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Posts Tagged ‘The Lege’

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

SA Council approves new rules to allow Lyft to return

Close vote, but it counts. The ride-hailing firm Lyft will soon re-start operations in San Antonio in the wake of a controversial City Council decision Thursday that will allow the company to offer rides here during a nine-month pilot program. The council spent more than three hours listening to public comment and debating among themselves […]

Farias resigns from HD118

Guess what, San Antonio? You get to have another special election! State Rep. Joe Farias, D-San Antonio, submitted a letter of resignation to Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday, officially ending a decade-long career as a state lawmaker and prompting the need for a special election to fill his House District 118 seat. Farias had already […]

Another Voting Rights Act lawsuit filed

Naturally, it originates in Texas. Today, on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) sued the State of Texas, the Williamson County Elections Department, and the city of Round Rock for denying Asian American voters with limited English proficiency the right to […]

Lyft to come back to San Antonio

San Antonio is no longer without any rideshare companies. The ride-hailing company Lyft is poised to return in the “near future” to San Antonio — after the City Council reviews a proposed pilot program next week. Councilman Roberto Treviño, who spent the summer negotiating a deal with the company, said Friday that Lyft officials have […]

State Health Services department finally amends that death certificate

Good. Complying with a federal court order, Texas has issued an amended death certificate acknowledging a Conroe man as the husband of a same-sex spouse who had died in January. The men had been married in New Mexico in 2014, when Texas still banned gay marriage. Shortly after the change was made Thursday night, state […]

Family affair in HD118

Two families, actually. The race to replace retiring state Rep. Joe Farias in House District 118 is shaping up to be a contest featuring two well-known San Antonio political families: Farias vs. Uresti. Farias’ son, Gabe, said he filed paperwork last week with the Texas Ethics Commission to appoint a campaign treasurer in what marks […]

Fifth Circuit affirms that Texas voter ID law violates Voting Rights Act

Good. Texas’ four-year-old voter ID law violates the Voting Rights Act but is not a “poll tax” barred under the U.S. Constitution, a federal appeals court has ruled. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday ruled that the Texas voter ID law – signed into law in 2011 – has a “discriminatory effect” […]

Rep. Ron Reynolds to be tried again on barratry charges

Just a misdemeanor this time, for what it’s worth. Reynolds was originally charged in 2013 with felony barratry for an alleged “ambulance chasing for profit scheme,” but was convicted by a jury of six counts of a lesser misdemeanor charge “solicitation of professional employment” – essentially acquitting him of the felony charge, his attorney said […]

Still reviewing the video on the line item vetoes

Any day now. With varying degrees of concern, a smattering of government offices and higher education institutions around the state are waiting to learn the fate of more than $200 million in funds that the governor might — or might not — have excised from the state budget. The Legislative Budget Board is challenging several […]

Pasadena City Council member Cody Ray Wheeler announces for HD144

From the inbox: I am excited to announce that I have decided to seek the Democratic nomination for State Representative District 144. As a Pasadena City Councilmember, I have worked hard to ensure that under-served communities have a voice in city government. But it is clear that now more than ever, working people need a […]

I’m not the only one who thought the state’s response to the birth certificate lawsuit was specious

Actual legal experts didn’t think much of it, either. The state of Texas can’t hide behind sovereign immunity to escape a lawsuit for denying birth certificates to U.S. citizen children of undocumented immigrants, the director of the University of Texas’ Transnational Worker Rights Clinic said Tuesday. That state’s claim of immunity is mere “boilerplate,” said […]

Who’s afraid of a little climate change?

We should be in Texas, but we’re not. Texas probably will see a sharp increase in heat-related deaths and coastal storm-related losses in the coming decades if nothing is done to mitigate a changing climate, according to a new study commissioned by a bipartisan group of prominent policymakers and company executives aiming to spawn concern […]

Three panels investigating Sandra Bland’s death

One was appointed by the Sheriff: In the wake of the controversial arrest of Sandra Bland and her jailhouse suicide, Waller County Sheriff R. Glenn Smith has asked for an independent panel of civilians to evaluate all aspects of the way he runs his department, from the cell blocks to the streets, and make public […]

We wouldn’t be having these problems if we had just expanded Medicaid

The chickens, they are roosting. Hospitals that serve large uninsured populations in Texas stand to lose critical funding if the state can’t convince the federal government to continue helping with the cost, doctors and health advocates told the state health department Thursday. With the expiration date of a five-year, $29 billion program approaching, the Health […]

Texas Central Railway gets some initial funding

They’ll need more than this, but it’s a start. Texas Central Partners, which aims to build a bullet train between Texas’ two biggest cities, announced Wednesday they had raised $75 million in private investments in the company’s first round of fundraising. That funds are intended to allow the ambitious $10 billion project to move forward […]

“Let’s just be real” about charter schools

Very interesting. “Let’s just be real,” Chris Barbic wrote last week when announcing his resignation as superintendent of Tennessee’s Achievement School District. Then Barbic admitted what skeptics of charter schools have preached for years — “achieving results in neighborhood schools is harder than in a choice environment.” Barbic, as founder of the highly acclaimed YES […]

The conservative case for more rail transit

Noted for the record. As conservatives, we find it odd that many people expect us to oppose public transportation, especially rail. In fact, high-quality transit, which usually means rail, benefits conservatives in a number of important ways. It spurs development, something conservatives generally favor, especially in Texas. It saves people, including conservatives, precious time, because […]

It’s a little easier to run for a statewide judicial office now

From the Quorum Report: In a change that flew under the radar for most and was signed by Gov. Abbott, candidates for statewide judicial offices will no longer be required to gather petition signatures from around the state before they can file. One of the changes quietly made by the Texas Legislature this year will […]

Montgomery County hasn’t given up the fight against the high-speed rail line

Keep hope alive, I guess. A newly formed regional planning commission will enable Montgomery County and the city of Magnolia to monitor and work against any high speed rail projects that may cut through western Montgomery County, said County Judge Craig Doyal. The county and area communities have expressed concerns about Texas Central Rail’s proposal […]

We don’t want to share marriage with those icky gay people

Ed Kilgore detects a new trend. Now that the Christian Right has been reduced to the sputtering defiance of Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal or to the sullen silence of many others, one can hope that conservative acceptance of same-sex marriage will follow as rapidly as it did for the public as a whole. But […]

Abbott sides with auto dealers

Sorry, Tesla. Giving a nod to long-established franchised auto dealerships, Gov. Greg Abbott says Texas doesn’t need to carve out a loophole in its laws that would allow Tesla to sell its high-end electric cars directly to consumers. “Texas has a very robust, very open, very effective automobile sector that seems like it’s working quite […]

More on the state’s refusal to issue birth certificates

The Observer follows up. Two legislators have weighed in on the controversy over Texas’ refusal to grant birth certificates to some children of undocumented families. On Wednesday, Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, sent a letter to Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner Kirk Cole, referencing an […]

Revisiting birth certificates

This is one of those next steps that needs to be taken. After the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, some gay and lesbian couples in Texas have raised questions about another legal document – birth certificates. They want Texas birth certificates to list two parents’ names, even if a child has two moms or […]

Campaign finance reports may be a bit more interesting this cycle

And by “interesting”, I mean in the Chinese curse sense. From the city’s campaign finance reports page: In April 2015, the Texas Ethics Commission released a new Electronic Filing Application. The changes made have to do with the separation of the types of contributions and political expenditures. Though these changes are minor, they require substantial […]

Hempstead landfill update

From the inbox: After several postponements, the Contested Case Hearing on the proposed Pintail Landfill permit has been set for November 2, 2015, in Austin. Assuming no further delays, the case will be heard by two Administrative Law Judges with the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). The trial is expected to take about two […]

Sheriff asks for more funds for body cameras

Good move. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office recently applied for a grant from the Department of Justice to purchase 750 wearable body cameras, a new technology aimed at improving government transparency and accountability after a year of high-profile police-involved shootings around the country. A 30-day trial run with body cameras by a few dozen deputies […]

Reps. Otto and Marquez join the retirement list

Another committee chair bows out. After a decade in the Texas House and fresh off his first session as chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, state Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, announced Tuesday that he is not planning to seek re-election. “I want to thank the voters of House District 18 for their support and encouragement […]

Texas sues the EPA again (and again, and again, and…)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday filed a lawsuit over the agency’s rejection of parts of a Texas clean air program, launching the state’s second battle against EPA regulations in less than two weeks. Texas has sued the agency 21 times since President Obama took office in […]

Legislators ask for a task force to review Capitol monuments to the Confederacy

Fine by me. On the same day that the South Carolina Legislature voted to remove the Confederate flag from its Capitol grounds, five Democratic lawmakers asked Gov. Greg Abbott to consider the appropriateness of the Confederate monuments at their own Capitol. In a letter sent Monday to Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker […]