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Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

Whither Ted?

he has to go back to the Senate, where nearly everybody hates him. With his concession speech behind him and his multimillion-dollar presidential campaign already winding down, Ted Cruz will soon return to the U.S. Capitol and the job he was working so hard to transcend: rank-and-file senator. It will likely be a striking re-entry. […]

Early voting ends for HD139 special election

Here are the final early voting totals from the HD139 special election. The disparity between absentee ballots and in-person votes is pretty amazing, isn’t it? I’m going to guess that the Saturday in-person total will be less than the 200 early votes, making the overall total in the 1500 to 1600 range. As I noted […]

Austin Uber referendum update

There’s still a crapload of money being spent by Uber and Lyft to win this thing. In the last month, Ridesharing Works for Austin – the PAC established by transportation network companies Uber and Lyft – raised $4.9 million and spent $4.6 million promoting Prop. 1, the TNC-supported ride-hailing ordinance. With another million in the […]

Republican attorneys general file briefs in support of Texas’ voter ID law

Birds of a feather. Fifteen Republican-controlled states are wading into the contentious court fight over Texas’ voter ID law, arguing in a legal brief that similar laws around the country have already been upheld by the courts. […] Ahead of oral arguments [this] month, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is leading a coalition of GOP […]

Feds grant 15 month Medicaid waiver extension

I sure hope they keep the pressure on to expand Medicaid during this time. The Obama administration has agreed to temporarily keep some federal Medicaid money flowing into Texas to help hospitals treat uninsured patients, a relief to health care providers that feared losing the funds over state leaders’ refusal to provide health insurance to […]

Paxton prosecutor payment lawsuit tossed again

And again I say, good. The Fifth Court of Appeals has dismissed a challenge to the payments being made to three sets of special prosecutors appointed in connection with criminal charges against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Collin County taxpayer Jeffory Blackard filed a civil suit late last year challenging the $300-per-hour fees charged by […]

Meyers’ voter ID lawsuit gets appellate hearing

I hope he gets to keep it going. [Court of Criminal Appeals Justice Lawrence] Meyers filed his state lawsuit in October 2014, while another legal challenge to the state’s voter ID law was pending in federal court in Corpus Christi. A federal judge overturned the law, but it has remained in effect during the state’s […]

A personal story of CPS’ failure to protect children

I can’t begin to tell you how angry this makes me. The new foster parents opened the door last September to a child they can only describe as feral. At 3, he was obese, his brown saucer eyes shell-shocked, his chocolate skin pocked with a rash the CPS caseworker dismissed as eczema but a doctor […]

State Auditor asked to investigate Paxton

Come join the party. A liberal advocacy group wants the state auditor’s office to investigate whether Attorney General Ken Paxton broke the law by continuing to pay top staffersafter they resigned from the agency. Progress Texas, a self-described “progressive” public relations firm based in Austin,sent a letter to the auditor Friday asking the office to […]

Lone Star Rail reboot: It’s all about the money

Isn’t it always? The message was clear: If San Antonio-area officials aren’t willing to commit millions of dollars to planning a regional passenger rail line, Austin-area officials will reconsider their financial commitment to the project. The Capital Area and Alamo Area metropolitan planning organizations met Wednesday to discuss the status of a proposed passenger rail […]

Houston’s anti-pollution ordinance killed by Supreme Court

Alas. In passing two ordinances designed to regulate air pollution, the city of Houston overstepped its authority and illegally subverted state law, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday. The ruling is a victory for a coalition of industrial facilities whose emissions were subject to inspection and possible prosecution by the city. The case pit the […]

Reynolds hit with $500K judgment

Geez. State Rep. Ron Reynolds has been ordered to pay $504,000 in damages for failing to give a grieving mother her share of settlement money from a 2010 lawsuit. The embattled lawmaker, who is also an attorney, failed to give his former client, Nancy Ann Calloway, her share of a $250,000 settlement from a lawsuit […]

SCOTUS declines to intervene in voter ID case for now

Not what I would have wanted, but not the end of the line. Even as a federal appeals court prepares to review the constitutionality of Texas’ controversial voter ID law, the law will remain in effect, the U.S. Supreme Court said in an order Friday. However, noting the time-sensitive nature of the case as the […]

GetMe waits in the wings

No matter what happens with the rideshare repeal referendum in Austin, there will be at least one vehicle for hire company in the capital city. Early voting is underway in Austin on Proposition 1, where residents will decide which regulations the city should adopt for vehicle-for-hire companies like Uber and Lyft. Both companies have pledged […]

Cornyn files bill to speed up floodgate construction process

Credit where credit is due. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn filed legislation Wednesday that he says would expedite the long process of constructing a hurricane protection system for the Texas coast, including the particularly vulnerable Houston region. But while local officials cheered the high-profile support, it’s unclear how much the measure would actually speed anything up. […]

Rangers investigating Rep. Dawnna Dukes

Busy days for them. The Texas Rangers have joined a Travis County District Attorney office criminal probe into state Rep. Dawnna Dukes’ use of staff, the Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed. “At the request of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, the Texas Rangers are assisting in an investigation into alleged criminal misconduct of […]

Another FEC complaint filed against Cruz

We’re up to two. The Texas Democrats have filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging presidential contender Sen. Ted Cruz and his associates violated campaign finance laws. The complaint, dated April 22, asserts that Cruz national co-chair, J. Keet Lewis, broke election laws at an official campaign fundraiser in December by asking attendees […]

Uber says it will leave Houston if it does not change its fingerprinting requirement

I called it. Uber announced Wednesday that the company plans to cease operations in Houston if the city council does not repeal its existing regulations relating to vehicle-for-hire companies. Houston is one of two cities in the country where Uber continues to operate despite a local requirement that its drivers undergo fingerprint-based background checks. Uber […]

Dan Patrick supports potty package check legislation

Of course he does. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, weighing into a national controversy over transgender restrooms, said Tuesday he supports keeping men out of women’s restrooms, even if it takes legislation to do so. Since the issue erupted into controversy nationally, some Texas lawmakers have said they will support a state law for single-sex restrooms, […]

Houston Area Survey 2016: Harris County becoming more Democratic

Whoa. A majority of Harris County residents lean Democratic for the first time ever, propelled by plummeting support for Republicans among Latinos, according to a survey released Monday by Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research. The finding, in the midst of a particularly divisive presidential campaign, could signal an important shift in arguably the […]

Paxton’s pity party

Oh, boo hoo hoo. Attorney General Ken Paxton has blasted his indictments and other legal problems – including a previously undisclosed IRS investigation and frozen accounts – as a political witch-hunt fueled by fellow conservatives and the media. At a Tarrant County tea party meeting Saturday that also featured Glenn Beck and U.S. Rep. Louie […]

Endorsement watch: Against Prop 1

The Statesman urges a vote against the divisive referendum to repeal Austin’s ordinance regulating transit network companies like Uber and Lyft. Voting against Prop. 1 is the best way to ensure that Lyft, Uber and other ride-hailing service drivers, undergo the most thorough criminal background checks endorsed by law enforcement: fingerprint checks. By contrast, Lyft […]

Still debating the Trump effect in Texas

This time with input from trained professionals. Republicans say it’s just wishful thinking, but Democrats are hoping that Trump’s controversial comments will make some GOP voters stay home in protest and boost the number of Democrats going to the polls to vote against him if he becomes one of the presidential nominees. If that happens, […]

Don’t expect any flood project funding from Congress, either

Nice thought, but ain’t gonna happen. As the flood threat across much of the Houston region lessened Friday, local leaders began shifting their focus to recovery and two Houston congressmen announced legislation to fund more than $300 million worth of regional flood control projects. U.S. Reps. Al Green and Gene Green said their bill, which […]

Disaster declaration made

From the inbox: Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s office today confirmed that President Obama has approved the governor’s request for a federal disaster declaration for Fayette, Grimes, Harris and Parker counties. The action paves the way for federal recovery assistance to begin flowing into the Houston area. “I hope this leads to help for all of […]

Endorsement watch: Why bother?

The Chronicle barely musters a shrug for the special election in HD139. The winner of this election will cast no ballots in the state Legislature – presuming that Gov. Greg Abbott doesn’t call an unexpected special session. At the very best, that person will get to sit on a few interim committees and use the […]

Early voting for May 7 elections begins today

Hey, remember that special election to fill out Mayor Turner’s unexpired term in HD139? Early voting for it – and for the other elections on the May 7 ballot – begins today. Who knew, right? Here’s the press release from the County Clerk’s office: The Early Voting Period for the May 7, 2016, Special Election […]

The state is starting to feel the squeeze

Things are tough all over. The state is facing big problems affecting vulnerable populations that will take significant money to fix at the same time that a slump in the energy industry is chipping into its revenues, House Speaker Joe Straus warned Tuesday. “Writing a balanced and disciplined budget that appropriately funds our top priorities […]

Don’t expect Congress to pay for a Gulf Coast floodgate system

I sure don’t. After nearly a decade of bickering and finger pointing, Texas scientists and lawmakers finally seem to agree that building some version of a “coastal spine” — a massive seawall and floodgate system — would best help protect the Houston region from a devastating hurricane. But with a price tag sure to reach […]

Oh, Borris

Not good. State Rep. Borris Miles, a Houston Democrat, repeatedly failed to disclose his business interests in three companies as state law requires. The lawmaker did not report on state ethics forms for several years that he had an ownership stake in two hospice agencies or that he owned an entertainment company that operates a […]

Ken Paxton says he’ll run again in 2018

As I fully expect he will. Embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, facing state criminal charges and a federal complaint about his private business affairs, plans to run for re-election. “Let there be no doubt that at the appropriate time General Paxton will make the official announcement that he fully intends to seek re-election and […]

If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow, you must acquit

I knew there was a lawsuit going on over the provenance of Stairway to Heaven, but I hadn’t realized there were Texas connections to it. In a few weeks, jurors will decide if Led Zeppelin lifted the guitar intro to “Stairway to Heaven” from an instrumental song “Taurus” by the California psychedelic pop-rock band Spirit. […]

Being Sid Miller

It’s complicated, especially when your stories keep changing. The Texas Rangers are currently investigating whether Miller broke the law when he took those out-of-state, taxpayer-funded trips in February 2015. The first was to Oklahoma, where internal emails from the Department of Agriculture indicated he planned the trip solely to obtain the Jesus Shot, which some believe cures […]

Two Medicaid stories

From the Trib: State health officials confirmed Tuesday they have asked the Obama administration to keep a 15-month lifeline of federal Medicaid money flowing into Texas to help hospitals treat uninsured patients. That money would offer temporary relief to health care providers who face losing the funds — some $3.1 billion annually — over state leaders’ refusal to provide government-subsidized health coverage […]