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Posts Tagged ‘The Lege’

Vouchers get their Senate hearing

Here we go again with this nonsense. Senate Bill 3, authored by Republican Sen. Larry Taylor of Friendswood, would establish educational savings accounts and tax credit scholarships to fund various costs associated with parents moving their children from traditional public schools to private, parochial, or charter schools. In an online payment process, parents could use […]

“It’s harder to paint us as monsters when there’s a human face on it”

Words of wisdom from one very dedicated and engaged citizen. Monday marked Stephanie Martinez’s 12th time participating in a lobby day hosted by Equality Texas at the Capitol. But this session, in response to Senate Bill 6, the 48-year-old transgender woman from Austin felt compelled to do more. After waiting 16 hours to testify against […]

Who loves budget gimmicks?

The Senate Budget Committee, that’s who. Texas Senate budget writers on Wednesday unanimously approved their two-year budget, which avoided some steep cuts by using an accounting trick to free up $2.5 billion state dollars that were originally slated to go to the state highway fund. By delaying a diversion of sales tax money from August […]

Senate proposes to make our tax system more broken

That’s what this will surely do. The Texas Senate on Tuesday approved a controversial bill that seeks to curb the growth in property taxes that local government agencies like cities and counties levy on landowners. Senate Bill 2, which passed in an 18-12 vote, could require taxing entities to hold an election if the amount […]

Millennials for office

I have four things to say about this. These days, Kylie Mugleston spends a lot of time on street corners, piquing drivers’ curiosity with a sign that says “Talk to Your Future Politician.” The 19-year-old is heading a political campaign in her hometown of Vidor, northeast of Beaumont. A young independent in a mostly conservative […]

Whitmire Astrodome bill passes out of committee

Whatever. A Senate committee voted Monday in favor of a bill that would require Harris County residents to approve a county project to renovate the Astrodome by raising its floors and installing parking underneath. The bill could effectively could torpedo the county’s $105 million project to raise the ground level two floors to fit in […]

Beware the coming shenanigans on SB6

The full House may not get to vote on Dan Patrick’s bathroom bill, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t get a chance to vote onwhat’s in the bill. But speculation that SB 6 may not make it to the House floor for a vote by the 150-member chamber has left House Democrats on high […]

Pension reform bill passes Senate committee

A major step forward. Houston’s pension reform plan cleared a state Senate committee in its initial hearing at the Capitol on Monday, despite the fact that all those who testified – including Mayor Sylvester Turner – opposed at least some portion of the omnibus package. Retirees were concerned about benefit cuts. Some conservatives said the […]

Precinct analysis: The targets for 2018

Ross Ramsey recently surveyed the 2018 electoral landscape. Election numbers recently released by the Texas Legislative Council point to some soft spots in this red state’s political underbelly — places where Republicans hold office now but where Democrats at the top of the ticket have recently done well. Specifically, they are the districts where Republicans […]

Third time for Tesla

If at first (and second) you don’t succeed… Tesla is not giving up at the Texas Capitol. In fact, it’s getting more ambitious. Instead of looking to create any kind of carve-out that favors the high-end electric car maker, legislation filed Friday would simply allow any vehicle manufacturer to sell directly to Texans — bypassing […]

Bill to force transparency on voter ID outreach filed

I approve. A state lawmaker wants to shine a light on how Texas spends millions of taxpayer dollars to educate the public about its controversial voter ID law. Democratic Rep. Justin Rodriguez is proposing legislation that for the first time in Texas calls for transparency of spending for voter education campaigns by requiring the Texas […]

What makes a Texas wine?

Texas grapes, obviously. Or maybe not so obviously. Chris Brundrett sat in a barn surrounded by barrels of wine he helped curate and swirled a glass of water in his hand, perhaps imagining it was something else. Brundrett, accompanied by others from the state’s wine industry, drove home his pitch: “If we can just pump […]

House considers a bigger ask from the Rainy Day Fund

Needs must, as they say. The proposal from state Rep. John Zerwas, a Richmond Republican and the House’s chief budget writer, would withdraw about $2.4 billion from the Rainy Day Fund as part of a supplemental budget to pay bills coming due for programs like Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for the poor and disabled, […]

Senate committee hears rideshare bills

One of these, in some form, is likely to become law. Senate Bill 176, by state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, and Senate Bill 361 by state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, received a joint hearing after [Senate Business & Commerce Committee] chairman Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, noted their similarities. Both bills establish a statewide framework […]

Athletes against SB6

From Athlete Ally: Dear Texas, The love of sport is in part what makes Texas great. The passion and competitive spirit that reverberates throughout the Texas athletic community is hard to match across the United States. It’s that passion – and the storied history of Texas athletics – that often makes the state a go-to […]

“Sanctuary cities” bill modified by House committee

It’s less bad than the Senate version, but it’s still not good. A Texas House committee on Wednesday began debate on the lower chamber’s version of the controversial proposal to outlaw “sanctuary” jurisdictions, making few but significant changes to the bill the Senate passed out last month. Outlawing “sanctuary” entities, the common term for state […]

This is why you leave women’s health to the professionals

Because amateurs and zealots do a lousy job. In pushing a replacement for the Affordable Care Act that cuts off funds for Planned Parenthood, Republicans are out to reassure women who rely on the major health care organization that other clinics will step up to provide their low-cost breast exams, contraception and cancer screenings. Texas […]

So what does that redistricting ruling really mean?

The Trib has a good explainer. So will the Legislature redraw the congressional map? And if so, when? Here’s where it gets tricky. Friday’s order made it clear that the 2011 map cannot stand, but it did not order anyone to immediately redraw it. That might be because that map wasn’t actually in effect. Amid […]

A really dumb “Trump and the train” article

Ugh. Texas is closer than ever to building the first high-speed train in the United States, thanks to President Donald Trump’s fascination with these transportation projects and a well-timed pitch to his administration. Now developers nationwide are looking to the privately owned Texas Central Railway as a test case of what can get done with […]

Some men just can’t take a joke

Poor babies. State Rep. Jessica Farrar accused some Republican men in the Texas House of engaging in “a retaliatory effort” against her over her filing of a bill that would fine men $100 for masturbating. On Tuesday, a separate and unrelated bill from Farrar — a measure that would allow attorneys’ fees to be recovered from […]

More reasons not to put people in jail

We shouldn’t put people in jail for owing fines. In January, state Rep. James White, R-Hillister, filed House Bill 1125, which would ban Texas judges from jailing people for an offense that is punishable only by a fine. State Rep. Diego Bernal, D-San Antonio, soon signed on as a joint author. On Thursday, White also […]

Another voter ID update

From the Lone Star Project: Last week, the Trump Department of Justice brought press attention to the ongoing Texas voter ID lawsuit that remains pending before Federal District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in Corpus Christi. The Trump DOJ withdrew long-standing federal government claims that the Texas law was adopted with the intent to discriminate against Hispanic […]

Voter ID 2.0 clears Senate committee

Seems likely this will go the distance. A Texas Senate panel cleared legislation Monday that would overhaul the state’s voter identification rules, an effort to comply with court rulings that the current law discriminates against black and Latino voters. The Senate State Affairs Committee voted 7-0 to send the legislation to the full chamber. Filed […]

The “Man’s Right To Know” Act

This is some high-quality trolling. Texas State Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, filed a bill Friday that would penalize men for “unregulated masturbatory emissions.” The satirical House Bill 4260 would encourage men to remain “fully abstinent” and only allow the “occasional masturbatory emissions inside health care and medical facilities,” which are described in the legislation as […]

Once again with driverless car legislation

Third time’s the charm, right? State Rep. Charlie Geren isn’t about to let Texas get left in the dust when driverless vehicles start easing their way into everyday life. Especially since car manufacturers need somewhere to test them and could one day need someplace to mass produce them. “I don’t want General Motors, or Ford, […]

Is there some fretting about Mayor Turner?

Maybe? I don’t know. I guess it depends on how you define “fretting”. The resignation of Mayor Sylvester Turner’s top deputy – a social justice advocate and one of the mayor’s few confidants in a sea of senior staff appointed by the previous mayor – is fueling worry among aides and allies about the administration’s […]

Bill to restore some budget flexibility filed

Call it the Law of Unintended Consequences Act of 2017. The Texas House’s chief budget writer filed legislation Friday that would allow lawmakers to claw back billions of dollars that voters approved for state highways, freeing them up for other budget needs. Texans overwhelmingly voted in 2015 to boost funding for the state’s public roadways […]

Why shouldn’t court records be made available online?

Seems clear to me that they should. What’s the case against? Nathan Hecht, chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, has noticed a curious trend in the state’s legal system: Folks are increasingly representing themselves in legal disputes, forgoing lawyers altogether. “They really need legal help, but they don’t feel like they can afford it,” […]

Let’s have a study of that hog apocalypse first

Maybe we should figure out what the effects of poisoning feral hogs might be before we start poisoning them. Two bills from Texas lawmakers — state Rep. Lynn Stucky, R-Denton, and state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin — would require state agency or university research before the use of lethal pesticides on wild pigs. The legislation […]

The updated bill for recapture and detachment

Here are the numbers as we now face them. Houston ISD voters will face a choice of either paying the state’s $77.5 million recapture fee, or risk losing $98.4 million in tax revenue over the next fiscal year, according to new dollar figures given to trustees. Those were the options presented to HISD trustees Thursday […]

Bail reform bills

Glad to see this. An unusual bipartisan coalition of lawmakers and judges has teamed up to back broad reforms in Texas that could eliminate cash bail for nonviolent offenders who are not deemed dangerous or a flight risk. Bills introduced simultaneously in the House and the Senate this week by Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston and […]

House hears “fetal remains” bill

Seriously? [House Bill 35] would create a registry of organizations that can help pay for burial or cremation of fetal remains. That way, the cost associated with burials would not fall on women, [bill author Rep. Byron] Cook said. The measure would not apply to miscarriages that happen at home. “Let me be clear: this […]

It’s HCDE hunting season again

Every two years, like clockwork. A Houston-area legislator has filed two bills targeting the Harris County Department of Education, renewing his assault on the agency that provides special education therapy services to hundreds of students. State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, a Republican whose district covers much of northwest Harris County, said he was upset that the […]

SB6 is already costing us business

There will be lots more of this to come as it advances. Three groups — with meetings estimated to bring $3.1 million in total spending — no longer are considering the Alamo City for their events because of a bill prohibiting transgender Texans from using bathrooms tied to their gender identity, said Richard Oliver, spokesman […]