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Posts Tagged ‘Senate’

House still opposes vouchers

Keep on keeping on, y’all. The top House education leader said Sunday that “private school choice” is still dead in the lower chamber. “We only voted six times against it in the House,” House Public Education Committee Chairman Dan Huberty said. “There’s nothing more offensive as a parent of a special-needs child than to tell […]

Ten best and worst 2017

This is always the most anticipated part of a legislative session. Around the Texas Capitol this year, it wasn’t unusual to hear the 85th Legislature described as the worst anyone could remember. While we wouldn’t go that far, this session had more than its fair share of dispiriting moments. Quite a few of those came […]

SCOTUS takes on Wisconsin partisan gerrymandering case

Monday’s big news. Partisan gerrymandering exists because the Supreme Court allows it to exist. Although such gerrymanders are a form a viewpoint discrimination, which violates the First Amendment, Republican appointees to the Supreme Court have been reluctant to even let federal courts consider partisan gerrymandering cases — much less strike down actual gerrymanders. That could all change, […]

Two (so far) for SD10

Here’s what we learn in this Star-Telegram story about incumbent Sen. Konni Burton’s intent to run for re-election. At least two Democrats already have announced their intention to seek Burton’s seat. Allison Campolo, a research scientist and teaching assistant at Oklahoma State University who lives in Euless, announced her campaign on Facebook, saying “this is […]

An interesting shift in approval ratings for state leaders

More UT/Trib poll data: The figurative wrestling match between the state’s top three officials jiggled their approval ratings, but not by much, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. Gov. Greg Abbott remains the highest rated of the state’s high officials, with 45 percent of voters saying they approve his job performance and […]

Signings and vetoes

Greg Abbott does his thing. Gov. Greg Abbott has vetoed 50 bills that were passed during the regular legislative session, his office announced Thursday. That’s several more than he vetoed following the last session and the most a governor has doled out since 2007. Abbott offered a number of common explanations for his vetoes, calling […]

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 […]

The DPS two-step

First, there was this. Despite a two-year budget of $2.4 billion, the Texas Department of Public Safety, with little notice, has reduced office hours at 11 of the state’s busiest driver’s license offices and plans to lay off more than 100 full-time employees to deal with a $21 million funding crunch. The statewide police agency’s […]

An SB4 threefer

We have our first SB4 casualty. A 15,000-member association of attorneys and law professors said on Wednesday that it is relocating its 2018 convention out of Texas in response to the state legislature passing Senate bill 4, a sweeping and controversial immigration enforcement measure. The American Immigration Lawyers Association was scheduled to hold its 3-day […]

Yes, there will be constitutional amendments on the November ballot

They’re not very interesting, which in this environment is a blessing, but they will be there. House Joint Resolution 21 What will be on the ballot: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of part of the market value of the residence homestead of a partially disabled […]

Our electors can continue to be faithless

So much for that. The momentum seemed to be there. After Donald Trump easily defeated Hillary Clinton in Texas, two of the state’s 38 Electoral College members cast ballots for someone other than the Republican nominee — a less-than-flattering moment for a state with a strong GOP tradition. In the days — even hours — […]

Do we really have to have a pension bond vote?

So as we know, the Houston pension reform bill that passed contains a provision that requires a vote on the pension obligation bonds that Mayor Turner intends to float as a down payment. Pension obligation bonds have been floated in the past, by Mayor White, without a vote, but for whatever the reason some members […]

Voter ID plaintiffs ask court to void the law

As well they should. Lawyers for minority voters and politicians asked a federal judge Wednesday to void the Texas voter ID law, saying it is the next logical step for a statute found to be discriminatory. The lawyers also said they will ask U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos to require Texas officials to get […]

Abbott calls for special session

To begin July 18, with a laundry list of wingnut wet dreams. Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday called a special session of the Texas Legislature starting July 18 and promised to make it a sweeping one if lawmakers cooperate. Abbott gave legislators an ambitious 19-item agenda to work on — including a “bathroom bill” — […]

AirBnB bill fails to pass

One minor surprise from this now-ended legislative session. A conference committee Saturday voted to strip an amendment that would have blocked cities from regulating short-term rentals like Airbnb, all but killing the measure with less than two days left in the legislative session. The move comes during a legislative session in which lawmakers have otherwise […]

No Astrodome vote this fall

This is a bit of a surprise. [Sen. John] Whitmire filed a bill that would force the county to get voter approval before spending any money on the Dome. “It’s a dream and you shouldn’t spend taxpayer dollars on a dream,” Whitmire said. Whitmire’s bill sailed through the Senate, but hit a brick wall in […]

Voter ID 2.0 gets final passage

Hopefully, this will turn out to have been a waste of time. The Texas House and Senate have approved a deal to relax the state’s voter identification requirements, meaning the closely watched legislation now only awaits Gov. Greg Abbott’s approval. The Republican is expected to sign Senate Bill 5, capping a flurry of late activity […]

Budget passes

The Legislature’s one mandated duty has been completed. Both chambers of the Texas Legislature voted Saturday evening to approve a $217 billion, two-year budget that would boost funding for the state’s beleaguered child welfare agency, increase the number of state troopers on the Texas-Mexico border and avoid serious reforms to the state’s much-criticized school finance […]

House will not negotiate on “bathroom bill” amendment

Well, this is it. Refusing to go any further to regulate bathroom use for transgender Texans, House Speaker Joe Straus said on Friday that the House will not appoint members to negotiate with the Senate on its proposed compromise on a “bathroom bill.” “For many of us — and especially for me — this was […]

This session’s unconstitutional abortion bill passes

Here we go again. Texas senators voted Friday to send a bill banning the most common second-trimester abortion procedure and changing how health care facilities handle fetal remains to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. Under Senate Bill 8, which passed 22-9, health care facilities including hospitals and abortion clinics would be required to bury or cremate […]

Houston pension reform bill passes

It’s done. The Texas House on Wednesday approved the controversial Senate version of a bill that aims to overhaul Houston’s failing pension funds — over the passionate objections of current and former firefighters. Senate Bill 2190, which passed in a 103-43 vote, now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. But the months of rancor between […]

School finance bill is dead

It started with this. State Rep. Dan Huberty said Wednesday that he would not accept the Senate’s changes to his school finance bill, launching a last-ditch effort to hammer out a compromise with less than a week left in the session. After a passionate speech railing on the Senate for gutting his bill, Huberty, a […]

House passes Voter ID 2.0

Some minor changes, but the same basic idea. The Texas House on Tuesday tentatively approved legislation to overhaul the state’s embattled voter identification law, moving it one step closer to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. Senate Bill 5 would in several ways relax what some had called the nation’s most stringent ID requirements for voters — […]

How bad is the “Patrick Lite” bathroom bill?

For one view, there’s this, from Texas Competes: A review of press coverage shows that the Texas “bathroom bill” debate generated $216 million in publicity for the state of Texas in the period from January 10, 2016 through May 22, 2017. During the 85th Texas legislative session, 25,774 local, state, and national articles were written […]

Amendment focused on school bathrooms passes the House

I had some hope that we could make it through this session without something like this happening, but clearly we could not. Amid threats of a special legislative session over the “bathroom bill,” the Texas House on Sunday took a last-minute vote to approve a proposal that would keep transgender students from using school bathrooms […]

House and Senate concur on pension bill

One more vote in each chamber, then it’s on to get a signature. The Legislature is expected to take its final votes on Houston’s pension reform legislation within days after a group of House and Senate lawmakers Sunday night hashed out the differences between their chambers’ versions and produced a final bill. Stripped from the […]

Senate wrecks school finance bill

It’s what they do. The Texas Senate has scrapped much of a proposal to revise how the state funds education in place of a plan to create a school voucher program for children with disabilities. The bill passed the Senate 21-10 at 12:50 a.m. Monday, marking the second time in two months the chamber has […]

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 […]

Texting while driving ban passes the Senate

We’ll see if this one gets signed into law. Legislation that would create a statewide texting-while-driving ban overcame a last-ditch attempt in the Senate on Friday to gut the bill. The bill’s author, state Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, said he will concur with the changes the Senate made. The measure will then head to Gov. […]

It’s HB2 all over again

Here we go again. GOP House lawmakers took a sweeping approach to anti-abortion legislation on Friday, preliminarily passing a measure that would ban the most common form of a second-trimester procedure and change how health care providers dispose of fetal remains. Under the broad strokes of Senate Bill 8, abortion providers would have to bury […]

Senate passes ban on straight-ticket voting

It’s happening. The Texas Senate gave initial approval Wednesday to legislation that would eliminate straight-ticket voting in all elections. By a vote of 20-10, senators passed House Bill 25 over objections from Democrats who warned of unintended consequences — including a disproportionate impact on minority voters. “Frankly, I don’t see any purpose for this legislation […]

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 […]

Cornyn withdraws from consideration to succeed Comey

It was fun while it lasted. John Cornyn withdrew from consideration to be the next FBI director on Tuesday, saying the “best way I can serve is continuing to fight for a conservative agenda in the U.S. Senate.” “Now more than ever the country needs a well-credentialed, independent FBI director,” he said in a statement. […]