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Posts Tagged ‘The Lege’

STAAR test lawsuit survives motion to dismiss

On to trial. After a group of parents sued the Texas Education Agency over the 2016 administration of STAAR exams, state lawyers argued this summer that the parents had no standing and asked the courts to drop the case. This week, the first day of school for many Texas children, Travis County District Court Judge […]

Why are so many pregnant women dying in Texas?

Better yet, what are we going to do about it? The rate of Texas women dying of pregnancy-related causes nearly doubled from 2010 to 2014, with the state seeing more than 600 such deaths in the four-year span. In a new study, set to be published in the September issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers […]

Laredo plastic bag ban overturned

Ugh. The Fourth Court of Appeals on Wednesday sided with merchants and free-market groups who argued that Laredo’s ban on single-use bags is illegal because it is pre-empted by state law regulating solid waste disposal. The 2-1 ruling overturned a lower court’s decision, the latest setback for environmentalists and advocates of local control in Texas. […]

Pension reform update

Things are happening. Longtime firefighters pension fund chairman Todd Clark has retired from the department and resigned his post, a move City Hall observers interpret as perhaps the clearest sign yet that Mayor Sylvester Turner’s push for pension reform may succeed. The municipal pension also is in upheaval, having bought out former director Rhonda Smith’s […]

Too many kids are not getting vaccinated

We let this happen, thanks to the fervor of a vocal minority. The number of Texans who exempt their children from vaccination for non-medical reasons rose nearly 9 percent last school year, continuing a now 12-year-long trend that public health officials worry could eventually leave communities vulnerable to outbreaks of preventable diseases. The new numbers […]

Strange HISD referendum to be on the ballot

This will be weird. Because of the state’s byzantine financing system, HISD will have to either send almost $162 million in local taxpayers’ money to the state or stand by to see some of the district’s most valuable properties assigned to other school districts by the Texas Education Agency. (Local businesses aren’t too wild about […]

Microbrewery lawsuit heard in court

I can’t wait to see how this turns out. Just how much is it worth for that Velvet Hammer or other local craft brew to make it to your favorite bar or convenience store? That’s one of several key questions that came before a state district court Monday, as a group of craft brewers — […]

Texas loses another voting rights lawsuit

Good. A federal judge Friday blocked Texas from enforcing a state law that limits the availability of interpreters in polling places, ruling that it violates protections guaranteed by the U.S. Voting Rights Act. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman of Austin came in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Mallika Das, who was […]

Still considering the possibility that Hillary could win Texas

Josh Barro looks at recent national poll numbers and contemplates the possibilities. If things get just a little bit worse for Trump nationally, he could start losing a lot of states we normally think of as very safe for Republicans — not just Georgia, but states like Texas, South Carolina, and even Mississippi. Even as […]

Turner endorses Ike Dike

Interesting. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has endorsed the “Ike Dike” storm surge protection proposal, raising the possibility that Houston could be one of the last cities in the Galveston Bay area to endorse the $6 billion project. If the Houston City Council passes a resolution endorsing the Ike Dike concept, the Bayou City would become […]

Beatty’s memo

From the Trib: Texas Democrats are being told they have their “greatest opportunities in a generation” this November with Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee and majorities of voters viewing corruption as a major problem in state government. Austin-based Democratic pollster Leland Beatty argues, in a memo obtained by The Texas Tribune, that several […]

Land acquisition for the high speed rail line

It’s going great, according to the CEO of Texas Central High Speed Railway. Realty News Report: When will Texas’ first high-speed passenger railway between Dallas and Houston actually begin service? Tim B. Keith: We expect to begin construction on the nation’s first truly high-speed train system as early as next year. We expect that construction […]

Grimes County takes its own steps against Texas Central

Another day, another obstacle. In a rebuke of a private firm’s plans to build a bullet train between Houston and Dallas, local officials in rural southeastern Texas moved Tuesday to restrict high-speed rail development in their corner of the state. Grimes County commissioners voted unanimously to require high-speed rail developers to acquire a permit and […]

Voter ID changes approved

We’re all set. Texas’ voter ID law, cast as the strictest in the nation, will be substantially watered down during November’s election after a federal judge Wednesday approved a deal that allows those lacking required identification to cast a ballot by signing an affidavit. U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos agreed to terms worked out […]

Once more on HD146

Christopher Hooks from the Observer was at Saturday’s festivities, and he files his report. And on Saturday, 24 precinct chairs met in a small room full of folding chairs at the Sunnyside Multi-Service Center in south Houston to pick Miles’ replacement. They adjudicated a fierce contest between [Shawn] Thierry and Erica Lee Carter, member of […]

Law enforcement versus open carry, round 2

This ought to be interesting. After two shootings targeting police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, there’s been an uptick in the national conversation about how best to support law enforcement. Politicians and lawmakers such as Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who used his platform during a town hall on race and policing to ask President Obama […]

The Lege will look at voter ID again next year

This isn’t over. Local representatives said the [agreed-upon changes to the voter ID law are] fine for a quick fix, but they fully expect to revisit the issue next session. The proposed Texas changes would require registered voters who don’t have one of the seven forms of suitable ID, in addition to signing an affidavit, […]

School finance can always get worse

Now here’s a brilliant, why-didn’t-we-think-of-that-before idea: Give schools less money as incentive to do better. Depending on whose measure you’re using, Texas is somewhere between 38th and 49th in the nation when it comes to per-student funding. Instead of wallowing in our poor luck, or paying something closer to the national average, Senate Education Chairman […]

Legislation to ban the jailing of rape victims proposed

Hard to argue with, I must say. The controversial jailing of a rape victim to ensure her testimony could lead to a new state law protecting victims’ rights to an appointed attorney. State Sen. Joan Huffman is joining with Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson and Sheriff Ron Hickman to push for new legislation to […]

Thierry wins HD146 nomination

Our long strange trip is finally over. Democratic party precinct chairs chose their replacement Saturday morning for a vacant spot on the party’s November ballot. Attorney Shawn Thierry secured the nomination for House District 146, a seat left empty after a series of changes following the death of former Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee. […]

HD146 nomination process is today

You know the drill. Twenty-seven southwest Houston precinct chairs are set to tap a replacement for Democratic state Rep. Borris Miles on Saturday, the third time in less than two months many of them have convened to fill a hole on the party’s November ballot for non-judicial seats. The vacancy is the latest result of […]

Paxton responds to campus carry lawsuit

It’s about what you’d expect. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday called a lawsuit brought by three University of Texas at Austin professors against the state’s campus carry law “frivolous” and said the professors have no valid reasons for opposing guns on campus. Paxton filed a brief in response to the lawsuit Monday, saying […]

HD120 special election runoff decided

For completists only. Independent Laura Thompson has won the special election runoff to temporarily fill the Texas House seat of former state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio. Thompson, a freelance writer, will be the first independent to serve in the Legislature in more than half a century, though her time will be limited: She […]

Voter ID law changes agreed to

We have a deal. Texas struck a deal Wednesday that will soften its voter ID law for the November general election — a development that lawyers suing the state say will make it easier for minorities to cast their ballots. The state reached the agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and minority rights groups […]

Still asking for Zika help

From the inbox: Following reports of the first local mosquito-borne Zika infections in the U.S., Mayor Sylvester Turner is once again calling on the state of Texas and federal government to provide financial assistance to help fight it. “There are already 14 confirmed cases of Zika virus being transmitted locally in Florida,” said Mayor Turner. […]

Endorsement watch: Carter in HD146

The Chron makes their choice for the last of the nominations to be filled by Democratic precinct chairs. The contest to replace state Rep. Borris Miles isn’t exactly a fair fight. Erica Lee Carter, daughter of U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, just has to win a majority of 27 precinct chairs in Saturday’s contest to […]

More on commuter rail to Fort Bend

The Chron picks up the ball. In a blog post for Off the Kuff, a local progressive politics blog, former Fort Bend Democratic Party chairman Steve Brown said now is the time for local officials to form a commuter rail district. Under state law, the district, if formed, could work with Metro to develop the […]

Pokemon Go get votes

This is a smart idea. Lazaros Sanchez, 25, often ventures to the Capitol on his lunch break. “There’s Pokémon all over the place,” he observed late Thursday morning after catching a Pokémon called Eevee. Now politicians are jumping on the trend. State Rep. Rodney Anderson, a Grand Prairie Republican up for re-election this fall, [organized] […]

NCAA lays down a marker on anti-LGBT legislation

Hope the Lege is paying attention, because they can’t say they haven’t been warned. The NBA and NCAA may have just dealt a preemptive, one-two knockout punch to anti-LGBT bills in the upcoming Texas Legislature, which convenes in January. First, the NBA announced plans to move the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte over North […]

Paxton sues Austin over open carry

No subtext at all to this, I’m sure. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the city of Austin in Travis County district court, trying to force the city to comply with his reading of the state’s open carry law and allow license holders to openly carry handguns in city hall. After the open carry […]

Meet the latest education scam

Free money! What could possibly go wrong? An ambitious new player has emerged in the controversial effort to use taxpayer dollars to help Texas parents send their kids to private or religious schools. Texans for Education Opportunity, which launched in May, supports all forms of “school choice,” including charters and traditional public schools, said Executive […]

Can we PLEASE get some action on redistricting?

From the Lone Star Project: Earlier today, plaintiffs in the pending Texas congressional and state house redistricting case filed a motion with the presiding three-judge federal panel in San Antonio requesting a conference to discuss further action on the case.  The motion was jointly filed by the Quesada plaintiffs (supported by the Lone Star Project), […]

If we can’t ban it, we’ll BS about it

The “it” in question is of course abortion, with the state of Texas lying to women about its effects and risks. Death and infertility were just two of the risks a doctor described to Kryston Skinner when she chose to have an abortion last year. The 23-year-old knew it wasn’t the right time for her […]

Steve Brown: Why we need the US90A rail line

(Note: From time to time I solicit guest posts on various topics, from people who have a particular interest or expertise in a particular topic. Today’s post is by Steve Brown, on the newly revived US90A commuter rail line.) In May 2015, Metro began operating two light rail lines serving the East End and Southeast […]