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Posts Tagged ‘Senate’

Huberty says vouchers are dead this session

Always nice to hear. The top education policy official in the Texas House said Tuesday that he would not allow the approval of school vouchers this legislative session, a blunt pronouncement that could be fatal to the prospects for legislation that is a priority for many top Republicans in the state. The official, House Public […]

Our first look at Senate district data

The Trib looks at the data we now have. In the state Senate, one Republican — Don Huffines of Dallas — is now representing a district that Clinton easily won, while two more — Konni Burton of Colleyville and Joan Huffman of Houston — are now sitting in areas that Clinton almost carried. In the […]

Beto O’Rourke profile

From the WaPo, via the Trib, a profile of Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who may or may not be a candidate for Senate against Ted Cruz next year: Democrats might look at O’Rourke — a small-business owner with hipster credentials, a Gen Xer who speaks fluent Spanish and looks more like a Kennedy than the Kennedys […]

Here come the anti-Texas Central bills

From the inbox: [Tuesday], a group of key state lawmakers filed a slate of legislation to push back against Texas Central Railway’s controversial proposal to construct a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston. Senators Birdwell (R-Granbury), Creighton (R-Conroe), Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), Perry (R-Lubbock), and Schwertner (R-Georgetown) joined with Representatives Ashby (R-Lufkin), Bell (R-Magnolia), Cook (R-Corsicana), […]

There’s more than SB6 to watch out for

Keep an eye out for other anti-LGBT bills, because any of them might pass even if SB6 goes down. With the media seemingly preoccupied by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s bathroom bill, three Republican state senators have quietly introduced a sweeping anti-LGBT “religious freedom” measure. Senate Bill 651, filed last week, would bar state agencies that […]

Voter ID 2.0

Well, this is interesting. Top Texas Republicans unveiled legislation Tuesday that would overhaul the state’s voter identification rules, an effort to comply with court rulings that have found that the current law discriminates against minority groups. Filed by Sen. Joan Huffman, Senate Bill 5 would add options for Texans who say they cannot “reasonably” obtain […]

The legal case against the “sanctuary cities” bill

Ken Paxton says that the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill meets legal muster, and the state won’t get sued to smithereens if it passes. Not all lawyers agree with that. The office of the Texas Attorney General can no better predict when the Dallas Cowboys will win the Super Bowl than it can how an appeals […]

As goes Tarrant

The Trib ponders the one big urban county that is not like the others. Among the state’s five biggest counties, Tarrant is the only one that hasn’t backed a Democratic presidential candidate in the past decade. The 2016 presidential election heightened Tarrant’s status as an outlier. Even as the rest of the state’s big-city territories […]

FBI and IRS raid Sen. Carlos Uresti’s office

That’s never a good thing. FBI and IRS agents raided the San Antonio law offices of state Sen. Carlos Uresti on Thursday morning — confiscating documents and other items. A law enforcement source told the the San Antonio Express-News, which first reported the raid Thursday, that it was connected to Uresti’s involvement with a now-bankrupt […]

Again, there is no such thing as an acceptable bathroom bill

The current strategy for Dan Patrick in trying to round up support for, or at least blunt opposition to, his bathroom bill is to claim that it will contain exceptions for sports venues, so no one needs to worry about boycotts or other bad things. Unfortunately for Dan, no one is buying it, and the […]

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, […]

Abbott shakes fist at NFL

Seriously? Gov. Greg Abbott is blasting the NFL for raising the prospect that Texas’ so-called “bathroom bill” could impact future events in the state — wading into a debate he has so far mostly steered clear of. “The NFL is walking on thin ice right here,” Abbott told conservative radio host Glenn Beck on Tuesday. […]

Castro will let his Senate plans be known soon

Allow six to eight weeks for delivery. U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, said Saturday that he will decide in eight weeks whether to run in 2018 for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Sen. Ted Cruz. Castro set the date for a decision in a Q&A session with reporters before speaking to crowd […]

Turns out a little budget flexibility is a good thing

Some lessons have to be learned the hard way. More than a year after Texas voters approved routing billions in state sales taxes to roads and bridges, some lawmakers are questioning whether the first payment of $5 billion should move forward as planned. Texans voted in 2015 to boost funding for state’s public roadways and […]

Artists against SB6

I’m glad to see this, but I have some questions. More than 135 musicians and artists are joining the chorus of opposition against Texas’ so-called “bathroom bill.” Singers and other artists including Lady Gaga, Cyndi Lauper, Alicia Keys have signed onto an open letter asking Texas lawmakers to stand down from passing Senate Bill 6 […]

A telemedicine breakthrough

This is good to see. A years-long fight over the use of telemedicine in Texas appears to have been resolved, with medical and industry groups agreeing to compromise legislation that, if it passes, could benefit patients, especially those in rural areas. Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Charles Schwertner, a Georgetown Republican and orthopedic […]

Texas Dems look to 2018

I have a few things to say about this. A tight-knit group of Texas Democratic leaders traveled to the state capital [in late January] to begin preliminary conversations about the 2018 midterm races. According to over a dozen interviews with Texas Democratic insiders and national Democrats with ties to the state, the meeting included some […]

Super Bowl or bathroom bill?

Choose one or the other. Texas’ next trip to the Super Bowl may hit a roadblock in Austin, where conservative lawmakers are pushing a bill to ban transgender people from the public bathrooms they feel most comfortable using. “If a proposal that is discriminatory or inconsistent with our values were to become law (in Texas), […]

Paddie files another rideshare bill

From the inbox: Texas State Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall) has filed legislation proposing a statewide regulatory framework for transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft. House Bill 100 will help bring economic opportunity and access to safe, reliable transportation to more Texans. “It is time to end the inconsistencies of regulations across the […]

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 […]

How SB6 will hurt people

Nell Gaither counts the ways. SB 6 identifies a target without naming it and erases policy intended to offer at least some protection for vulnerable populations, building a legal excuse for harming those people and for coercing them not to fight back. Once the law is in place, the “responsible adults” will turn their backs […]

How all that activism is being received

Texas Monthly looks at the recent spate of rallies and visits to Texas elected officials’ events and offices to see what’s up. John Simpson and Mark Leech had never participated in a protest before last month. In fact, the couple—who got married in Temple last June—wasn’t particularly political before the 2016 election. They became concerned, […]

Counting to 19 on SB6

That’s the number of votes needed to move the Patrick potty bill to the floor of the Senate for a full vote. At times, it seemed like Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was a bit like a man on an island when it came to one of his signature priorities this legislative session: the Texas Privacy […]

“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 […]

Politifact muddles the economic debate over SB6

This doesn’t change anything, but we must fuss about it anyway. In what appeared to be an attempt at a show of force, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Monday once again attacked claims that the proposed “bathroom bill” is bad for business in Texas. Flanked by nine Republican senators — including Senate Bill 6 author […]

Whose career would you like him to destroy?

Because that’s the kind of casual offer Dear Leader makes. President Donald Trump invited a wave of speculation Tuesday when he volunteered to “destroy” the career of a unnamed Texas state senator in response to a state sheriff’s complaint about the lawmaker. Trump’s remark came during a meeting with sheriffs at the White House that […]

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 […]

Joaquin Castro still talking Senate

So he says to Buzzfeed. Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro said Wednesday he’s considering challenging Republican Ted Cruz in the 2018 Texas Senate race and that he will decide by this spring. “I said that I’ll take a look at it and I will,” Castro said. “Obviously if you’re going to run in Texas, it’s a […]

The Observer talks to Rep. Beto O’Rourke

I wish this were longer, and I’d have definitely asked about how he plans to win a Senate election in 2018, if indeed he does run, but it’s worth reading nonetheless. You mentioned how incredibly expensive congressional elections have become. Do you see this as a real barrier to reform? I remember my first official […]

SB6 will hurt people

It will hurt transgender people, who despite what Dan Patrick would have you think, are people like you and me. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has said his so-called bathroom bill isn’t discriminatory because transgender people can update their birth certificates to reflect their gender identity. However, statistics obtained by the Observer from the Department of […]

Yes, SB6 targets transgender people

That is its purpose. The author of the so-called bathroom bill said she is working on potential changes after listening to people “from all walks of life,” emphasizing that her measure is aimed not at the transgender people it would affect but at men who might assert a right to go into women’s restrooms for […]

Senate to begin studying school finance changes

We’ll see what this looks like. Leaders in the Texas Senate are vowing to find ways to overhaul the state’s school finance system, saying a recent Texas Supreme Court decision granted them a prime opportunity to shake up the heavily criticized status quo. On Monday, they announced the creation of a Senate budget working group […]