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Posts Tagged ‘Senate’

The backlash has begun

Item one. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday asked the state Supreme Court to void a marriage license issued to two Austin women who became the first same-sex couple to legally wed in the state. Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, who have been together for 30 years, said their vows on Thursday after state […]

Wal-Mart booze update

The Lege gets involved. One week after Wal-Mart sued the state for the right to sell hard liquor, two Texas lawmakers and a new coalition of businesses are taking the same fight to the Capitol. Wal-Mart, Kroger and the Texas Association of Business on Wednesday helped birth a new nonprofit group calling itself Texans for […]

Views differ on SD26

From Campos. Before the State Senate District 26 Special started, Rep. José Menéndez and fellow Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer were both good elected officials and good Democrats. This morning they are still good elected officials and good Democrats. Somebody had to win. I have to admit I was kind of surprised with last night’s results. […]

Special election runoff results

Here you go, from the Secretary of State webpage. SD26 Trey Martinez Fischer 9,623 40.95% Jose Menendez 13,888 59.04% HD123 Diego Bernal 5,170 63.66% Nunzio Previtera 2,950 36.33% HD13 Carolyn Cerny Bilski 4,763 42.85% Leighton Schubert 6,350 57.14% HD17 John Cyrier 4,149 52.06% Brent Golemon 3,820 47.93% Here are stories from the Trib and Rivard […]

Early voting is up in the special election runoffs

Make of that what you will. If three days of early voting are any indication, the tense runoff fight for the state Senate 26 seat between Trey Martinez-Fischer and José Menéndez is attracting more voters than cast ballots in the first round election on Jan. 6, the result of record spending in the campaign that […]

Improving infections disease response

This is an Ebola-inspired bill, but not an Ebola bill. So say the stakeholders, anyway. Months after three people in Texas were diagnosed with Ebola, several key state lawmakers on Wednesday proposed ways to prepare the state for the next disease-related emergency. The proposal, Senate Bill 538, would allow the governor to declare a state […]

Michael Morton still has work to do

We should be glad he’s doing it. Michael Morton, who spent nearly 25 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, said Monday that under current DNA testing requirements, he wouldn’t have had access to the evidence that led to his release. Morton joined state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, and lawyers from the New […]

Early voting for special election runoffs has begun

It began yesterday, but I forgot to queue up a post in time to mention it. Here’s some relevant information for those of you who need to get out and vote in one or more of these runoffs. For SD26 and HD123, here are the Bexar County early voting locations. The Bexar County Elections page […]

Reforming the grand jury system

Harris County DA Devon Anderson comes out in favor of changing how grand juries are selected. I have been the Harris County district attorney for 17 months now. In that time, one of the most frequently recurring issues I have been asked to address has been the selection of grand jurors by jury commissioners. Until […]

Tax cuts >>> public education

Well, what did you expect? Senate budget writers have enjoyed praise from conservatives for their focus on tax cuts, but they’re about to get an earful from educators who think their promises could cost Texas public school students. The starting budgets of the state House and Senate, released last month, are similar on many fronts, […]

Drug testing for being poor

It’s back, and it’s as bad an idea as it ever was. For years, GOP lawmakers have tried to make drug testing mandatory for some Texans who receive state welfare benefits, with little success. But after making some headway in the Texas Senate in the 2013 legislative session, they hope to pick up where they […]

A bill to outlaw cities

That would appear to be the effect of this. Sen. Don Huffines, a Republican from Dallas, has filed a bill that would prohibit cities from enforcing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances. Huffines’ Senate Bill 343, introduced Friday, is a sweeping proposal that would bar local governments from implementing ordinances that are more stringent than state law on […]

The Senate’s opening budget

Could be worse, I guess. Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson presented a $205.1 billion two-year base budget Tuesday morning, vowing to provide property tax cuts that Texans “actually feel” while keeping the state’s economy humming along. The Senate budget is $3 billion larger than the $202.4 billion House budget that Speaker Joe Straus released nearly […]

First three runoff dates are set

Greg Abbott completes a bit of business left to him by Rick Perry. Gov. Greg Abbott has scheduled runoffs from the Jan. 6 special elections for Feb. 17, according to his office. The decision officially sets head-to-head match-ups in state Senate District 26, state House District 17 and state House District 123. Early voting in […]

January campaign finance reports – San Antonio

As we know, while we wait for the Mayoral field to shape up here in Houston, there’s already a hot open-seat race going on in San Antonio, featuring now-former State Rep. Mike Villarreal, State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (who has submitted a letter of resignation but is staying on until her successor is sworn […]

RIP, two-thirds rule

Not a surprise. With a new lieutenant governor installed for the first time in over a decade Wednesday — and over the cries of Democrats — the Texas Senate voted to break from an almost 70-year tradition intended to encourage compromise among its 31 members. Now the approval of only 19 senators instead of 21 […]

Tuition re-regulation on the menu

There are different ways it could go. Tuition at Texas universities has more than doubled in the 12 years since state lawmakers authorized colleges to set their own rates. Now legislators are pushing to take back that control. It’s not a new idea, but it stands a chance for the first time since 2003, when […]

Expect to hear more about Perry vetos and no-bid contracts

Bring it on. Democratic lawmakers and government watchdog groups on Saturday called for the reopening of an investigation into no-bid state contracts that ended in 2013 after Gov. Rick Perry vetoed funding for the team conducting it. The critics decried the millions of dollars in Department of Public Safety contracts and another set of similar […]

Wake me up in June

As we prepare for the 84th Legislative session to begin, let’s pause for a moment and see what we can expect. Greg Abbott wants to make the world safe for plastic bags. Dan Patrick wants to cut his property taxes, and ensure that Texas never has enough money to meet its needs. Donna Campbell wants […]

Expect “dark money” to stay dark

Nice recommendations, but they’re not going anywhere. Labeling so-called dark money spending a corrupting force in the democratic process, the House Committee on State Affairs issued a set of recommendations after Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, directed the panel a year ago to dive into the topic during the interim. Strauss and his lieutenants have […]

More on the three legislative runoffs

From the Chron/Express News on the Bexar County races. In the Senate contest, Martinez Fischer and Menéndez, both D-San Antonio, are vying to replace District 26 state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, who’s exiting the Legislature to run for mayor of San Antonio. “I think I’m in a very good spot,” Martinez Fischer said late […]

All special elections will go to runoffs

From the Bexar County Elections webpage: STATE SENATOR, DISTRICT 26 VOTE FOR 1 Votes Pct (WITH 322 OF 322 PRECINCTS COUNTED) Al Suarez (DEM) . . . . . . . . 644 3.39 Alma Perez Jackson (REP) . . . . . 3,892 20.46 Joan Pedrotti (REP) . . . . . . . […]

Special Election Day for SD26, HD123, and HD17

At long last, we have some endorsements. The Express News recommends TMF for SD26. Martinez Fischer has demonstrated distinctive leadership that makes him the clear-cut choice for the Senate. Early in his career, Martinez Fischer stirred the pot ineffectively. The 44-year-old lawyer admits he is “rough around the edges,” but he learned his legislative lessons […]

Special elections roundup

I haven’t seen any newspaper endorsements in the special elections that will conclude on Tuesday. I can tell you that the Texas Parent PAC has endorsed Diego Bernal in HD123 and John Cyrier in HD17. In the absence of further endorsements to report on, here’s a news roundup based on Google searches of the various […]

On BGTX, Wendy Davis, and the future

This has been a pretty busy Christmas break, as far as blog-worthy news has gone, so in order to preserve the small illusion that I’m taking a breather and recharging my batteries, I’m just going to give three quick thoughts on this Observer postmortem of the 2014 election and Battleground Texas, which you really should […]

Does any of this sound like “Medicaid Expansion” to you?

So Wonkblog, TPM, and BOR, all riffing off the same news story in which Greg Abbott had a clandestine meeting with Houston-area legislators and may have said some things that made them think he might be open to “Medicaid expansion”, are all talking about it as though it’s a thing that could happen. Here’s Wonkblog, […]

Banning e-cigarette sales to minors

You’d think this would have a decent chance of passing. Legislators in Texas, one of just nine states that permit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, will consider banning such sales amid concerns about growing use of the “safer” alternative to smoking among youth. Even as the Texas Medical Association and Texas Public Health Coalition […]

Interview with Trey Martinez-Fischer

Continuing with my sprint-to-the-finish-line week of special election interviews, today we have a conversation with State Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer, one of five candidates vying to succeed Sen. Leticia Van de Putte in SD26, the higher profile and much more expensive race of the three. An attorney and native of San Antonio, Rep. Martinez-Fischer – better […]

From the “Hope springs eternal” department

Texas Democrats have hope that the upcoming legislative session won’t be any worse than preceding ones. Despite all of the turnover in state government in 2014, the Texas Legislature will reconvene in January with a familiar balance of power. Democrats, resigned to a perennial minority, remain outnumbered by Republicans by a two-to-one margin. The majority […]

Working for progress on LGBT issues

I’m always a little wary when I see a phrase like “chipping away” in a story about LGBT issues, but in this case it refers to obstacles, not hard-won victories, so it’s OK. The rights and interests of homosexual Texans will be in the spotlight like never before next year, as the state’s same-sex marriage […]

Perry sets HD13 special election date

For all the writing I’ve done about the various legislative special elections, I’d almost forgotten that this one was still out there. Just hours after Lois Kolkhorst was sworn in as the newest state senator Monday, Gov. Rick Perry called a Jan. 13 special election to fill the Brenham Republican’s former seat in the Texas […]

Villalba gets defensive about his pro-discrimination bill

I don’t know if Rep. Jason Villalba is willfully dense or just confused, but either way this is a big pile of BS. State Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) remains adamant that a proposed constitutional amendment he filed earlier this month isn’t intended to undermine local ordinances prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination. But Villalba also continues to tout […]

Fixing birth certificates

Trying again, with some hope for progress. The Texas Legislature added a provision to the Health & Safety Code in 1997 requiring supplemental birth certificates issued to adoptive parents to contain the name of one female, the mother, and one male, the father. According to the legislation’s author, former state Rep. Will Hartnett (R-Dallas), it […]

Overview of the Bexar County special legislative elections

From The Rivard Report: Texas House District 123 Former District 1 City Councilmember Diego Bernal resigned his city seat in mid-November to launch his campaign for Villarreal’s former seat. His VoteDiego website offers voters his positions on a number of issues, ranging from education to civil rights. Melissa Aguillon, a small business owner and the […]