Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘local control’

Let’s play two?

Oh, God, please, no. Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday put blame on the House — particularly Speaker Joe Straus — for the shortcomings of the special session and left the door open to calling another one. “I’m disappointed that all 20 items that I put on the agenda did not receive the up-or-down vote that […]

Smell ya later, Senate

How about that? The special legislative session is over — in one chamber, at least. The Texas House abruptly gaveled out Sine Die – the formal designation meaning the end of a session – on Tuesday evening after voting to approve the Senate’s version of a school finance bill that largely stripped provisions the chamber […]

Dan Patrick hates Texas’ cities

I have so many things to say about this. City governments, particularly those led by Democrats, are to blame for problems nationwide, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said during a nationally televised interview Friday. “People are happy with their governments at their state level, they’re not with the city,” said Patrick, a Republican, in an […]

Halfway through the session

The House is doing House things, and that’s fine. Brushing aside concerns that they are not moving swiftly enough to enact Gov. Greg Abbott’s 20-point agenda, Texas House members opened the second half of the special session Wednesday with a flurry of activity Wednesday. “We made good progress, and we’re only half the way through,” […]

Still more big businesses against the bathroom bill

It’s like there’s a strong, overwhelming consensus or something. Top executives of big oil companies and other major Houston firms and organizations on Monday weighed into the political dogfight over the controversial bathroom bill, calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to block passage of the legislation that they warned will harm Texas’ ability to grow its […]

House takes a different direction on trees

Better than the Senate version, for sure. The Texas House added a potential wrinkle to Gov. Greg Abbott’s special session agenda on Thursday, giving early approval to a bill that would allow property owners to plant new trees to offset municipal fees for tree removal on their land. The initial 132-11 vote on House Bill […]

Abbott versus the cities

The continuing story. If Gov. Greg Abbott has disdain for how local Texas officials govern their cities, it didn’t show in a Wednesday sit-down with three mayors who were among 18 who jointly requested a meeting to discuss legislation that aims to limit or override several municipal powers. “Whether we changed anybody’s mind or not, […]

House committee hears largely pointless property tax bills

Something will probably come out of this, but it’s hard to understand why. A Texas House committee on Tuesday spent more than seven hours plowing through more than 30 bills that aim to tackle rising property tax bills — months after similar legislation died amid an intra-GOP war over how conservatively state officials should govern. […]

Senate has mostly completed the Abbott special session agenda

I’m just going to hit the highlights here because this stuff is happening quickly and often late in the day, but most of the Abbott 20-point special session agenda has been turned into bills that have as of this morning passed the Senate. Yesterday’s action included vouchers and still more unconstitutional abortion restrictions, while the […]

War on local control update

Example one: Sen. Craig Estes’ Senate Bill 18 would require cities and counties to get voter approval if they plan to spend a certain amount more than they did in a previous year. His bill ties such an election trigger to inflation and statewide population growth. “You ask people about that and they generally think […]

Mayors to Abbott: Don’t mess with our cities

Good luck getting through. Less than 24 hours after Gov. Greg Abbott blasted local government restrictions like tree ordinances as a threat to the “Texas brand,” city government leaders statewide are seeking a meeting with the Republican leader. “We would like the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the role cities play in attracting […]

There is trouble with the trees

More to the point, there is trouble with the idea that municipal tree ordinances are somehow a bad thing, but that’s where we are, and it’s got some folks worried. More than 40,000 trees were lost to [Hurricane] Ike, according to the nonprofit Galveston Island Tree Conservancy. A replanting campaign that began in 2010 has […]

Special session officially set

Brace yourselves, it starts next week. Gov. Greg Abbott issued a declaration for a special session of the Texas Legislature Monday, formally inviting lawmakers back to Austin to pass “sunset legislation” that will keep several key state agencies open. The long-awaited procedural move allows lawmakers to begin filing bills for the special session set to […]

City of El Paso joins in on SB4

Add one more to the list. The city of El Paso voted on Tuesday to join the growing list of local governments that have filed a legal challenge in hopes of stopping Texas’ new immigration enforcement law from going into effect. The city council’s vote to join El Paso County and the cities of Dallas, […]

RideAustin tries to hang on

I wish them luck. The return of Uber and Lyft to Austin has put the city’s only ride-hailing nonprofit in a fight for survival. RideAustin, one of several small companies that started operations in Austin after the ride-hailing giants left the city in May 2016, is now seeing its ridership cut in half since the […]

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, […]

Paxton seeks to overturn all local bag ban laws

It’s up to the Supreme Court to decide whether he gets it or not. Attorney General Ken Paxton on Thursday filed paperwork urging the Texas Supreme Court to eliminate plastic bag bans across Texas, including Austin’s. Paxton is seeking for the court to affirm an earlier decision that overturned a bag ban in Laredo. However, […]

Greg Abbott’s war on trees

This is just bizarre. One of the 20 items Gov. Greg Abbott has asked lawmakers to consider during the upcoming special session, which will begin July 18, is outlawing local tree regulations. More than 50 cities and towns in Texas have ordinances aimed at protecting trees; many of the local rules require property owners to […]

Abbott signs texting while driving ban

That’s the good news. The bad news is that being Greg Abbott, he wants to make it worse. Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed into law a bill that creates a statewide ban on texting while driving. The measure, authored by state Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, goes into effect Sept. 1. This is the fourth […]

Uber and Lyft come rolling back

To Austin: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday signed into law a measure creating a statewide regulatory framework for ride-hailing companies, overriding local measures that prompted businesses such as Uber and Lyft to leave Austin and other cities. Uber and Lyft said they resumed operations in Austin on Monday. Lyft also said it would relaunch […]

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 […]