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Posts Tagged ‘The Lege’

School finance case timeline announced

Mark “later this year” on your calendars. The Texas Supreme Court will hear the state’s appeal of last year’s far-reaching school finance decision later this year under a timetable laid out by the high court on Friday. Justices gave the state 80 days to file their briefs in the case and the plaintiff school districts […]

Don’t look for a meet-and-confer bill in the Lege this year

Buried in this story about the city and the county preparing to play defense during the legislative session is this update on the state of relations between the city and the firefighters. In her first two sessions, Houston Mayor Annise Parker failed to gain traction with legislation that would grant the city meet-and-confer powers that […]

First three runoff dates are set

Greg Abbott completes a bit of business left to him by Rick Perry. Gov. Greg Abbott has scheduled runoffs from the Jan. 6 special elections for Feb. 17, according to his office. The decision officially sets head-to-head match-ups in state Senate District 26, state House District 17 and state House District 123. Early voting in […]

Minding Houston

Want to know about mental health issues and how they are being addressed by the Legislature? Tune in to Minding Houston, the legislatively-focused blog of Mental Health America of Greater Houston. From their About page: Mental Health America of Greater Houston is pleased to offer the blog, “Minding Houston,” which covers legislation and issues associated […]

January campaign finance reports – San Antonio

As we know, while we wait for the Mayoral field to shape up here in Houston, there’s already a hot open-seat race going on in San Antonio, featuring now-former State Rep. Mike Villarreal, State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (who has submitted a letter of resignation but is staying on until her successor is sworn […]

What will happen with pre-K this session?

They say it’s a priority, though I would advise tempering one’s expectations. Currently, Texas funds a half day of preschool for 4-year-olds whose first language is not English, whose families have low incomes, whose parents are active duty military or who are in foster care. Texas has some of the weakest quality standards for preschool, […]

Tuition re-regulation on the menu

There are different ways it could go. Tuition at Texas universities has more than doubled in the 12 years since state lawmakers authorized colleges to set their own rates. Now legislators are pushing to take back that control. It’s not a new idea, but it stands a chance for the first time since 2003, when […]

January campaign finance reports – Mayoral wannabes

I wrote yesterday about the start of the 2015 campaign season in Houston, and how it’s started a bit early thanks to the ruling in the lawsuit filed by Trebor Gordon that invalidated the blackout period. This week also marked the January 15 finance report filing deadline, so now is as good a time as […]

Expect to hear more about Perry vetos and no-bid contracts

Bring it on. Democratic lawmakers and government watchdog groups on Saturday called for the reopening of an investigation into no-bid state contracts that ended in 2013 after Gov. Rick Perry vetoed funding for the team conducting it. The critics decried the millions of dollars in Department of Public Safety contracts and another set of similar […]

How the appraisal game is rigged

The Observer tells the tale of how we got to where we are with the appraisal process and how easy it is for the big boys to get their taxes drastically reduced. At the heart of Valero’s lawsuits in Moore County was a complicated question: What is a refinery worth? For that matter, what is […]

Texas Obamacare enrollments top 850K

And counting. Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services Wednesday announced nearly 860,000 Texans so far have enrolled in health insurance marketplace coverage with a month left still left to go until the 2015 open enrollment period ends. It’s unclear how many of those signups are new marketplace customers. Last year, nearly 734,000 […]

The bigger threat than the Plano petitions

This could be a big problem. Four Republican lawmakers from the Plano area plan to introduce legislation that would bar cities and counties from adopting ordinances prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people, the Observer has learned. The proposed legislation also threatens to nullify existing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances in cities that are home to roughly 7.5 million […]

Rallying to save the Texas DREAM Act

It won’t be easy. With a new Texas legislative session underway and incoming state leaders indicating a desire to repeal the Texas Dream Act, supporters of the law are gearing up for a renewed fight to keep it in place. A group of about 60 students, businessmen and legislators gathered on the south steps of […]

Local control, schmocal control

From Lisa Falkenberg: So, let me get this straight. Government is the problem, not the solution. It’s a bumbling bureaucracy run by tyrants, cronies and other self-important suits who think they know better than you or I how to live our lives – UNLESS, of course, that bumbling bureaucracy operates under a pink dome on […]

Bilski and Schubert advance in HD13

From the Secretary of State: State Representative District Becky Berger REP 1,076 10.72% Carolyn Cerny Bilski REP 4,318 43.45% Leighton Schubert REP 3,259 32.79% Cecil R. Webster, Sr. DEM 1,283 12.91% This race now joins the other three in requiring a runoff. As yet, there has been no date set for those runoffs – apparently, […]

Aycock files school finance reform bill

Interesting. A key House Republican said Texas lawmakers should not wait for the outcome of a sprawling school finance lawsuit to discuss changes to the state’s current public education funding system. “While we do not know the final outcome of the school finance lawsuit, I believe it is appropriate to foster broad conversations on this […]

On playing small ball

Campos reacts to Mayor Parker’s future statewide plans. And here again is my small ball take from a few weeks ago: It is time for small ball instead of the big inning. In baseball, small ball is a strategy where you manufacture runs by utilizing the bunt, stealing bases, the hit and run, walks, hitting […]

Hegar’s first revenue estimate is in

We’ll see how it holds up. Amid concerns that tumbling oil prices could push the Texas economy into a recession, Comptroller Glenn Hegar offered a cautiously optimistic tone on the future of the Texas economy Monday, announcing that lawmakers will have $113 billion to haggle over in crafting its next two-year budget. “Our projections are […]

Wake me up in June

As we prepare for the 84th Legislative session to begin, let’s pause for a moment and see what we can expect. Greg Abbott wants to make the world safe for plastic bags. Dan Patrick wants to cut his property taxes, and ensure that Texas never has enough money to meet its needs. Donna Campbell wants […]

Expect “dark money” to stay dark

Nice recommendations, but they’re not going anywhere. Labeling so-called dark money spending a corrupting force in the democratic process, the House Committee on State Affairs issued a set of recommendations after Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, directed the panel a year ago to dive into the topic during the interim. Strauss and his lieutenants have […]

Shoveling sand against the same sex marriage tide

Rep. Cecil Bell is threatening to hold his breath till he turns purple if those nasty federal courts give the go ahead to same sex marriage in Texas. State or local government employees giving out same-sex marriage licenses would stop receiving their salaries under a bill filed Wednesday for the 84th legislative session. Titled the […]

HD13 special election news roundup

The special election in HD13 to succeed Sen. Lois Kolkhorst is next Tuesday. Early voting ends today, and there’s not much news out there to find. HD13 is a rural district with only small-paper coverage – one of those papers, the Brenham Banner Press, is subscription only – and there doesn’t appear to be much […]

The Fifth Circuit hears the HB2 arguments

Maybe it’s not a slam dunk for HB2, though I refuse to get my hopes up. In a long line of tough questioning Wednesday over a new Texas abortion law, federal appeals judges here questioned whether part of a provision requiring abortion facilities to meet hospital-like standards should be struck down. The possibility that the […]

More on the three legislative runoffs

From the Chron/Express News on the Bexar County races. In the Senate contest, Martinez Fischer and Menéndez, both D-San Antonio, are vying to replace District 26 state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, who’s exiting the Legislature to run for mayor of San Antonio. “I think I’m in a very good spot,” Martinez Fischer said late […]

All special elections will go to runoffs

From the Bexar County Elections webpage: STATE SENATOR, DISTRICT 26 VOTE FOR 1 Votes Pct (WITH 322 OF 322 PRECINCTS COUNTED) Al Suarez (DEM) . . . . . . . . 644 3.39 Alma Perez Jackson (REP) . . . . . 3,892 20.46 Joan Pedrotti (REP) . . . . . . . […]

Special Election Day for SD26, HD123, and HD17

At long last, we have some endorsements. The Express News recommends TMF for SD26. Martinez Fischer has demonstrated distinctive leadership that makes him the clear-cut choice for the Senate. Early in his career, Martinez Fischer stirred the pot ineffectively. The 44-year-old lawyer admits he is “rough around the edges,” but he learned his legislative lessons […]

Special elections roundup

I haven’t seen any newspaper endorsements in the special elections that will conclude on Tuesday. I can tell you that the Texas Parent PAC has endorsed Diego Bernal in HD123 and John Cyrier in HD17. In the absence of further endorsements to report on, here’s a news roundup based on Google searches of the various […]

Gilbert Pena

Let the man have his victory lap, but let’s not read more into his victory than there is. By the time Harris County’s conservative leaders fished for their car keys at their Election Night watch party, there were few candidates left to congratulate. Nearly every Republican had won, and each had earned a handshake or […]

Three signs of possible trouble ahead

#1 – Watch out for falling oil prices. The bedrock supporting Houston’s economy will shift in 2015, and while these tremors will not bring disaster, they will bring changes that some will find painful. The collapse of oil prices in 2014 has made it very difficult for economists, both public and private, who until recently […]

Interview with Ty McDonald

The discussion of the special elections going on this week and culminating on January 6 has been dominated by Bexar County, home of two of the three races, including the Senate race, but the HD17 election is important in its own right. It’s centered in a growing part of the state and it has a […]

Banning e-cigarette sales to minors

You’d think this would have a decent chance of passing. Legislators in Texas, one of just nine states that permit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, will consider banning such sales amid concerns about growing use of the “safer” alternative to smoking among youth. Even as the Texas Medical Association and Texas Public Health Coalition […]

HD17 overview

The Chron provides an overview of the special election in HD17. Given that current Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt hadn’t planned to resign till January 14, it seems that the swift date for this election, the same day as the ones in Bexar County, caught the prospective candidates a bit by surprise. Kleinschmidt has not made any […]

Interview with Diego Bernal

For the second biennium in a row, there are legislative special elections going on during what many of us think of as the Christmas break. That’s not so great for the people involved in those campaigns, since it’s hardly a break for them, but at least it’s convenient for me to schedule some interviews. I’m […]

First city campaign finance lawsuit action this week

As you may recall, City Council candidate Trebor Gordon filed a lawsuit last month alleging that the city of Houston’s campaign fundraising blackout period was illegal. This week, a federal judge is expected to rule on a request for a temporary injunction that would suspend that ordinance. In court filings, Gordon argues that the abridged […]