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Posts Tagged ‘Rodney Ellis’

Lawsuit filed over Senate map

From Texas Redistricting: [Monday] morning, two Texas voters filed a suit in federal court challenging the state senate map drawn by the Texas Legislature on the grounds that it violated the equal protection guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment by using total population rather eligible voters to draw districts. The plaintiffs in the case are backed […]

HISD unveils new mascots

Here they are. The cafeteria at Hamilton Middle School showcases a painting of a Native American in a feathered headdress. Students wear collared shirts with a similar symbol. They were, until Tuesday, the Hamilton Indians. Now, with a new school district policy banning mascots deemed culturally offensive, the Houston Heights campus has adopted the Huskies […]

The farm team

Roll Call takes a look at the Texas Democrats of the future. Democrats rarely fielded competitive Senate candidates over the past two decades — the party’s three best performers in that time span received 44 percent, 43 percent and 43 percent — but that may change by the next midterm cycle. State and national Democrats […]

State Bar investigating Charles Sebesta

Good. The State Bar of Texas has opened an investigation into Charles Sebesta, the former Burleson County District Attorney who prosecuted death row exoneree Anthony Graves. The organization that oversees lawyers is investigating alleged professional misconduct by Sebesta, which, if proven, could result in his disbarment. The investigation was prompted by a complaint that Graves […]

If we must have voter ID, let’s make sure people know about it

The Democratic Senators from Harris County write a letter to County Clerk Stan Stanart. Three Houston state senators are asking Harris County officials to emulate Dallas County’s voter outreach efforts tied to Texas’ new voter identification law. State Sens. Rodney Ellis, Sylvia Garcia and John Whitmire — all Democrats — wrote a letter on Monday […]

Charles Sebesta needs to be held accountable

Amen to this. Former Texas death row inmate Anthony Graves, who spent 18 years behind bars before he was exonerated in the bloody 1992 slaying of a Somerville grandmother, her daughter and four grandchildren, is seeking justice against the man who put him there. In 2006, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Graves’ […]

Rick Perry doesn’t want people to get health insurance

There’s really no other viable explanation. On a White House conference call on Monday, Texas Democrats criticized Gov. Rick Perry and other Republican state leaders for “getting in the way” of implementing federal health care reform. During the call, which was organized by the White House to tout the impact of the Affordable Care Act […]

How Greg Abbott enabled the payday lenders

The Lone Star Project kicks it off: Abbott’s Green Light to Predatory Lenders Key AG document provided payday lenders a loophole to bilk Texans Greg Abbott’s office issued the key document that has allowed payday lenders to operate outside of Texas usury laws and exploit Texans across our state. A letter issued from the office of the Attorney General carefully […]

Raising the minimum wage in Texas

It’s all the rage elsewhere, but so far I’ve not heard anything about a movement to raise the minimum wage in Texas. While most of the increases amount to less than 15 cents per hour, workers in places like New Jersey, Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island will see a bigger bump. Earlier this year, […]

Payday lending ordinance passes

In the end, it wasn’t close. The Houston City Council overwhelmingly passed restrictions on payday and auto title lenders Wednesday, avoiding rumored parliamentary maneuvers to delay the vote and calling on the state Legislature to follow suit. The vote was 15-2, with Councilwoman Helena Brown and Councilman James Rodriguez opposed. Rodriguez did not seek to […]

HISD approves change to nickname and mascot policy

Good. Three schools in the Houston Independent School District are likely to have new mascots that no longer reflect a connection to Native American culture or history after preliminary board approval Thursday night of a policy proposed by Superintendent Terry Grier. A fourth school, Westbury High, could be required to no longer use Rebel, even […]

HISD to take action on “Redskins” nickname

Good for them. Houston school district officials, plunging into a national controversy, are considering a policy change that would ban mascot names that might play on racial, ethnic or cultural stereotypes. Houston Independent School District Superintendent Terry Grier is expected to propose a new policy that would require changing the mascots of the Lamar High […]

We need a Conviction Integrity Unit in Harris County

From the DMN: Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins has gained a national reputation for spearheading prisoner exonerations. As he prepares to seek a third term, Watkins said Thursday he wants to expand on that role and add a few others. … Watkins, a Democrat who was first elected in 2006, gained attention for using […]

Ken Anderson accepts a plea deal

Some closure in the Michael Morton case. Former Williamson County State District Judge Ken Anderson, who oversaw the wrongful murder conviction of Michael Morton as a prosecutor, was sentenced to nine days in jail on Friday and will surrender his law license as part of a deal to resolve criminal charges and a civil lawsuit. […]

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 […]

Jury duty pay raise

If you get called for jury duty, you’ll get a little extra something for your time. For the past two years, jurors in Harris County and elsewhere have been paid $30 a day or less for every day of service after the first, on which everyone must be paid at least $6 for showing up […]

Van de Putte for Lite Gov?

Yes, please. Democratic operatives are scouring Texas to find worthy statewide candidates to run on a 2014 ticket with Sen. Wendy Davis. Davis is expected to announce in the coming weeks whether she’ll challenge for governor or opt to seek re-election. The recruitment of running mates for the Fort Worth Democrat by the party and […]

Davis reportedly running for Governor

At least according to Robert Miller. Credible sources tell me that Sen. Wendy Davis will run for Governor in 2014 and not seek reelection to Texas Senate District 10. It will set up a high stakes match-up with Attorney General Greg Abbott in the November 4, 2014, general election. Sen. Davis believes that she faces […]

What are the odds for Wendy?

After a week of Democratic energy and exhilaration like we haven’t seen in a long time here thanks to the Wendy Davis filibuster, there are a lot of people who’d like to see Sen. Davis run for Governor. No doubt if she did, she’d make a race out of it, and would have no shortage […]

Who will be on the Ten Best and Ten Worst lists?

The Trib starts the speculation. Texas Monthly‘s list of the best and worst legislators of the 83rd session doesn’t come out until June 12, but why should Paul Burka and his colleagues have all the fun? Use this interactive to select your own personal best and worst list. Click or drag to put up to […]

Wrapping up the rest of the regular session

So as we now know, a special session on redistricting has been called, though we don’t yet know what if anything else may be added later. I covered that last night, so let’s cover what else got done at the end of the regular session, beyond what I noted below. First of all, the budget […]

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 […]

Michael Morton Act signed into law

Excellent news. With exoneree Michael Morton by his side, Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday signed a measure that aims to avoid wrongful convictions by preventing prosecutors from suppressing evidence. “This is a major victory for integrity and fairness in our judicial system,” Perry said of Senate Bill 1611, which was named for Morton, who spent […]

Improved payday lending bill passes the Senate

Good news, if it goes anywhere. The Texas Senate approved a bill to regulate short-term lenders on Monday night, a milestone some thought the chamber wouldn’t reach after a personal and divisive floor fight on Thursday. But with the measure’s author, state Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, calling the highly-altered bill an “ugly baby,” it remains […]

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 […]

Court of inquiry issues arrest warrant for Ken Anderson

Wow. A judge issued an arrest warrant for former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson Friday, after finding probable cause to believe Anderson withheld critical evidence in Michael Morton’s 1987 murder trial. Judge Louis Sturns concluded his court of inquiry by charging Anderson, who is now a state district judge, with tampering with government records […]

Bad ideas never die

And so we find ourselves once again talking about tax breaks for yacht buyers. From capping the sales tax on yachts to phasing out the state business levy, some lawmakers are pushing for tax breaks even as others say the system is already riddled with too many special-interest exemptions. The breaks are most often cast […]

Davis says she’s not running for Governor next year

So much for that. State Sen. Wendy Davis, who has emerged as one of the most visible Democrats in the Capitol this session, says she has no plans to run for governor in 2014, but will seek another term representing Fort Worth next year. “I’m running for my Senate district in 2014, and hopefully earning […]

Why do we give tax breaks to country clubs?

As you know, I’ve talked before about sunsetting tax expenditures. Sens. John Carona and Rodney Ellis have filed a bill to require a periodic review of the many exemptions, exceptions, and other special cases in the tax code, with the aim of requiring legislative approval to renew or extend them. This is a good idea […]

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. […]

Reciprocal discovery

There’s a bit of controversy brewing over one of the criminal justice reforms that have been proposed. The bill at issue was filed on deadline day. Senate Bill 1611 would enact uniform discovery requirements in criminal cases across Texas. It would require prosecutors to give defense lawyers evidence in their files and to include essentially […]

Not so fast on the North Forest charter plan

Not everyone is convinced that the plan to allow a consortium of charter schools to take over North Forest ISD is a good idea. In interviews Monday, state Rep. Senfronia Thompson and Sens. Rodney Ellis and John Whitmire, all Democrats, voiced reservations about the last-ditch attempt to prevent the annexation of North Forest to Houston […]

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 […]

Patrick files his own voucher bill

I guess if you want something done right, you do it yourself. Ending speculation over when — or whether — his widely promoted school choice legislation would emerge, state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, has filed a bill creating a business tax scholarship for students to attend private schools. The Equal Opportunity Scholarship Program, or Senate […]