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Posts Tagged ‘The Lege’

HD146 nomination process to take place on August 6

Mark your calendars. Last Saturday, State Rep. Borris Miles secured the Democratic nomination to replace Senator Rodney Ellis for Senate District 13. As a result, Rep. Miles will have to vacate his seat in House District 146. Precinct chairs will convene again to select a replacement nominee for House District 146. The replacement process will […]

NBA pulls 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte

Bam! The NBA issued the following statement Thursday regarding the 2017 NBA All-Star Game: “The NBA has decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte with the hope of rescheduling for 2019. “Since March, when North Carolina enacted HB2 and the issue of legal protections for the LGBT community in Charlotte became prominent, the […]

Fifth Circuit affirms voter ID ruling

Made it by the deadline. Texas’ voter identification law violates the U.S. law prohibiting racial discrimination in elections, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed previous rulings that the 2011 voter ID law — which stipulates the types of photo identification election officials can and cannot accept at […]

Feds leave oversight of Texas Central to the state

No change in status. A proposed high-speed rail line between Houston and Dallas will remain a mostly Texas matter following a federal decision which opponents cheered as a blow to the project, while backers said provided a definitive scope of the planning process. The Surface Transportation Board on Monday determined it has no oversight of […]

Miles wins SD13 nomination

And so we gathered again to pick a nominee to fill an open slot on the ballot, though at least this time the “we” who did the actual picking did not include me. I went to observe, say Hi, gather intelligence, and just generally enjoy the process. if you didn’t know anything about that process […]

What will the NBA do with Charlotte?

We are still waiting to see if NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will follow through with a threat to move the NBA All-Star Game out of Charlotte after North Carolina passed its odious anti-LGBT law HB2. Houston’s 2015 defeat of Proposition 1, an anti-discrimination ordinance known as the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), could jeopardize future […]

Legislative hearing on emergency leave

Figure this will be on the legislative agenda next spring. At a Texas House hearing Tuesday looking into how some state agencies were able to keep some departing employees on the public payroll by granting them emergency leave, lawmakers expressed frustration that vague state rules may have allowed the practice. “I want to know exactly […]

Today’s the day for SD13

Feels like we’ve been here before, doesn’t it? Today is the day for the Senate precinct convention in SD13, in which a nominee for that office to replace Sen. Rodney Ellis will be chosen. There are 96 precinct chairs in total across Harris and Fort Bend Counties, and we know the basic process by now. […]

Guardianship

An eye-opening story in the Observer on a subject many of us probably never think about. Guardianship is the state’s last-ditch tool to protect people from neglect or abuse, and although it saves lives, it can be a blunt instrument. More than 53,000 Texans, most of them elderly or intellectually disabled, are under a guardianship […]

The Observer talks to now-retired Judge John Dietz about school finance reform

A brief taste: One really important point, which was certainly not addressed [by the Supreme Court]: With economically disadvantaged students, the undisputed testimony is that if you didn’t grow up economically disadvantaged, when you arrived at school you had roughly a 1,500-word vocabulary and understood probably another 1,000 words. An economically disadvantaged child shows up […]

More opposition to North Carolina’s HB2

The Justice Department seeks to halt implementation of North Carolina’s viciously anti-LGBT law. The billowing legal fight over North Carolina’s House Bill 2 continued to grow this week with the U.S. Department of Justice asking a federal judge to suspend the law pending the outcome of a trial. The federal agency sued the state over […]

Sandra Bland, one year later

The timing of this is tragically appropriate. With confident, and sometimes vulnerable, lyrics, a group of poets and singers Sunday afternoon commemorated the life of [Sandra] Bland, who had been found dead in her Waller County Jail cell three days after her arrest. Authorities ruled the 28-year-old’s death a suicide. More than 75 people assembled […]

Another view of Democratic goals for 2016

Sounds about right. Some Democrats say Clinton has a chance at winning a majority in Texas, where interest is heightened because U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro has been mentioned as a possible Clinton running mate. Castro said Friday that he isn’t being vetted as one. They’re looking for Trump’s rhetoric to help […]

More on Mississippi’s anti-LGBT law and the effect in Texas

Doesn’t look like we’re going to learn anything from the Mississippi experience. Reeves’ ruling isn’t likely to deter Texas Republicans who have stated adamantly that Christians and others with sincerely held religious beliefs need extra protection when following their faith, particularly after the U.S. Supreme Court last year allowed gay marriage and the Obama administration […]

Endorsement watch: Labor for Thompson, the Mayor for Miles

From the inbox: The Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO today announced their support of Senfronia Thompson for State Senator District 13. “Our unions screened two candidates for Senate District 13 — Representatives Senfronia Thompson and Borris Miles,” said Zeph Capo, President of the Area Labor Federation. “Both candidates have been steadfast allies in […]

Abbott pre-K plan falls short

Well, duh. In Texas, where pre-K is scorned by some conservative activists as “godless,” Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s major education initiative is giving classrooms far less money than many once thought, causing even the district of the governor’s high school alma mater to now rebuff his plan. Texas handed out $116 million in pre-K grants […]

Lawsuit filed over campus carry

This ought to be interesting. Three University of Texas at Austin professors sued their university and the state on Wednesday, claiming Texas’ new campus carry law is forcing the school to impose “overly-solicitous, dangerously-experimental gun policies” that violate the First and Second Amendments. The professors — Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore and Mia Carter — […]

From the “You can dish it out but you sure can’t take it” files

Poor baby. After years of Texas trying to lure businesses away from other states, New York has struck back — with an ad that paints the Lone Star State as unwelcoming and discriminatory to the LGBT community. The two-minute ad released by New York’s chief economic development agency highlights the Empire State’s principles of inclusion […]

More on the SD13 race

From the Trib: In the span of a month, a Texas Senate seat will have been vacated and effectively filled, an unconventional turn of events that has Houston Democrats scrambling to replace one of their most venerated legislators. The highly abbreviated contest is unfolding in Senate District 13, where Rodney Ellis is vacating his seat […]

With friends like these

Who needs to worry about legal bills? Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, facing federal and state securities fraud charges, is getting more than a little help from his friends to foot his growing legal bill. The Republican accepted more than $329,000 earmarked for his legal defense from donors and “family friends,” according to a newly […]

Mississippi anti-LGBT law struck down

This definitely has consequences for Texas. A federal judge stopped Mississippi’s controversial “religious freedom” law Thursday night, minutes before it was set to take effect. In a opinion that cited scripture and Mississippi’s segregationist past, U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves said House Bill 1523, signed by Gov. Phil Bryant in April, was another unfortunate […]

Plastic bag litigation update

This could be a big deal. Is a plastic bag a container? Does the definition of “solid waste management” include litter control? If a state appeals court answers yes to both of those questions, regulations on plastic bags in several Texas cities — including Austin, Fort Stockton, and Port Aransas, which ban the bags, and […]

Ken Paxton does not approve of transgender bathroom policies

Big surprise, right? Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday issued an opinion saying the Fort Worth school superintendent who made headlines for formulating guidelines to accommodate transgender students exceeded his authority. Paxton also said that a portion of the guidelines instructing district employees not to out transgender students to their parents might violate state […]

SCOTUS strikes down HB2

Hallelujah. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed Texas abortion providers a major victory by overturning Texas’ 2013 abortion restrictions. On a 5-3 vote, the high court overturned restrictions passed as part of House Bill 2 in 2013 that required all Texas facilities that perform abortions to meet hospital-like standards — which include minimum sizes […]

Republicans gear up for full blown gay panic in 2017

You have been warned. Still angry about the Supreme Court’s mandate, some conservative lawmakers hope that it is someday overturned. In the meantime, they expect to propose a series of what they call religious liberty bills to blunt its impact. Those efforts worry liberal advocacy groups — Steve Rudner, with Equality Texas, called them “backlash” […]

TAB says it wants better pre-K in Texas

I have three things to say about this. The Texas Association of Business wants the state to offer a full school day of taxpayer-funded pre-K and plans to push lawmakers in that direction next year, the group announced this week. TAB board members voted unanimously in favor of expanding its policy platform to include full-day […]

AG opposes parents in STAAR lawsuit

Interesting. The Texas attorney general says parents suing to get the state to toss out student test scores lack standing and should have taken their complaints to the Texas Education Agency rather than a court. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office filed the response in Travis County District Court Monday, denying “each and every allegation” from […]

Lawsuit filed in Austin over short-term rental ordinance

Geez. The gig economy — specifically, the short-term rental industry that includes HomeAway, Airbnb, and VRBO — is under attack by the city of Austin, Texas, according to a lawsuit filed in state court June 20, which was sponsored by the Texas Public Policy Foundation. The lawsuit asks the court to issue an injunction halting […]

STAAR screwups

From the Observer: Texas’ standardized testing program wasn’t exactly popular before the 2015-2016 school year, but this year’s State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) has been an especially frustrating experience for Texas students, parents and school officials. New testing contractor Educational Testing Service, in the first year of a four-year, $280 million contract […]

Rep. Isaac asks FTC to step in on Austin rideshare regulations

Seriously? State Rep. Jason Isaac has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Austin’s rules for ride-hailing companies, raising concerns that the city’s “burdensome regulations” are anti-competitive. In the letter dated June 7, Isaac said he thought the city “erected a pernicious barrier to competition” through its rules, which have become a point of contention […]

Here come the cannabis growers

For medicinal purposes only. About 60 miles north of Dallas, amid green fields in the town of Gunter, population 1,486, Texas Cannabis CEO Patrick Moran has optioned to buy a former cotton gin, where he plans to grow the Cannabis sativa plant, known more commonly as marijuana. The businessman and attorney is positioning himself at […]

AG opinion sought on eminent domain power for Texas Central

This could be a big deal. State Rep. Byron Cook asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday to rule on whether a private company developing a high-speed train project in the state has the power of eminent domain. Texas Central Partners has been developing a privately funded bullet train intended to travel between Houston […]

Endorsement watch: Chron for Ellis

I had wondered if the Chron was going to weigh in on any of the candidate-selection processes that will be going on over the next two weeks. I even sent an email to a couple of their editorial board members on Saturday morning to ask about it. Turns out, I needn’t have wondered, they were […]

PocketCab

Austin isn’t the only city with rideshare innovation happening. Sugar Land-based PocketCab LLC plans to fill the potential void with a new dispatch app for taxi and limousine companies if Uber does decide to leave the Houston market. PocketCab works similarly to on-demand services today except that it pulls from independent limo and taxi drivers, […]