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Posts Tagged ‘The Lege’

More on the Denton fracking referendum

I think everyone agrees the Denton anti-fracking referendum will wind up in court if it passes. It’s just a question of how wired the courts will be for the plaintiffs. Voters will decide whether the city will become the state’s first to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking – the method of oil and gas extraction […]

Who watches the fox while he guards the henhouse?

The Railroad Commission needs an ethics upgrade. The race for Texas railroad commissioner has revived — at least in the short term — debate around a series of thwarted legislative proposals to overhaul the state’s curiously named oil and gas agency. Calling the Railroad Commission too heavily influenced by the industry it regulates, Steve Brown, […]

Don’t sweat that court ruling on Obamacare tax credits just yet

It’s too soon to say what effect, if any will be felt in Texas. Opposing rulings from two federal courts Tuesday left unclear the future prospects of federal financial aid to Texans who qualify for assistance to purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled […]

Wonkblog on Texas cities’ efforts to combat payday lenders

It’s always nice when the national media notices something positive happening in Texas instead of the usual. Four years ago, ACE Cash Express was the company that turned Dallas Council member Jerry Allen into the payday loan industry’s worst enemy. The day before he was about to celebrate the launch of the Bank On Dallas […]

Planned Parenthood comes out swinging

Good to see. Planned Parenthood’s political arm is embarking on the most aggressive campaign it has ever waged in Texas, with plans to spend $3 million to turn out voters for Democratic candidates including Sens. Wendy Davis for governor and Leticia Van de Putte for lieutenant governor. Bolstered by a $1 million donation from a […]

Collier hits the road

Talking taxes, and our state’s screwed-up appraisal process. With about as many local candidates as voters in attendance, the Travis County Democratic Party hosted a “town hall” on property tax reform Friday morning, where everybody agreed with would-be County Commissioner (Precinct 2) Brigid Shea: “The appraisal process is broken.” To fix it – in the […]

Wilson wins residency fight

That was quick. Houston Community College trustee Dave Wilson lives in the residence he claimed and can keep his seat on the college system’s board, a jury decided Thursday. “Thank you,” Wilson shouted when the verdict was announced about 4:30 p.m. Harris County officials filed a lawsuit seeking to remove Wilson from office on grounds […]

Dave Wilson residency lawsuit is underway

Almost missed this. A trial is set to begin Tuesday morning to determine whether Houston Community College trustee Dave Wilson actually lived in the district in which he ran last November. Wilson, who ousted former HCC Chairman Bruce Austin in the Nov. 5 election by 26 votes, is being sued by the Harris County attorney. […]

Fracking ban on the ballot in Denton

This has the potential to be even bigger than the HERO repeal referendum. Voters will decide whether this North Texas college town will become the state’s first city to ban hydraulic fracturing. After a public hearing Tuesday night that stretched into Wednesday morning, the Denton City Council rejected a proposal to ban the method of […]

What else is at stake in the redistricting trial

It’s about more than just the maps. Efforts by the Obama administration to wring protections out of a weakened Voting Rights Act begin Monday in Texas over allegations that Republicans intentionally discriminated against minorities when drawing new election maps. A federal trial in San Antonio comes a year after the U.S. Supreme Court made a […]

The interim and non-interim Mayoral hopefuls of San Antonio

Robert Rivard previews the sausage-making process in San Antonio. It takes six votes to win, a majority that will be harder to achieve if some of the announced candidates exercise their right to abstain. If all five abstain from voting for someone else, it will be impossible to gain the necessary majority. Such a stalemate […]

Close enough for Greg Abbott

What more do you need to know? Attorney General Greg Abbott first stirred things up by saying the state would not release information about the locations and amounts of hazardous chemicals held by private companies, reversing nearly three decades of public disclosure. The Republican front-runner for governor then suggested Texans could “drive around” to find […]

Judge rules that the voter ID lawsuit will go to trial

In addition to the start of the redistricting trial, we have some news on the voter ID lawsuit front, and it’s generally good news for the good guys. Last week’s ruling, in which U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos denied almost all of a set of motions filed by [AG Greg] Abbott’s office to […]

We don’t need no (sex) education

Here’s the state of Texas leading the nation in yet another unflattering category. In Texas and across the country, the rate of teenage births has declined significantly since its peak in 1991. Birth rates among teenagers in Texas dropped 43 percent between 1991 and 2012. In states like California and Connecticut, the drop was even […]

Next phases of redistricting lawsuit scheduled

Part One takes place next week. The trial over 2011 House district boundaries begins July 14 in U.S. District Court, where a hearing Tuesday shed light on how the case could unfold. The proceeding are expected to last at least six days — Monday through Saturday — with testimony from about 50 witnesses. The court […]

Davis presses the attack on Abbott’s obstruction on chemical info

I know, it’s a little lazy of me to do a post based on a campaign email, but this missive from the Wendy Davis campaign is the best roundup of the incendiary chemical disclosure issue and the potential fallout from it. So here it is, which will both serve to catch you up if you […]

Charles Sebesta may finally have to face responsibility for his actions against Anthony Graves

Very good news. It’s been eight years since the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the DA who prosecuted Anthony Graves for capital murder had done something unconscionable : withheld favorable evidence and used false testimony to secure a conviction—a conviction that sent Graves to death row. Since that federal ruling came down in […]

Why would you want to regulate that?

I mean, what are a few fiery explosions among friends? Members of the state House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee have been struggling for several months over how to respond to last year’s massive explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. that killed 15 and devastated the nearby city of West. On Tuesday, committee Chairman […]

The Mexican abortion option, one year later

Exactly as predicted. The Alamo flea market sits right off South Texas’s lengthy Highway 83; a sprawling, dusty, labyrinth of a place. Under canopies in the converted parking lot, vendors in dark sunglasses stand behind tables heaped with piles of clothing, barking in Spanish and hawking their wares. The air is hot and muggy, thick […]

Don’t kill no-kill

I don’t like the look of this. Stricter enforcement of a previously obscure state regulation is threatening the no-kill movement across Texas and could result in animal shelters euthanizing tens of thousands of additional pets each year, advocates warn. A “clarification” of state rules by the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners last August already […]

The fire still burns

As an addition to my own response to Lisa Falkenberg’s column about the one-year anniversary of Sen. Wendy Davis’s historic filibuster and the popular uprising around it, I want to call your attention to Andrea Grime’ piece in RHRealityCheck. It’s not a response to Falkenberg or anyone in particular, it’s her recollection of the events […]

What would you have done differently?

Lisa Falkenberg remembers the Wendy Davis filibuster and complains about what has and hasn’t happened between then and the one-year commemoration of it. You don’t just dust off a social movement because a year has passed and you need to raise money. The fire Davis lit has to be fed and tended if it’s going […]

Get ready to go inspection sticker-free

Things are gonna be different next year. Texas drivers will have a little less clutter on their windshield next year when the familiar green inspection sticker goes away, but it comes at the price of requiring inspections in order to renew vehicle registrations. As of March 2015, vehicles registered in Texas will no longer need […]

Teacher health insurance costs

Another thing on the list of things the Legislature needs to deal with but won’t. Health care insurance costs for hundreds of thousands of Texas teachers and other public school employees are scheduled to go up again this fall, prompting renewed calls from educator groups for the state to pick up more of the cost […]

Special session for border security?

What could possibly go wrong? State Sen. Dan Patrick, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, joined some of his conservative colleagues on Tuesday in calling for “immediate action” to address the surge of undocumented immigrants crossing into Texas. “The Texas Department of Public Safety has indicated that sustained operations along our southern border will require […]

HISD prepares its budget

Teacher pay raises and magnet school funding changes are the main points of interest. Thanks to rising property values, all Houston ISD employees would receive raises and schools would get more money for supplies, field trips or tutors next year under a budget proposal drawing complaints for its long-term cuts to some popular magnet programs. […]

Of course some people will split their votes

It’s just a matter of how many of them do so, and if the races in question are close enough for it to matter. Democrats are hoping the Republicans will eventually make some of the mistakes Democrats themselves made back when they were on top and the GOP was trying to break down the doors […]

Good times for the craft brewers

There’s a lot more growth to come for the craft brewing industry. Texas’ smaller craft breweries increased production last year by nearly half and made deeper gains in the overall beer market, suggesting the industry’s growth spurt will continue. “Yes, this is a long-term trend,” said Charles Vallhonrat, executive director of the Texas Craft Brewers […]

Yes, Greg Abbott owns the RPT platform

Sorry, Greg. You can mumble all the vague platitudes you want, but this baby’s all yours. In the wake of the GOP’s approval of a platform that includes a hardline stance on immigration, Attorney General Greg Abbott finds himself at the top of the ticket for a party whose members are deeply divided over the […]

Some things are worth paying more for

How much would you pay for fewer faulty convictions? Prosecutors say the state’s new Michael Morton Act, a measure designed to prevent wrongful convictions by forcing district attorneys to be more transparent in criminal cases, is driving up evidence costs. “That is an issue for a lot of folks,” said Rob Kepple, executive director for […]

When might marijuana be legalized in Texas?

Very interesting debate going on in the Baker Institute Blog about when marijuana might be legalized in Texas. Here are the posts they’ve published, in decreasing order of optimism: Texas will legalize medical marijuana in 2015 and regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol in 2017 Texas will legalize marijuana in 2019 Texas voters will push for […]

Burnam drops electoral challenge

A good decision, in my opinion. After months of legal wrangling, state Rep. Lon Burnam announced Thursday that he will not continue with his challenge of his primary election loss. Shortly after losing on March 4 by 111 votes to local businessman Ramon Romero Jr., Burnam, D-Fort Worth, sued, saying the election for state House […]

TM talks to Mike Collier

He’s a really impressive candidate. What I’ve been surprised by in the past two years is how much farther right the state has gotten, even compared to someone like Rick Perry, who has, I think, been conservative by any normal standard. When Combs came back in 2013 reporting an $8.8 billion surplus—to me, that was […]

City strikes two deals with CenterPoint

One on street lights, and one on bike trails. Both are great news. All 165,000 of Houston’s streetlights will be converted to more efficient LEDs over the next five years, halving electricity use and cutting air pollution in what Mayor Annise Parker said will be one of the nation’s largest such initiatives. Also on Friday, […]