Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘The Lege’

More thoughts on the special election results

There has been very little news about the four legislative special elections that were decided last week, other than the brief hubbub over what the result in SD26 meant. Among other things, I’ve been looking for any kind of reporting on the results in the other three races, as well as on the fact that […]

More pre-K bills filed

The Observer has the best reporting on the latest pre-k bills that have been filed in the Lege. There’s widespread support around the Capitol for more state spending on pre-kindergarten programs, and much less agreement about how to do it. State Reps. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) and Marsha Farney (R-Georgetown) have proposed a $300-million-a-year plan to […]

Modified quote of the day: Do it our way or else

From this DMN story about the fight over local control in the Legislature this session. “[States’ rights] generally sounds good until you realize that some [states] are out of control,” said Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano. That of course is not what Rep. Leach said, but it illustrates the issue as clearly as I can. Republicans, […]

Bill filed to kill high speed rail line

Given all that’s been going on lately, I suppose this was inevitable. A lawmaker whose district sits near the proposed route for a planned bullet train connecting Houston and Dallas filed a bill Wednesday that could stop the project in its tracks. House Bill 1889 from state Rep. Will Metcalf, R-Conroe, a persistent critic of […]

Tesla tries again

They’ve brought more firepower to the fight this time, by which I mean “more lobbyists”, but we’ll see if they can break through. Let the car haggling resume at the Texas Capitol. A group of state lawmakers on Thursday filed legislation that would allow Tesla Motors to sell its luxury electric cars at as many […]

Judge Dietz would like the Lege to please fix school finance already

So would the rest of us, Your Honor. In his first major appearance since finding the Texas school finance system unconstitutional in 2014, state District Judge John Dietz said Sunday that a solution to the state’s unequal and ineffective public education system should come from the Legislature. “We are dooming a generation of these children […]

We can always pay for tax cuts later

Item One: Texas House leaders said Monday they can cut taxes by more than the $4 billion initially proposed by their Senate counterparts, upping the ante for the high-profile issue despite other looming big-ticket state needs. “We really believe that we ought to be able to do more than $4 billion in tax cuts here […]

The Texas Compassionate Use Act

Looks like this will be the main marijuana-related action in the Legislature this session. Two Texas lawmakers have filed bills that would allow epilepsy patients to use medicinal oils that contain a therapeutic component found in marijuana. But some medical marijuana advocates are reluctant to support the proposed Texas Compassionate Use Act, calling it “appeasement […]

Sports betting

There may soon come a day when you can place a bet on your favorite team without having to travel, visit offshore Internet websites, or interact with people who don’t have necks. [NBA Commissioner Adam] Silver, in a November op-ed submission to the New York Times, said he supports federal regulation creating “a safe and […]

The backlash has begun

Item one. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday asked the state Supreme Court to void a marriage license issued to two Austin women who became the first same-sex couple to legally wed in the state. Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, who have been together for 30 years, said their vows on Thursday after state […]

Plastic bag bans work

Someone tell Greg Abbott. Shortly before being sworn in as governor, Greg Abbott called for doing away with local bans on plastic bags, fracking and tree-cutting that he says amount to a “patchwork quilt of bans and rules and regulations that is eroding the Texas model.” Austin has bans on plastic bags and one of […]

Cities and counties push back on state meddling attempts

They’ve got their work cut out for them. The mayors of Texas’ largest cities on Monday pushed back against an initiative by state lawmakers to place new revenue caps on local communities as a way to answer conservatives’ demands to cut property taxes. As the city CEOs who represent a third of Texas’ population threw […]

Sylvester Turner announces his entry into the Mayor’s race

What we’ve all known about for months is now official. State Rep. Sylvester Turner announced his candidacy for Houston mayor today, formally adding the name of an influential lawmaker with deep ties to the African-American community to the growing field of contenders. For 25 years, Turner has risen through the ranks of the state House […]

State of the county 2015: Please cooperate more

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett makes his eighth State if the County address. In his eighth State of the County address, Emmett had choice words for both Austin – which is weighing a reduction in property taxes that form the backbone of county revenue – and for Houston – which has adopted a strategy of […]

Wal-Mart booze update

The Lege gets involved. One week after Wal-Mart sued the state for the right to sell hard liquor, two Texas lawmakers and a new coalition of businesses are taking the same fight to the Capitol. Wal-Mart, Kroger and the Texas Association of Business on Wednesday helped birth a new nonprofit group calling itself Texans for […]

Faith leaders rally for equality

Good to see. Faith leaders from across Texas gathered Tuesday at the state Capitol, urging legislators to lift the state’s ban on gay marriage and pass laws forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. While some cities — such as San Antonio, Houston and Plano — have recently passed ordinances that provide lesbian, […]

Views differ on SD26

From Campos. Before the State Senate District 26 Special started, Rep. José Menéndez and fellow Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer were both good elected officials and good Democrats. This morning they are still good elected officials and good Democrats. Somebody had to win. I have to admit I was kind of surprised with last night’s results. […]

Special election runoff results

Here you go, from the Secretary of State webpage. SD26 Trey Martinez Fischer 9,623 40.95% Jose Menendez 13,888 59.04% HD123 Diego Bernal 5,170 63.66% Nunzio Previtera 2,950 36.33% HD13 Carolyn Cerny Bilski 4,763 42.85% Leighton Schubert 6,350 57.14% HD17 John Cyrier 4,149 52.06% Brent Golemon 3,820 47.93% Here are stories from the Trib and Rivard […]

HD17 runoff overview

It’s Runoff Day today for the legislative special elections, and this overview of the HD17 runoff gives a good idea of what to expect from the winner in that race. As Republicans John Cyrier and Brent Golemon prepare to settle the score Tuesday, that ho-hum first round seems like the distant past. The once low-key […]

Don’t stop fighting for choice

That’s the message I take from this. They’re pushing a boulder up a hill in the conservative Texas Legislature. But three House Democrats remain laser-focused on repealing the 24-hour waiting period for abortion imposed by the state’s 2011 sonogram law. “This 24-hour waiting period has proven to be ineffective, unnecessary and cruel,” state Rep. Jessica […]

Wal-Mart sues Texas

It’s about booze. Wal-Mart filed a lawsuit in an Austin federal court on Thursday challenging a Texas law that forbids the company from owning and operating liquor stores in the state. The lawsuit says the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission code prevents Wal-Mart from obtaining a permit to sell hard alcohol because it is a publicly […]

Early voting is up in the special election runoffs

Make of that what you will. If three days of early voting are any indication, the tense runoff fight for the state Senate 26 seat between Trey Martinez-Fischer and José Menéndez is attracting more voters than cast ballots in the first round election on Jan. 6, the result of record spending in the campaign that […]

Abbott waffles on vaccinations

Come on, dude. Weighing in on a national debate, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made clear this week that he supports laws that include exemptions to requirements that parents vaccinate their children. “Abbott recognizes the public health benefits of vaccines and encourages all parents to have their children vaccinated, as he and the First Lady did […]

Improving infections disease response

This is an Ebola-inspired bill, but not an Ebola bill. So say the stakeholders, anyway. Months after three people in Texas were diagnosed with Ebola, several key state lawmakers on Wednesday proposed ways to prepare the state for the next disease-related emergency. The proposal, Senate Bill 538, would allow the governor to declare a state […]

SCOTUS could really screw Texas on Obamacare

You know how all those Texans have been signing up for health insurance via the Healthcare.gov exchange? Every single one of them stands to lose if the Supreme Court decides to play politics. Nearly 1 million Texans have now signed up for health insurance on the federal marketplace, known as healthcare.gov. But Texas, and 33 […]

Michael Morton still has work to do

We should be glad he’s doing it. Michael Morton, who spent nearly 25 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, said Monday that under current DNA testing requirements, he wouldn’t have had access to the evidence that led to his release. Morton joined state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, and lawyers from the New […]

Early voting for special election runoffs has begun

It began yesterday, but I forgot to queue up a post in time to mention it. Here’s some relevant information for those of you who need to get out and vote in one or more of these runoffs. For SD26 and HD123, here are the Bexar County early voting locations. The Bexar County Elections page […]

Reforming the grand jury system

Harris County DA Devon Anderson comes out in favor of changing how grand juries are selected. I have been the Harris County district attorney for 17 months now. In that time, one of the most frequently recurring issues I have been asked to address has been the selection of grand jurors by jury commissioners. Until […]

Here come those CFPB payday lending regulations

An update from the AP. Troubled by consumer complaints and loopholes in state laws, federal regulators are putting together the first rules on payday loans aimed at helping cash-strapped borrowers avoid falling into a cycle of high-rate debt. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says state laws governing the $46 billion payday lending industry often fall […]

Tax cuts >>> public education

Well, what did you expect? Senate budget writers have enjoyed praise from conservatives for their focus on tax cuts, but they’re about to get an earful from educators who think their promises could cost Texas public school students. The starting budgets of the state House and Senate, released last month, are similar on many fronts, […]

The odds never favor ethics reforms

Better to keep your hopes down and not suffer too much disappointment. Gov. Greg Abbott pledged on the campaign trail to lead the charge to improve the state’s ethics laws, and now lawmakers and advocates pushing for reform are looking to the newly elected governor to help breathe life into proposals at the Legislature. Lawmakers […]

We still have those outsourcing blues

We never learn from history. That’s just how we roll in this state. In 1991, the Texas attorney general’s office signed an $11 million contract to computerize its child-support payments system. By 1997, the deal with Andersen Consulting had ballooned to more than $68 million and was three years behind schedule. A state audit found […]

Ending exemptions for vaccines

Hear, hear. A Texas Republican is taking aim at a provision in state law that allows parents with personal or religious objections to vaccines to opt their children out of school immunization requirements. State Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, said Friday he will soon propose legislation to eliminate what are called “conscientious exemptions” because of the […]

Two city race updates

Item one: We have another candidate for Comptroller. Jew Don Boney, who sat on City Council for three terms in the 1990′s, will run for City Controller, he told the Chronicle Wednesday. Boney joins Houston Community College trustee Carroll Robinson and 2013 candidate Bill Frazer in the race for the city’s top financial officer. Two […]