Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘Sylvia Garcia’

Harris County will not enter SB4 litigation

Unfortunate. Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday decided not to join a lawsuit against the state’s controversial sanctuary cities law. A motion made by Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis to move to join the lawsuit died after it failed to receive a second by another court member. The move comes as pressure had been building […]

Fifth Circuit to hear AALDEF lawsuit appeal

This happens today. Amid last-minute efforts to overhaul the state’s voter identification law in light of an ongoing legal fight, the Texas Legislature gaveled out without addressing another embattled election law that’s now moving forward in federal court. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday will take up a legal challenge to an […]

“Sanctuary cities” bill gets final passage

It’s done. The Texas Senate on Wednesday voted 20-11 to accept the House’s version of Senate bill 4, legislation that would ban “sanctuary” jurisdictions in Texas and allow police to inquire about the immigration status of people they lawfully detain. The bill now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott, who declared the legislation an “emergency item” […]

Bill to fix voting interpreters considered

This needs to happen, and it really shouldn’t be a big deal. Almost three years after Mallika Das, a naturalized citizen who spoke Bengali, was unable to vote properly because she was not proficient in English, Texas lawmakers are considering a change to an obscure provision of Texas election law regarding language interpreters. Members of […]

“Strongly held religious beliefs” do not justify discrimination

This is a very bad idea. Legislation that would allow county clerks in Texas to decline to issue same-sex marriage licenses if it conflicts with their religious beliefs was tentatively approved Tuesday by the Texas Senate. State Sen. Brian Birdwell, a Granbury Republican who authored the measure, said the Senate Bill 522 would allow clerks […]

Five anti-Texas Central bills approved by Senate committee

It just got real. Five bills filed by state lawmakers fearful a high-speed rail project planned between Houston and Dallas will be a dud and need help from the state passed a key committee Wednesday, breezing their way past opposition from supporters of the line. The bills approved Wednesday by the Senate Transportation Committee, three […]

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, […]

“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 […]

Fighting the bathroom bill

It will take all hands on deck. During a panel discussion hosted by the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, [Sen. Sylvia] Garcia suggested that lawmakers should concentrate on issues like education funding and the state’s ongoing child welfare crisis. “It’s a huge distraction, but it is nothing but a good political hot-button issue for the Republican […]

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 […]

What’s next for Adrian Garcia?

We haven’t seen the last of him, I suspect. In less than a year, former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia has gone from being the top Democratic elected official in Harris County to an also-ran in back-to-back elections. Garcia’s resounding primary loss to U.S. Rep. Gene Green on Tuesday leaves him politically precarious, having alienated […]

Grand jury indicts Planned Parenthood video fraudsters

Sweet. A Harris County grand jury investigating allegations that a Planned Parenthood clinic in Houston illegally sold the tissue of aborted fetuses has cleared the organization of wrongdoing and instead indicted two anti-abortion activists behind the undercover videos that sparked the probe. Secret videographers David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were both indicted on charges of […]

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 […]

Endorsement watch: Latino electeds for Gene Green

Not a big surprise. U.S. Rep. Gene Green, a Houston Democrat, will pick up support from several Houston political players Tuesday. The 12-term congressman faces what could be a formidable primary challenge in the form of former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia. According to a Green campaign press release, seven Houston Democrats are ready to […]

Endorsement watch: Bell for King

As the headline notes, this came as a surprise to many. Former Congressman Chris Bell publicly backed fiscal conservative Bill King in the Houston mayoral runoff Tuesday, a move that could bolster King’s efforts to make inroads with progressive voters. Bell’s endorsement came as a surprise to many political insiders expecting the progressive former mayoral […]

Auditing HCDE

We’ll see about this. Later this summer, state auditors are expected to release their final report on the Harris County Department of Education. They’ve been examining the agency since last December. Superintendent James Colbert told lawmakers about it at a hearing in April. “We should have absolutely nothing to hide as far as I’m concerned […]

Amended campus carry passes

All things considered, this could have been a lot worse. The Texas Senate took a final vote Saturday to approve legislation requiring the state’s public universities to allow handguns in dorms, classrooms and campus buildings. Under the latest version of the bill, universities would be able to carve out gun-free zones in locations of their […]

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 […]

Senate bill to kill high speed rail advances

Didn’t know there was one of these. The Senate Transportation Committee voted 5-4 to pass out Senate Bill 1601, from state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, which would strip firms developing high-speed rail projects from eminent domain authority. Texas Central High-Speed Railway is developing a privately financed bullet train to carry passengers between Houston and Dallas […]

First call to action: Sanctuary cities

Stace sounds the alarm. Republicans have set a hearing to debate and railroad through committee SB 185, a sanctuary cities bill which will allow local and state law enforcement to participate in immigration duties through the practice of racial profiling (frankly, I can’t see how racially profiling Latinos will not happen). Here’s the committee hearing […]

Statewide non-discrimination ordinance filed

From the Inbox: On the 179th anniversary of Texas Independence Day, Senator José Rodríguez (D-El Paso) filed Senate Bill 856, a bill that would prohibit discrimination in the areas of employment, public accommodation, housing, and state contracting based upon sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. The bill was joint-authored by Senators John Whitmire (D-Houston), […]

Where are the women?

I have several things to say about this. The slate running to replace Mayor Annise Parker features a globetrotting sailor, a triathlete grandfather, a millionaire minister and no women. Despite the most-crowded pack of mayoral contenders in decades, no female candidates are expected to announce bids this spring, a reality that all but guarantees women […]

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 […]

More on the initial bill filings

From the Trib, a sampling: As of Monday afternoon, a bill repealing the Texas Dream Act, which allows undocumented immigrant students to pay in-state college tuition rates, had yet to emerge. Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick promised while campaigning that he would work to repeal the act. The bill could part of legislation that is reserved for priorities […]

Texas woman denied driver’s license over same-sex marriage

That’s the headline of this Observer story, and it’s just as infuriating as you think it is. A woman who recently relocated from California says the Texas Department of Public Safety refused to issue her an accurate driver’s license because her last name was changed through a same-sex marriage. After Connie Wilson married her partner […]

Mayor Parker discusses her possible political future again

After making a rousing speech at the TDP convention, Mayor Annise Parker talked about some possible paths she could take for a future statewide campaign. Parker said she would be interested in running for any number of statewide positions when her third and final two-year term is up in 2016 – even Texas’ top job. […]

Lawsuit filed over Senate map

From Texas Redistricting: [Monday] morning, two Texas voters filed a suit in federal court challenging the state senate map drawn by the Texas Legislature on the grounds that it violated the equal protection guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment by using total population rather eligible voters to draw districts. The plaintiffs in the case are backed […]

If we must have voter ID, let’s make sure people know about it

The Democratic Senators from Harris County write a letter to County Clerk Stan Stanart. Three Houston state senators are asking Harris County officials to emulate Dallas County’s voter outreach efforts tied to Texas’ new voter identification law. State Sens. Rodney Ellis, Sylvia Garcia and John Whitmire — all Democrats — wrote a letter on Monday […]

Somewhat less onerous navigator rules published

They could have been worse, but they could still be better. The Texas Department of Insurance on Tuesday issued state regulations for health care “navigators,” the workers who assist people seeking health insurance in the federal marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. The rules take into account some of the criticism aired recently by […]

Rick Perry doesn’t want people to get health insurance

There’s really no other viable explanation. On a White House conference call on Monday, Texas Democrats criticized Gov. Rick Perry and other Republican state leaders for “getting in the way” of implementing federal health care reform. During the call, which was organized by the White House to tout the impact of the Affordable Care Act […]

How Greg Abbott enabled the payday lenders

The Lone Star Project kicks it off: Abbott’s Green Light to Predatory Lenders Key AG document provided payday lenders a loophole to bilk Texans Greg Abbott’s office issued the key document that has allowed payday lenders to operate outside of Texas usury laws and exploit Texans across our state. A letter issued from the office of the Attorney General carefully […]

Payday lending ordinance passes

In the end, it wasn’t close. The Houston City Council overwhelmingly passed restrictions on payday and auto title lenders Wednesday, avoiding rumored parliamentary maneuvers to delay the vote and calling on the state Legislature to follow suit. The vote was 15-2, with Councilwoman Helena Brown and Councilman James Rodriguez opposed. Rodriguez did not seek to […]

District I runoff overview

It’s runoff and a rivalry, all in one. Saturday’s runoff in City Council District I, which covers downtown and the East End, pits the protégés of two pillars of Hispanic politics against each other in the sort of showdown political observers love. Surviving the November ballot’s tightest race, in which just 341 votes separated first […]

It’s still Gene Green’s world

I have three things to say about this story about Rep. Gene Green. The affable, low-key former printer’s apprentice is a legend across his gritty, blue-collar domain along the 54-mile Houston Ship Channel, where he represents the most heavily Hispanic congressional district in the nation that has not elected a Hispanic to Congress. By virtue […]