Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘The Lege’

Chron Mayoral profile: Sylvester Turner

This is the seventh (and last!) in a series of profiles on the top candidates running for mayor in Houston. Sylvester Turner followed his mother’s wisdom like a beacon, through the University of Houston, where he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in political science, through Harvard Law School and 26 years in the […]

Some early legislative race news

Just a few links of interest. First, the race in SD24 heats up. Republican state Rep. Susan King said Monday that she will join an increasingly crowded primary field to replace retiring GOP state Sen. Troy Fraser. King had earlier said she would not seek re-election to the House, where she is serving her fifth […]

The latest example of how nuts our beer laws are

Ridiculous. The latest flashpoint between Texas beer lovers and state beer law is a 32-ounce aluminum can that bars and restaurants fill with beer and sell to be consumed off-site. The can, called a crowler, is praised for its convenience and ability to keep beer fresh for longer than traditional to-go packaging. The problem, state […]

No support for a jail administrator

Not without the consent of the Legislature. The idea of shifting leadership of the Harris County Jail to an administrator may be losing steam, several county leaders said Thursday after reviewing a feasibility study by the sheriff’s office. Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack asked newly appointed Sheriff Ron Hickman in May to look into the […]

2015 Texas Lyceum poll

Issues first, election stuff to come. From the press release: The 2015 Texas Lyceum Poll Finds:  Immigration remains the most important issue facing the state and Texans support lawmakers’ increased spending on border security. Texans’ views on  gay marriage are changing. Forty nine percent of Texans support gay marriage – up from 29 percent in 2009. […]

DNA mixtures

Grits reports on the latest developments in forensics at a hearing of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, and what it means to the legal system in Texas and elsewhere. First, a bit of background. DNA testing looks at two metrics on X and Y axes: Whether alleles are present at various loci, and the quantity […]

Uber update, part 1

The Chron, in conjunction with Al Jazeera Americas, gives the first of what should be a four-part look at how Uber is doing in Houson. Less than a year after Houston began regulating so-called transportation network companies, questions persist about safety assurances from Uber, the city’s sole entrant in the field. Uber is testing local […]

Harris Health wants more people to enroll in Obamacare

Who can blame them? Harris County’s public health care agency, responding to a budget crisis, will eliminate more than 19,000 people next year from eligibility for free or nearly free services, hoping most of these patients will obtain coverage through the Affordable Care Act. The board of the agency, Harris Health, voted Thursday to reduce […]

Craft beer lawsuit

This ought to be interesting. On the same day merger talk surfaced regarding the world’s two biggest beer companies, a small Dallas brewery announced its own effort to shake up the industry in Texas. Deep Ellum Brewing Co. launched the crowd-funded “Operation Six-Pack to Go” on Wednesday and said it had filed a federal lawsuit […]

$8 million and counting for voter ID litigation

Ka-ching. Republicans used their majority in 2011 to muscle through the Legislature a controversial voter ID law and new redistricting maps — and Texas taxpayers haven’t stopped picking up the bill for the state to defend those measures in courts ever since. Texas’ total legal tab to date: more than $8 million, data obtained under […]

When might we get a Supreme Court ruling on school finance?

When they’re damn good and ready is the usual answer for Supreme Court rulings, but in the case of school finance lawsuits they usually act with some measure of speed. Given past rulings and politics — three justices on the nine-member, all-Republican court are up for re-election next year — the consensus among experts and […]

Rangers finish Stickland report

Rulebreaking but not lawbreaking is the conclusion. A Texas Rangers investigation released Tuesday found that the staff of state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, filled out witness registration forms for people who were not in the Capitol but that no one committed any prosecutable offenses. House leaders have long said that legislative rules require witnesses who […]

Packing heat at the zoo

Yeah, this won’t cause any controversy. Houston Zoo officials have been forced to remove long-standing “no guns” signage from the city-owned property after a prominent gun rights attorney filed a complaint, marking the first visible local example of a new state law that targets government entities illegally restricting concealed carry. Though the Houston Zoo is […]

Rep. Susan King not running for re-election

Though she may run for Senate instead. State Rep. Susan King has decided against seeking re-election as she considers a run for the Texas Senate, the Abilene Republican announced Tuesday. King said she would announce by the end of the month whether to launch a bid for Senate District 24, where Troy Fraser is stepping […]

Yet another report on pensions

Yippie. Some city leaders have spent years standing in the town square, hollering themselves hoarse that Houston’s financial footing is unstable, that huge pension costs threaten the city’s future ability to police the streets, pick up trash and maintain parks. In recent weeks, they’ve been joined by two others with bullhorns: The Greater Houston Partnership […]

On cellphones and school zones

I guess I need to talk about this. Six years ago, state lawmakers hoping to protect students banned drivers from texting and talking on hand-held cellphones in school zones. The ban, however, has never been enforced in Houston. City and school district officials have opted not to install the warning signs needed to issue tickets, […]

The local minimum wage fight

Not quite on the radar here, but it could be. After years of failed proposals in the Texas Legislature to raise the minimum wage, organizers and advocates for higher hourly wages are going local. Leaders in two major Texas cities and two large counties will vote soon on raising minimum wages for public employees and, […]

Rep. McClendon to step down

She’ll be missed. State Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, a San Antonio Democrat and 19-year veteran of the Texas House who tenaciously championed social justice reform, said Wednesday that she is not running for re-election. McClendon was elected in 1996 to represent East Side voters in House District 120 and has emerged as a fixture in […]

Abortion providers go to SCOTUS

I sure hope this works out. Texas abortion providers on Wednesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up their legal challenge to two provisions of the state’s strict abortion law. After losing at the appellate level, a coalition of abortion providers is asking the high court for a reprieve from restrictions passed by the […]

Houston pleads its case to the Supreme Court

We’ll see how they did. “The point of all this is to protect the public and the environment, to have clean air, and the TCEQ, for the Texas Clean Air Act, envisions that it be vigorously enforced,” [Houston attorney Robert] Higgason said. “This is what the statute makes reference to — cities being allowed to […]

Once again to the Supreme Court for school finance

Like deja vu all over again, and again and again and… The Texas Supreme Court is again faced with determining whether the state’s method of funding public schools is unconstitutional, the latest in a series of school finance challenges stretching back more than 30 years. In oral arguments Tuesday, lawyers representing the state argued that […]

Houston’s environmental protection ordinances go to the Supreme Court

Where, sadly, they’ll likely get killed. State environmental regulators don’t adequately enforce air pollution laws, the city of Houston believes, and on Wednesday it will ask the state’s highest civil court to let it keep trying to do the job itself. The state Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case challenging a pair of […]

Supreme Court to hear school finance appeal

We near the end of the road. This road, anyway. Shut out by lawmakers in their efforts to overhaul the state’s troubled education funding system, more than 600 school districts are now pinning their hopes for relief on the Texas Supreme Court. The high court will hear arguments on the volatile issue of school finance […]

Hegar punts LBB veto issue to Paxton

Duck! Describing the debate as one that “goes to the heart of separation of powers within Texas government,” Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced Wednesday that he will not authorize more than $200 million in funds approved by the Texas Legislature but vetoed by Gov. Greg Abbott as the comptroller waits for the attorney general to settle […]

Special election set in HD118

I wonder what the record for special elections in a county in a single year is. Gov. Greg Abbott has scheduled Nov. 3 as the date for a special election to fill former state Rep. Jose Farias’ seat in the Texas House. Abbott signed a proclamation this week to have the latest San Antonio special […]

Voting by mail made easier

The Trib is reviewing some of the bills that were passed this spring and the changes they will bring, one of which will be to make the voting by mail process easier. In Texas, disabled or elderly residents can currently receive mail-in ballots for all elections in a calendar year under a seemingly innocuous condition: […]

“Sanctuary cities” legislation will be back

Better be ready for it. With debate over the nation’s immigration policies once again approaching full boil, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Wednesday pledged that the Senate next session would pass legislation to address so-called sanctuary cities. Patrick lamented that the Legislature this year didn’t pass a measure to bar local rules that prohibit police […]

State ordered to pay fees in redistricting litigation

They don’t seem to be interested in doing that, however. In a scolding tone, a federal appeals court panel in Washington, D.C., ordered the state of Texas on Tuesday to pay more than $1 million in attorneys’ fees in a case challenging district boundaries drawn by the Republican-led Legislature. First under the direction of then-Texas […]

SA Council approves new rules to allow Lyft to return

Close vote, but it counts. The ride-hailing firm Lyft will soon re-start operations in San Antonio in the wake of a controversial City Council decision Thursday that will allow the company to offer rides here during a nine-month pilot program. The council spent more than three hours listening to public comment and debating among themselves […]

Farias resigns from HD118

Guess what, San Antonio? You get to have another special election! State Rep. Joe Farias, D-San Antonio, submitted a letter of resignation to Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday, officially ending a decade-long career as a state lawmaker and prompting the need for a special election to fill his House District 118 seat. Farias had already […]

Another Voting Rights Act lawsuit filed

Naturally, it originates in Texas. Today, on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) sued the State of Texas, the Williamson County Elections Department, and the city of Round Rock for denying Asian American voters with limited English proficiency the right to […]

Lyft to come back to San Antonio

San Antonio is no longer without any rideshare companies. The ride-hailing company Lyft is poised to return in the “near future” to San Antonio — after the City Council reviews a proposed pilot program next week. Councilman Roberto Treviño, who spent the summer negotiating a deal with the company, said Friday that Lyft officials have […]

State Health Services department finally amends that death certificate

Good. Complying with a federal court order, Texas has issued an amended death certificate acknowledging a Conroe man as the husband of a same-sex spouse who had died in January. The men had been married in New Mexico in 2014, when Texas still banned gay marriage. Shortly after the change was made Thursday night, state […]

Family affair in HD118

Two families, actually. The race to replace retiring state Rep. Joe Farias in House District 118 is shaping up to be a contest featuring two well-known San Antonio political families: Farias vs. Uresti. Farias’ son, Gabe, said he filed paperwork last week with the Texas Ethics Commission to appoint a campaign treasurer in what marks […]