Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘The Lege’

On being Ron Reynolds

Just because everyone’s out to get you doesn’t mean your behavior is above reproach. To hear Ron Reynolds tell it, the embattled state representative is just plain misunderstood. Over the past decade, Reynolds has been sanctioned twice by the state bar, fined $10,000 by the Texas Ethics Commission, sued a half-dozen times and investigated twice […]

Supreme Court re-upholds strip club tax

Technically, they declined to re-review it, but practically speaking I figure it’ll amount to the same thing. The Texas Supreme Court on Friday declined to review whether a $5-per-patron fee at live nude entertainment clubs is an occupation tax in disguise, letting stand a lower appeals court ruling that found alcohol-serving Texas strip clubs must […]

Kleinschmidt to resign in HD17

Just in case you thought there weren’t enough special elections on the horizon. Newly elected Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is reaching out to a former House colleague to fill a key staff position in his new administration. A source close to the Miller transition team said Friday afternoon that Miller reached out to state Rep. […]

And the dominoes do begin to fall

Game on. A calf scramble for legislative seats set off by two lawmakers’ decisions to run for San Antonio mayor could produce a rare shakeup in the Bexar County delegation that reports for duty in Austin on Jan. 13. As many as three of the county’s 10 Texas House members could be new, along with […]

Connecting the high-speed rail line to Fort Worth

This is encouraging. State transportation officials this week are unveiling early plans for a high-speed train line from Dallas to Fort Worth. Like Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s plans to expand transit service in downtown, the project is an attempt to take advantage of plans for a high-speed rail line from Dallas to Houston. The Texas […]

Diego Bernal to run for HD123

Good. Diego Bernal, a civil rights attorney elected to the District 1 City Council seat in 2011, will leave the office on Tuesday to run in a yet-to-be-called special election for the Texas House of Representatives. “I’m stepping down,” Bernal told the San Antonio Express-News, “because there’s going to be a vacancy in House District […]

Hegar officially resigns his Senate seat

As expected. State Sen. Glenn Hegar, the Katy Republican who will become state comptroller in January, notified Gov. Rick Perry on Friday that he will resign his Senate Seat as of Dec. 5, paving the way for the governor to call a special election. Hegar won 58.4 percent of the vote on Election Day to […]

Even Rick Perry appointees back Medicaid expansion

It’s just the right thing to do. A board of medical professionals appointed by Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday that the state should provide health coverage to low-income Texans under the Affordable Care Act — a move the Republican-led Legislature has opposed. The 15-member Texas Institute of Health Care Quality and Efficiency recommended that the […]

Paper ballots make a comeback

From the Everything Old Is New Again department: States have abandoned electronic voting machines in droves, ensuring that most voters will be casting their ballots by hand on Election Day. With many electronic voting machines more than a decade old, and states lacking the funding to repair or replace them, officials have opted to return […]

Expand Medicaid or else

Turns out the federal government has more leverage over Texas than you might think. If Texas wants to keep receiving billions of federal dollars to help hospitals care for uninsured patients, state lawmakers may have to look again at expanding Medicaid coverage for impoverished adults, some political observers say. That’s because in 2016, Texas will […]

Reynolds’ convictions overturned

My head is spinning. State Rep. Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City, will be back in a Montgomery County courtroom a week before the 2015 legislative session gets underway. The legislator, who just won his third term in office, is facing a new trial related to allegations of “ambulance chasing.” On Monday, a judge declared a mistrial […]

More on the initial bill filings

From the Trib, a sampling: As of Monday afternoon, a bill repealing the Texas Dream Act, which allows undocumented immigrant students to pay in-state college tuition rates, had yet to emerge. Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick promised while campaigning that he would work to repeal the act. The bill could part of legislation that is reserved for priorities […]

Legislation to overturn same sex marriage ban filed

Someone’s gotta do it, and you know it won’t be Republicans. Kriselda Hinojosa recalls how she unintentionally came out to her father in sixth grade. “He actually saw me kissing my girlfriend at the time,” Hinojosa said. “So he caught me, but he didn’t get upset. He never yelled at me or anything. He was […]

Replacing Hegar

Election season isn’t over yet. At least three Republican candidates – who hit the campaign trail for the then-hypothetical opening months ago – will duke it out to represent a rural 21-county Senate district that stretches from Fort Bend County to the outer edges of the Corpus Christi, San Antonio and Austin metropolitan areas. Sen. […]

If there are dominoes to fall…

…these two would like to be among them. Election season may not be over just yet in San Antonio, where a game of legislative musical chairs could begin if state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte launches a bid for mayor. A day after Van de Putte seemed to leave the door open for a mayoral […]

And the recriminations begin

I’m going to do my best to stay out of this. Everyone quoted is someone I know and like, and if there’s one part of the political process I truly don’t care for, it’s the family fight. So I’m just going to offer a few observations and move on. – The absentee ballot program was […]

Villarreal to launch his mayoral candidacy

We’re going to be talking a lot about Houston’s mayoral race next year, but six months before we elect a new Mayor San Antonio will elect one as well. The current frontrunner – and only declared candidate so far – is State Rep. Mike Villarreal, who will formally launch his campaign today. [Villarreal is] expected […]

Lawsuit filed over Houston campaign blackout rules

From the inbox: Late Tuesday afternoon, Houston City Council candidate Trebor Gordon filed a First Amendment lawsuit challenging a discriminatory Houston ordinance that prevents city candidates from fundraising until February. Gordon is a conservative candidate for Houston City Council at large. “Houston is a great city because of the entrepreneurial culture of its citizens, among […]

Fifth Circuit to hear HB2 appeal in January

Gird your loins. A federal appeals court has scheduled oral arguments about the constitutionality of Texas’ tough new abortion law for the first week of January, setting up a rapid timeline that may accelerate the case’s expected trip to the U.S. Supreme Court. Solicitor General Jonathan Mitchell and lawyers representing abortion providers are planning to […]

Rep. Reynolds convicted of six misdemeanors

He actually got off easy since he was facing felony charges. A Montgomery County jury Friday found state Rep. Ron Reynolds guilty of six counts of misdemeanor solicitation of professional employment – a lesser charge than the felony barratry charge he faced. Reynolds stood and stared straight ahead as state District Judge Lisa Michalk read […]

First impressions of the 2014 results

My initial thoughts, for what they are worth. – Let me begin by saying that for all the criticism I had of the UT/Texas Trib’s polling and the skepticism of Internet-sample methodology, they were fairly accurate in the end. In particular, the last YouGov result just about nailed it. I still think what they do […]

Denton fracking ban passes

Let the freakout – or perhaps I should say “frack-out” – begin. Nearly 59 percent of voters in Denton, which sits on the edge of gas-rich Barnett Shale, approved a measure banning hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — the method of oil and gas extraction that has led to a domestic energy boom. Proponents called the […]

Two in Tarrant to watch

Tarrant County isn’t often an electoral battleground, but this time it is, at least in two legislative races. [HD94 Republican nominee Tony] Tinderholt’s race is one of two legislative contests in Tarrant County where Democrats are pinning their hopes on Republican voters soured by the most conservative elements of their party. The second is a […]

Final 2014 EV thoughts

Here’s the Chron story about how early voting went. “Each (side) is emphasizing areas of comparative advantage, but the overall pattern seems to be unimpressive in terms of overall turnout,” said Jim Henson, who directs the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. “I don’t see anything in the voting numbers as […]

The two Dallas districts to watch

There’s HD105: Hispanics make up 41 percent of Irving’s population — up from 31 percent in 2000 and 16 percent in 1990, when the white population topped 71 percent, according to figures from 2010, the latest available. White residents make up 31 percent of Irving, Asians 14 percent and blacks 12 percent. The changing demographics […]

House starts thinking about school finance

Good to see. For the past several weeks, state lawmakers have been meeting to discuss how to better fund public education in the wake of a court ruling calling Texas’ school finance system inequitable, inefficient and illegal. Education Committee Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, confirmed he and 12 to 15 members of the state House […]

Mayor Parker for pot reform

The list of people who think it’s time to talk about reforming our drug laws keeps growing. Add Houston Mayor Annise Parker to the growing list of officials calling for a new approach to the nation’s drug laws, especially when it comes to marijuana. She said as much during an interview this week with community […]

What they didn’t tell us about voter ID

Republicans knew fully well that their voter ID bill would disenfranchise a lot of people. They just didn’t care. Republican state officials working to pass a voter photo ID law in 2011 knew that more than 500,000 of the state’s registered voters did not have the credentials needed to cast ballots under the new requirement. […]

Interview index

For your convenience, here is a list of all my interviews and judicial Q&As for the November election. This includes ones I did for the primary and runoff. Interviews US Senate – David Alameel Attorney General – Sam Houston Comptroller – Mike Collier Land Commissioner – John Cook Railroad Commissioner – Steve Brown State Senate, […]

On Greg Abbott and who gets to get married

As you may have heard, Peggy Fikac got to ask Greg Abbott the obvious question about how exactly the state’s law against same-sex marriage, which Abbott is diligently defending in court, differs from the old laws that once banned interracial marriage, and would he have defended those as well since he claims he’s just doing […]

Gary Elkins thumbs his nose at local payday lending ordinances

Such a fine example he sets. As a member of the Texas House of Representatives, Houston Republican Gary Elkins helps make laws. As a businessman, he is an owner of a chain of payday lending stores accused of breaking them. Elkins opposed payday lending regulations during the 2011 and 2013 legislative sessions, arguing members should […]

The inadequacy of Prop 1

Better than nothing, but not by much. The campaign to steer state reserve funds to road projects is not being waged with yard signs and televised debates but, rather, with chamber of commerce lunches and a smattering of direct mailings. Though largely a quiet campaign, supporters of Prop. 1 said they are optimistic the proposal […]

Mayoral fundraising 2015

Yeah, I know, another post about the 2015 election. I sure am doing a lousy job of not thinking about that just yet, but this raises an interesting point. Likely mayoral candidate Chris Bell is asking the city of Houston to reconsider its interpretation of an ordinance that would give Sylvester Turner a major fundraising […]

From the “Simple answers to simple questions” department

The Statesman asks “Would Dan Patrick’s tax plan lower your taxes?” Efforts to shift toward sales tax in lieu of property and income taxes have in recent years gained momentum in Republican-led states — even as economists warn that this sort of tax reform is likely to harm the majority of taxpayers. Economists point out […]