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Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

Our bioscience future

Looking bright. Biotechnology continues to grow in Texas, contributing to the state’s overall economy by adding jobs, making strides in research and innovation and last year attracting $1 billion in federal funding for research, a new report on business development from a biotechnology trade association found. As the Texas economy struggles under the weight of […]

Lawsuit filed in Austin over short-term rental ordinance

Geez. The gig economy — specifically, the short-term rental industry that includes HomeAway, Airbnb, and VRBO — is under attack by the city of Austin, Texas, according to a lawsuit filed in state court June 20, which was sponsored by the Texas Public Policy Foundation. The lawsuit asks the court to issue an injunction halting […]

Colleges and bathrooms

Texas’ colleges and universities have not yet been affected by Dan Patrick’s potty obsession. At the University of Houston, transgender students can enroll in voice feminization or masculinization clinics. At the University of Texas at Austin, students can write a simple letter to change how their gender is listed in school records. And many colleges […]

STAAR screwups

From the Observer: Texas’ standardized testing program wasn’t exactly popular before the 2015-2016 school year, but this year’s State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) has been an especially frustrating experience for Texas students, parents and school officials. New testing contractor Educational Testing Service, in the first year of a four-year, $280 million contract […]

SCOTUS punts on immigration order

Ugh. ealing a major blow to President Obama’s controversial executive immigration order, the U.S. Supreme Court announced Thursday it had failed to produce a majority opinion on the policy — meaning that the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ November 2015 decision rejecting the policy stands. The program had been blocked in February 2015 by […]

Castro back on as VP possibility

I have three things to say about this. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro is on the shortlist of potential running mates for Hillary Clinton, and has been asked by her campaign to provide personal information, San Antonio Express-News sources have confirmed. Citing Democratic sources, reports said that in addition to Castro, a pared-down […]

Our first general election poll of Texas

From the inbox: In a poll released today and conducted June 13-14, 2016, Texas voters are specifically rejecting Donald Trump’s lies and the corruption of State GOP elected officials. While Trump leads Hillary Clinton by 7 points (36.8 % – 29.7% ±3.1%) a deeper dive shows an overall unwillingness amongst Republican voters to pull the […]

Rep. Isaac asks FTC to step in on Austin rideshare regulations

Seriously? State Rep. Jason Isaac has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Austin’s rules for ride-hailing companies, raising concerns that the city’s “burdensome regulations” are anti-competitive. In the letter dated June 7, Isaac said he thought the city “erected a pernicious barrier to competition” through its rules, which have become a point of contention […]

Here come the cannabis growers

For medicinal purposes only. About 60 miles north of Dallas, amid green fields in the town of Gunter, population 1,486, Texas Cannabis CEO Patrick Moran has optioned to buy a former cotton gin, where he plans to grow the Cannabis sativa plant, known more commonly as marijuana. The businessman and attorney is positioning himself at […]

State still resisting refugees

Because of course we are. The federal government wants Texas to accept more than 2,000 additional refugees this year. Texas’ response: No thank you. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is putting the federal government on notice that the state will refuse to take in more refugees than it did last year and will […]

Another lawsuit filed over Prop 1 ballot language in Austin

Sure, why not? It’s Uber Zimmerman! Litigious District 6 Councilman Don Zimmerman sued Mayor Steve Adler in his official capacity Thursday, challenging the outcome of the Proposition 1 election on the grounds the ballot language “misled voters and omitted main features” and did not conform to the required format, case caption information shows. A copy […]

Paxton asks appeals court to reconsider

Pretty please? Lawyers for Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday asked a state appeals court to reconsider its recent ruling that upheld the criminal charges against him. The motion did not address the two most serious charges alleging that Paxton committed fraud when he solicited investors in Servergy Inc. without disclosing that he was being […]

AG opinion sought on eminent domain power for Texas Central

This could be a big deal. State Rep. Byron Cook asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday to rule on whether a private company developing a high-speed train project in the state has the power of eminent domain. Texas Central Partners has been developing a privately funded bullet train intended to travel between Houston […]

Our tax system isn’t quite as stupid as it could be

Good news! A Texas Supreme Court ruling has spared the state from having to issue billions of dollars in tax refunds to oil and gas drillers — a prospect that had had threatened to shake up the next legislative session. The justices on Friday sided with Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar in an arcane tax dispute […]

PocketCab

Austin isn’t the only city with rideshare innovation happening. Sugar Land-based PocketCab LLC plans to fill the potential void with a new dispatch app for taxi and limousine companies if Uber does decide to leave the Houston market. PocketCab works similarly to on-demand services today except that it pulls from independent limo and taxi drivers, […]

UIL punts again on transgender athletes

I say again, please reconsider this. The debate over the University Interscholastic League’s policy for transgender athletes continues after the organization’s legislative council took no action during Tuesday’s meeting in Round Rock. The UIL rule stating a student’s gender is identified by his or her birth certificate is scheduled to go into effect Aug. 1 […]

What’s the roadmap for ridesharing regulations look like?

This is going to be a challenge, no matter how you feel about it. Several state legislators have made it clear they’re eager to take control of rules for ride-hailing companies in Texas, shifting power from individual cities to the state. But with six months until the next legislative session, there’s no clear consensus on […]

Where’s the abortion data?

The ACLU would like to know. With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to decide the biggest abortion case in nearly a decade, the ACLU of Texas is demanding that the Department of State Health Services “stop concealing” abortion statistics for 2014 and make the information public. In a letter sent Wednesday to department Commissioner John […]

Let’s please get the children covered

Surely that’s not too much to ask. Five nonprofit organizations and community groups in Texas, including three in the Houston area, have been awarded a combined $4.78 million by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to boost efforts to enroll the state’s nearly three-quarters of a million uninsured children, the federal agency announced on […]

Texas anti-refugee lawsuit dismissed

Good. Texas on Thursday lost its fight against the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state, ending a months-long battle during which refugees from the war-torn country continued to arrive. Dealing the final blow to Gov. Greg Abbott’s effort to keep Syrian refugees out of the state, a federal judge dismissed Texas’ lawsuit against the […]

What do you get when you cut off funds for HIV testing?

You get no HIV testing, of course. When Texas abruptly ended its $600,000 HIV prevention contract with Planned Parenthood’s Houston affiliate in late December, state health officials promisedthat there would be no interruption in services. The Department of State Health Services parceled the money out to three county health departments in the Houston area and […]

Benjamin Elder

Meet Benjamin Elder, a better and braver person than Dan Patrick will ever be. Spend a few hours in Benjamin Elder’s company and you’ll realize he’s an average, bubbly 10-year-old kid. All lanky limbs and wavy chestnut-colored hair, he’s easy to pick out of a room by his infectious laughter and toothy grin. His favorite […]

What should the goals for 2016 be for Texas Dems?

Given that carrying the state is highly unlikely, what else is there to aim for this year? So will Democrats make a presidential play for Texas or not? Presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton stoked the issue last month by saying she could win the Lone Star State. Texas Republicans responded with ridicule, pointing to their party’s […]

On Dan Patrick’s hostility to the LGBT community

Ross Ramsey sums up the Dan Patrick tweetorrhea situation and tries to make sense of it. Lately, the lieutenant governor has been focused on transgender Texans and which bathrooms they should use — those of their identity or those of the gender listed on their birth certificates. His argument is that perverts — men, to […]

You support Trump, you own Trump

This is what I’m talking about. A group of Democratic state lawmakers from along the Texas-Mexico border is applying pressure to a bank whose CEO is helping raise money for Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. In a letter dated Saturday, Rep. César Blanco, an El Paso Democrat who chairs the House Border Caucus, […]

What a free market in ridesharing looks like

It looks like Austin right now. When Uber and Lyft left Austin last month, they thought they were sending a message to the Austin City Council and other local governments looking to regulate them. Instead, their departure may pave the way for a revamp of ride-hailing in Austin that could draw the notice of other […]

Former drivers sue Uber and Lyft over leaving Austin

This ought to be interesting. A pair of former drivers for Uber and Lyft filed dual class action lawsuits Thursday against the ride-hailing companies over their abrupt exit last month from the Austin market. The lawsuits, filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, claim that Uber and Lyft violated the […]

Hotze and Woodfill take their hate statewide

These guys, I swear. The conservative organizers who helped topple Houston’s equal rights ordinance are pledging a $2 million advertising campaign against Target over the big box store’s transgender bathroom policy. Jared Woodfill and Steven Hotze of Conservative Republicans of Texas on Thursday launched the new “Campaign for USA” in what they described as an […]

An early look ahead to the legislative races

The Trib takes a look at the legislative races that could end with a seat changing parties. • HD-23. Freshman state Rep. Wayne Faircloth, R-Dickinson, against former state Rep. Lloyd Criss, R-La Marque. • HD-43. State Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, will face Democratic challenger Marisa Yvette Garcia-Utley. • HD-54. State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, […]

Driverless trucks

Coming to a highway near you? Picture an 18-wheel truck barreling down the highway with 80,000 pounds of cargo and no one but a robot at the wheel. To many, that might seem a frightening idea, even at a time when a few dozen of Google’s driverless cars are cruising city streets in California, Texas, […]

The Trump University origin story

From Ars Technica a few weeks ago, before the whole Trump University thing really blew up: In 2005, both of us became fixated on a late-night infomercial that promised access to “hundreds of billions of dollars” in “free government money.” As journalism grad students at the time, our evenings often ended with a couple beers […]

Mayor Turner asks for Zika help

From the inbox. With members of the local legislative delegation at his side and an illegal tire dump as the backdrop, Mayor Sylvester Turner called on the state of Texas to declare the Zika virus a public health emergency and dedicate funds toward local efforts to fight it. “Local governments are in a position to […]

Alabama-Coushatta casino opens

Get your gamble on, y’all. Fourteen years after it was forced to close under threat of legal action by the state, the tribe’s modest casino reopened three weeks ago with little fanfare but great expectations. Now, the vast, once empty parking lot outside the Naskila Entertainmnet Center is packed with cars by noon, as gamblers […]

Paxton moves to dismiss SEC charges against him

We’ll see if he has any more luck with this than he has had with the state charges. Lawyers for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have asked a federal court to dismiss the federal securities fraud charges against him. […] Paxton’s lawyers in the federal case filed a motion Thursday seeking to dismiss the charges, […]