Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘Senate’

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. […]

Sen. Carlos Uresti indicted on federal fraud charges

Very bad. State Sen. Carlos Uresti, accused of misleading a former client who invested in a company in which Uresti has a financial stake, was indicted by a federal grand jury on 11 charges over his involvement in the alleged investment Ponzi scheme — in addition to a separate indictment alleging bribery. In the first […]

Cornyn’s colleagues cool to him as FBI Director

Boy, with friends like these… There is a growing obstacle standing in the way of Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, becoming the next director of the FBI — his own Republican colleagues. Led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, a chorus of GOP senators has signaled that they would prefer President Trump to nominate somebody other […]

So who might run for Cornyn’s Senate seat?

The short answer is “pretty much anyone”, but there are several names that are on top of everyone’s list of imagined candidates. At least three members of the U.S. House are mulling a run for a possible U.S. Senate vacancy, should President Donald Trump appoint U.S. Sen. John Cornyn as the new FBI director. U.S. […]

A bipartisan bill to address actual vote fraud

Miracles do happen. Here’s something folks rarely see in Austin, or other statehouses, in these politically prickly times: a bipartisan effort to crack down on voter fraud. In the waning days of the 85th Texas Legislative Session, a group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers — backed by party leaders — are pushing to tighten oversight […]

Dowd declines to run for Senate

Not a surprise. Matthew Dowd, a political commentator and former strategist for George W. Bush, announced Wednesday that he will not challenge U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in 2018. Dowd had been considering an independent run against Cruz, who is up for a second term. Dowd said this year that he had been encouraged by […]

Cornyn on shortlist to replace Comey

Interesting. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn is on the short list to succeed James Comey as FBI director, according to a White House official. Cornyn is one of about 11 contenders for the post, according to Fox News. He has strong relationships with members of his conference and would likely sail through confirmation. Prior to his […]

Rideshare bill advances in Senate

It was almost different and then it wasn’t, but it still could be. Paid ride companies such as Uber and Lyft are one step closer to the statewide oversight they crave, after a state Senate committee approved a revised plan to regulate them, as opposed to cities. Members of the Senate State Affairs committee approved […]

Sandra Bland bill clears the Senate

Good news. The Texas Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a bill aimed at protecting people with mental illnesses who are arrested and may harm themselves in jail. The legislation — Senate Bill 1849 — was filed after a high-profile incident in 2015 in which Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old Illinois woman, was found dead in the […]

Senate rejects House changes to Houston pension reform bill

Conference committee, here we come. The Texas Senate on Wednesday refused to concur with House-passed amendments to a reform bill designed to resolve financial problems for Houston’s pension system. Sen. Joan Huffman, a Houston Republican who is the author of the legislation, said the House changes would be too costly and would derail a tentative […]

House passes pension reform bill

One step closer, though there are still issues to be worked out. The Texas House gave early approval Monday to a bill that would reform Houston’s three problematic pension funds, which have caused financial woes and spurred political battles for years. The 112-28 vote for Senate Bill 2190 came after lawmakers made some key changes […]

House bathroom bill will not get a committee vote

Good news. A proposal to gut cities and school districts’ trans-inclusive bathroom policies did not advance in the House ahead of a crucial deadline, nixing the measure’s chances of getting a vote by the full chamber. But that doesn’t mean that the issue itself is dead. Up against bill-killing deadlines, the House State Affairs Committee […]

Bathroom bills and business interests

Texas Monthly’s Dave Mann reviews the Republican schism over the bathroom bill and comes to the same conclusion as I have. At the moment, the Legislature—and the Republican party, for that matter—has settled into an uneasy stalemate between Patrick’s right-leaning Senate and Straus’s more moderate coalition in the House. But, as they say, stalemates are […]

When will the lawsuits against the “sanctuary cities” bill begin to be filed?

Soon. The question isn’t whether or not the Texas attorney general’s office will be hauled to court over a Texas Senate bill to ban “sanctuary” policies in Texas — but, more likely, when they’ll be asked to defend Senate bill 4 in a federal court. “There are ways to challenge the bill before September to […]

Where do we stand with the anti-Texas Central bills?

They’re in the House, and we’ll see what happens from there. The four bills before the House Transportation Committee represented some of opponents’ latest efforts to stop the project in its track. But project supporters and Texas Central Partners executives told the committee that some of the bills were unusually anti-free market for Republican-backed legislation […]

Senate approves bail reform bill

Good. After weeks of politically touchy negotiations capped by a shove from a Houston federal judge, the Texas Senate on Thursday approved significant changes in the state’s bail bond system designed to keep low-level offenders from sitting in jail because they cannot afford to pay cash bail. While the reforms had once been touted as […]