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Posts Tagged ‘The Lege’

Collin County argues against anti-Paxton prosecutor lawsuit

Reluctantly. [Collin County Commissioners] Court on Thursday urged a Dallas judge to drop a lawsuit seeking to block payment to the special prosecutors. The suit, filed in December by local real estate developer and Paxton donor Jeffory Blackard, should be declared moot because the commissioners already had sent the prosecutors their six-figure check, the county […]

Support Jessica Farrar

From Andrea Greer: Last week, Senator John Whitmire addressed a crowd of supporters at a fundraiser for Representative Jessica Farrar. “Jessica, I’m here because until today, I gotta be honest,” he admitted, “I didn’t know you had a challenger.” Senator Whitmire is hardly the only one caught by surprise by not just the fact that […]

State of the county 2016

This year’s theme is cooperation and meeting challenges. In his ongoing effort to revive the Astrodome, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett on Tuesday proposed using the aging landmark for an outdoor light show when Houston hosts the Super Bowl next February. Emmett discussed the future of the Ddome and touched on the challenges the county […]

Two more places that Uber won’t operate

Goodbye, Galveston. Just days after the City Council passed an ordinance designed to regulate transportation networks, Uber has shut down its service in Galveston. Monday evening, people in Galveston who tried to use the phone app to order a ride received a message that Uber is no longer available in Galveston “Due to new regulations […]

Endorsement watch: Succeeding Sylvester

The Chron makes its choice for HD139. We encourage Democratic Party voters to look for a candidate who will emulate Turner’s successful model of connecting constituents’ interests with the levers of state power in Austin. We believe that Kimberly Willis will be that candidate. Willis’ experience as a former staffer in the Legislature and as […]

Interview with Randy Bates

We wrap up our series of interviews with candidates in HD139, the longtime office of now-Mayor Sylvester Turner. Today’s subject is attorney Randy Bates, founder and partner in a firm concentrating in public finance. Bates served for over 20 years on the board of trustees of the Lone Star College System, including seven years as […]

Interview with Kimberly Willis

As noted before, there are four candidates vying to succeed Mayor Sylvester Turner as State Representative in HD139. Kimberly Willis is a licensed social worker who earned her MSW at the University of Houston and is employed by the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department. A native of Acres Homes, Willis served as a Policy Analyst […]

Once again, I spoke too soon about the Ethics Commission and Ken Paxton

I’ll be damned. The Texas Ethics Commission declined to pass an opinion that would have said it was okay for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to accept out-of-state gifts from donors to help pay the legal costs for his indictment. At a meeting on Monday, the Texas Ethics Commission voted 4-3 on an opinion that […]

Endorsement watch: What Brown can do for you

The Chron picks its favorite among the challengers in HD27. [Rep. Ron] Reynolds, a three-term incumbent, was named Freshman of the Year by the House Democratic Caucus at the end of the 2011 session; two years later he landed on Texas Monthly’s “Worst” list. This year he needs to attend to his own problems while […]

Interview with Jerry Ford, Jr

There is one Democratic-held open seat in Harris County, and that’s HD139, which has been vacated by now-Mayor Sylvester Turner. Four candidates are running to succeed Turner; I have interviews with three of them. First up is Jerry Ford, Jr, a former all-conference baseball player and student activist at TSU, where he served in the […]

Another legal bill for Texas

That’s what happens when you lose. The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to let stand a ruling that awarded more than $1.1 million to lawyers who represented former Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis and several minority-rights groups in a case challenging Texas’ redistricting plans. The justices this week refused to review the state’s appeal of […]

Lujan wins HD118 special election runoff

I know everyone is focused on the primaries now, but there was an actual election this past week. Winning in a district long held by Democrats, Republican John Lujan outpolled Tomás Uresti in Tuesday’s special runoff in Texas House District 118. Filling a seat vacated last year by former state Rep. Joe Farias, D-San Antonio, […]

Paxton can get some help with his legal bills

With some conditions attached, for whatever that’s worth. Indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton could tap out-of-state supporters to pay his legal defense team but must ensure those funds have not been funneled from any Texas donors, according to a draft advisory opinion from the state’s ethics regulator. The Texas Ethics Commission is scheduled to vote […]

Rep. McClendon resigns her seat

Farewell to a good legislator. State Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, who isn’t seeking re-election this year, has submitted a letter of resignation to Gov. Greg Abbott effective Sunday, with 11 months remaining in her term. McClendon, D-San Antonio, has served in the Texas House representing the East Side district since 1996. She currently serves as […]

Interview with Angelique Bartholomew

As noted, three-term Rep. Ron Reynolds has drawn three challengers in HD27. You’re aware of Rep. Reynolds’ recent issues, and he is aware of what I have said about him here. As such, he declined to be interviewed. You can check out the interview I did with him for his first campaign in 2008 here […]

Interview with Steve Brown

While HD137 is the only Democratic legislative primary in Harris County that features an incumbent and a serious opponent, it’s not the only one in the greater area. Over in Fort Bend, three-term Rep. Ron Reynolds has drawn three challengers in HD27. You’re aware of Rep. Reynolds’ recent issues, and he is aware of what […]

MALDEF sues over provision of border bill

Worth watching. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, filed suit Sunday against Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw and the Texas Public Safety Commission, which oversees the DPS. The group alleges that the state has violated the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause because immigration enforcement is only […]

Interview with Edward Pollard

Four Democratic legislators in Harris County have drawn primary challengers this year. Three of them – Reps. Alma Allen, Jessica Farrar, and Hubert Vo – drew opponents who filed at the last minute. None of their challengers can be described as serious. The fourth incumbent Democratic State Rep to have a contested primary is Rep. […]

Interview with Rep. Gene Wu

We turn now to legislative races, where there are a couple of open seats and a couple of challenged incumbents to keep an eye on. State Rep. Gene Wu is in his second term, having won a four-way primary in 2012 to succeed the retiring Rep. Scott Hochberg; here’s the interview I did with him […]

Maybe the state should regulate Uber and Lyft after all

Texas Monthly reviews the current state of affairs with transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft and their fight against mandatory fingerprinting as part of the background checks that new drivers must ondergo, all of which is playing out in Austin right now. The argument in favor of the [fingerptint] provision is simple: Lyft and […]

Chron overview of HD27 primary

Also known as Ron Reynolds versus the world. “This is the biggest challenge of my political career,” Reynolds said. “It will be an uphill climb, but I’m confident.” The March 1 primary includes lawyer Angelique Bartholomew, prosecutor Christopher Henderson and Steve Brown, former chairman of the Fort Bend County Democrats. House District 27 covers most […]

Another way to achieve bail reform

From the Quorum Report: The unnecessary death of Sandra Bland in the Waller County Jail last summer has now put the reform of bail bonds in focus as a key criminal justice issue ahead of the next legislative session. Last month, a Waller County grand jury declined to indict those involved in [Sandra] Bland’s arrest […]

Special election set for HD139

Ask, and ye shall receive. A special election for state House District 139 has been set for May 7, according to a gubernatorial proclamation issued Friday, setting in motion the race to serve out the remaining months of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s legislative term. […] Special election candidates must file by March 7, six days […]

Reynolds loses another request in court

More bad news. State Rep. Ron Reynolds has lost his bid to resume practicing law while he appeals his conviction for illegally soliciting clients. Montgomery County County Court-at-Law Judge Mary Ann Turner on Thursday denied the request by Reynolds, who argued that the bond condition prevents him from being able to financially support his family. […]

The Chron on the El Franco Lee successor selection process

First, a lamentation. Not even a month has passed since Sylvester Turner was sworn in as Houston’s new mayor, and already the next election cycle is just around the corner. Early voting for party primaries is about a month away, running from Feb. 16 through Feb. 26. Election Day is March 1. Safely gerrymandered districts often […]

Selecting a successor for El Franco Lee: Process and questions

From the inbox, sent by Carroll Robinson. The Issue During the past few days, there has been a great deal of speculation about the legal process for selecting someone to replace the late Commissioner El Franco Lee on the November 2016 General Election ballot. (Texas Election Code, Subchapter C. Sections 172.057, 172.058 and 172.054 (1).) […]

Environmentalists petition EPA to strip Texas of some authorities

This unfortunately is not likely to go anywhere, but I relish the idea anyway. Alleging that Texas has dramatically eroded its safeguards against air and water pollution, two environmental groups are asking the federal government to step in. The Environmental Defense Fund and the Caddo Lake Institute are petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency to strip […]

When will there be a special election to fill Mayor Turner’s legislative term?

The Leader News brings up a point that I haven’t seen mentioned elsewhere, namely that HD139 is now vacant since the inauguration of Mayor Sylvester Turner. They have their top-of-page-one story devoted to this, but of course you can’t find it on their crappy website, so you have to go to their digital edition to […]

Republicans sure are hoping to get a bailout on school finance

Am I the only one who thinks that a lot of this sounds like wishful thinking? The Texas Supreme Court may punt in a far-reaching school finance case, asking a lower court to assess the Legislature’s latest efforts on public schools. If it does, a new law may reduce the influence of trial judges elected […]

Two abortion stories

The amicus briefs are being filed in the HB2 case. The Obama administration on Monday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a Texas abortion law that has shuttered nearly half the clinics in the state, saying the Republican-backed regulations would harm rather than protect women’s health. […] If allowed to take full effect, […]

Austin versus San Antonio on ridesharing

The Current reviews the state of play. In the spring of 2014, Lyft led the way in Austin, but the company launched without city approval and was eventually banned, along with Uber, which launched in the capital a short time later. Roughly a year ago, Austin’s city council eased its fight, allowing ride-hailing companies to […]

How ready is Texas law enforcement for open carry?

Hard to say. But we’ll begin to find out soon enough. Texas law enforcement has also been pretty vocal about their concerns with open carry. They are, after all, the group who’ll have to deal with most of the potential fallout of the new law in the upcoming months. While a majority of police chiefs […]

2016 Election page is up

Here it is. A few notes: – This is for races that will appear on the Harris County ballot only. Our ballot is big enough, with enough contested primary races, that I didn’t have the time or the energy to do anything more ambitious. It’s great that there is such interest in running for office […]

AG’s office upholds Abbott’s line item vetos

Of course it does. Gov. Greg Abbott was well within his powers when he vetoed more than $200 million in funds approved by the Texas Legislature this year, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office wrote in an opinion issued Monday. […] The nonbinding opinion, written by First Assistant Attorney General Chip Roy, has the potential […]