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Posts Tagged ‘The Lege’

Ken Paxton does not approve of transgender bathroom policies

Big surprise, right? Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday issued an opinion saying the Fort Worth school superintendent who made headlines for formulating guidelines to accommodate transgender students exceeded his authority. Paxton also said that a portion of the guidelines instructing district employees not to out transgender students to their parents might violate state […]

SCOTUS strikes down HB2

Hallelujah. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed Texas abortion providers a major victory by overturning Texas’ 2013 abortion restrictions. On a 5-3 vote, the high court overturned restrictions passed as part of House Bill 2 in 2013 that required all Texas facilities that perform abortions to meet hospital-like standards — which include minimum sizes […]

Republicans gear up for full blown gay panic in 2017

You have been warned. Still angry about the Supreme Court’s mandate, some conservative lawmakers hope that it is someday overturned. In the meantime, they expect to propose a series of what they call religious liberty bills to blunt its impact. Those efforts worry liberal advocacy groups — Steve Rudner, with Equality Texas, called them “backlash” […]

TAB says it wants better pre-K in Texas

I have three things to say about this. The Texas Association of Business wants the state to offer a full school day of taxpayer-funded pre-K and plans to push lawmakers in that direction next year, the group announced this week. TAB board members voted unanimously in favor of expanding its policy platform to include full-day […]

AG opposes parents in STAAR lawsuit

Interesting. The Texas attorney general says parents suing to get the state to toss out student test scores lack standing and should have taken their complaints to the Texas Education Agency rather than a court. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office filed the response in Travis County District Court Monday, denying “each and every allegation” from […]

Lawsuit filed in Austin over short-term rental ordinance

Geez. The gig economy — specifically, the short-term rental industry that includes HomeAway, Airbnb, and VRBO — is under attack by the city of Austin, Texas, according to a lawsuit filed in state court June 20, which was sponsored by the Texas Public Policy Foundation. The lawsuit asks the court to issue an injunction halting […]

STAAR screwups

From the Observer: Texas’ standardized testing program wasn’t exactly popular before the 2015-2016 school year, but this year’s State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) has been an especially frustrating experience for Texas students, parents and school officials. New testing contractor Educational Testing Service, in the first year of a four-year, $280 million contract […]

Rep. Isaac asks FTC to step in on Austin rideshare regulations

Seriously? State Rep. Jason Isaac has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Austin’s rules for ride-hailing companies, raising concerns that the city’s “burdensome regulations” are anti-competitive. In the letter dated June 7, Isaac said he thought the city “erected a pernicious barrier to competition” through its rules, which have become a point of contention […]

Here come the cannabis growers

For medicinal purposes only. About 60 miles north of Dallas, amid green fields in the town of Gunter, population 1,486, Texas Cannabis CEO Patrick Moran has optioned to buy a former cotton gin, where he plans to grow the Cannabis sativa plant, known more commonly as marijuana. The businessman and attorney is positioning himself at […]

AG opinion sought on eminent domain power for Texas Central

This could be a big deal. State Rep. Byron Cook asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday to rule on whether a private company developing a high-speed train project in the state has the power of eminent domain. Texas Central Partners has been developing a privately funded bullet train intended to travel between Houston […]

Endorsement watch: Chron for Ellis

I had wondered if the Chron was going to weigh in on any of the candidate-selection processes that will be going on over the next two weeks. I even sent an email to a couple of their editorial board members on Saturday morning to ask about it. Turns out, I needn’t have wondered, they were […]

PocketCab

Austin isn’t the only city with rideshare innovation happening. Sugar Land-based PocketCab LLC plans to fill the potential void with a new dispatch app for taxi and limousine companies if Uber does decide to leave the Houston market. PocketCab works similarly to on-demand services today except that it pulls from independent limo and taxi drivers, […]

What’s the roadmap for ridesharing regulations look like?

This is going to be a challenge, no matter how you feel about it. Several state legislators have made it clear they’re eager to take control of rules for ride-hailing companies in Texas, shifting power from individual cities to the state. But with six months until the next legislative session, there’s no clear consensus on […]

Where’s the abortion data?

The ACLU would like to know. With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to decide the biggest abortion case in nearly a decade, the ACLU of Texas is demanding that the Department of State Health Services “stop concealing” abortion statistics for 2014 and make the information public. In a letter sent Wednesday to department Commissioner John […]

Pension progress report

Our favorite subject, back in the news. Mayor Sylvester Turner and the leaders of the city’s three pension boards made clear to a visiting group of state lawmakers on Monday that they agree a fix to the city’s growing pension burden must be found, perhaps by the mayor’s deadline of year’s end. The state House […]

What a free market in ridesharing looks like

It looks like Austin right now. When Uber and Lyft left Austin last month, they thought they were sending a message to the Austin City Council and other local governments looking to regulate them. Instead, their departure may pave the way for a revamp of ride-hailing in Austin that could draw the notice of other […]

An early look ahead to the legislative races

The Trib takes a look at the legislative races that could end with a seat changing parties. • HD-23. Freshman state Rep. Wayne Faircloth, R-Dickinson, against former state Rep. Lloyd Criss, R-La Marque. • HD-43. State Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, will face Democratic challenger Marisa Yvette Garcia-Utley. • HD-54. State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, […]

Driverless trucks

Coming to a highway near you? Picture an 18-wheel truck barreling down the highway with 80,000 pounds of cargo and no one but a robot at the wheel. To many, that might seem a frightening idea, even at a time when a few dozen of Google’s driverless cars are cruising city streets in California, Texas, […]

Mayor Turner asks for Zika help

From the inbox. With members of the local legislative delegation at his side and an illegal tire dump as the backdrop, Mayor Sylvester Turner called on the state of Texas to declare the Zika virus a public health emergency and dedicate funds toward local efforts to fight it. “Local governments are in a position to […]

Just waiting on SCOTUS’ HB2 ruling

We’ll know by the end of the month, one way or the other. In the next few weeks the U.S. Supreme Court, in one of the most significant reproductive rights cases in more than two decades, is expected to determine the future of abortion access in Texas and possibly for other states across the country. […]

First rideshare legislative hearing

There will be a lot more where this came from. Representatives from Uber and Lyft urged lawmakers to adopt statewide regulations for the ride-hailing industry during a Texas Capitol hearing on Wednesday, citing what they called burdensome local ordinances that have driven them to leave Austin and other Texas cities. The companies fielded pointed questions […]

What do we really want from rideshare regulations?

From Medium: To help ensure people have a fair chance at earning a living, Uber’s screening process embraces protections codified in the Fair Credit Reporting Act and other similar laws, ensuring lookback periods are reasonable and arrests without convictions or charges are not considered, among other indicators. We have said time and again that fingerprinting […]

Don’t know much about international relations

Sheesh. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday continued his campaign against the controversial Iran nuclear deal, urging fellow governors nationwide to ignore President Obama’s suggestion to lift economic sanctions. In a two-page letter, issued after he met in Dallas with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, Abbott urged his colleagues in other states to strengthen existing sanctions, […]

Another story on how Texas’ uninsured rate has fallen under Obamacare

Same book, next chapter. A study released Tuesday shows that the rate of Texans without insurance has dropped to its lowest point since the late 1990s because of the Affordable Care Act, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and the Episcopal Health Foundation reported. Prior to the implementation of the ACA in September 2013, […]

Straus wants to study school finance

I appreciate the effort, but I plan to keep my expectations low. Citing a recent Texas Supreme Court decision that upheld the state’s public school funding system while deeming it “undeniably imperfect,” state House Speaker Joe Straus on Thursday ordered representatives to study the school finance system and recommend reforms before the 2017 legislative session. […]

Tesla tries another approach to getting access to Texas

If at first you don’t succeed, change your strategy. Tesla Motors’ Lone Star ambitions won the blessing of the Texas GOP at the party convention in Dallas this month, paving the path towards a possible end to the three years of drama over the electric car manufacturer’s right to sell in Texas. It’s a dramatic […]

Cain retains lead in HD128 after recount

It’s all over. After a recount, Briscoe Cain remains the winner in his Republican primary challenge to state Rep. Wayne Smith of Baytown. Cain, an attorney from Deer Park, edged out Smith, a longtime incumbent, by 23 votes last month in House District 128. After initially conceding defeat in the May 24 primary runoff, Smith […]

My vision for Metro: Expansion

Part 1: Buses Part 2: Marketing itself One of the things that new Metro Chair Carrin Patman has been talking about is a regional transportation plan, to get everyone – including cities and counties not currently involved with Metro – to agree on what transit is and how we best go about doing it in […]

Patrick doubles down on potty politics

It’s potties all the way down. Declaring that “this fight is just beginning,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Tuesday escalated his battle against guidelines in Texas and across the country that allow students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Speaking to reporters at the Texas Capitol, Patrick announced a number of […]

More on severance pay and the Land Commissioner’s office

The law doesn’t apply here. After reports of state agencies keeping former employees on the payroll after they stopped working, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and other agency heads have taken heat for stretching the rules on paid “emergency leave” to keep the ex-workers on the books. But when 26 employees were paid for an […]

Two runoff recounts in the works

It’s not over yet in HD128. In a reversal, state Rep. Wayne Smith is now pursuing a recount in his narrow loss in Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff. Deer Park attorney Briscoe Cain beat Smith, a longtime incumbent from Baytown, by 23 votes in the runoff. As soon as the outcome became clear in House District […]

Texans say they favor Medicaid expansion

This comes with a huge “but” attached to it. More than 60 percent of Texans support an expansion of Medicaid here and plan to take those views into the voting booth in November, a new survey commissioned by the Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute finds. The survey results, unveiled Wednesday at the annual Medical […]

Democratic primary runoff results

Harris County results Fort Bend County results Statewide results Trib liveblog Just for the record, we didn’t get any precinct results until 8:34, at which time only 8% of precincts had reported. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because of overwhelming turnout this time. We did get a big batch just after 9, but thanks to […]

Lawsuit filed over STAAR exams

Interesting. A backlash against this year’s STAAR exams escalated Monday when a group of parents sued the state in an attempt to keep schools from using 2016 test scores to rate students — including deciding whether students should advance to the next grade or attend summer school. The lawsuit, filed against the Texas Education Agency […]