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Posts Tagged ‘The Lege’

The lost Harvey tax break

I have mixed feelings about this. Owners of nearly 300,000 homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey in Texas won’t see any break in their property taxes because of political wrangling this year in the state Legislature over completely unrelated issues – including, one Houston Republican says, the bathroom bill. A property tax reform bill that would […]

What the Harvey needs are from the state

It’s not just about recovery. The long term needs, including mitigation against future events like Harvey, is where the real money will need to be spent. More than one month after Harvey’s deluge hit, local officials, including Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, testified at a state House of Representatives Appropriations Committee […]

Abbott says he wants a list from Turner

A list of funding priorities, he says. Because he’s passive like that. Answering Houston’s latest complaints over funding for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts, Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday told Mayor Sylvester Turner the state can step up with more money as soon as the city gets a list of its top needs to the state. […]

Don’t expect any further redistricting activity this year

Michael Li explains it all to you. In one-line orders today (here and here), the Supreme Court rejected a request by plaintiffs in the Texas redistricting case that the Supreme Court expedite appeals by the State of Texas. The plaintiffs’ requests would have sped up the cases by having the parties forgo the filing of […]

Fifth Circuit partially unblocks SB4

Terrible. A panel of three appellate judges ruled on Monday that parts of the state’s immigration enforcement legislation, Senate Bill 4, can go into effect while the case plays out on appeal. Last month, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia halted the part of the bill that requires jail officials to honor all detainers. He also […]

Has Harvey changed anything politically?

You’d think it would, but it remains to be seen as far as I’m concerned. A month to the day after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, the reality of the storm was beginning to sink in on the minds of politicians, policy makers and advocates bracing for a long recovery. In short, any political […]

Mostyn talks storm lawsuits

The Texas Tribune interviews Steve Mostyn, leading litigator in matters relating to storm damage, about what to expect after Harvey. TT: How will HB 1774 impact people after Harvey? MOSTYN: When you lower the penalties … if you lower them down to almost nothing and make it difficult for people to hire lawyers, then the […]

Fifth Circuit hears SB4 injunction arguments

Big day in court. The immediate future of Texas’ immigration enforcement law hinges on whether a three-judge panel in New Orleans was swayed Friday by the state’s attorneys that the legislation is essential to public safety and should not have been partially blocked by a federal judge days before it was scheduled to go into effect. Attorneys on both […]

Mayor Turner lowers tax rate hike amount

I’m sure we’re all glad to see this. Mayor Sylvester Turner on Wednesday said the temporary property tax rate hike he has proposed would be cut in half after federal officials approved his request to increase reimbursement for the city’s Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. Turner earlier this month had pitched an 8.9 percent increase for […]

The taproom bill is in effect

And it’s lousy, as expected. The latest draft of beer legislation in Texas has left a bitter taste in the mouths of some craft brewers. HB 3287, which lawmakers passed during their regular legislative session earlier this year, requires craft brewers that produce more than 225,000 barrels per year to pay a distributor to deliver […]

Paul Bettencourt advocates doing nothing to rebuild after Harvey

He has nothing constructive to offer, that’s for sure. One of the top Republicans leaders in the Texas Legislature is slamming the city of Houston and other local governments for trying to raise taxes on homeowners in the name of hurricane recovery. And he’s certain the increase will provoke a response of some sort from […]

Dukes gets deferral on felony charges

Possibly good news for one embattled legislative incumbent. The Travis County district attorney will not pursue, at least for now, the most serious charges against state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, saying prosecutors have renewed their investigation into the travel vouchers at the heart of the 13 felony counts the Austin Democrat is facing. District Attorney Margaret […]

House to study Harvey-related issues

Good to see. House Speaker Joe Straus is asking three House committees to wade into issues related to Hurricane Harvey, including how the state can maximize federal funds and whether to rethink how to grade schools affected by the storm this year. Straus issued five interim charges Thursday, focused largely on education issues, like the […]

Emmett calls for changes to county’s flood strategy

Good to see. Calling Tropical Storm Harvey’s devastation a “game-changer,” Harris County Judge Ed Emmett on Monday called for a sweeping reexamination of the region’s flood control strategy, a process that could include billions of dollars to upgrade aging dams, building a new storm water reservoir and ramping up regulations to tamp down booming development […]

Don’t expect any STAAR slack

Sorry, kids. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said Wednesday morning that the state was not likely to let students displaced by Hurricane Harvey delay a required state test this school year — or to change the way school districts are graded at the end of the school year. “I would say, given the information I […]

SCOTUS puts new maps on hold

Ugh. The U.S. Supreme Court has dealt a serious setback to those hoping Texas would see new congressional and House district maps ahead of the 2018 elections. In separate orders issued Tuesday, the high court blocked two lower court rulings that invalidated parts of those maps where lawmakers were found to have discriminated against voters […]

Will we spend on some flood mitigation projects?

Maybe. We’ll see. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is calling for the construction of flood control infrastructure in the Houston area — things he said should have been built “decades and decades ago” — including a coastal barrier to protect the region from deadly storm surge. “We need more levees. […]

More post-Harvey ideas

From the Chron, which likens this moment to what Galveston faced after the great hurricane of 1900: 1. Establish a regional flood control authority Floodwaters ignore city-limit signs and county-line markers. We can’t adequately address drainage issues with a mélange of municipal efforts and flood control districts split between local jurisdictions. Instead of dividing these […]

The trans community is fully engaged now

One positive thing came out of this months-long anti-transgender legislative assault. For more than a year, [Dan] Patrick pulled out all the stops for the bathroom bills, which would have restricted restroom use based on biological sex and undone local anti-discrimination ordinances protecting the rights of transgender Texans. But rather than pushing them farther into […]

Plaintiffs ask SCOTUS to back down in redistricting fight

This week’s update: The challengers told the justices that the Supreme Court lacks the power to review the state’s request because there is nothing to put on hold: The lower court has neither blocked the state’s current redistricting plan nor entered any orders to remedy the violations it found. Instead, the challengers emphasized, the lower […]

Two GOP State Reps seek Senate promotions

Item One: State Rep. Cindy Burkett, R-Sunnyvale, launched a challenge Tuesday to state Sen. Bob Hall of Edgewood, setting up a Republican primary clash in North Texas. “I am proud of what I have accomplished for Texas and for all people who share my conservative values,” Burkett said in a news release. “Serving in the […]

Fifth Circuit stays voter ID ruling

Ugh. The state of Texas can use its revised voter ID measure for the upcoming November elections, a divided federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday. The 2-1 decision, first reported by Politico Tuesday night, came from a panel of three federal judges on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans — and it […]

Trump’s Justice Department goes all in on voter ID

Despicable, but what did you expect? Continuing a dramatic reversal on voting rights under President Donald Trump, the U.S. Department of Justice is asking a federal appeals court to allow Texas to enforce a photo voter identification law that a lower court found discriminatory. In a filing Thursday, the Justice Department asked the U.S. 5th […]

No special session needed to address Harvey flooding

So says Greg Abbott. Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday another special session of the Texas Legislature won’t be necessary to deal with the response to Hurricane Harvey. “We won’t need a special session for this,” Abbott told reporters, noting that the state has enough resources to “address the needs between now and the next session.” […]

More medical marijuana requested

This was a pre-Harvey story. Medical cannabis companies and investors are calling on Gov. Greg Abbott’s office and the Department of Public Safety to approve more dispensary licenses beyond the three given provisional approval in May. In a pair of letters this week, the coalition argues that having just three dispensaries, two in Austin and […]

State Rep. Larry Gonzales to retire

This is an opportunity for the Democrats. State Rep. Larry Gonzales, R-Round Rock, is not running for re-election. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve HD52 and this great state,” Gonzales wrote Wednesday night on Facebook. “We certainly gave it our all.” Gonzales announced his decision not to run again at a […]

State House map paused as well

Not a surprise, given the previous order. A lower court ruling that invalidated parts of the Texas House state map has been temporarily blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court. Responding swiftly to an appeal by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Justice Samuel Alito on Thursday signed an order to put on hold a three-judge panel’s unanimous ruling that […]

Second trimester abortion procedure ban halted

For now, at least. A federal judge has temporarily stopped Texas officials from enforcing a ban on the most common second-trimester abortion procedure, just one day before the ban was set to go into effect. Judge Lee Yeakel of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas granted a temporary restraining order Thursday, […]

Enforcement of SB4 halted

Excellent! U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia granted a preliminary injunction of Senate Bill 4, one of Gov. Greg Abbott’s key legislative priorities that seeks to outlaw “sanctuary” entities, the common term for governments that don’t enforce federal immigration laws. The bill was scheduled to go into effect Sept. 1, but opponents of the legislation, including […]

Latest abortion lawsuit heard in court

Here we go again, and again and again and again. For the fifth time since 2013, lawyers for Texas will defend an abortion-related law or regulation Tuesday in the Austin federal courthouse, where they hope to reverse a string of legal defeats that included a precedent-setting decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. The latest lawsuit seeks to block […]

SCOTUS puts a pause on the Congressional redistricting ruling

Hopefully, just a temporary one. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday put on hold a lower court ruling that invalidated two of Texas’ 36 congressional districts. In an order signed by Justice Samuel Alito, the high court indicated it wanted to hear from the minority groups suing the state before the state’s appeal of that […]

On when you should file a Harvey-related claim

It may or may not ultimately make a difference, but a new law that goes into effect on September 1 is about insurance claims and lawsuits. For many Texans ravaged by the rain and winds Hurricane Harvey carried ashore this past weekend, filing an insurance claim for the damage their property sustained is probably the […]

San Marcos files amicus brief against SB4

Good for them. The city of San Marcos filed a legal brief Thursday supporting Austin, San Antonio and other cities that have filed suit against the state for its new law on immigration enforcement. In the 16-page brief, city attorney Michael Cosentino argued that under Senate Bill 4, fear of immigration enforcement will lead people […]

Will we have maps in time for March primaries?

Maybe. It’s up to the courts. State officials insisted Friday they expect to stop the court challenges on appeal, and reverse Texas’ losing streak on the voting-rights lawsuits, legal experts predicted Texas could end up back under federal supervisions of its elections rules if the appeals fail. In short, the court fight is shaping up […]