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Posts Tagged ‘The Lege’

Plastic bag makers fight back

I expect they will be busy during the legislative session working to block municipal laws that tax, limit, or ban single-use plastic bags. For years, Superbag in northwest Houston quietly manufactured the sacks that grocers and retail chains hand out to customers in the checkout line. The business garnered little attention. Now, however, the industry […]

Ty McDonald for HD17

As you know, the special election to replace Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt in HD17 has been set for January 6, with early voting to begin on December 29. This is the same schedule as the elections in HD123 and SD26. As you also know, I have been an advocate for running a Democrat in HD17, on […]

Bill to reduce pot penalties filed

Here we go. A coalition of liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans introduced a proposal Monday to make possession of a small amount of marijuana in Texas a civil infraction, instead of a crime. House Bill 507, filed by state Rep. Joe Moody, would make those caught with an ounce of pot or less subject only […]

On game rooms and gambling

Looks like Fort Bend County wants to follow in the footsteps of Harris County when it comes to dealing with game rooms. Last weekend, Fort Bend County sheriff’s deputies raided the H-90 Game Room on U.S. 90A east of Richmond, hauling away 97 slot machines, interviewing and releasing about 30 customers and charging one employee […]

Romo to run in SD26

The race to succeed Sen. Leticia Van de Putte just got a little more interesting. Sylvia Romo, former tax assessor-collector for Bexar County, on Tuesday morning entered the race to replace state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, bringing to four the number of candidates in the special election for Senate District 26. For […]

Legislative special elections set

Gear up quickly, here they come. Gov. Rick Perry on Monday afternoon set three special elections for Jan. 6, including the race to replace state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio. Van de Putte, who lost her bid for lieutenant governor last month, is stepping down to run for mayor of San Antonio, leaving […]

Republicans will push pro-discrimination bills

I have three things to say about this. Two days after the Plano City Council approved an ordinance prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people, a Texas legislator filed a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit the ability of cities to enforce such laws. On Wednesday, Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) filed House Joint Resolution 55, which is […]

Tesla is back

I wish them better luck this time, but I wouldn’t expect anything to come of it. Proposals to allow direct car sales in Texas stalled during the 2013 legislative session, but the Pala Alto, California-based automaker appears poised to rev up efforts to revive the issue as lawmakers head back to work next month. “We’re […]

San Antonio special legislative elections appear to be set

Rumor has it. State Rep. Mike Villarreal said Friday that Gov. Rick Perry has set Jan. 6 as the date for a special election to fill his position in the state House and a Senate seat being vacated by Leticia Van de Putte. Villarreal and Van de Putte are leaving the Texas Legislature to run […]

The Lege is unlikely to do anything substantive on education this session

Oh, there will be lots of sound and fury, as well as various sideshow distractions, but in the end the main issue to resolve – school finance – will be at best “tweaked”. For anything more than that, we will have to wait till the Lege is forced to act by the Supreme Court. Public […]

Microbreweries file lawsuit over distribution rights

Interesting. Three Texas breweries filed a lawsuit against the state on Wednesday seeking to to overturn a 2013 law they say violates the Texas Constitution by forcing them to give away their territorial distribution rights for free. In their complaint, filed in state district court in Austin, the heads of Live Oak Brewing in Austin, […]

Some Republicans embrace tuition re-regulation

This is a welcome change, but let’s not be distracted by what isn’t being said. Tuition and fees at the state’s public colleges and universities would be capped at their current levels and only be permitted to grow at the rate of inflation under a bill filed Tuesday by state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown. Schwertner […]

Abbott puts on a moderate act

He cares about education! During a Capitol news conference in which he announced the selection of his senior staff, Gov.-elect Greg Abbott said Monday that education will be his top policy priority. Abbott said he wants to improve the educational foundation that students receive in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade. “I want to ensure that all […]

Once again with Anglo Dems and Anglo voters

Time once again for the biennial eulogy for Anglo Democrats in the Texas Legislature. When Donna Howard of Austin won a seat in the Texas House in 2006, she was the only white woman among Democrats in the state Legislature. Over time, several others joined her briefly. But four elections later, Howard will once again […]

What’s the Lege going to do with the revenue?

Not as much as it should, of course, because the Lege never comes close to doing as much as it should. It’s a question of whether they’ll try to address some real problems, or just engage in an orgy of tax cutting. Texans can expect tax relief, a laser focus on border security and more […]

On grand juries

Some folks are trying to change the makeup of grand juries in Harris County. It was a largely black crowd with at least a third of the audience made up of white people and a few anarchists sprinkled in. They were there to share ideas, sign some petitions, and to vent about injustice in the […]

Kolkhorst wins SD18

One special election begets another. State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst won a promotion to the Texas Senate on Saturday, leveraging her 14-year incumbency and high-profile endorsements to fend off a fellow Republican opponent who spent nearly $2 million of his own money portraying Kolkhorst as soft on the border. Kolkhorst eclipsed the 50 percent mark needed […]

Texas’ first same-sex marriage

Fascinating story. More than 40 years ago in a small chapel off the Gulf Freeway, a hulking ex-tackle from Brownsville slid a ring onto the finger of his partner, transforming the slight man wearing a blond bouffant wig standing opposite him into his husband. In their hands they clasped the first marriage license ever given […]

Bag fees versus bag bans

Interesting. If you live in Washington, you know the drill: After bagging your groceries, the checkout machine asks you how many bags you used. And if you used plastic or disposable bags (rather than bags you brought on your own), you have to pay 5 cents per bag. The District passed a law requiring as […]

Other towns consider fracking bans

If Denton can do it… A Texas hamlet shaken by its first recorded earthquake last year and hundreds since then is among communities now taking steps to challenge the oil and gas industry’s traditional supremacy over the right to frack. Reno Mayor Lyndamyrth Stokes said spooked residents started calling last November: “I heard a boom, […]

Bexar legislative shuffle update

The two candidates that we thought were running for HD123 have officially announced that they are running for HD123. Two Democrats announced this weekend that they’re running for Texas House District 123, the San Antonio seat that state Rep. Mike Villarreal is leaving to run for San Antonio mayor. Public relations consultant Melissa Aguillon and […]

Appraisal caps back on the agenda

The idea will never die, unfortunately. No matter what the effects are. Local officials in the Houston area say they are concerned that incoming state leaders will push for tax relief measures that could limit their ability to meet the needs of fast-growing urban and suburban areas. Gov.-elect Greg Abbott has spoken of “looking at […]

It’s still not Medicaid expansion

The Legislature may do something that could sort of be called “Medicaid expansion”, if only for lack of a better term, but we would all do well to remain deeply skeptical of what they might consider. The once taboo subject of expanding Medicaid in Texas has been broached in recent weeks by some Republicans and […]

Re-redistricting HISD

Well, this would be different. The Houston school board would grow from nine elected trustees to 17 under a bill filed by state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, who said she wants to give residents of the former North Forest school district increased representation. The Houston Independent School District took over the northeast Houston district in 2013 […]

A look at how Democratic legislative challengers did against the spread

It’s been long enough since the election that I feel like I can go back and look at some numbers. Not a whole lot of good out there, but we’ll try to learn what we can. To start off, here are all of the Democratic non-incumbent candidates for the State House and a comparison of […]

On being Ron Reynolds

Just because everyone’s out to get you doesn’t mean your behavior is above reproach. To hear Ron Reynolds tell it, the embattled state representative is just plain misunderstood. Over the past decade, Reynolds has been sanctioned twice by the state bar, fined $10,000 by the Texas Ethics Commission, sued a half-dozen times and investigated twice […]

Supreme Court re-upholds strip club tax

Technically, they declined to re-review it, but practically speaking I figure it’ll amount to the same thing. The Texas Supreme Court on Friday declined to review whether a $5-per-patron fee at live nude entertainment clubs is an occupation tax in disguise, letting stand a lower appeals court ruling that found alcohol-serving Texas strip clubs must […]

Kleinschmidt to resign in HD17

Just in case you thought there weren’t enough special elections on the horizon. Newly elected Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is reaching out to a former House colleague to fill a key staff position in his new administration. A source close to the Miller transition team said Friday afternoon that Miller reached out to state Rep. […]

And the dominoes do begin to fall

Game on. A calf scramble for legislative seats set off by two lawmakers’ decisions to run for San Antonio mayor could produce a rare shakeup in the Bexar County delegation that reports for duty in Austin on Jan. 13. As many as three of the county’s 10 Texas House members could be new, along with […]

Connecting the high-speed rail line to Fort Worth

This is encouraging. State transportation officials this week are unveiling early plans for a high-speed train line from Dallas to Fort Worth. Like Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s plans to expand transit service in downtown, the project is an attempt to take advantage of plans for a high-speed rail line from Dallas to Houston. The Texas […]

Diego Bernal to run for HD123

Good. Diego Bernal, a civil rights attorney elected to the District 1 City Council seat in 2011, will leave the office on Tuesday to run in a yet-to-be-called special election for the Texas House of Representatives. “I’m stepping down,” Bernal told the San Antonio Express-News, “because there’s going to be a vacancy in House District […]

Hegar officially resigns his Senate seat

As expected. State Sen. Glenn Hegar, the Katy Republican who will become state comptroller in January, notified Gov. Rick Perry on Friday that he will resign his Senate Seat as of Dec. 5, paving the way for the governor to call a special election. Hegar won 58.4 percent of the vote on Election Day to […]

Even Rick Perry appointees back Medicaid expansion

It’s just the right thing to do. A board of medical professionals appointed by Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday that the state should provide health coverage to low-income Texans under the Affordable Care Act — a move the Republican-led Legislature has opposed. The 15-member Texas Institute of Health Care Quality and Efficiency recommended that the […]

Paper ballots make a comeback

From the Everything Old Is New Again department: States have abandoned electronic voting machines in droves, ensuring that most voters will be casting their ballots by hand on Election Day. With many electronic voting machines more than a decade old, and states lacking the funding to repair or replace them, officials have opted to return […]