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Posts Tagged ‘The Lege’

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 […]

SOS to review motor voter complaints

I hope this amounts to more than lip service. The Texas Secretary of State has agreed to study why thousands of Texans have complained over the past year and a half that they had problems registering to vote despite a federal law that requires all states to offer voter registration in offices where citizens apply […]

And the battle moves to Irion County

“Where the heck is Irion County?” I hear you cry. Just the home of the next County Clerk that needs to be schooled on the Constitution, and not her dime store “understanding” of it. The county clerk in tiny Irion County is standing firm on her decision to not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, […]

Paxton’s cronies

This guy really is a piece of work. When seeking a job at the Texas attorney general’s office, it’s less about what is on your résumé than who you know. In Attorney General Ken Paxton’s first weeks in office, he filled his higher ranks with at least 14 people connected to him and other prominent […]

Supreme Court to hear school finance appeal in September

Mark your calendars. The Texas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Sept. 1 in the long-running case challenging the state’s school-finance system. “We are very pleased that the court is moving so expeditiously,” attorney David Thompson, representing the Houston Independent School District, Fort Bend ISD and dozens of others, said Friday. “We think it’s a […]

The wedding industry is rubbing its hands with glee

Nothing like having your market dramatically expanded overnight. Within hours after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in Texas and across the country, local wedding businesses and venues already began getting orders and bookings from same-sex couples. Those in the wedding industry said they expect a surge of gay couples who were hoping to marry […]

Rep. Scott Turner not running for re-election

Another one heads for the exit. State Rep. Scott Turner, the Frisco Republican who unsuccessfully ran for speaker this year, has decided not to seek re-election. Turner announced his decision in an email to constituents Thursday, hinting that he is not done with politics. “One chapter is closing for now, and I am beginning new […]

On judicial elections and campaign finance

Ross Ramsey raises an interesting point. It might seem silly to elect people who promise they won’t represent you, their political party or their donors, but that’s what we expect judges to do. They’re supposed to apply the law, and if they do any of those other things, they’re probably out of line. Florida elects […]

It always was about animus towards gays

TPM reviews the history of anti-gay marriage laws and constitutional amendments now that they’re on the verge of being thrown out. Opponents of marriage equality have been claiming that these laws were not enacted with any animus intended towards same-sex couples, but the arguments made at the time these laws were being debated clearly says […]

Abbott vetos Huffman loophole bill

Good. Gov. Greg Abbott has vetoed legislation that would have allowed married elected officials to hide their personal financial business from the prying eyes of Texas voters, according to the author of the legislation. The so-called spousal loophole provision had been tacked as amendments to two bills that were otherwise aimed at increasing disclosure and […]

Off to SCOTUS for HB2

If they want to hear it. Abortion is back before the U.S.A Supreme Court, and the justices could signal by the end of June whether they are likely to take up the biggest case on the contentious subject in nearly a quarter-century. If the court steps in, the hearing and the eventual ruling would come […]

Abbott signs bill to remove Public Integrity Unit from Travis County DA office

As expected. Ignoring calls for a veto, Gov. Greg Abbott signed controversial legislation this week that will allow elected and appointed state officials and state employees to bypass Austin prosecutors when they are accused of public corruption. Abbott, a Republican, signed the bill Thursday without making a statement or staging a public signing ceremony. His […]

The Fifth Circuit still sucks

They also blow. A federal appeals court on Friday rejected a request from Texas abortion providers to temporarily put on hold a ruling that could leave Texas with nine abortion facilities. Abortion providers had asked the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to delay its own ruling upholding most provisions of House Bill 2 — […]

Abbott signs pollution enhancement bill

Still sucks to be us, Harris County. Gov. Greg Abbott has signed legislation that could make it tougher for local governments to sue big-time polluters – an effort that largely targets Harris County prosecutors. House Bill 1794, set to become law on Sept. 1, will set a five-year statute of limitations and cap payouts at […]

How will campuses handle campus carry?

Good question. When it comes to guns on campus, University of Texas System Chancellor William McRaven is in a bit of an awkward position. A month ago, the former Navy admiral was one of the most vocal opponents of legislation allowing people to carry guns into university buildings. Now, the campus carry bill has become […]