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Posts Tagged ‘The Lege’

The explosion in West will change nothing

That’s just how we roll around here. A year after the blast killed 15 people and injured hundreds, Texas lawmakers have yet to propose or put into action any major reforms in an attempt to prevent future industrial accidents, whether it’s at a small, rural fertilizer retailer or a petrochemical plant along the Houston Ship […]

Another trip down Demography Lane

From the Sunday Chron op-ed pages: Texas is headed for the ditch, but few people are aware of the state’s perilous path. The demographers have seen the future, though, because it’s foretold in their numbers. And they’ve been sounding the alarm. There hasn’t been much of a public-policy response, so far. Texas could be the […]

Two truths about testing

Lisa Falkenberg boils it down. While there’s no doubt standardized tests are an important part of student assessment, somewhere along the way, they became too important. We’ve tethered them to everything from student promotion to teacher pay to school reputation. And it’s not just the test days that take away from meaningful learning but the […]

Planned Parenthood petitions Fifth Circuit for en banc review of HB2 ruling

From the inbox: Today, Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas filed a petition on behalf of their patients to request that the full bench of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals consider the constitutionality of harmful abortion restrictions that were struck down by  a federal district court last fall. On March 27, a three-judge panel of the court […]

No hiding behind privilege

Here’s your latest voter ID litigation update, from the Brad Blog: Just over a week ago, it was North Carolina legislators ordered by the court to cough up documentation relating to passage of new, draconian restrictions on voting rights in their state. Now, legislators in Texas are facing much the same thing, as that state’s extreme polling […]

No, there won’t be a flood of equal pay lawsuits in Texas

There wasn’t one before, when the federal Lilly Ledbetter Act passed. There’s no reason to believe there will be one if a state version of the Ledbetter law is approved. Candidates for statewide office have wrangled recently over an effort to address sex-based wage discrimination by extending the window for lawsuits. But as the campaigns […]

The microbreweries aren’t done with the Legislature

Microbreweries took a big step forward in 2013, but there’s still more to be done. The 2013 legislative session, which featured the largest overhaul of the beer industry since 1993, was viewed by many observers as a watershed moment for craft brewers in Texas. But in testimony before the House Economic and Small Business Development […]

What the Burnam case is about

I’m still not sure what to think about Rep. Lon Burnam’s electoral challenge against Ramon Romero in HD90. In a case that election officials statewide are monitoring — because it involves the use of electronic devices such as iPads — attorneys say enough ballots are in question to make a difference in the race Burnam […]

Perry special prosecutor is “concerned”

As are we all. A special prosecutor investigating whether Gov. Rick Perry abused his authority when he eliminated state funding of the Texas public integrity unit — which investigates government corruption and is housed in the Travis County district attorney’s office — said what he’s found so far is “concerning.” “I cannot elaborate on what […]

Another lawsuit against HB2 to be filed

If at first you don’t succeed… Less than a week after a federal court upheld two new Texas abortion requirements already in effect, abortion providers announced plans to file a second lawsuit targeting additional regulations that the Republican-led Legislature passed in July. The suit that the group plans to file Wednesday in a federal court […]

Burnam election challenge update

Moving along, but no timeline as yet. A state district judge from Denton County will oversee a case involving long-time state Rep. Lon Burnam‘s accusations that votes were cast illegally in the Democratic Party primary last month. State District Judge Robert McFarling was appointed Friday by state District Judge David Evans, the administrative judge for […]

Just a reminder, the Ledbetter bill was bipartisan

I mean, it had to be bipartisan to pass in the Lege, but let’s keep that in mind as the debate continues. After 42 years in the Texas House, Rep. Senfronia Thompson has earned a nickname – “Miz T” – that evokes equal parts respect, affection and fear. When she filed the Texas version of […]

Dallas adopts plastic bag fee

A fee, not a ban. Stores in Dallas will charge customers five cents for most kinds of plastic or paper carryout bags, under a measure approved Wednesday by the City Council. At the urging of council member Dwaine Caraway, the council voted 8-6 to assess an “environmental fee” for single-use carryout bags. The five-cent charge […]

Fifth Circuit does its thing again

There was never any doubt. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld the new abortion regulations that were passed in July by the Republican-led Texas Legislature. The plaintiffs, who represent the majority of abortion providers in Texas, including four Planned Parenthood affiliates, Whole Woman’s Health and other independent abortion providers, challenged the constitutionality of […]

Tesla’s stealth visit to San Antonio

May mean something, or it may not. A pair of executives from Tesla Motors Inc., the electric carmaker that’s scouting a location for its planned $5 billion “gigafactory,” secretly met here Wednesday with top city and county officials, a person close to the discussion said. The meeting came less than a week after the San […]

Burnam files challenge in HD90

This ought to be interesting. State Rep. Lon Burnam filed a lawsuit Monday challenging his 111-vote re-election loss earlier this month. Burnam, D-Fort Worth, said the goal of the lawsuit is to review data from the Texas House District 90 election “to determine if there were hundreds of illegally cast ballots.” “I believe I have […]

Makeup days

Sorry, kids. Houston area schools are facing possible cuts in state funding, and a bruising in the court of public opinion, by making up days missed earlier this year because of icy roads. With little fat built into the spring school calendar and several days of mandatory state testing, Houston schools have little choice but […]

We still have no idea what the effect of the voter ID law will be

From the inbox, Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart declares victory for voter ID. The final results of the 2014 Democratic and Republican March 4th Primary Elections have been approved by the Democratic and Republican Parties. The results show that less than 0.01% of the voters did not present one of the forms of photo identification […]

Tesla and Texas

Tesla Motors currently can’t sell its cars in Texas via its preferred model of direct sales to consumers. Its attempts to modify state laws to allow for direct sales went nowhere last session, blocked by fierce opposition from the Texas Automobile Dealers Association. They’re now looking for a place to build their new batteries. Why […]

Pot polling

Our favorite pollsters aren’t optimistic about pot legalization despite some good looking poll numbers for it. In the February 2014 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, we asked respondents for their opinions on marijuana possession and gave them four options to choose from: “marijuana possession should not be legal under any circumstances;” “marijuana possession should be […]

Abbott comes out for inequality

Turns out he’s been a practitioner of it for some time. Equal pay for women is in the spotlight of the Texas governor’s race, and figures from Attorney General Greg Abbott’s state agency show most female assistant attorneys general make less on average than do men in the same job classification. Abbott’s office said the […]

The backlash to marriage equality

It’s been almost two weeks since a federal judge struck down Texas’ anti-gay marriage law. The sky hasn’t fallen, rivers continue to run downstream, dogs and cats are not cohabitating, and strangest of all, the Republican Party of Texas has not gone into full freakout mode. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a backlash coming, of […]

How much will science advance in the courts?

It’s up to the CCA to decide. Texas’ highest criminal court will hear arguments Wednesday in a case that could affect how evolving scientific evidence is used in courtrooms across the state. For Neal H. Robbins, the high court’s decision will determine whether he gets another shot at arguing his innocence. In 1999, a jury […]

What anti-gay bills?

From Lone Star Q: Ken Paxton, the odds-on favorite to be Texas’ next attorney general, says he isn’t familiar with recent “license to discriminate” bills in Arizona, Kansas and other states even though he co-authored a similar measure in 2013. Gay Realtor and LGBT activist Bob McCranie asked Paxton about his position on the anti-gay […]

Game room injunction lifted

The temporary reprieve that Harris County ganerooms got from the courts has been lifted. Houston and Harris County moved one step closer Friday in their quest to crack down on illegal game rooms after a judge threw out a restraining order which had blocked new regulations due to come into effect this month. Game room […]

Ramon Romero

The Fort Worth Business Press profiles Rep.-elect Ramon Romero and his winning race against longtime incumbent Rep. Lon Burnam in HD90. Ramon Romero Jr. describes himself as “that poor boy from Poly,” one of eight children of immigrant parents who grew up in working-class southeast Fort Worth, started his first business when he was 20 […]

A new day for the Harris County GOP?

Lisa Falkenberg postmortems the changing of the guard at the Harris County GOP. Now that [Paul] Simpson defeated [Jared] Woodfill in the Republican primary election earlier this week, [Rep. Sarah] Davis is hoping her past experience with him is prologue. She and others are looking to Simpson to provide a new kind of leadership, one […]

State Bar investigating Charles Sebesta

Good. The State Bar of Texas has opened an investigation into Charles Sebesta, the former Burleson County District Attorney who prosecuted death row exoneree Anthony Graves. The organization that oversees lawyers is investigating alleged professional misconduct by Sebesta, which, if proven, could result in his disbarment. The investigation was prompted by a complaint that Graves […]

County enforcement of game room regulations halted for now

Oops. A quest by the county and city to crack down on illegal game rooms has hit a legal roadblock after a civil court judge granted a temporary restraining order barring Harris County from enforcing strict, new regulations. The city had been poised to piggyback on the county’s rules under a new state law. Instead, […]

Primary results: Legislature and Congress

The big news on the Democratic side is the close loss by longtime Rep. Lon Burnam in HD90, who fell by 111 votes to Ramon Romero Jr. I know basically nothing about Rep.-elect Romero, but I do know that Rep. Burnam has been a progressive stalwart, and it is sad to see him go. His […]

Primary results: Harris County

The big news here is that there were no surprises on the Democratic side, in particular no unpleasant surprises. By far the best news was that Kim Ogg easily bested Lloyd Oliver in the primary for DA, with over 70% of the vote. I doubt we’ve seen the last of this particular plague on our […]

Nikki Araguz case reinstated

Good. A transgender woman who was denied benefits after her firefighter husband died in the line of duty will get another chance to litigate the case in a state district courtroom, the 13th Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. [...] Nikki Araguz has been on feminizing hormone therapy since age 18 and in 1996 successfully petitioned […]

Endorsement watch: Kim Ogg for DA

The Chronicle gives a ringing endorsement to Kim Ogg in the Democratic primary for District Attorney. Ogg has experience as a board-certified felony prosecutor, but she also has the broad view that comes from serving as director of Houston’s first anti-gang task force. After overseeing a 40 percent drop in gang violence, Ogg went to […]

School finance retrial wraps

We’re back where it all began. The Texas Legislature failed to bridge funding gaps between wealthy and poor school districts despite partial restoration of funds that were cut, lawyers representing schools told a state district judge Friday. “They have put a Band-aid on a Band-aid on a Band-aid,” said Rick Gray, attorney for the Texas […]