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Posts Tagged ‘The Lege’

Harris County keeps considering vote centers

Perhaps one of these days they will move forward on this. Seeking to making voting easier on Election Day, Harris County officials are considering shifting to a system that would allow voters to cast ballots at any county polling place rather than only at their neighborhood precinct. These so-called “vote centers,” modeled after the countywide […]

Would you like to sit in armed or unarmed?

From Houstonia: Imagine it’s a Saturday afternoon. You stop into Whataburger to pick up lunch with your kids in tow, the only thing on your mind remembering which kid doesn’t want ketchup on his burger, which kid only wants ketchup on his burger, and whether you want to add jalapenõs to your own. You place […]

The Mexican abortion option, part 3

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Between 100,000 and 240,000 Texans have attempted to terminate their pregnancies without medical assistance, according to new research released Tuesday. Based on interviews and a statewide survey, the unprecedented study by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) estimates that between 1.7 and 4.1 percent of Texas women […]

Steve Brown to run in HD27

This ought to shake things up a bit. The bad week for state Rep. Ron Reynolds is getting worse. Steve Brown, the former chairman of the Fort Bend County Democrats, wrote on Twitter Wednesday that he will challenge Reynolds in the March primary. A formal announcement will be made after Thanksgiving, Brown wrote. […] Despite […]

Houston Zoo reverses its stance on allowing in guns

This was a surprise. The Houston Zoo has reinstalled a series of signs that prohibit the carry of firearms into the gates of the family-friendly attraction almost three months after being forced to take them down at threat of legal action. Attorney Edwin Walker with Texas Law Shield, a legal services firm for gun owners, […]

Reynolds receives jail sentence in barratry case

He got the max for the misdemeanor charge on which he was convicted. State Rep. Ron Reynolds could spend up to a year in jail after he was sentenced Monday to the maximum penalty following his conviction on charges arising from what prosecutors called an “ambulance chasing for profit” scheme. A Montgomery County jury sentenced […]

Planned Parenthood sues Texas

Here we go. Planned Parenthood’s Texas affiliates on Monday filed a federal lawsuit to keep state health officials from booting them from the state’s Medicaid program. Following Texas’ announcement in October that it would stop funding any care for poor women at Planned Parenthood clinics — a response to what state officials called “acts of […]

Rep. Ron Reynolds convicted of misdemeanor barratry charge

The word “tawdry” applies to this. State Rep. Ron Reynolds was convicted Friday of illegally soliciting clients in an “ambulance chasing for profit” scheme, a verdict that carries the threat of jail time and deals a blow to his political career but won’t require him to leave office. A Montgomery County jury convicted Reynolds, a […]

Mayor will seek texting-while-driving ban

One more agenda item before it’s all over. It’s not the first time Houston officials have broached the issue; Mayor Annise Parker has long lobbied to impose a Texaswide texting-while-driving ban. But months after another legislative session with no action, term-limited Parker said she would ask council members to consider a local ban before she […]

Susan King suspends Senate campaign

Sorry to hear this. State Rep. Susan King has suspended her race for an open state Senate seat while she receives treatment for chronic depression, a condition she has battled “for some time,” her campaign announced Monday. King, R-Abilene, still hopes to appear in the Republican primary to replace retiring GOP Sen. Troy Fraser but […]

Rep. Ruben Hinojosa to retire

A second open Congressional seat for 2016. First elected to Congress in 1996, Hinojosa has largely had a dormant campaign operation for most of this cycle, and he drew a Republican challenger this year in former Rio Grande City Mayor Ruben Villarreal. Hinojosa’s office didn’t immediately return a request to comment for this article. The […]

The Dallas Equal Rights Ordinance

Buckle up. Chapter 46 of the Dallas City Code, which was passed in May 2002, makes it illegal to discriminate against someone based on sexual orientation. The ordinance, which applies to everything from employment to housing, has defined sexual orientation as “an individual’s real or perceived orientation as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual or an individual’s […]

Another unintended consequence of tort “reform”

From Lisa Falkenberg: At every turn in her ordeal, Laura has felt irrelevant. The Houston mother of two says she was raped in her hospital bed by a doctor who she claims checked his phone afterward while she cried. She reported the rape to nurses who responded with cold skepticism. She had to wait nearly […]

We still can’t get new maps

Seriously? To avoid confusion and uncertainty, the state’s 2016 elections for Congress and the Texas House will proceed under the current political maps, a three-judge federal panel in San Antonio said late Friday. The court previously approved maps for use in Texas Senate races, but the lines for congressional and state House districts remain under […]

Health insurance exchange open enrollment, Year 3

The challenge, in a nutshell. In rural Borden County, 12 people signed up for Obamacare this year. Livid over the government telling them they must buy something and loath to take anything that looks like a “handout,” the uninsured here are likely to stay that way. As Obamacare’s third open enrollment season began Sunday, this […]

Do homeschoolers have to actually teach anything?

That’s a real question being asked of our State Supreme Court. In an empty office at the family’s El Paso motorcycle dealership, Laura McIntyre says her nine kids were learning. McIntyre’s brother-in-law says they were singing and playing instruments. Learning was unnecessary, one of the children allegedly said, because “they were going to be raptured.” […]

Initial day-after-election thoughts

– We now have two cycles’ worth of data to suggest that having more good candidates in a Council race does not necessarily lead to better outcomes. Following in the footsteps of At Large #3 in 2013, a handful of Democratic candidates in At Large #1 split the vote with sufficient closeness to keep them […]

It’s not just bail reform that we need

The latest from Emily dePrang at the Observer: It’s a Monday morning, a little past 9:00. Half an hour ago, this hallway on the eighth floor of the Harris County Criminal Justice Center in downtown Houston was swarmed with people. Now all the other courtrooms have opened, swallowed their subjects, and closed up again. Only […]

School finance ruling expected soon

Hold onto your hats. For decades, the state’s 1,000-plus school districts vied against one another for a bigger piece of the financial pie. Now two-thirds of state districts have joined forces to say the system is unfair because it doesn’t provide adequate funding for all. The state’s high court is expected to rule any day […]

If you really want to improve turnout in city elections

This is a plan that would do it. Councilman Ron Nirenberg [recently] called for a major change to local elections that he says would boost voter turnout and bolster public participation. The councilman said he’s spent years considering ways to address abysmal turnout in municipal elections, which are held in May of odd-numbered years. His […]

Yet another Obamacare lawsuit

Some things never get old. n Texas’ latest salvo against Obamacare, Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed suit over a fee states must help cover to pay for the sweeping federal health reform law. Texas joins Louisiana and Kansas in suing the Obama administration over the Health Insurance Providers Fee, which Paxton says cost Texas […]

The economy takes its toll on state revenue

Nothin’ but good times ahead, though, right? Transportation funding could take a hit under new revenue projections by State Comptroller Glenn Hegar, who on Tuesday lowered his forecast of state tax collections by $4.6 billion in the face of a volatile oil and gas industry. Hegar’s new forecast still leaves more than enough money to […]

Dan Patrick buys airtime for anti-HERO ads

Of course he does. With the start of early voting Monday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick began lending his voice and his pocketbook to radio and TV ads urging Houston voters to reject the city’s embattled equal rights ordinance. At a news conference Monday in Houston, Patrick echoed the chief criticism of equal rights ordinance opponents […]

Texas vs Planned Parenthood, part one million

This was going to happen sooner or later. Texas health officials say they are kicking Planned Parenthood out of the state Medicaid program entirely over what they called “acts of misconduct” revealed in undercover videos filmed earlier this year. Republican state leaders, who vehemently oppose abortion, have worked for years to curb taxpayer funding of […]

Are we ever going to get a redistricting ruling?

From the Texas Election Law Blog: As Rick Hasen has reported, [Wednesday] the plaintiffs in the 2011 redistricting lawsuit asked the three-judge panel for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division to enjoin the State of Texas from using the patently illegal district boundary lines that were used in the 2014 election. Evidence-wise, the […]

Endorsement watch: One Farias, two Farias

There’s one state race on the ballot this year, where there’s a special election in HD118 to succeed the retiring Rep. Joe Farias. The San Antonio Express News has endorsed Gabe Farias in that race. Six candidates — three Democrats and three Republicans — are seeking to replace former Rep. Joe Farias, who stepped down […]

Turner’s public agency work

A lot of the attacks in the Mayoral campaign so far have been aimed at Adrian Garcia, in part to knock him out of second place where he is perceived to be, and in part because there’s some real material to use. There has been some sniping between Costello and King, as they fish in […]

Uber and Lyft versus fingerprints

They prefer to do their own background checks, which of course do not require fingerprint checks. Houston, San Antonio and Austin currently take different approaches to a key regulatory issue: whether vehicle-for-hire app drivers must undergo fingerprint background checks. The issue has proven pivotal to Uber and Lyft in Texas. Lyft refuses to operate in […]

Endorsement watch: Going for Turner

The Chronicle endorses Sylvester Turner for Mayor. Because there is no perfect candidate on the ballot, voters should look for someone who has the talents best suited to fixing the problems that currently threaten Houston’s long-term success: Sylvester Turner. For the past six years, Houston has been well led by Annise Parker’s competent hand. But […]

Chron Mayoral profile: Sylvester Turner

This is the seventh (and last!) in a series of profiles on the top candidates running for mayor in Houston. Sylvester Turner followed his mother’s wisdom like a beacon, through the University of Houston, where he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in political science, through Harvard Law School and 26 years in the […]

Some early legislative race news

Just a few links of interest. First, the race in SD24 heats up. Republican state Rep. Susan King said Monday that she will join an increasingly crowded primary field to replace retiring GOP state Sen. Troy Fraser. King had earlier said she would not seek re-election to the House, where she is serving her fifth […]

The latest example of how nuts our beer laws are

Ridiculous. The latest flashpoint between Texas beer lovers and state beer law is a 32-ounce aluminum can that bars and restaurants fill with beer and sell to be consumed off-site. The can, called a crowler, is praised for its convenience and ability to keep beer fresh for longer than traditional to-go packaging. The problem, state […]

No support for a jail administrator

Not without the consent of the Legislature. The idea of shifting leadership of the Harris County Jail to an administrator may be losing steam, several county leaders said Thursday after reviewing a feasibility study by the sheriff’s office. Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack asked newly appointed Sheriff Ron Hickman in May to look into the […]

2015 Texas Lyceum poll

Issues first, election stuff to come. From the press release: The 2015 Texas Lyceum Poll Finds:  Immigration remains the most important issue facing the state and Texans support lawmakers’ increased spending on border security. Texans’ views on  gay marriage are changing. Forty nine percent of Texans support gay marriage – up from 29 percent in 2009. […]