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Posts Tagged ‘local control’

Budget deal reached

The one bill that must get passed is on its way. After months of private squabbling and public threats of a legislative overtime session, the Texas House and Senate finally compromised to unveil a joint budget late Saturday. Lawmakers, scrounging for cash in a tight-fisted legislative session, agreed to dip into the state’s savings account […]

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 […]

Senate passes statewide rideshare bill

It’s a done deal. After a debate among lawmakers over the best way to regulate services like Uber and Lyft, the Texas Senate on Wednesday backed a proposal that would override local regulations concerning ride-hailing companies. House Bill 100 would establish a statewide framework to regulate ride-hailing companies and undo local rules that the two […]

House bathroom bill will not get a committee vote

Good news. A proposal to gut cities and school districts’ trans-inclusive bathroom policies did not advance in the House ahead of a crucial deadline, nixing the measure’s chances of getting a vote by the full chamber. But that doesn’t mean that the issue itself is dead. Up against bill-killing deadlines, the House State Affairs Committee […]

Senate passes “driverless car” bill

This is a first. Texas took a step toward self-driving vehicles zipping up and down its highways and streets under a first-of-its-kind measure approved Thursday by the Texas Senate. Approved by a 31-0 vote, Senate Bill 1622 would implement minimum safety standards for so-called “autonomous vehicles” and “automated driving systems” — the first time the […]

Get ready for the “sanctuary cities” lawsuits

It’s just a matter of time. Now that Senate Bill 4 is on its way to becoming law, opponents are looking to the courts for relief – and a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court case is giving them hope. The high court struck down parts of a controversial 2010 immigration law in Arizona on the grounds […]

Petitions submitted to force another pension vote

Oh, good grief. Voters soon could decide whether to close Houston’s traditional pension plans to new employees after political activists submitted a petition to City Hall to force a referendum this November. The petition further complicates Mayor Sylvester Turner’s efforts to pass a pension reform bill, which already had hit a hurdle in the state […]

Bathroom bill 2.0 gets its committee hearing

It’s the same old garbage in a new package. Amid concerns about rolling back local protections for vulnerable Texans and dire economic fallout, a panel of House lawmakers considered a measure into the early hours of Thursday morning that some are hoping will serve as an alternative approach to regulating bathroom use for transgender Texans. […]

House passes statewide rideshare bill

Made it farther than it did last session. After a lengthy debate among lawmakers over the best way to regulate services like Uber and Lyft, the Texas House backed a proposal that would override local regulations concerning ride-hailing companies. House Bill 100, by state Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, would establish a statewide framework to regulate […]

Senate passes AirBnB bill

As you know, I don’t care for this. A Senate bill that would limit local government control of short-term home rentals in Texas passed out of the upper chamber Tuesday in a 21-9 vote. Under Senate Bill 451 by state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, Texas cities would be prevented from banning short-term rentals […]

Another study of bathrooms and business

Short answer: Bathroom bills are bad. Legislation viewed by many as discriminatory toward LGBT Texans — including proposals to regulate which bathrooms transgender individuals may use — could cost the state $3.3 billion in annual tourism dollars and more than 35,600 full-time jobs associated with leisure travel and conventions, according to a study by the […]

More on the House bathroom bill

Still a very bad idea. After largely avoiding discussions so far on proposals to regulate bathrooms, the Texas House will wade into the debate this week with a measure some are hoping will serve as an alternative to the Senate’s “bathroom bill.” Setting aside the Senate’s proposal, the House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday will […]

Greg Abbott wants to kill off cities

That’s the only way to describe it. As state lawmakers gather for their biennial session this spring, they’re weighing whether to rein in localities that ban plastic grocery bags, extend civil rights protections to LGBTQ residents, discourage cooperation with federal immigration authorities, impose driver screening requirements for ride-sharing companies and regulate the chopping down of […]

Bathroom bill 2.0

Beware. House lawmakers will debate a so-called “bathroom bill” next week that supporters hope will be less worrisome to business interests concerned the measure could hurt the Texas economy. The decision to debate the House bill, and to set aside a more severe version passed last month in the Senate, marks the latest split the two chambers have endured during a […]

This could be the session that a statewide texting-while-driving ban passes

I haven’t followed the progress of the filed-every-session statewide-band-on-texting-while-driving bill, but recent tragic events have put a spotlight on it and raised the probability of it actually becoming law. Texas is one of four states that do not have a statewide ban on texting and driving. That distinction has drawn renewed attention in recent days […]

North Carolina “repeals” HB2

It’s “repeal” in a mostly meaningless sense. Late Wednesday night, for the second day in a row, North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R) and Senate leader Phil Berger (R) held a press conference announcing that they’d established yet another “compromise” to repeal HB2 with Gov. Roy Cooper (D). They are planning to force it […]

Senate passes its budget

It’s the one bill that has to pass. The Texas Senate unanimously approved a two-year budget on Tuesday that would shift nearly $2 billion in public education costs from the state to local taxpayers. The Senate’s $218 billion document now goes to budget writers in the House for debate. “This is a lean budget, but […]

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 […]

Senate proposes to make our tax system more broken

That’s what this will surely do. The Texas Senate on Tuesday approved a controversial bill that seeks to curb the growth in property taxes that local government agencies like cities and counties levy on landowners. Senate Bill 2, which passed in an 18-12 vote, could require taxing entities to hold an election if the amount […]

Senate committee hears rideshare bills

One of these, in some form, is likely to become law. Senate Bill 176, by state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, and Senate Bill 361 by state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, received a joint hearing after [Senate Business & Commerce Committee] chairman Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, noted their similarities. Both bills establish a statewide framework […]

Is there some fretting about Mayor Turner?

Maybe? I don’t know. I guess it depends on how you define “fretting”. The resignation of Mayor Sylvester Turner’s top deputy – a social justice advocate and one of the mayor’s few confidants in a sea of senior staff appointed by the previous mayor – is fueling worry among aides and allies about the administration’s […]

It’s HCDE hunting season again

Every two years, like clockwork. A Houston-area legislator has filed two bills targeting the Harris County Department of Education, renewing his assault on the agency that provides special education therapy services to hundreds of students. State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, a Republican whose district covers much of northwest Harris County, said he was upset that the […]

Restricting restrictions on AirBnB

I have issues with this. A legislative proposal that would limit local government control of short-term home rentals in Texas has reawakened a fight over regulations that has already played out in cities across the state. Senate Bill 451 by state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R- North Richland Hills, would prevent Texas cities from banning or […]

Interview with Bill Kelly

You may have heard that the city of Houston has some legislative business to take care of this session. Most notably, the city wants to get a bill passed to implement its pension reform plans, which may or may not have been complicated by the news that a vote could be required for the city […]

More on the Whitmire Astrodome bill

I still don’t care for this. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett voiced concern Tuesday that a bill filed by a veteran state senator jeopardizes the county’s plan to revitalize the Astrodome, adding that county representatives would continue to try to persuade legislators to support the $105 million project. Emmett said state Sen. John Whitmire’s bill, […]

We don’t need another vote on the Astrodome

Not for this we don’t, anyway. Less than five months ago, the future of the Astrodome seemed to be more secure than it has been in the decades since it hosted its last Astros game, with Harris County commissioners moving forward on a massive renovation project they said would usher in festivals, conferences and commercial […]

“Sanctuary cities” bill passes in Senate

As expected. The Texas Senate late Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a controversial immigration measure to ban “sanctuary” jurisdictions in the state. Senate Bill 4, filed by state Sen. Charles Perry, would punish local and state government entities and college campuses that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials or enforce immigration laws. The vote […]

Three rideshare bills

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute Policy Center looks at the (first) three bills relating to ridesharing that have been filed in the Lege: Three bills have been filed so far in the 85th Texas Legislature, regular session, addressing transportation network companies, frequently referred to as ride-hailing or (less accurately) as ridesharing. The bills are SB […]

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 […]

There is no “acceptable” bathroom bill

Please don’t try to create one. A Republican in the Texas House is pitching an alternative to the “bathroom bill,” saying he wants to focus more on local control than on bathrooms. State Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, filed legislation Monday that would prohibit local governments from setting restroom policies for private businesses. The measure, House […]

Abbott goes authoritarian

I suppose this shouldn’t surprise me, but it is still shocking, even in the world we now inhabit. Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that he and state lawmakers will pursue legislation that would “remove from office any officeholder who promotes sanctuary cities,” raising a new consequence as Republicans crack down on local officials who do […]

Galveston wants a bag ban

Good luck. Reacting to a groundswell of concern about the effect of plastic bags on the environment, Galveston is on the forefront of a statewide controversy over cities’ ability to ban plastic bags that are killing turtles, birds and fouling beaches. A proposed ordinance with unanimous City Council support and strong community backing faces fierce […]

Laredo plastic bag ban overturned

Ugh. The Fourth Court of Appeals on Wednesday sided with merchants and free-market groups who argued that Laredo’s ban on single-use bags is illegal because it is pre-empted by state law regulating solid waste disposal. The 2-1 ruling overturned a lower court’s decision, the latest setback for environmentalists and advocates of local control in Texas. […]

Senate whinefest about ballot propositions

Spare me. Members of a state Senate committee called Monday for changes in Texas law to prevent cities from thwarting or blocking citizen petition drives, a key issue for conservative and tea party groups in Houston and other cities in recent years. At a meeting of the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee, members made it clear […]