Greider explores this, with a minor detour first. To review those facts, in 2013 the […]

More Democratic statewide possibilities

From this story about Democratic hopes for Wendy Davis’ presumed gubernatorial candidacy comes these tidbits about who else might be on the ticket with her. State Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, told Express-News columnist Gilbert Garcia this month that he is seriously considering a run for attorney general. “Politics is about timing,” Uresti said. “And […]

How I would campaign against Greg Abbott

If you’ve been following Greg Abbott’s gubernatorial campaign kickoff, you’ve probably noticed that in addition to being light on substance, the Attorney General has been hitting his personal story hard, in an attempt to portray him as some kind of empathetic figure. Over nearly two decades of public appearances as a political figure, Greg Abbott […]

I do not expect another Ardmore

The AusChron tries to get out the Democrats’ strategy for Special Session 2. When the Texas House convened last last month to pass, on third reading and onto the Senate for final passage, Senate Bill 5, the omnibus abortion regulations bill, Austin Rep. Elliott Naishtat heard several colleagues discussing whether House Dems would be ready […]

No action on SB5 in the Senate

The name of the game is running out the clock. Texas Democrats, far outnumbered by Republicans in both the House and the Senate, are nonetheless on the verge of killing one of the most restrictive abortion proposals in the nation — at least for now. Using delaying tactics and parliamentary rules, the minority party argued […]

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 […]

Perry will veto Integrity Unit funds unless Lehmberg resigns

This could be checkmate for Rosemary Lehmberg. Gov. Rick Perry will veto financing for the public integrity unit — the state’s ethics enforcement division — unless embattled Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigns, an official close to the governor said Tuesday. The Austin American-Statesman reported Monday night that Perry would use a line-item veto […]

Special session is called

And no one is surprised. With the ink barely dry on the bills passed during the 83rd Legislature’s regular session, Gov. Rick Perry called lawmakers back into an immediate special session to consider redistricting measures for the Legislature and the Texans who serve in the U.S. Congress. Speculation had been mounting for days that Perry […]

Don’t count your victories too soon

While I wouldn’t call this legislative session anything to be terribly happy about, it could have been far worse. That’s because a whole lot of nasty red meat bills never got voted on, and Democrats are justifiably happy about that. I’m happy, too, but not quite ready to do a victory dance about it. All […]

Redistricting remains a partisan issue

We’re not surprised by this, right? Amarillo Sen. Kel Seliger offered a redistricting bill to the Senate State Affairs Committee that would formally adopt interim maps drawn by a federal court in San Antonio last year. The maps for Congressional, state Senate and House districts were used for the 2012 election while a federal court […]

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, […]

White Ds and non-white Rs

A few points to make about this. White Democrats are an increasingly vanishing species in the Texas Legislature, where there will be only 10 when the new legislative session starts in early January. The face of the Legislature has undergone a dramatic transformation in the past 25 years, and the state’s rapidly changing demographics are […]

The Constitutional amendments

In addition to all of the local races that will be on your ballot next month, there are ten Constitutional amendments up for ratification. Unlike some previous years, and somewhat surprisingly given the divisive and ideological nature of the session, there are no particularly high profile or controversial measures on the ballot. (Proposition 2, which […]

This is an excellent time to cut funding for fighting wildfires

That’s exactly what the Republicans did in the budget that came into effect last week. Cash-strapped state lawmakers – led by Gov. Rick Perry’s stand against raising taxes or dipping too deeply into the state rainy day fund – cut appropriations for the Texas Forest Service even as they had to dig for more money […]

Thanks for helping us balance the budget, fishermen

The Chron’s Shannon Tompkins explains how budgetary shenanigans have an adverse effect on Texas’ hunters and fishers. Every year, tens of millions of dollars in hunting and fishing license fees are left sitting in the state account used to fund Texas wildlife, fisheries and boating programs. Those millions of dollars in Fund 9 account balances […]

TV recycling redux

Back in 2009, the Lege passed a bill that would have required television manufacturers that sell TVs in Texas to set up a recycling program for old sets. This was modeled after similar legislation passed in 2007 for computers and computer manufacturers. Unfortunately, the bill was vetoed by Rick Perry despite assurances from his staff […]

More on the budget deal

From the Statesman: The agreement is hinged on the House passing a so-called fiscal matters bill, Senate Bill 1811, that would free up money to help pay for the $3 billion in additional spending to which the House negotiators agreed. “Once they get (SB) 1811 passed, I think we’ll resume deliberations on the budget, and […]

“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 redistricting map approved by committee

That didn’t take long. Rejecting pleas to keep most of Travis County in a single Senate district, the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting [Friday] morning approved a plan that will divide the capital city into four senatorial districts. The Republican-dominated panel also rejected an amendment to the plan that would have returned Austin-Bergstrom International Airport […]

Senate redistricting hearing

So the Senate Redistricting Committee hearing was today. See if you can spot a theme here. Sen. Kirk Watson expressed his dissatisfaction with the map that was introduced by Sen. Kel Seliger. At a morning hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting, Watson blasted the proposed Senate plan as dividing historical minority constituencies in […]

Senate map is out, controversy precedes it

Before we had a State Senate map, we had a brawl brewing over one proposed district on it. Accusing the state Senate’s Republican leaders of a “shameful partisan attack,” Sen. Wendy Davis said Tuesday that a new redistricting map for her Tarrant County senatorial district violates the federal Voting Rights Act by ripping apart a […]

Senate fails to bring the budget to the floor

It started Monday when Senate Finance Chair Sen. Steve Ogden said he might pull same Rainy Day funds out of the budget in order to get more Republican (read: Dan Patrick) support for it. After some discussion about alternate ways of incorporating Rainy Day funds and some griping about the Comptroller, CSHB1 was brought up […]

Senate makes progress on the budget

They still haven’t gotten to the actual budget yet, but they’ve passed a bill that allows for some extra “non-tax revenue” plus a bunch of accounting gimmicks, which makes their less-penurious-than-the-House budget possible. The Texas Senate, digging publicly for money while it battles quietly over a proposed budget, approved a “non-tax revenue” bill that would […]

Dewhurst flips, then flops, on using rainy day funds

First he says he’s against it. [Lt. Gov. David] Dewhurst sounded supportive of the overall level of spending in the Senate plan, but voiced a preference for using what he calls nontax revenue items instead of the rainy day fund. Some of the supposed nontax revenue ideas that senators haven’t embraced include selling some state […]

A win for the microbrewers

Woo hoo! Craft beer brewers came to the Capitol this session with a number of bills giving them greater latitude in getting their beers to customers. [Thursday], the House gave an early OK to one of those bills, allowing breweries to charge admission for tours, and include up to two six-packs of beers to give […]

Solar bills advance

Bills relating to solar energy are moving forward through the Lege. Texas is the top-producing state for wind-generated electricity just 12 years after a legislative deal jump-started the industry. The Legislature is now debating whether Texas should provide a similar subsidy for other renewable energy sources that, according to proponents, would kick-start solar, geothermal and […]

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 […]

Senate retains 2/3 rule

The Senate will mostly operate as it did in 2009, retaining the traditional 2/3 rule and the exception for voter ID legislation. Though there was still some heated discussion around the matter, which will likely continue as long as Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, is in office. Though he lacked the votes to do away with […]

The hole is deeper than we thought, the continuing story

You have to admire the timing on this. Texas collected $2.5 billion less in taxes in the 2010 fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, than the previous year, state Comptroller Susan Combs said in a new cash report. The tax collections were nearly $2 billion less than Combs predicted a year ago when she certified […]

How big is the hole, Susan?

You’d think with all of the talk about the budget and the projected shortfall, we’d have heard an opinion from our State Comptroller, Susan Combs, as to just how things look right now. Especially given that Governor Perry has publicly dismissed the $18 billion figure that House Speaker Joe Straus and Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts […]

Join Senator Kirk Watson & Bill White in Online Video Town Hall, Monday July 12

State Senator Kirk Watson will host an online video town hall with Bill White on Monday, July 12th at 5:30pm. You can join the conversation yourself, submit questions, and enjoy a high-tech, low-key campaign chat with two of Texas’ most prominent Democrats. They’ll be taking questions in real time during the town hall via Twitter, […]

Business tax falls short again

Same story, next verse. The state business tax again comes due Monday, and no one is suggesting it will yield near the approximately $6 billion originally forecast. The tax is expected to bring in $4.3 billion this year. “I think it was set up to fail, and they succeeded,” said Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, noting […]

Of guns and kittens

Sen. Kirk Watson has the definitive response to the Rick Perry coyote incident. About all that’s missing is music by Ennio Morricone. Just go read it and you’ll see what I mean. Thanks to the Trib for the pointer.

Kirk Watson’s “Monopoly Busters”

I hadn’t written about State Sen. Kirk Watson’s Monopoly Busters drive before now – see here for his announcement of it last week. The primary goal is to decide which House incumbents will receive campaign contributions from Sen. Watson, but the secondary goal, which really may be the most important one, was getting more Texas […]