Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

Paxton’s contempt saga officially ends

I’m sure he’s so relieved. A federal judge has canceled next week’s contempt-of-court hearing for Attorney General Ken Paxton, saying it is not needed because Texas government agencies have begun acknowledging same-sex marriages. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia had ordered Paxton and a state health official to appear in his San Antonio courtroom last month […]

Churches and recall elections

This ought to be interesting. Are Texas churches prohibited from campaigning to recall politicians? The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals [weighed] that question Thursday in a case set to clarify if and how a church as a corporate entity can influence the political process of ousting a sitting elected official. A San Antonio congregation, […]

Rep. McClendon to step down

She’ll be missed. State Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, a San Antonio Democrat and 19-year veteran of the Texas House who tenaciously championed social justice reform, said Wednesday that she is not running for re-election. McClendon was elected in 1996 to represent East Side voters in House District 120 and has emerged as a fixture in […]

Abortion providers go to SCOTUS

I sure hope this works out. Texas abortion providers on Wednesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up their legal challenge to two provisions of the state’s strict abortion law. After losing at the appellate level, a coalition of abortion providers is asking the high court for a reprieve from restrictions passed by the […]

Houston pleads its case to the Supreme Court

We’ll see how they did. “The point of all this is to protect the public and the environment, to have clean air, and the TCEQ, for the Texas Clean Air Act, envisions that it be vigorously enforced,” [Houston attorney Robert] Higgason said. “This is what the statute makes reference to — cities being allowed to […]

More good news for Hempstead landfill opponents

This could be the end of the line for the proposed landfill. Opponents of a proposed landfill in Waller County won another victory in a years-long legal fight to prevent the project. The executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a decision supporting the Citizens Against the Landfill in Hempstead’s request for […]

Once again to the Supreme Court for school finance

Like deja vu all over again, and again and again and… The Texas Supreme Court is again faced with determining whether the state’s method of funding public schools is unconstitutional, the latest in a series of school finance challenges stretching back more than 30 years. In oral arguments Tuesday, lawyers representing the state argued that […]

Houston’s environmental protection ordinances go to the Supreme Court

Where, sadly, they’ll likely get killed. State environmental regulators don’t adequately enforce air pollution laws, the city of Houston believes, and on Wednesday it will ask the state’s highest civil court to let it keep trying to do the job itself. The state Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case challenging a pair of […]

State files its appeal of Perry indictment dismissal

It’s official. State Prosecuting Attorney Lisa McMinn on Friday asked the state’s highest criminal court to reverse the decision by the Austin-based 3rd Court of Appeals, which tossed out the charge that Perry coerced a public servant when he tried to force Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg out of office. The state’s involvement ratchets […]

Supreme Court to hear school finance appeal

We near the end of the road. This road, anyway. Shut out by lawmakers in their efforts to overhaul the state’s troubled education funding system, more than 600 school districts are now pinning their hopes for relief on the Texas Supreme Court. The high court will hear arguments on the volatile issue of school finance […]

The Press on the high speed rail line

The Press devotes a cover story to the proposed Houston-Dallas high speed rail line. Most of what’s there will be familiar to anyone who has been following this along with me, but this bit from the story caught my eye. Financing will be complex. Tim Keith, a North Texas native with a quarter century’s experience […]

State asks for full Fifth Circuit review of voter ID ruling

As you’d expect them to do. Continuing to protect a voter identification law that courts say discriminates against Hispanics and African Americans, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has asked a full federal appeals court to hear his arguments about why the state’s requirements at the polls do not violate the Voting Rights Act. In a […]

Does your JP still do marriages?

Some do and some don’t. Last Wednesday, Judge Dale Gorczynski, a justice of the peace in Harris County, heard 19 eviction cases, sent 147 traffic and misdemeanor cases to trial and presided over five weddings: Three for same-sex couples and two for heterosexual couples. It was the first time gay couples outnumbered straight ones in […]

Feds approve a preferred corridor for the high speed rail line

One more step in the process. The Federal Railroad Administration announced this month that the general route preferred by the project developer of a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston is indeed the best choice. Known as the “utility corridor,” it runs somewhat along high-voltage electrical transmission lines and capitalizes on relatively straight, existing […]

Three views of traffic in Texas

It’s getting worse. Houston-area leaders love to trumpet the region’s affordable cost of living and low taxes, but the costs of sitting in traffic are taking a record share of workers’ incomes, according to a comprehensive annual study. The average peak-period commuter in Houston pays $1,490 annually in lost time and wasted fuel because freeways […]

Revisiting the Texas-Amazon sales tax deal

The Statesman looks back and concludes it was a pretty good deal all around. In 2012, the state rolled the dice on a controversial deal with e-commerce giant Amazon.com. To end a two-year battle, Texas said it would drop a $269 million sales tax bill due from the Seattle-based company in exchange for an incentive […]

Hegar punts LBB veto issue to Paxton

Duck! Describing the debate as one that “goes to the heart of separation of powers within Texas government,” Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced Wednesday that he will not authorize more than $200 million in funds approved by the Texas Legislature but vetoed by Gov. Greg Abbott as the comptroller waits for the attorney general to settle […]

Special election set in HD118

I wonder what the record for special elections in a county in a single year is. Gov. Greg Abbott has scheduled Nov. 3 as the date for a special election to fill former state Rep. Jose Farias’ seat in the Texas House. Abbott signed a proclamation this week to have the latest San Antonio special […]

Paxton’s first day in court

It was a little weird. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Thursday pleaded not guilty to violating state securities laws, while also telling the judge presiding over his felony case that he currently does not have an attorney. Joe Kendall, Paxton’s lead counsel until Thursday morning, appeared in the Tarrant County courtroom with the first-term […]

Katrina, ten years after

Hurricane Katrina made landfall ten years ago this weekend. The Chron looks at the role Houston played in the aftermath, and the changes that resulted. Before and after Katrina’s Aug. 29 landfall as a strong Category 3 storm, more than 1 million people fled Louisiana and coastal Mississippi. As many as 250,000 landed in Houston […]

The latest skeevy Ken Paxton story

This guy. I swear. Tanner Hunt, son of Dallas oil billionaire Ray Hunt, texted the mother of his two young daughters in the fall of 2011 for a picture of the girls in their Halloween costumes. The next day, he took a Glock pistol into bed, pressed it to his chest and fired a single […]

Divorce granted to same sex couple in Tarrant County

At some point, stories like this will cease to be news. It took two Tarrant County women nearly two years to legally end their failed marriage because of the tangle of state and federal law. But on Thursday, Brooke Powell and Cori Jo Long were finally divorced after a five-minute hearing before state District Judge […]

Paxton asks to be excused from contempt hearing

He promises he’s been a good boy, so can he please come out of time out now? Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office says he shouldn’t face a contempt hearing for failing to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling, and no longer needs judicial supervision to ensure he’s doing so. In an advisory […]

Poll suggests Republicans don’t support Paxton

That’s gotta sting. A poll of likely Republican voters in Texas found that 62 percent believe Attorney General Ken Paxton should resign in the wake of his indictment on alleged securities-law violations, the group that commissioned it said. The poll of 976 likely Republican voters was conducted on Aug. 15 by Florida-based Gravis Marketing for […]

DOJ asks to get voter ID remedy ASAP

I concur. The Obama administration and several civil rights groups are urging a federal appeals court to fast track the process of temporarily fixing Texas’ voter ID law in time for the upcoming Nov. 3 elections. In court filings Thursday, the Justice Department and civil rights groups asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals […]

Why that empty private toll road has been so empty

Someone did a study to try to answer that question. In the Austin area, more than 220,000 vehicles travel on I-35 on a daily basis. In contrast, SH 130, the tolled bypass around Austin only carries 40,000 vehicles daily. Why do more vehicles choose the I-35 route? What would make travelers, particularly big trucks, more […]

Will Sandra Bland’s death help lead to bail reform?

That would be a fitting and just outcome if it does. Harris County and the state should reform an unfair bond system that punishes the poor more harshly, according to civil rights leaders, legislative officials and criminal experts who gathered Wednesday in front of the county’s criminal justice center. Reform, they argued, could prevent another […]

Another group against the high-speed rail line

From up north. A high-speed rail stop sounded like just the type of shot in the arm Ellis County needed. Development would flock to the station and, with a quick link to both Dallas and Houston, immediately make the county a much more attractive place for a high-powered company to do business. “We went, ‘Hey, […]

Forensic Science Commission to examine bite mark evidence

Good. The board charged with ensuring that reliable scientific evidence is used in Texas courtrooms agreed on Friday to investigate cases in which bite mark analysis was used to secure a conviction. “We’re talking about the whole field, the validity of the field of bite marks,” said Dr. Vincent DiMaio, the chief presiding officer at […]

Voting by mail made easier

The Trib is reviewing some of the bills that were passed this spring and the changes they will bring, one of which will be to make the voting by mail process easier. In Texas, disabled or elderly residents can currently receive mail-in ballots for all elections in a calendar year under a seemingly innocuous condition: […]

“Sanctuary cities” legislation will be back

Better be ready for it. With debate over the nation’s immigration policies once again approaching full boil, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Wednesday pledged that the Senate next session would pass legislation to address so-called sanctuary cities. Patrick lamented that the Legislature this year didn’t pass a measure to bar local rules that prohibit police […]

Paxton reindicted

On the same charges, with slightly different wording. After re-filing indictments against Attorney General Ken Paxton in his securities fraud case, two special prosecutors are pushing back against criticism from Paxton’s attorney, who says the recent action shows that they “botched” the proceedings. “It is not unusual in any felony case, particularly fraud cases, for […]

State ordered to pay fees in redistricting litigation

They don’t seem to be interested in doing that, however. In a scolding tone, a federal appeals court panel in Washington, D.C., ordered the state of Texas on Tuesday to pay more than $1 million in attorneys’ fees in a case challenging district boundaries drawn by the Republican-led Legislature. First under the direction of then-Texas […]

Securities Board appeals Paxton’s pal’s sanction

“A pattern of deceit” indeed. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s role in promoting Frederick “Fritz” Mowery’s investment firm helps prove a pattern of deceiving clients and covering up financial troubles, the Texas State Securities Board said Friday. Last month, two judges assigned to help the board decide whether to take away Mowery’s ability to advise Texans […]