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Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

Amendment focused on school bathrooms passes the House

I had some hope that we could make it through this session without something like this happening, but clearly we could not. Amid threats of a special legislative session over the “bathroom bill,” the Texas House on Sunday took a last-minute vote to approve a proposal that would keep transgender students from using school bathrooms […]

House and Senate concur on pension bill

One more vote in each chamber, then it’s on to get a signature. The Legislature is expected to take its final votes on Houston’s pension reform legislation within days after a group of House and Senate lawmakers Sunday night hashed out the differences between their chambers’ versions and produced a final bill. Stripped from the […]

Senate wrecks school finance bill

It’s what they do. The Texas Senate has scrapped much of a proposal to revise how the state funds education in place of a plan to create a school voucher program for children with disabilities. The bill passed the Senate 21-10 at 12:50 a.m. Monday, marking the second time in two months the chamber has […]

Collin County punts prosecutor pay question back to appeals court

Incoming! The Collin County Commissioners Court has voted to not pay the prosecutors pursuing criminal charges against Attorney General Ken Paxton. The 5th Court of Appeals last week directed the commissioners to vote on the prosecutors’ latest bill before it can rule on a lawsuit challenging the fees’ legality. On Monday, the commissioners voted against […]

Budget deal reached

The one bill that must get passed is on its way. After months of private squabbling and public threats of a legislative overtime session, the Texas House and Senate finally compromised to unveil a joint budget late Saturday. Lawmakers, scrounging for cash in a tight-fisted legislative session, agreed to dip into the state’s savings account […]

Rep. Al Green gets death threats

sad, but hardly surprising. During a town hall meeting Saturday, Congressman Al Green played recordings of threatening voicemail messages left for him after he demanded the impeachment of President Donald Trump on the House floor earlier this week. “You’ll be hanging from a tree,” one caller said. The calls use graphic racial slurs, some calling […]

Judge Jordan deserves to have his position in the bail lawsuit represented

I have problems with this. The only Harris County judge to fight the county’s defense of its controversial bail system has been notified he will not get his own lawyer to appeal the high-profile federal lawsuit that has divided county leaders. Judge Darrell Jordan – one of 16 criminal court at law judges sued over […]

Texting while driving ban passes the Senate

We’ll see if this one gets signed into law. Legislation that would create a statewide texting-while-driving ban overcame a last-ditch attempt in the Senate on Friday to gut the bill. The bill’s author, state Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, said he will concur with the changes the Senate made. The measure will then head to Gov. […]

Sandra Bland Act passes

Good. The Texas House initially approved the Sandra Bland Act on Friday with a unanimous vote. The body now has to vote on the mental health bill one more time before it reaches Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. (Update, May 20: The House voted 137-0 to give the bill final approval) Senate Bill 1849 would mandate […]

Warning labels, schmarning labels

Sid Miller, ladies and gentlemen, addressing the concerns of rancher Bruce Hunnicutt about the use of poison to try to control the feral hog population. Hunnicutt, 58, operates a hog hunting business on 30,000 acres — he owns 600 and leases another 24,000 — in Northeast Texas. He regularly sends the meat of the pigs […]

It’s HB2 all over again

Here we go again. GOP House lawmakers took a sweeping approach to anti-abortion legislation on Friday, preliminarily passing a measure that would ban the most common form of a second-trimester procedure and change how health care providers dispose of fetal remains. Under the broad strokes of Senate Bill 8, abortion providers would have to bury […]

Appeals court chooses not to decide in Paxton prosecutor pay case

This is oddly fitting. The 5th Court of Appeals on Wednesday said they won’t make a decision on whether the three prosecutors’ fees are legal until the county votes to pay their last bill, which topped $205,000. The prosecutors’ pay has been on hold since January. The court has told the Collin County Commissioners Court […]

Culberson’s stock purchase

Interesting. In a heated confirmation hearing for then-Georgia U.S. Rep. Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Democrats raised pointed questions about the congressman’s trading in stocks of companies regulated by the House committees he serves on. One in particular, Innate Immunotherapeutics, a small Australian biotech firm, generated particular attention because it had […]

Senate passes ban on straight-ticket voting

It’s happening. The Texas Senate gave initial approval Wednesday to legislation that would eliminate straight-ticket voting in all elections. By a vote of 20-10, senators passed House Bill 25 over objections from Democrats who warned of unintended consequences — including a disproportionate impact on minority voters. “Frankly, I don’t see any purpose for this legislation […]

Appeals court hears Paxton prosecutors pay arguments

Meanwhile, back in Dallas, the 5th Court of Appeals had a hearing on the never-ending lawsuit by a Collin County crony to cut off payments to the Ken Paxton special prosecutors. On its face, the lawsuit filed by Jeffory Blackard, who has donated to Paxton’s campaign, appears to be an attempt to undermine the prosecution […]

State seeks Medicaid money it gave up over Planned Parenthood ban

Ugh. Four years after Texas gave up millions of dollars in federal Medicaid funds so it could ban Planned Parenthood from participating in a family planning program for low-income women, the state is asking the Trump administration for the money back. The request presents an important early test for the administration of President Trump, who […]

More “sanctuary cities” plaintiffs gearing up

Local governments are not going down without a fight. On Tuesday, which organizers said was the beginning of a “summer of resistance,” Austin City Council member Delia Garza said the city will move this week to take formal action to stop SB 4 in the courtroom. “I am proud to announce today, with much gratitude […]

Patrick takes some hostages

This is what passes for leadership in our state. With deadlines looming, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Wednesday threatened to push for a special session of the Legislature to pass a bill to regulate bathroom use for transgender Texans and legislation to set new thresholds for when cities and counties must get voter approval for […]

Senate passes statewide rideshare bill

It’s a done deal. After a debate among lawmakers over the best way to regulate services like Uber and Lyft, the Texas Senate on Wednesday backed a proposal that would override local regulations concerning ride-hailing companies. House Bill 100 would establish a statewide framework to regulate ride-hailing companies and undo local rules that the two […]

Cornyn withdraws from consideration to succeed Comey

It was fun while it lasted. John Cornyn withdrew from consideration to be the next FBI director on Tuesday, saying the “best way I can serve is continuing to fight for a conservative agenda in the U.S. Senate.” “Now more than ever the country needs a well-credentialed, independent FBI director,” he said in a statement. […]

Appeals court to determine if Paxton gets a new judge

Hold everything. A state appeals court has intervened in the securities fraud case against Attorney General Ken Paxton, putting it on hold as his lawyers try to get a new judge. Hours after Paxton’s team requested that the Dallas-based 5th Court of Appeals get involved, the court on Tuesday issued a stay of all proceedings […]

Sen. Carlos Uresti indicted on federal fraud charges

Very bad. State Sen. Carlos Uresti, accused of misleading a former client who invested in a company in which Uresti has a financial stake, was indicted by a federal grand jury on 11 charges over his involvement in the alleged investment Ponzi scheme — in addition to a separate indictment alleging bribery. In the first […]

The state’s voter ID failure is much bigger than you think

You really have to read this. The confusion started in the first hour of the first day of early voting in San Antonio last October. Signs in polling places about the state’s controversial voter ID law contained outdated rules. Poll workers gave voters incorrect information. Lines were long — full of people who were full […]

More “sanctuary cities” litigation in the works

Coming soon. Civil rights groups vigorously opposed to Texas’s new anti-“sanctuary cities” law – which would allow the jailing of sheriffs and police chiefs if they refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities – expect to file within the next two weeks long-awaited lawsuits seeking to block the measure, they said. They are prepared to […]

Cornyn’s colleagues cool to him as FBI Director

Boy, with friends like these… There is a growing obstacle standing in the way of Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, becoming the next director of the FBI — his own Republican colleagues. Led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, a chorus of GOP senators has signaled that they would prefer President Trump to nominate somebody other […]

So who might run for Cornyn’s Senate seat?

The short answer is “pretty much anyone”, but there are several names that are on top of everyone’s list of imagined candidates. At least three members of the U.S. House are mulling a run for a possible U.S. Senate vacancy, should President Donald Trump appoint U.S. Sen. John Cornyn as the new FBI director. U.S. […]

A bipartisan bill to address actual vote fraud

Miracles do happen. Here’s something folks rarely see in Austin, or other statehouses, in these politically prickly times: a bipartisan effort to crack down on voter fraud. In the waning days of the 85th Texas Legislative Session, a group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers — backed by party leaders — are pushing to tighten oversight […]

Metro begins regional transportation planning

Metro wants your input. We want to hear your ideas for a regional transit plan for the future. METRO, led by its Board of Directors and chair Carrin Patman, is developing a new plan for transit services. It will build on the foundation laid by METRO Solutions, approved by voters in 2003. Our goals are […]

Two more campaigns launched in CD07

Two from the inbox. First, from Tuesday: Laura Moser, writer and founder of the resistance tool Daily Action, formally launched her congressional campaign for District 7 at a happy hour on Monday in Houston, Texas. “It’s time to send someone to Washington who knows how it works and wants to use that knowledge to serve the […]

SB4 is what you get when you vote for Greg Abbott

This is me, shaking my head. Duque, who is Latina and Catholic, represents two constituencies Abbott courted during his campaign. The same constituencies strongly opposed the sanctuary cities ban, which Abbott made an emergency item in January and championed throughout the legislative session. Now, his crusade may have cost him the support of some Latinos […]

Dowd declines to run for Senate

Not a surprise. Matthew Dowd, a political commentator and former strategist for George W. Bush, announced Wednesday that he will not challenge U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in 2018. Dowd had been considering an independent run against Cruz, who is up for a second term. Dowd said this year that he had been encouraged by […]

Cornyn on shortlist to replace Comey

Interesting. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn is on the short list to succeed James Comey as FBI director, according to a White House official. Cornyn is one of about 11 contenders for the post, according to Fox News. He has strong relationships with members of his conference and would likely sail through confirmation. Prior to his […]

Rideshare bill advances in Senate

It was almost different and then it wasn’t, but it still could be. Paid ride companies such as Uber and Lyft are one step closer to the statewide oversight they crave, after a state Senate committee approved a revised plan to regulate them, as opposed to cities. Members of the Senate State Affairs committee approved […]

Sandra Bland bill clears the Senate

Good news. The Texas Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a bill aimed at protecting people with mental illnesses who are arrested and may harm themselves in jail. The legislation — Senate Bill 1849 — was filed after a high-profile incident in 2015 in which Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old Illinois woman, was found dead in the […]