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Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

More on severance pay and the Land Commissioner’s office

The law doesn’t apply here. After reports of state agencies keeping former employees on the payroll after they stopped working, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and other agency heads have taken heat for stretching the rules on paid “emergency leave” to keep the ex-workers on the books. But when 26 employees were paid for an […]

Typhoon Texas

Someplace new for the summer. Not far from Katy Mills Mall, rainbow-colored slides tower seven stories high over a new water park that has taken shape on 25 acres. A short hill with a waterfall running through it greets visitors. Inside, they’ll find nine water rides, a 25,000-square-foot wave pool, a lazy river and a […]

Two runoff recounts in the works

It’s not over yet in HD128. In a reversal, state Rep. Wayne Smith is now pursuing a recount in his narrow loss in Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff. Deer Park attorney Briscoe Cain beat Smith, a longtime incumbent from Baytown, by 23 votes in the runoff. As soon as the outcome became clear in House District […]

Anyone want to help me sue the feds?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? When Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Wednesday that he had filed a lawsuit challenging federal guidelines for transgender students, he said it was to protect a Texas school district that had adopted a policy requiring students to use bathrooms according to the gender cited on their birth certificates. He didn’t say […]

The high-speed rail fight has officially shifted to Congress

Nothing like a little eminent domain action to spur some people on. In the four years Texas Central Railway unveiled plans to link Dallas and Houston with the country’s first bullet train, officials with the private company have talked a lot about how quickly the line will whisk travelers between two of the country’s largest, […]

Texans say they favor Medicaid expansion

This comes with a huge “but” attached to it. More than 60 percent of Texans support an expansion of Medicaid here and plan to take those views into the voting booth in November, a new survey commissioned by the Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute finds. The survey results, unveiled Wednesday at the annual Medical […]

Baylor fires Art Briles

About time. Baylor University, in response to allegations of sexual assaults made against students — including by several football players — announced Thursday that football coach Art Briles has been suspended with intent to terminate, and Kenneth Starr will no longer serve as the president but will stay at the school. Baylor’s actions come after […]

Paxton sues over Obama directive on transgender bathroom access

A more transparent publicity stunt you would be hard-pressed to find. Texas, joined by 10 other states, filed a lawsuit Wednesday to stop a federal directive instructing school districts to let transgender students use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Wednesday. Calling the Obama administration guidelines “outside the […]

RideAustin

Another new player gets set to enter the Austin rideshare market. Adding to the growing number of ride-hailing options in Austin since Uber and Lyft’s wholesale evacuation, a new nonprofit, community-based app called RideAustin was introduced today at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar. The app is being described as “innovative,” as well as made […]

Democratic primary runoff results

Harris County results Fort Bend County results Statewide results Trib liveblog Just for the record, we didn’t get any precinct results until 8:34, at which time only 8% of precincts had reported. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because of overwhelming turnout this time. We did get a big batch just after 9, but thanks to […]

Republican primary runoff results

Harris County results Statewide results Trib liveblog Your new State Senators are Bryan Hughes, who defeated his former House colleague David Simpson, and Dawn Buckingham, who defeated former Rep. Susan King. Hughes is a Dan Patrick buddy, who will fit right in to the awfulness of the upper chamber. Buckingham is a first-time officeholder who […]

Voter ID’s day before the full Fifth Circuit

Here we go again. A top lawyer for Texas fiercely defended the state’s strictest-in-the-nation voter identification law on Tuesday, in a high-profile case that could ultimately determine at what point states that assert that they are protecting the integrity of elections cross over into disenfranchisement. Standing before all 15 members of the U.S. 5th Circuit […]

Lawsuit filed over STAAR exams

Interesting. A backlash against this year’s STAAR exams escalated Monday when a group of parents sued the state in an attempt to keep schools from using 2016 test scores to rate students — including deciding whether students should advance to the next grade or attend summer school. The lawsuit, filed against the Texas Education Agency […]

You get a severance! And you get a severance!

Everybody gets a severance package! Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush has spent nearly $1 million in taxpayer money to entice dozens of people fired by his administration to agree not to sue him or the agency, a practice that may run afoul of a ban on severance pay for state workers. Bush, a first-term […]

Japanese high-speed rail operator to open Dallas office

To be close to the action, no doubt. The Dallas Regional Chamber announced Thursday afternoon that Central Japan Railway Co. will station about 20 employees in Dallas. The company’s technical and operations experts will help privately-backed Texas Central Partners with the development of what could be America’s first high-speed rail line. Texas Central plans to […]

Judge Hanen’s bizarre order

WTF? A federal judge with a history of anti-immigrant sentiment ordered the federal government to turn over the names, addresses and “all available contact information” of over 100,000 immigrants living within the United States. He does so in a strange order that quotes extensively from movie scripts and that alleges a conspiracy of attorneys “somewhere […]

The Sheriff and Lord High Executioner of Edwards County

In case you haven’t already, you really need to read this: The first thing she noticed was Sheriff Pamela Elliott standing across the street. It was an August evening in 2014, and Rachel Gallegos had just gotten home for a meeting of the Edwards County Democratic Party. The law enforcement official was a highly unlikely […]

Final runoff early voting numbers

Here are your final early voting numbers for the Republican and Democratic primary runoffs in Harris County. Note that in both cases, mail ballots have accounted for the majority of the total so far: On the Dem side, there have been 10,913 mail ballots to 10,364 in-person votes, and for the Rs it’s 15,297 to […]

Full DC Circuit Court to review Clean Power Plan

From ThinkProgress, an update on yet another federal lawsuit involving Texas. The Clean Power Plan will get its day in court, but in September, not June — and by the full en banc D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, not the court’s normal three-judge panel that was scheduled to hear it in just over two weeks. […]

What, me worry?

Ken Paxton? Sid Miller? Meh, no big deal. Gov. Greg Abbott is steering clear of the legal problems swirling around two of his fellow Republican statewide officials, saying he does not know the facts of their cases and expressing little concern about their ability to serve. Speaking Wednesday afternoon with reporters, Abbott kept his distance […]

Lawsuit filed over Harris County bail practices

This could be a big deal. An advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., challenged Harris County’s bail system on Thursday, arguing in a federal civil rights lawsuit that hundreds of offenders are unlawfully jailed for minor offenses like trespassing and shoplifting simply because they are poor and cannot afford even nominal bail payments. Lawyers for […]

The latest good news/bad news on Texas uninsured numbers

Good news: Texas’ percentage of uninsured residents continues to drop. Bad news: It’s still higher than what the national average was in 2010, the year before the Affordable Care Act was passed. The percentage of Texans without insurance has dropped dramatically since the launch of the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control […]

San Antonio to re-revisit its rideshare requirements

Just when you thought it was all over… With Transportation Network Company (TNC) tension looming from Austin and Houston, the City of San Antonio is preparing its push to renegotiate with ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft. And one of the officials taking the lead on the talks believes they’ll be a model for […]

Paxton opines on Syrian refugees

Whatever. Attorney General Ken Paxton sought Tuesday to bolster the state’s thus-far unsuccessful efforts to prevent Syrian refugees from resettling in Texas by issuing a legal opinion that stresses the state’s rights in the matter. His opinion, which doesn’t carry the force of law, said any conditions placed on the state’s acceptance of federal refugee […]

Board of Disciplinary Appeals suspends Rep. Reynolds’ law license

More bad news. Convicted of five misdemeanor counts of illegally soliciting clients to his personal injury law practice, state Rep. Ron Reynolds is now without a license to practice law. As Reynolds appeals his convictions, the Texas Supreme Court’s Board of Disciplinary Appeals has suspended the Missouri City Democrat’s law license, saying it would render […]

Paxton asks the feds if they’re sure about that bathroom thing

Just checking, I’m sure. Will public schools really lose federal education funding if they refuse to comply with a new Obama administration directive regarding transgender students? That’s the basic query posed by top lawyers from Texas, Oklahoma and West Virginia in a letter sent Tuesday to the U.S. Justice and Education departments seeking clarification on […]

High speed rail opponents pick up another Congressional ally

Welcome aboard, Smokey Joe. In a filing with the Surface Transportation Board, North Texas Congressman Joe Barton (R) Arlington has come out against a high speed rail project between Dallas and Houston. Barton, whose district encompasses parts of Tarrant County and the city of Arlington that supports Texas Central Railway’s high speed rail line, claims […]

Abbott comments on Austin rideshare referendum

Sort of. Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday the fight is not finished when it comes to regulations in Austin that have driven ride-hailing companies out of the state capital. “The issue’s not over,” Abbott said in an interview on CNBC. “Republicans in the Texas Legislature have already raised proposals coming up in the next session […]

TEA Commissioner has no opinion yet on federal transgender bathroom directive

Noted for the record. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath on Tuesday praised the state Supreme Court’s recent opinion upholding the state’s public school funding system and demurred on questions about bathroom use by transgender students. “Last time I checked, it was a free country,” Morath said in a wide-ranging interview with The Texas Tribune’s Evan […]

No indies

Not in Texas and not for President, anyway. [Last] Monday was the deadline for independent candidates for president to get on the ballot in Texas. Nobody showed up. The Texas Secretary of State’s office, which administers elections, closed its doors Monday afternoon with no applications. And they would have noticed, too: Independent candidates have to […]

SCOTUS punts on birth control lawsuit

Wow. Zubik v. Burwell was supposed to be an epic showdown over the power of religious objectors to limit the rights of others. A sequel to the Court’s 2014 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Zubik involved regulations expanding women’s access to birth control that the conservative justices appeared to endorse in Hobby Lobby — even […]

Lawsuit filed over Uber/Lyft referendum language

Oh, for crying out loud. Attorney Martin Harry filed a lawsuit — a draft of it was obtained by the American-Statesman — in Travis County state district court late Tuesday contesting the election’s outcome, alleging that the city violated election law by combining what should have been two ballot questions into one. “I don’t think […]

Texas tobacco litigation, 20 years later

Interesting look at something I don’t think about very much. Twenty years ago, then-Texas Attorney General Dan Morales filed a federal lawsuit accusing the tobacco industry of racketeering and fraud. He said the case would make Big Tobacco change how it did business, force the cigarette companies to make less dangerous products and stop the […]

We’re going to get more big rain storms

Better get used to it. The weather is getting worse, says one expert. Torrential rains fall in the Houston area more often than they used to, according to an unpublished analysis from state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon. Heavy precipitation of any particular magnitude are twice as likely to fall in the Bayou City today as they […]