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Posts Tagged ‘The Lege’

Supreme Court to hear school finance appeal in September

Mark your calendars. The Texas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Sept. 1 in the long-running case challenging the state’s school-finance system. “We are very pleased that the court is moving so expeditiously,” attorney David Thompson, representing the Houston Independent School District, Fort Bend ISD and dozens of others, said Friday. “We think it’s a […]

The wedding industry is rubbing its hands with glee

Nothing like having your market dramatically expanded overnight. Within hours after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in Texas and across the country, local wedding businesses and venues already began getting orders and bookings from same-sex couples. Those in the wedding industry said they expect a surge of gay couples who were hoping to marry […]

Rep. Scott Turner not running for re-election

Another one heads for the exit. State Rep. Scott Turner, the Frisco Republican who unsuccessfully ran for speaker this year, has decided not to seek re-election. Turner announced his decision in an email to constituents Thursday, hinting that he is not done with politics. “One chapter is closing for now, and I am beginning new […]

On judicial elections and campaign finance

Ross Ramsey raises an interesting point. It might seem silly to elect people who promise they won’t represent you, their political party or their donors, but that’s what we expect judges to do. They’re supposed to apply the law, and if they do any of those other things, they’re probably out of line. Florida elects […]

It always was about animus towards gays

TPM reviews the history of anti-gay marriage laws and constitutional amendments now that they’re on the verge of being thrown out. Opponents of marriage equality have been claiming that these laws were not enacted with any animus intended towards same-sex couples, but the arguments made at the time these laws were being debated clearly says […]

Abbott vetos Huffman loophole bill

Good. Gov. Greg Abbott has vetoed legislation that would have allowed married elected officials to hide their personal financial business from the prying eyes of Texas voters, according to the author of the legislation. The so-called spousal loophole provision had been tacked as amendments to two bills that were otherwise aimed at increasing disclosure and […]

Off to SCOTUS for HB2

If they want to hear it. Abortion is back before the U.S.A Supreme Court, and the justices could signal by the end of June whether they are likely to take up the biggest case on the contentious subject in nearly a quarter-century. If the court steps in, the hearing and the eventual ruling would come […]

Abbott signs bill to remove Public Integrity Unit from Travis County DA office

As expected. Ignoring calls for a veto, Gov. Greg Abbott signed controversial legislation this week that will allow elected and appointed state officials and state employees to bypass Austin prosecutors when they are accused of public corruption. Abbott, a Republican, signed the bill Thursday without making a statement or staging a public signing ceremony. His […]

The Fifth Circuit still sucks

They also blow. A federal appeals court on Friday rejected a request from Texas abortion providers to temporarily put on hold a ruling that could leave Texas with nine abortion facilities. Abortion providers had asked the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to delay its own ruling upholding most provisions of House Bill 2 — […]

Abbott signs pollution enhancement bill

Still sucks to be us, Harris County. Gov. Greg Abbott has signed legislation that could make it tougher for local governments to sue big-time polluters – an effort that largely targets Harris County prosecutors. House Bill 1794, set to become law on Sept. 1, will set a five-year statute of limitations and cap payouts at […]

How will campuses handle campus carry?

Good question. When it comes to guns on campus, University of Texas System Chancellor William McRaven is in a bit of an awkward position. A month ago, the former Navy admiral was one of the most vocal opponents of legislation allowing people to carry guns into university buildings. Now, the campus carry bill has become […]

Keffer to retire

The original Straus gang shrinks again. State Rep. Jim Keffer, an Eastland Republican who was one of the earliest supporters of House Speaker Joe Straus, has decided not to seek reelection next year, according to a statement he prepared for the Hood County News that was widely posted on social media Tuesday evening. Sources familiar […]

Lots of people will lose insurance if SCOTUS takes it away from them

Just a reminder. With a U.S. Supreme Court decision looming this month on a point of law that could dismantle the Affordable Care Act, a series of new reports offer a grim glimpse at the toll on Texas should the court decide against the Obama administration. An estimated 1 million in Texas could lose their […]

Lawsuit filed against APF

Sweet. An Austin-based lobbyist has sued the group behind the secret videotaping of Capitol insiders in an attempt to compel it to reveal its major donors and other detailed financial information. Steve Bresnen issued a statement saying he is suing the American Phoenix Foundation and its co-founder Joseph Basel alleging the group broke laws that […]

DPS, investigate thyself

What could possibly go wrong? Set to take over statewide corruption investigations, the Texas Department of Public Safety must decide whether it will investigate itself. In April, DPS Director Steve McCraw demanded that the Travis County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit re-start a probe into a no-bid border-security contract issued by his agency. The director […]

Keg dispute

Your beer choices at certain fancy restaurants in Houston have been curtailed. A dispute over deposit fees for kegged beers could slow the flow of several craft brands, including a few that are made locally, at some of Houston’s best-known bars. The issue boiled over this week when Silver Eagle Distributors instituted an unannounced 20 […]

What happens if SCOTUS does not uphold marriage equality?

Nothing good, that’s for sure. Gay and lesbian couples could face legal chaos if the Supreme Court rules against same-sex marriage in the next few weeks. Same-sex weddings could come to a halt in many states, depending on a confusing mix of lower-court decisions and the sometimes-contradictory views of state and local officials. Among the […]

No special session on same sex marriage

Sorry, wingnuts. Gov. Greg Abbott apparently really meant it when he said last week he will not call a special session of the Legislature. In an interview with San Antonio’s WOAI-AM on Monday, Abbott said calls for a session on same-sex marriage haven’t changed his mind about bringing back the lawmakers who left town last […]

Fifth Circuit does it again on HB2

Awful. In a blow to the state’s abortion providers, federal appeals judges on Tuesday upheld a state law requiring nearly all Texas facilities that perform the procedure to meet hospital-like standards. A three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state can require abortion clinics to meet ambulatory surgical center […]

Campus student body presidents call for veto of campus carry bill

From the Rice Thresher: In a letter signed by 12 other Texas university presidents, Student Association President Jazz Silva called for Texas Governor Greg Abbott to not sign Senate Bill 11, which would allow licensed Texans to carry concealed handguns on college campuses statewide, including at Rice. Abbott has previously said he will sign the […]

One Ratliff wants to come back

Rubber match in HD115. Bennett Ratliff will run for the Dallas-area House seat he lost to state Rep. Matt Rinaldi by just 92 votes in the 2014 GOP primary, the Coppell Republican announced Monday. “What the district has noticed is that there is a huge contrast between our records,” Ratliff, a civil engineer and longtime […]

Further lessons in throwing money at dishonest people

It’s so sad seeing such savvy businessmen being so badly fleeced, isn’t it? A second major donor to the conservative group that secretly recorded elected officials and lobbyists says he stopped providing financial support after growing dissatisfied with how his money was being used. Anthony Holm, a staple in Texas conservative circles and a consultant […]

HISD’s test scores

Not so good. Needs to be better. Houston ISD high school students continue to struggle with reading and writing, passing state exams at significantly lower rates than the state average, new results show. The district’s scores in algebra, biology and U.S. history also dipped a couple of points from last year, at a slightly sharper […]

Taking decentralization too far

Seriously? The governor and attorney general might have to work in Austin, but under a proposed constitutional amendment, they won’t have to live there. Under the proposed amendment, the century-old requirement that state leaders reside in the capital city would be erased and all statewide officeholders could live anywhere in Texas. Supporters cited modern communications […]

Fraser and Ratliff to step down

There’s good news: State Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, announced Tuesday that he is not running for re-election, ending a tenure at the Capitol that has spanned four decades. “There comes a time when leaders must take a look at the trail they have blazed and reflect on all they have done,” Fraser wrote in […]

Compromise property tax appraisal bill signed

It’s better than nothing, though not by that much. Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a bill that partially closes a loophole that allowed a powerful oil company to take back millions in tax dollars from Houston-area school districts while draining hundreds of millions more from local government coffers. The measure that won final approval, HB […]

Three legislators announce their departure

The first to say goodbye is Rep. Sylvester Turner. Representative Sylvester Turner fought back tears today as the House gave him a bipartisan farewell as he concluded a 26-year legislative career to run for Houston mayor. “My time is up. My season is about here. And Mr. Speaker, in 24 hours, my desk will be […]

Ethics reform dies its expected death

The only surprise is that it took this long. With no collective will to expose dark money contributions in Texas, a major ethics overhaul was snuffed out in the waning hours of the 2015 legislative session. “It’s dead,” Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, said Saturday afternoon. “When the Senate chose not to include campaign disclosure reform […]

Immigration bills fail

Another thing to celebrate from this session. As the sun begins to set on the 84th Texas Legislature, promises to enact tough immigration legislation remain unfulfilled. State Sen. Donna Campbell says she’s not giving up just because the last gavel is about to drop. Campbell, a New Braunfels Republican, tried unsuccessfully to pass Senate Bill […]

The new closet

From this Observer story about how Democrats finally managed to put a stake through Rep. Cecil Bell’s awful anti-same-sex-marriage-license bill, comes word of the legislative preference that dare not speak its name: [Rep. Jason] Villalba’s statements were a clear reminder that it wasn’t just Democrats who killed anti-LGBT proposals. And they were another sign of […]

Tighter spending cap defeated

I consider this to be a victory. The state’s constitutional spending cap will remain untouched this session, and House and Senate leaders are blaming each other for the lack of action on the arcane but politically important measure. Senate Republicans had sought to tighten the rules that guide how much future state budgets can grow, […]

Amended campus carry passes

All things considered, this could have been a lot worse. The Texas Senate took a final vote Saturday to approve legislation requiring the state’s public universities to allow handguns in dorms, classrooms and campus buildings. Under the latest version of the bill, universities would be able to carve out gun-free zones in locations of their […]

Mayoral candidate forum season gets underway

Gentlemen, start your oratorical engines for these upcoming Mayoral candidate forums. The events, which will focus on arts and culture, economic development, and labor and community concerns, kick off a months-long cycle in which the candidates will appear before various interest groups, speaking to their specific concerns. Wednesday’s arts forum at the Asia Society comes […]

Dan Patrick’s defeat

The Observer reviews how Dan Patrick’s Senate could ultimately take no firmer a stance against same sex marriage than to pass a resolution disapproving of it. In last night’s “debate” over the resolution, Lucio, a passionate pro-life Catholic, rose to give a personal speech about his own convictions. “From our bibles, we learn of one […]