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Posts Tagged ‘Senate’

Dan Patrick’s defeat

The Observer reviews how Dan Patrick’s Senate could ultimately take no firmer a stance against same sex marriage than to pass a resolution disapproving of it. In last night’s “debate” over the resolution, Lucio, a passionate pro-life Catholic, rose to give a personal speech about his own convictions. “From our bibles, we learn of one […]

And the red light camera ban dies again

This time it should be permanent. A resurrected effort to ban red-light cameras in Texas died Friday after a House lawmaker called a point of order—a procedural tactic used to kill bills—on his own transportation legislation. Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, the bill’s author, said he was opposed to the red-light camera ban as it […]

Filibuster threat for open carry

We could have some end of session drama this year again. State Sen. José Rodríguez said Thursday that if the opportunity arises, he plans to filibuster a bill allowing the open carry of handguns in Texas. Speaking at a Texas Tribune event, the El Paso Democrat said he thought the legislation was “totally unnecessary” and […]

Bill to kill red light cameras lives again

It ain’t over till it’s over. Legislation that would gradually shut down red-light cameras in Dallas and other Texas cities – a measure that appeared to be dead earlier this week – was resurrected in the Senate on Wednesday night. The proposal by Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, would initially prohibit the future use of the […]

Early returns on body cameras are positive

So far so good. The majority of 100 Houston Police Department officers who have field tested body cameras over a recent two-month period called it a positive experience, though many expressed concern that the technology could endanger officer safety or be used by superiors to discipline them, according to an internal report obtained this week […]

The fallout from the chubfest

Cleaning up some loose ends…The campus carry bill that was the subject of much chubbing passed on final reading. The battle over “campus carry” is headed back to the Texas Senate after House lawmakers gave final approval Wednesday to legislation requiring universities in the state to allow concealed handguns on campus. Senate Bill 11 from […]

House chubfest kills several bad bills

Some good news, though as always at the end of a session, the outcome isn’t clean and the details are very murky. As the clock struck midnight, the failure of an anti-abortion initiative — dear to the hearts of the far right — marked the end of a tumultuous day on the floor of the […]

Bell’s anti-same sex marriage license bill lives again

WTF? A Democratic state senator has dredged up anti-gay marriage legislation that advocates thought was dead this session, attaching the language to an uncontroversial county affairs bill under the noses of his fellow Democrats. While gay rights advocates decried the move, the bill’s original sponsor in the House said he would never let his legislation […]

SCOTUS to hear Texas “one person one vote” challenge

Gird your loins. When drawing voting districts, should lawmakers seek to make each district have roughly the same number of people, or the same number of people eligible to vote? The Supreme Court is going to answer that question, the court announced Tuesday morning. The question lies at the heart of a Texas case, and […]

There’s still time for bad bills to be passed

Bad bill #1: After four hours of debate and more than a dozen failed amendments offered by Democrats, the Senate on Monday gave preliminary approval to far-reaching restrictions on minors seeking abortions in Texas without parental consent. On a 21-10 vote, the upper chamber signed off on House Bill 3994 by Republican state Rep. Geanie […]

Red light camera bill dies in House committee

Better luck next time. A drive to outlaw red-light cameras in Dallas and other Texas cities has reached a red light of its own. The House Transportation Committee on Friday voted to reject a Senate bill that would’ve gradually phased out the divisive cameras. That means the effort, opposed by police departments, is effectively dead […]

Budget deal

What Christopher Hooks says. Texans, you can put down your pitchforks and douse your torches: The edibles you’ve squirreled away in your emergency bunkers can be safely consumed. Life can begin anew. The tax cut war between House and Senate has been resolved, which means that barring a catastrophic screw-up—say, Comptroller Glenn Hegar realizing he […]

House passes AG butt-in bill

Boo. The state attorney general is on the verge of having new powers to influence cases on school finance and legislative redistricting, as part of the GOP’s latest efforts to diminish Democratic challenges to their policies. The House on Monday voted 91-49 to give preliminary approval to a bill that would allow the attorney general […]

Pointless “pastor protection” bill passes House

Whatever. The House tentatively approved Thursday a bill saying that Texas pastors, churches and religious institutions can’t be sued by private parties or penalized by government for spurning gay weddings. Many clergy, especially Southern Baptist ministers opposed to gay marriage, have testified they very much need the legal shield. “Maybe pastors won’t be sued. But […]

Anti-high speed rail budget rider removed

Good. A proposed bullet train between Dallas and Houston has survived a budgeting measure that could’ve derailed the push in Texas to have the nation’s first high-speed rail line. Budget writers on Thursday removed a Senate-inserted rider in the spending plan that said the Texas Department of Transportation couldn’t spend any state money on “subsidizing […]

Local control still under assault

Sucks to be us, Harris County. With Harris County in its crosshairs, the Senate on Wednesday tentatively approved legislation that could make it tougher for Texas Counties to sue big-time polluters. If finally passed, House Bill 1794 would notch another victory for a wide range of business groups in a legislative session that’s been kind […]

Bullet train budget rider battle continues

The budget rider to derail the high speed train is still under contention as the conference committee completes its work. Tucked in Page 682 of the budget passed by the Senate in April is Rider 48, a provision that would bar the Texas Department of Transportation from spending any state funds toward “subsidizing or assisting […]

Pointless “pastor protection” bill comes to the House

From the Observer. Rep. Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia) said Wednesday he doesn’t plan to introduce an anti-gay marriage amendment to the so-called Pastor Protection Act scheduled for a House vote Thursday. However, with 12 days remaining in the session, Bell said he continues to look for another means of resurrecting House Bill 4105, which was designed […]

Where the education reform bills stand

As we know, the attempt to take a first stab at school finance reform did not make it to the House floor. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t some action on school-related issues. This Chron story from the weekend recapped a couple of the major bills that did make it through. Lawmakers likely could have killed […]

Senate still trying to pass “sanctuary cities” and DREAM Act repeal

Time is running out on these bad bills, but as the man said, it ain’t over till it’s over. After sitting idle in the Senate for more than a month, a controversial bill to eliminate in-state tuition rates for undocumented immigrants is back on the upper chamber’s calendar. But it remains unclear whether the Senate […]

House approves limited medical marijuana bill

And there it is. On a 96-34 vote, the House passed Senate Bill 339, from state Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, which would legalize oils containing CBD, a non-euphoric component of marijuana known to treat epilepsy and other chronic medical conditions. If the House gives final passage in a follow-up vote, the measure will be Gov. […]

House passes stricter judicial bypass bill

Unfortunate but expected. After about four hours of debate and a barrage of failed amendments by Democrats, the House passed House Bill 3994 by Republican state Rep. Geanie Morrison of Victoria on a 98-47 vote. The measure would enact several restrictions on “judicial bypass,” the legal process that allows some minors to obtain abortions without […]

One more shot at killing the high speed rail line

Never forget that the tricksiest maneuvers in the legislative handbook come in the budget. Texas’ prospects of having the first high-speed train line in the nation hinge on two sentences in a proposed state budget that lawmakers in the House and Senate must hash out before the end of the month. The Senate’s budget would […]

School finance bill dies

Alas. A months-long effort to reform the state’s problem-plagued school finance system before the Texas Supreme Court weighs in came to an end on Thursday. Facing a slew of amendments and attempts to kill his bill on procedural grounds, House Public Education Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock withdrew his measure from consideration less than an hour […]

Grand jury reform bill in trouble

Not good. Six weeks after sailing through the Texas Senate, efforts to reform the state’s controversial grand jury selection system have stalled in the House. A closely watched bill to end the “pick-a-pal” system suffered an unexpected setback late Monday when the lawmaker carrying the bill in the House weakened it and then withdrew the […]

Here comes that anti-gay marriage bill

Ready or not. “Texas is pioneering a legislative effort to subvert a potential Supreme Court ruling on marriage and lock in discrimination against gay and transgender people and their families,” Kathy Miller, president of the left-leaning Texas Freedom Network, told reporters in a conference call Monday morning. “If successful, the strategy could spread to other […]

Senate belatedly addresses one voter ID concern

Better really late and at least mildly coerced than never, I guess. The Texas Senate, with scant attention during an early morning vote, gave its unanimous answer to a lingering question the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals posed about the state’s embattled voter ID law. Among the first votes taken by the chamber on […]

Will the high speed rail opponents get a bill passed?

Seems unlikely at this point, but I wouldn’t count them out. “The vast majority of the folks between Dallas and Houston are against it,” said Kyle Workman, president of the recently formed Texans Against High-Speed Rail. “They don’t want their land to be taken. They don’t want a train going through their quiet country landscape.” […]

Senate passes Metro board expansion bill

From the inbox: The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) today applauded the unanimous approval of transit legislation by the Texas State Senate, that is designed to enhance Board stability, provide for an orderly transition of Board members and initiate continuity from year to year. Currently, the Texas Transportation Code provides for the appointment, […]

Texas plans to sue over EPA’s latest clean air plan

So what else is new? Attorney General Ken Paxton said Tuesday that he plans to sue the Obama administration over the proposed “Clean Power Plan,” its plan to combat climate change by slashing carbon emissions from power plants. “Texas has proven we can improve air quality without damaging our economy or Texans’ pocketbooks,” the Republican […]

Senate approves limited medical marijuana bill

Wow again. Epilepsy patients in Texas would have access to medicinal oils containing a therapeutic component found in marijuana under legislation the state Senate passed Thursday. Senators voted 26-5 to pass Senate Bill 339, by Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, which would legalize oils containing cannabidiol (CBD), a component found in marijuana known to treat epilepsy […]

I repeat, no one will be forced to perform a same sex wedding

This really is a huge waste of time. For some gay rights advocates, a bill in the Texas Legislature that would allow clergy to refuse to marry same-sex couples would be acceptable if it just included four more words. As the Senate State Affairs Committee heard testimony Monday morning on Senate Bill 2065 by Sen. […]

Tesla going nowhere

We have entered the period of the legislative calendar where bills that have not been voted out of committee or aren’t scheduled for a vote begin to get pronounced dead. Here’s the Tesla bill’s obituary. A crusade waged by Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk to change Texas law to allow his company to sell electric […]

Three bad bills

Bad bill #1: State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, has been trying for months to pass legislation that would make it tougher for local entities to bring in more tax revenue by taking advantage of rising property values. On Thursday, he managed to add language to a bill from state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, that could […]