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Posts Tagged ‘Senate’

Another FEC complaint filed against Cruz

We’re up to two. The Texas Democrats have filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging presidential contender Sen. Ted Cruz and his associates violated campaign finance laws. The complaint, dated April 22, asserts that Cruz national co-chair, J. Keet Lewis, broke election laws at an official campaign fundraiser in December by asking attendees […]

The state is starting to feel the squeeze

Things are tough all over. The state is facing big problems affecting vulnerable populations that will take significant money to fix at the same time that a slump in the energy industry is chipping into its revenues, House Speaker Joe Straus warned Tuesday. “Writing a balanced and disciplined budget that appropriately funds our top priorities […]

Don’t expect Congress to pay for a Gulf Coast floodgate system

I sure don’t. After nearly a decade of bickering and finger pointing, Texas scientists and lawmakers finally seem to agree that building some version of a “coastal spine” — a massive seawall and floodgate system — would best help protect the Houston region from a devastating hurricane. But with a price tag sure to reach […]

Is the Evenwel decision the last word on “one person one vote”?

Maybe not. With a long-running legal struggle raging over one of the nation’s strictest voter identification laws, Texas was already a prime battleground in a war between conservatives and liberals over voting rights. And on Monday, experts here and elsewhere say, the Supreme Court may have opened a second front. The court said unanimously that […]

Once again with “religious freedom” legislation

I have three things to say about this. State Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, says he plans to re-file legislation next session that would supplement the state’s existing law to allow business owners to refuse services to people whose lifestyles clash with their religious beliefs. “Nobody should be forced to go against their conscience or […]

SCOTUS upholds “one person, one vote”

Good news. In a unanimous decision released Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to uphold Texas’ current system for drawing legislative districts so that they are roughly equal in population. The Supreme Court’s ruling is a victory for legislators — mostly Democrats — who represent districts with significant populations of people who are not eligible […]

The Chron looks at Rodney Ellis

Not a very flattering look. Over the past 26 years, state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, has voted to confirm gubernatorial appointments to the Lower Colorado River Authority, a powerful electric utility in Central Texas. During the same time, financial firms he either owned, worked for, or owned stock in have profited handsomely by helping underwrite […]

We haven’t heard the last of TMF

He’ll be back. State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer says he laments nothing about a failed gambit for the state Senate that will end his 16-year stint with the Texas Legislature. The boisterous San Antonio Democrat, however, is leaving office at the end of the year with a message: Don’t write off his political career just […]

More Congressional seats are likely on the way

If current trends continue, that is. Texas could pick up two, perhaps three, new congressional seats following the 2020 decennial Census if current population growth continues through the decade, political and demographic experts said Thursday. With continued growth in Texas’ four major metropolitan areas, they said, the state could almost match the gains it made […]

Simpson prevails in SD01 primary

All elections are now officially resolved, at least at the state level. Two state representatives are set to face off for an open seat in the Texas senate after the third place candidate said Monday he will not request a recount. After days of uncertainty with a razor thin margin separating the two candidates, a […]

One recount settled

One down, one to go. Challenger Hugh Shine secured victory Thursday in the Republican primary for Texas House District 55, defeating incumbent state Rep. Molly White by 104 votes after a recount, according to Bell County GOP chairwoman Nancy Boston. “I am humbled by the faith and trust the voters of House District 55 have […]

Shots fired at Sen. Whitmire’s office

Jesus. State Sen. John Whitmire said Thursday afternoon he believes the gun used in the predawn shooting of his Houston-area office was likely an AR-15 assault rifle. The Houston Democrat’s office was fired on at about 12:30 a.m. Thursday. No one was injured in the shooting, which was first reported by KHOU. “[The bullets] were […]

Two recounts may be in the works

There are always going to be some close ones. After losing her reelection bid to Hugh Shine by 118 votes, state Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, announced she is requesting a recount. In an email to supporters soliciting input Wednesday afternoon, White said that she is “still reeling in disbelief over the outcome of this election,” […]

2016 primaries: State races

Let’s start with the Democratic race for Railroad Commissioner, and a few words from Forrest Wilder: The Gene Kelly Effect: Texas Democrats are almost perennially embarrassed by what you might call the Gene Kelly Effect — the depressing tendency of many Democratic primary voters to vote for a name they recognize on the ballot, without […]

Primary Day is today

From the inbox: “Visit www.HarrisVotes.com to ensure you go to the correct voting location and to find your personal sample ballot for the Tuesday, March 1, Republican Party and Democratic Party Primary Elections,” said Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart, encouraging voters to use the information provided by the County Clerk’s election website before heading to […]

SCOTUS to hear HB2 oral arguments

It’s the big one. Before Wendy Davis took to the floor of the Texas Senate for an 11-hour filibuster that ultimately failed to stop sweeping new restrictions on abortion, there was Casey. Shorthand for Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 U.S. Supreme Court case reaffirmed a woman’s right to an abortion but gave states more […]

Get ready for more “religious freedom” bills

Gird your loins. The next Texas legislative session is almost a year away, but Senate Republicans are already zeroing in on proposals to bolster legal protections for religious opponents of same-sex marriage after its legalization by the U.S. Supreme Court last year. At a hearing of the Senate State Affairs Committee on Wednesday, some Republicans […]

Gene Locke is reportedly seeking the Commissioners Court nomination

Please see update at the end of this post. There is new information at the bottom. Remember this? Harris County Judge Ed Emmett on Friday named Gene Locke, a former city attorney and mayoral candidate, to complete El Franco Lee’s term on Commissioners Court. Locke, 68, a senior partner at the Andrews Kurth law firm, […]

The effect of the law that was supposed to cripple the Public Integrity Unit

Never tempt the weauxf gods. Or the Senate Republicans. Nearly a year after Texas Republicans cheered the passage of a law to strip the Travis County Public Integrity Unit’s power to investigate elected officials and state employees, the unit’s director says little actually has changed. Though the law took away the unit’s authority to prosecute […]

The Scalia effect on current cases

The Trib highlights a few cases pending before the Supreme Court that could be affected by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Texas abortion law On March 2, the court will hear oral arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which challenges Texas’ 2013 abortion law. Beyond deciding the constitutionality of a law that could […]

Overview of two Bexar County legislative primaries

The turnover of Bexar County’s Democratic legislative caucus continues apace. With the departures in 2015 of Mike Villarreal and Jose Menendez (succeeded by Diego Bernal and Ina Minjarez, respectively) and the departures this year by Joe Farias, Trey Martinez-Fischer, and Ruth Jones McClendon, there will be a whole lot of Bexar County legislators being sworn […]

Another legal bill for Texas

That’s what happens when you lose. The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to let stand a ruling that awarded more than $1.1 million to lawyers who represented former Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis and several minority-rights groups in a case challenging Texas’ redistricting plans. The justices this week refused to review the state’s appeal of […]

If the Republicans want to pretend that sanctuary cities exist, they can pretend to do something about it

That’s my takeaway from this. At a Senate committee meeting on “sanctuary cities” on Friday, Texas lawmakers strongly disagreed on the prospect of passing legislation that would penalize local law enforcement entities for not complying with federal immigration policies. At times, committee members even disagreed as to whether, or to what extent, sanctuary cities exist […]

More Commissioner hopefuls make themselves known

The race is on. With former city attorney Gene Locke in place to finish the late Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee’s term, Democratic players are quickly emerging as candidates in the November general election. State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, said late Thursday that he intends to run, sacrificing 25 years of legislative seniority in […]

Sen. Ellis to seek Commissioner’s position

We have our first public announcement of interest in filling the late El Franco Lee’s seat on Commissioner’s Court. Longtime state Sen. Rodney Ellis has begun making calls to local Democratic Party leaders and plans to run for the Harris County Commissioner seat left vacant after the death of El Franco Lee, a spokesman said […]

Maybe the state should regulate Uber and Lyft after all

Texas Monthly reviews the current state of affairs with transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft and their fight against mandatory fingerprinting as part of the background checks that new drivers must ondergo, all of which is playing out in Austin right now. The argument in favor of the [fingerptint] provision is simple: Lyft and […]

Another way to achieve bail reform

From the Quorum Report: The unnecessary death of Sandra Bland in the Waller County Jail last summer has now put the reform of bail bonds in focus as a key criminal justice issue ahead of the next legislative session. Last month, a Waller County grand jury declined to indict those involved in [Sandra] Bland’s arrest […]

TPJ files complaint against Cruz

Look out, Ted. In a formal complaint sent to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) today, Texans for Public Justice (TPJ) urged the agency to audit and investigate the Ted Cruz for Senate Committee’s failure to disclose to voters that Goldman Sachs and Citibank secretly financed his hotly contested 2012 U.S. Senate race. Cruz campaign disclosures […]

Senate hearings on “border security”

Sen. Sylvia Garcia sent me the following to alert people of some Senate committee hearings of interest: Joint Committee on Border Security is Thursday, January 21 at 1pm at Capitol Extension, E1.030. This is a joint Senate & House Committee to review border security efforts and the spending of the $810M budgeted for it. Though […]

Selecting a successor for El Franco Lee: Process and questions

From the inbox, sent by Carroll Robinson. The Issue During the past few days, there has been a great deal of speculation about the legal process for selecting someone to replace the late Commissioner El Franco Lee on the November 2016 General Election ballot. (Texas Election Code, Subchapter C. Sections 172.057, 172.058 and 172.054 (1).) […]

More HERO public information requests

The bullying continues. Does President Barack Obama regularly drop a line to Houston City Council members? Probably not, but we could soon find out, thanks to a public records request that opponents of the city’s equal rights ordinance, known as HERO, filed this week. It’s a response to a public records request that a nonprofit […]

Republican filing deadline highlights

As a followup to this, here’s a look at who filed for what in the Republican primary here in Harris County. Set your phasers to “snark” and come on in with me. Congress There are nine Congressional districts partially or wholly within Harris County. Republicans have incumbents in six of them, and they are running […]

Filing deadline highlights

I’m taking a look at interesting bits from the state and Harris County Democratic Party filings. You can see the latter here; there isn’t a page dedicated to this on the TDP webpage (why?) but via this press release we find the SOS candidate filing report, which once filtered for Dem only gives us what […]

Cruz to help Abbott give refugees a kick

If at first you don’t succeed… U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas introduced legislation Tuesday to give governors the power to opt out of refugee replacements if they believe there are security risks. Cruz introduced the bill at a news conference in Washington, D.C., with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has been one of the […]