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Posts Tagged ‘The Lege’

Interview index

For your convenience, here is a list of all my interviews and judicial Q&As for the November election. This includes ones I did for the primary and runoff. Interviews US Senate – David Alameel Attorney General – Sam Houston Comptroller – Mike Collier Land Commissioner – John Cook Railroad Commissioner – Steve Brown State Senate, […]

On Greg Abbott and who gets to get married

As you may have heard, Peggy Fikac got to ask Greg Abbott the obvious question about how exactly the state’s law against same-sex marriage, which Abbott is diligently defending in court, differs from the old laws that once banned interracial marriage, and would he have defended those as well since he claims he’s just doing […]

Gary Elkins thumbs his nose at local payday lending ordinances

Such a fine example he sets. As a member of the Texas House of Representatives, Houston Republican Gary Elkins helps make laws. As a businessman, he is an owner of a chain of payday lending stores accused of breaking them. Elkins opposed payday lending regulations during the 2011 and 2013 legislative sessions, arguing members should […]

The inadequacy of Prop 1

Better than nothing, but not by much. The campaign to steer state reserve funds to road projects is not being waged with yard signs and televised debates but, rather, with chamber of commerce lunches and a smattering of direct mailings. Though largely a quiet campaign, supporters of Prop. 1 said they are optimistic the proposal […]

Mayoral fundraising 2015

Yeah, I know, another post about the 2015 election. I sure am doing a lousy job of not thinking about that just yet, but this raises an interesting point. Likely mayoral candidate Chris Bell is asking the city of Houston to reconsider its interpretation of an ordinance that would give Sylvester Turner a major fundraising […]

From the “Simple answers to simple questions” department

The Statesman asks “Would Dan Patrick’s tax plan lower your taxes?” Efforts to shift toward sales tax in lieu of property and income taxes have in recent years gained momentum in Republican-led states — even as economists warn that this sort of tax reform is likely to harm the majority of taxpayers. Economists point out […]

First steps in Montgomery County

You can’t win a race if you don’t have a candidate. Democrat Michael Hayles says Montgomery County’s poor have to balance some tough choices, and he extends his arms in a rocking motion to make the point. “Do I get cars fixed or do I buy food for my family?” Hayles said. Hayles has been […]

Chron overview of the AG race

Couple of interesting tidbits in here. A tea party darling with a dozen years in the state Legislature, Sen. Ken Paxton has avoided the media since admitting to a third-degree felony violation of state securities law in late April. Spokesman Anthony Holm serves as his gatekeeper – even once physically blocking a reporter from approaching […]

Voter ID plaintiffs turn to SCOTUS

Last train, y’all. Texas plaintiffs on Wednesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block the state’s voter photo ID law in November’s election. “The facts of this case, including record evidence, show that significantly more voter confusion will result from granting the stay (and thus enforcing Texas’s Senate Bill 14) than would result from reinstating […]

Sameena Karmally

Meet Sameena Karmally, whose race against Jodie Laubenbeg is important not for if she wins or loses but for what she represents. If Democrats are going to turn Texas purple, they need to do a lot of work at the local level. Long-hidden voters need to be identified, and organizational abilities need to be strengthened. […]

Endorsement watch: State Reps and Sam Houston

The Chron made its State House endorsements in two parts. The highlight from Part One was a couple of key races. District 23: Susan Criss In one of the few competitive contests, Democrat Susan Criss and Republican Wayne Faircloth are battling to replace retiring Democratic state Rep. Craig Eiland in a district that includes all […]

HB2 plaintiffs ask SCOTUS for review

Be careful what you ask for. After a federal appeals court ruled that the state could temporarily enforce new requirements for abortion facilities, Texas abortion providers are looking to the U.S. Supreme Court. On Monday, attorneys for the abortion providers challenging the state’s House Bill 2 filed an emergency application asking the Supreme Court to […]

Saving SD10 and other benchmarks

The Observer looks at the race to succeed Wendy Davis in SD10. It’s a steamy, hot summer morning in the Metroplex, and at the Dixie House, a Southern-style diner in east Ft. Worth where gravy flows like water, Libby Willis can’t find a moment to dig into her eggs and hash. She’s too excited about […]

Another voter ID lawsuit filed

Well, this is interesting. While a federal judge in Corpus Christi mulls whether the state’s requirement to show photo ID to cast a ballot violates the federal Voting Rights Act, a judge on the highest criminal appeals court in Texas is taking another approach: He’s suing the state over its relatively new voter ID law. […]

Fifth Circuit lifts injunction on HB2 enforcement

This court is the worst. As it hears arguments in an appeal of a federal judge’s decision overturning new requirements for Texas abortion facilities, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the state could enforce the requirements in the meantime. That means eight abortion clinics across five major […]

Interview with Laura Nicol

I know I previously said that I would only have two interviews with legislative candidates this year. That was indeed my plan originally, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the years that I’ve been doing these interviews it’s that things often diverge from my plans. The good news is that generally winds up […]

Early Matters presents its case

They’ve got a good coalition. Let’s see where they can go with it. Access to preschool programs – and their quality – varies widely across Texas. A broad coalition of Houston-area executives, educators and nonprofit groups assembled by Houston’s premier business organization is working to change that, though a major hurdle remains: securing funding in […]

Abbott appeals school finance case to Supreme Court

No surprise. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Friday appealed to the Texas Supreme Court a district court finding that the state’s school finance system is unconstitutional. State District Judge John Dietz’s Aug. 30 ruling called Texas’ current school finance system inefficient and inadequate, saying it created an de facto statewide property tax in violation […]

Abbott and the Latino vote

I have four things to say about this. When Lily Benitez pulled into her driveway in the Donesta neighborhood here Saturday morning, she was surprised to see Greg Abbott coming toward her. It wasn’t just because he’s the attorney general of Texas and a candidate for governor. It was also because he’s a Republican, and […]

Interview with Susan Criss

My second legislative candidate interview is with one of my favorite people in politics, Susan Criss, who is running to succeed Rep. Craig Eiland in HD23. Criss is a longtime District Court judge in Galveston County, who survived the 2010 election by being good enough to not have drawn an opponent. She’s spent a lifetime […]

More on Early Matters

Scott McClelland, president of H-E-B Houston and also the chair of the Greater Houston Partnership Education Advisory Committee, pens an op-ed about the importance of pre-kindergarten and the latest effort to provide for it. It’s hard to believe, but more than 60 percent of children in Houston start kindergarten lacking basic letter identification skills and […]

Fifth Circuit hears HB2 arguments

As always with anything that involves the Fifth Circuit, pessimism is called for. Federal appeals court judges who got their first look at the latest challenge to Texas’ tough new abortion law Friday appeared to show support for the law but some reluctance to immediately allow it to be enforced as the legal fight over […]

Voter ID trial testimony ends

The state of Texas put on its case in the voter ID trial. Lawyers from the Texas attorney general’s office presented witnesses Wednesday in federal court defending the state voter ID law as necessary and attempting to rebuff claims that it is discriminatory. The state’s case in the federal trial, now in its second week, […]

Of course the film industry thinks we need more film incentives

It’s all money to them. Why wouldn’t they think the state should provide more funding for them? A Warner Bros. executive told a panel of Texas lawmakers they would have to pony up more cash for film industry incentives if they wanted to be in the movie business. “The Texas movie industry incentive program … […]

The best coverage of the voter ID trial

You want to know what’s going on with the voter ID trial, which enters its second and likely final week today, go check out the Brennan Center for Justice, which has daily coverage that would put any newspaper to shame. Here’s a sample of what they’ve written so far: Texas Photo ID Trial Update: Opening […]

Abbott issues bag ban opinion

It’s complicated. Do plastic bag bans and restrictions in cities like Austin, Laredo, and Brownsville violate Texas law? According to an opinion issued by Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office handed down on Friday afternoon, that depends on how you define two phrases: “container or package” and “solid waste management.” Opinions on Texas law from the […]

Fifth Circuit will hear HB2 enforcement arguments next Friday

The temporary reprieve will last at least one more week. Texas abortion providers’ next hurdle in their legal fight against strict abortion regulations is set for next week in a hearing scheduled for federal court. State attorneys and lawyers representing a coalition of abortion providers will face off on Sept. 12 in New Orleans, where […]

It’s about more than the Davis campaign

Gromer Jeffers highlighted something recently that I think hasn’t gotten enough attention. In her race for Texas governor, Wendy Davis’ sisters have her back. I’m not talking about her biological family. Davis is getting support from a group of female House candidates who are piggybacking on her policy proposals and helping her take aim at […]

What next for school finance?

That depends on the Attorney General and the Supreme Court, but one way or the other it’s up to the Legislature. State lawmakers from both parties agreed the responsibility for funding public schools falls on them. But history suggests the Legislature is reluctant to act until its hand is forced. “I would be surprised if […]

Abbott appeals HB2 ruling

As expected. As expected, Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott filed an appeal to the 5th Circuit Court Sunday to overturn a recent federal court ruling that found parts of Texas’ abortion law, House Bill 2, unconstitutional. Abortion providers filed suit over a regulation, that was set to take effect today (Sept. 1) that would mandate […]

Voter ID trial starts today

As one trial ends, the next one begins. U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in Corpus Christi will begin hearing arguments Tuesday on one of the nation’s most stringent voter ID measures, which Republican Gov. Rick Perry signed into law in 2011. A ruling is unlikely before Election Day, meaning that 13.6 million registered voters […]

Second phase of redistricting trial over

Much like the first phase, with some insults for one of the state’s key players thrown in for effect. Lawyers with the U.S. Justice Department and minority groups said in closing arguments in federal court Tuesday that state lawmakers illegally targeted Latino and African-American voters when redrawing congressional districts in 2011. Meanwhile, lawyers for the […]

School finance system ruled unconstitutional again

A little light reading for your holiday weekend. Nearly three years after more than 600 Texas school districts filed litigation challenging the state’s school finance system, a Travis County district judge has ruled in their favor. In an almost 400-page opinion released Thursday, District Court Judge John Dietz of Austin said that the state’s school […]

The slow decline of the death penalty in Texas

Maybe a little. Perhaps nothing symbolizes this state’s swagger over being tough on crime like “Old Sparky,” an electric chair that was used to execute 361 inmates and is now the centerpiece of a prison museum. It sits just minutes from the Texas penitentiary where it was forever unplugged 50 years ago this summer following […]