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Posts Tagged ‘The Lege’

I repeat, no one will be forced to perform a same sex wedding

This really is a huge waste of time. For some gay rights advocates, a bill in the Texas Legislature that would allow clergy to refuse to marry same-sex couples would be acceptable if it just included four more words. As the Senate State Affairs Committee heard testimony Monday morning on Senate Bill 2065 by Sen. […]

Tesla going nowhere

We have entered the period of the legislative calendar where bills that have not been voted out of committee or aren’t scheduled for a vote begin to get pronounced dead. Here’s the Tesla bill’s obituary. A crusade waged by Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk to change Texas law to allow his company to sell electric […]

Dallas writes a letter to the Lege about Lyft and Uber

They would like for the Lege to not overrule them on regulating these transportation network companies. Dallas city leaders, writing to House Speaker Joe Straus, have underlined their opposition to a bill that would create statewide rules for “transportation network companies” like Uber and Lyft. Mayor Mike Rawlings and two City Council members wrote Tuesday […]

Get out of solar’s way

Keep an eye on this. “Hawaii is a postcard from the future,” said Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar, a policy and advocacy group based in California. Other states and countries, including California, Arizona, Japan and Germany, are struggling to adapt to the growing popularity of making electricity at home, which puts new pressures […]

As Jonathan Stickland turns

Cue dramatic organ music. The chairman of the House Committee on General Investigating and Ethics said Friday he plans to investigate allegations that witnesses were signed up improperly to speak at a transportation committee meeting from which state Rep. Jonathan Stickland was escorted out. “There will be an investigation into allegations of broken rules,” said […]

Three bad bills

Bad bill #1: State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, has been trying for months to pass legislation that would make it tougher for local entities to bring in more tax revenue by taking advantage of rising property values. On Thursday, he managed to add language to a bill from state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, that could […]

Transgender activists rally at the Capitol

They’re working for understanding and playing defense. Elder was one of two dozen transgender Texans and their advocates who rallied outside the Texas Capitol early Monday, just three days after gold medal decathlon winner Bruce Jenner declared, “I am a woman” in an interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC News. The Austin gathering came amid […]

Medical marijuana gets its committee hearing

Don’t know that it will get more than just that committee hearing, however. House Bill 892 would legalize oils containing CBD, a non-euphoric component of marijuana known to treat epilepsy and other chronic medical conditions. By 2018, the measure would allow the state to regulate and distribute the oils to epilepsy patients whose symptoms have […]

Voter ID appeal report

The Trib reports from New Orleans. A federal appellate judge on Tuesday questioned why the Texas Legislature had not addressed concerns that its four-year-old voter ID law discriminated against minority voters. U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Catharina Haynes stopped short of rebuking state lawmakers while listening to attorneys spar over what are widely […]

Not everyone likes the idea of online voter registration

And most of them are from Harris County. A House panel got a taste late Monday of the deep skepticism toward bringing online voter registration to Texas, skepticism coming from at least one population-rich part of the state. It was mostly shared by a handful of Harris County officials who expressed concerns the practice could […]

SCOTUS finally tackles same sex marriage

We all know what went on at the Supreme Court yesterday, so I’m just going to link to some of the coverage: TPM Daily Kos 1 Daily Kos 2 Buzzfeed The Slacktivist Washington Post SCOTUSBlog analysis SCOTUSBlog liveblog I think we all know what the stakes are, but let’s bring it back to Texas, where […]

House passes sales tax cut

Over to you, Danno. The Texas House tentatively approved a $4.9 billion tax relief plan Tuesday that includes a cut to the state’s sales tax, marking a clear line in the sand against the Senate, which favors property tax cuts. The House voted 141-0 for House Bill 31 by Ways and Means Chairman Dennis Bonnen, […]

Anti-immigration bills dying on the vine

I think I’m going to just got to the executive summary at the bottom of this DMN story. AT A GLANCE: WHERE 3 KEY MEASURES STAND 1. Repeal of tuition law: Seeks to change the 2001 law that allows some students who are in the country illegally to pay college tuition at in-state rates. Status: […]

Judicial bypass is already a huge obstacle

Jane’s Due Process highlights just how hard it is for a pregnant teenager to get a judicial bypass for the purpose of obtaining an abortion under existing law. The Survey. Jane’s Due Process (JDP) is a 501(c)(3) organization that formed shortly after Texas’ parental involvement law went into effect in 2000. Our mission is to […]

SCOTUS rejects North Carolina redistricting

Of interest. On Monday, the Supreme Court vacated a ruling from North Carolina’s highest court that had upheld Republican-drawn maps of the state’s congressional and legislative districts. While we don’t yet know what the final outcome will be, the court’s decision could have a real impact on one of the most aggressively partisan gerrymanders in […]

Profiling the high speed rail opponents

City Lab takes a look at the people who are resisting the proposed Texas Central Railway. Turns out you don’t need to rely on public money to be hated as a U.S. high-speed rail project. That much is becoming clear from the battering being given to a big Texas bullet train plan that’s privately funded. […]

More on the Texas Compassionate Use Act

The Chron covers the legislation that has been introduced to loosen medical marijuana laws just a bit. The twin bills, both authored by Republicans and supported by lawmakers across the aisle, await hearings in Senate and House subcommittees. The bills are far more restrictive than those that legalized medical marijuana in 23 states, broad laws […]

Two anti-gay bills advance

Look out. Gay rights advocates began sounding the alarm Wednesday after two anti-LGBT bills cleared House committees and another received a favorable hearing. Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, said if LGBT groups and their corporate allies don’t work quickly to generate the type of backlash seen over a religious freedom bill in […]

A different push for health care expansion

This ought to spark some interesting conversations. Two Democratic lawmakers called Wednesday for Texas leaders to explore a new type of Medicaid waiver that they say could provide health coverage to many of the state’s millions of uninsured. The waiver, characterized by the legislators as the kind of block grant that Republicans favor, is not […]

Prosecutors respond to latest Team Perry filings

Back and forth, forth and back. The special prosecutor in the case against Rick Perry is asking a judge to deny the former governor’s latest two efforts to quash the indictment against him. Perry, meanwhile, is once again showcasing a high-profile group of legal scholars who think the case against him should be dismissed. The […]

A little trouble in paradise

It’s that time of the biennium, y’all. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s tea party advisory panel on Tuesday blasted Gov. Greg Abbott’s quality pre-K legislation as “socialistic” and “a threat to parental rights,” contributing friction to the already tense balancing act between the state’s top Republican leaders. “We are experimenting at great cost to taxpayers with […]

Statewide Uber/Lyft bill passes out of committee

It’s gotten better, but it’s still not good enough. A bill to establish statewide rules for “transportation network companies” like Uber and Lyft has been tweaked to address some concerns that its background check requirements weren’t stringent enough. That change – which would allow cities to require that drivers be fingerprinted as part of such […]

Senate passes a voucher bill

Hopefully, this will die in the House. Some low-income families unhappy with their public schools would get help paying private school tuition under a plan that won tentative approval in the Texas Senate Monday. Senate Bill 4, which would use state tax credits to entice up to $100 million in business donations to fund a […]

Minjarez wins in HD124

At long last, that’s a wrap. Former Bexar County prosecutor Ina Minjarez cruised to victory late Tuesday in the runoff for José Menéndez’s old seat in Texas House District 124 the last vacancy this session in the Legislature. With all precincts reporting, Minjarez led Delicia Herrera, a former member of the San Antonio City Council, […]

Lone Star Rail District update

Haven’t heard from these guys in awhile. According to [Lone Star Rail District], the [proposed rail line] will provide essential relief from the I-35 highway congestion. The express trip from downtown Austin to downtown San Antonio would take 75 minutes. Completing the project, however, crawls slowly forward as the approval for the train involves several […]

No, seriously, expand Medicaid or else

Bring. It. On. The federal government is officially holding state leaders’ feet to the fire, hoping to get Texas to expand its Medicaid program to provide health insurance to more low-income Texans. Federal officials called the state’s health agency this week to say that Texas’ reluctance to expand Medicaid — a key tenet of President […]

House approves bill to move Public Integrity Unit

Like it or not, looks like this is going to get done. The Texas House gave initial approval Monday to a stripped-down bill that would remove public corruption cases from Travis County’s Public Integrity Unit. Final House approval is expected Tuesday. House Bill 1690, initially approved 94-51, was amended on the House floor to apply […]

More on judicial bypass

Nonsequiteuse provides an update, and it’s not looking good. Rep. King’s HB723, which was left pending in the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee last week, was weak sauce compared to Rep. Morrison’s HB3994, on the State Affairs Committee agenda for Wednesday, April 22nd. Was King’s bill a bare bones practice run for Morrison’s more robust […]

The alternate approach to statewide regulations for Uber and Lyft

That’s one way to do it. Another round of sparring between Texas cities and car service companies like Lyft and Uber played out on Tuesday before a panel of Texas lawmakers. The proposal that was debated — which would let cities regulate Lyft and Uber the same way they regulate traditional taxi companies — would […]

Still no action on fixing birth certificates

It’s shameful that this doesn’t have the votes to get out of committee. Prior to a hearing on a bill that would permit faith-based adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBT people, Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) delivered an impassioned speech on the House floor in support of a proposal to allow the adopted children of same-sex […]

Early voting totals for HD124 runoff

Early voting for the HD124 runoff was last week, with Tuesday the 21st being Runoff Day. According to the Bexar County Elections website, 1165 early votes cast so far in the runoff for HD124. That’s a slight improvement over the March 31 election, in which 1002 early votes were cast, with 1981 votes total. That […]

AirBnB in Texas

The Rivard Report offers a useful overview of this growing service. With success comes regulation and Airbnb, the wildly popular “sharing economy” website that allows users to rent out portions of their home to adventuresome travelers, has had more than its share of success. Recently valued at $13 billion, the company has more than 340 […]

Tesla makes its pitch

It’s a start. At a packed committee hearing Monday evening, advocates for Tesla Motors told a panel of Texas House members that it was time to bring state car sales laws into the 21st century and allow the company to sell its luxury electric vehicles in Texas. “The future is here,” said state Rep. Eddie […]

Our corporate allies

Whatever else you may think, they represent our best chance to beat back anti-LGBT legislation this session. With more than 20 anti-LGBT bills pending in the Texas Legislature, a coalition of major employers in the state — including Dell, Samsung and Southwest Airlines — is making the business case for fair treatment of gay, bisexual […]