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Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

What might it take to beat Ted Cruz?

Roll Call considers the question. As Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro mulls a challenge to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Democrats and Republicans both say it would be a tall order in a deep-red state with little Democratic power. “I think what Joaquin would have to do right is to begin with a premise that Texas Democrats […]

Who loves budget gimmicks?

The Senate Budget Committee, that’s who. Texas Senate budget writers on Wednesday unanimously approved their two-year budget, which avoided some steep cuts by using an accounting trick to free up $2.5 billion state dollars that were originally slated to go to the state highway fund. By delaying a diversion of sales tax money from August […]

Seems like it’s just a matter of time before Beto O’Rourke announces his Senate campaign

Soon. Eyeing a takedown of Ted Cruz, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke may be on the verge of declaring his candidacy for a 2018 Senate race, the next best gauge whether Texas Democrats are enjoying the resurgence they claim. O’Rourke, D-El Paso, made national news last week along with U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio, when […]

Senate proposes to make our tax system more broken

That’s what this will surely do. The Texas Senate on Tuesday approved a controversial bill that seeks to curb the growth in property taxes that local government agencies like cities and counties levy on landowners. Senate Bill 2, which passed in an 18-12 vote, could require taxing entities to hold an election if the amount […]

Millennials for office

I have four things to say about this. These days, Kylie Mugleston spends a lot of time on street corners, piquing drivers’ curiosity with a sign that says “Talk to Your Future Politician.” The 19-year-old is heading a political campaign in her hometown of Vidor, northeast of Beaumont. A young independent in a mostly conservative […]

Whitmire Astrodome bill passes out of committee

Whatever. A Senate committee voted Monday in favor of a bill that would require Harris County residents to approve a county project to renovate the Astrodome by raising its floors and installing parking underneath. The bill could effectively could torpedo the county’s $105 million project to raise the ground level two floors to fit in […]

Beware the coming shenanigans on SB6

The full House may not get to vote on Dan Patrick’s bathroom bill, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t get a chance to vote onwhat’s in the bill. But speculation that SB 6 may not make it to the House floor for a vote by the 150-member chamber has left House Democrats on high […]

Pension reform bill passes Senate committee

A major step forward. Houston’s pension reform plan cleared a state Senate committee in its initial hearing at the Capitol on Monday, despite the fact that all those who testified – including Mayor Sylvester Turner – opposed at least some portion of the omnibus package. Retirees were concerned about benefit cuts. Some conservatives said the […]

Back to court for Buc-ee’s

They seem to do this a lot. Buc-ee’s, the local convenience store chain known for clean restrooms, cheap gasoline and its cartoon beaver mascot, is trying to stop a Nebraska company from muscling in on the Texas market with plans to build stores called “Bucky’s,” the latest development in a decade-long dispute between the dueling […]

Precinct analysis: The targets for 2018

Ross Ramsey recently surveyed the 2018 electoral landscape. Election numbers recently released by the Texas Legislative Council point to some soft spots in this red state’s political underbelly — places where Republicans hold office now but where Democrats at the top of the ticket have recently done well. Specifically, they are the districts where Republicans […]

The travel ban and the rural doctor shortage

Just another unintended consequence. In Texas and across the country, foreign-trained doctors like the Iranian-born [Dr. Hossein] Yazdani fill a critical need in rural communities, which often struggle to attract physicians born and trained in the U.S. That reality has been highlighted in the weeks since President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning […]

Third time for Tesla

If at first (and second) you don’t succeed… Tesla is not giving up at the Texas Capitol. In fact, it’s getting more ambitious. Instead of looking to create any kind of carve-out that favors the high-end electric car maker, legislation filed Friday would simply allow any vehicle manufacturer to sell directly to Texans — bypassing […]

Of course Obamacare repeal would have a big negative effect on Texas

I mean, duh. As many as a half-million Texans could become uninsured under the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, wiping out at least half the gains the state has made in reducing the number of uninsured residents in recent years, according to health care analysts. Texas still has the nation’s highest percentage […]

Bill to force transparency on voter ID outreach filed

I approve. A state lawmaker wants to shine a light on how Texas spends millions of taxpayer dollars to educate the public about its controversial voter ID law. Democratic Rep. Justin Rodriguez is proposing legislation that for the first time in Texas calls for transparency of spending for voter education campaigns by requiring the Texas […]

What makes a Texas wine?

Texas grapes, obviously. Or maybe not so obviously. Chris Brundrett sat in a barn surrounded by barrels of wine he helped curate and swirled a glass of water in his hand, perhaps imagining it was something else. Brundrett, accompanied by others from the state’s wine industry, drove home his pitch: “If we can just pump […]

House considers a bigger ask from the Rainy Day Fund

Needs must, as they say. The proposal from state Rep. John Zerwas, a Richmond Republican and the House’s chief budget writer, would withdraw about $2.4 billion from the Rainy Day Fund as part of a supplemental budget to pay bills coming due for programs like Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for the poor and disabled, […]

Steve Stockman gets busted

Well, lookie here. Former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, has been charged with violating federal election law. Stockman conspired with former congressional employees to funnel money intended for a charity to his campaign, according to a sworn statement from an FBI agent unsealed Thursday. He is also accused of making false statements to the Federal […]

Senate committee hears rideshare bills

One of these, in some form, is likely to become law. Senate Bill 176, by state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, and Senate Bill 361 by state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, received a joint hearing after [Senate Business & Commerce Committee] chairman Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, noted their similarities. Both bills establish a statewide framework […]

Athletes against SB6

From Athlete Ally: Dear Texas, The love of sport is in part what makes Texas great. The passion and competitive spirit that reverberates throughout the Texas athletic community is hard to match across the United States. It’s that passion – and the storied history of Texas athletics – that often makes the state a go-to […]

“Sanctuary cities” bill modified by House committee

It’s less bad than the Senate version, but it’s still not good. A Texas House committee on Wednesday began debate on the lower chamber’s version of the controversial proposal to outlaw “sanctuary” jurisdictions, making few but significant changes to the bill the Senate passed out last month. Outlawing “sanctuary” entities, the common term for state […]

This is why you leave women’s health to the professionals

Because amateurs and zealots do a lousy job. In pushing a replacement for the Affordable Care Act that cuts off funds for Planned Parenthood, Republicans are out to reassure women who rely on the major health care organization that other clinics will step up to provide their low-cost breast exams, contraception and cancer screenings. Texas […]

Mike Floyd for Pearland ISD

What were you doing when you were 18 years old? Probably not running for school board. Michael Floyd isn’t your typical high school senior. The Dawson High School student says he’s been involved in politics since he was in fourth grade. “I was the one kid who had a Barack Obama bumper sticker on my […]

So what does that redistricting ruling really mean?

The Trib has a good explainer. So will the Legislature redraw the congressional map? And if so, when? Here’s where it gets tricky. Friday’s order made it clear that the 2011 map cannot stand, but it did not order anyone to immediately redraw it. That might be because that map wasn’t actually in effect. Amid […]

A really dumb “Trump and the train” article

Ugh. Texas is closer than ever to building the first high-speed train in the United States, thanks to President Donald Trump’s fascination with these transportation projects and a well-timed pitch to his administration. Now developers nationwide are looking to the privately owned Texas Central Railway as a test case of what can get done with […]

Senate passes bathroom bill

Take your victory lap, Dan Patrick. The Texas Senate on Tuesday tentatively signed off on the so-called “bathroom bill” on a 21-10 vote with one Democrat — state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. of Brownsville — voting in favor of the bill. Senate Bill 6, a legislative priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, would require transgender […]

Some men just can’t take a joke

Poor babies. State Rep. Jessica Farrar accused some Republican men in the Texas House of engaging in “a retaliatory effort” against her over her filing of a bill that would fine men $100 for masturbating. On Tuesday, a separate and unrelated bill from Farrar — a measure that would allow attorneys’ fees to be recovered from […]

More reasons not to put people in jail

We shouldn’t put people in jail for owing fines. In January, state Rep. James White, R-Hillister, filed House Bill 1125, which would ban Texas judges from jailing people for an offense that is punishable only by a fine. State Rep. Diego Bernal, D-San Antonio, soon signed on as a joint author. On Thursday, White also […]

Another voter ID update

From the Lone Star Project: Last week, the Trump Department of Justice brought press attention to the ongoing Texas voter ID lawsuit that remains pending before Federal District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in Corpus Christi. The Trump DOJ withdrew long-standing federal government claims that the Texas law was adopted with the intent to discriminate against Hispanic […]

Voter ID 2.0 clears Senate committee

Seems likely this will go the distance. A Texas Senate panel cleared legislation Monday that would overhaul the state’s voter identification rules, an effort to comply with court rulings that the current law discriminates against black and Latino voters. The Senate State Affairs Committee voted 7-0 to send the legislation to the full chamber. Filed […]

The “Man’s Right To Know” Act

This is some high-quality trolling. Texas State Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, filed a bill Friday that would penalize men for “unregulated masturbatory emissions.” The satirical House Bill 4260 would encourage men to remain “fully abstinent” and only allow the “occasional masturbatory emissions inside health care and medical facilities,” which are described in the legislation as […]

Once again with driverless car legislation

Third time’s the charm, right? State Rep. Charlie Geren isn’t about to let Texas get left in the dust when driverless vehicles start easing their way into everyday life. Especially since car manufacturers need somewhere to test them and could one day need someplace to mass produce them. “I don’t want General Motors, or Ford, […]

Bill to restore some budget flexibility filed

Call it the Law of Unintended Consequences Act of 2017. The Texas House’s chief budget writer filed legislation Friday that would allow lawmakers to claw back billions of dollars that voters approved for state highways, freeing them up for other budget needs. Texans overwhelmingly voted in 2015 to boost funding for the state’s public roadways […]

Why shouldn’t court records be made available online?

Seems clear to me that they should. What’s the case against? Nathan Hecht, chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, has noticed a curious trend in the state’s legal system: Folks are increasingly representing themselves in legal disputes, forgoing lawyers altogether. “They really need legal help, but they don’t feel like they can afford it,” […]

Let’s have a study of that hog apocalypse first

Maybe we should figure out what the effects of poisoning feral hogs might be before we start poisoning them. Two bills from Texas lawmakers — state Rep. Lynn Stucky, R-Denton, and state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin — would require state agency or university research before the use of lethal pesticides on wild pigs. The legislation […]