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Posts Tagged ‘The Lege’

Get ready for the “sanctuary cities” lawsuits

It’s just a matter of time. Now that Senate Bill 4 is on its way to becoming law, opponents are looking to the courts for relief – and a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court case is giving them hope. The high court struck down parts of a controversial 2010 immigration law in Arizona on the grounds […]

House passes its “sanctuary cities” bill

Terrible. After more than 16 hours of debate, the Texas House of Representatives early Thursday morning tentatively gave a nod to the latest version of a Senate bill that would ban “sanctuary” jurisdictions in Texas. The 93-54 vote on second reading fell along party lines and came after one of the slowest moving but most […]

Trial to be set to determine 2018 maps

Some questions answered, still more raised. As the 2018 election cycle nears, it appears Texas and its legal foes are headed for a trial — yet again — over what the state’s House and congressional boundaries will look like, and it will likely come this summer. “I think the trial is certain,” said Jose Garza, […]

Where are the marijuana bills?

There have been no hearings on two bills to expand the usage of medical marijuana in Texas. [Dr. Robert S.] Marks was among about two dozen advocates for so-called medical marijuana, including health-care professionals and patients, who gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday. They said they are hoping to jump-start momentum for two bills — […]

Federal court blocks Trump “sanctuary cities” order

Good. A federal judge in San Francisco dealt the Trump administration another legal blow Tuesday, temporarily halting President Donald Trump’s threat to withhold federal funding from cities and towns that refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities. U.S. District Judge William Orrick imposed a nationwide injunction against a Jan. 25 executive order authorizing the attorney general […]

No more feral hog poison

It was not to be. The manufacturer of a controversial bait used to kill feral hogs withdrew its state registration for the poison, putting Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s plans for a Texas “Hog Apocalypse” on hold. “We have received tremendous support from farmers and ranchers in the State of Texas, and have empathy for the […]

Big day for redistricting in court

Tomorrow the questions of what happens next in the redistricting lawsuits begin to get answered. Will Texas soon see new political maps that are friendlier to Latino and black voters and, in turn, Democrats? If so, who would draw them: the scolded Republican-led Legislature or the courts themselves? Will the maps land ahead of the […]

Uber and Lyft speak on the “biological sex” amendment in statewide rideshare bill

It’s a start. Five days after a controversial amendment defining “sex” as “male or female” was added to a statewide ride-hailing bill, representatives from Uber and Lyft called the addition disappointing and unnecessary — though both companies stopped short of saying they’d withdraw their support. “We are disappointed that this unnecessary amendment was added to […]

Two more redistricting updates

From KUT, will we have a new Congressional map for next year? [Gerry Hebert, one of the plaintiff attorneys], says he’s hopeful there won’t be yet another election with the old maps. “The timing of the court’s decision is absolutely giving us an opportunity to get a new congressional redistricting plan for the 2018 election,” […]

Senate approves special ed reform bill

Good. The Texas Senate moved Wednesday to ban state officials from ever again imposing a cap on the percentage of students allowed to receive special education services. The chamber voted unanimously in favor of Senate Bill 160, putting the legislation just one step away from the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott, who already has indicated […]

Petitions submitted to force another pension vote

Oh, good grief. Voters soon could decide whether to close Houston’s traditional pension plans to new employees after political activists submitted a petition to City Hall to force a referendum this November. The petition further complicates Mayor Sylvester Turner’s efforts to pass a pension reform bill, which already had hit a hurdle in the state […]

Investigation requested into voucher astroturfing

From the Quorum Report: Following a criminal complaint by a GOP former lawmaker, an Austin representative has asked the Travis County District Attorney’s Office to look a letter-writing campaign that has deeply troubled rural Republicans in the Texas House who are opposed to school vouchers. In a letter obtained by Quorum Report this evening, Rep. […]

The post-Uber Austin rideshare experience

Texas Monthly notes the issues that some people faced during SxSW hailing a ride, and considers the rideshare landscape in Austin post-Uber and Lyft. But the thesis that Austin is experiencing a crisis around ride-hailing apps is an old one, and it’s incomplete. RideAustin, which as a non-profit makes all of its numbers public, gave […]

House passes school finance reform bill

Well done. State Rep. Dan Huberty succeeded at a difficult task Wednesday: getting the Texas House of Representatives to vote for legislation overhauling the funding system for public education, without a court mandate. After a four-hour discussion of more than 30 proposed amendments, the House voted 134-16 to tentatively accept its top education leader’s plan […]

Legislative maps found to have discriminatory intent

Wow. Texas lawmakers intentionally diluted the political clout of minority voters in drawing the state’s House districts, a panel of federal judges ruled Thursday. In a long-awaited ruling, the San Antonio-based judges found that lawmakers in 2011 either violated the U.S. Constitution or the Voting Rights Act by intentionally diluting the strength of minority voters […]

Bathroom bill 2.0 gets its committee hearing

It’s the same old garbage in a new package. Amid concerns about rolling back local protections for vulnerable Texans and dire economic fallout, a panel of House lawmakers considered a measure into the early hours of Thursday morning that some are hoping will serve as an alternative approach to regulating bathroom use for transgender Texans. […]

House passes statewide rideshare bill

Made it farther than it did last session. After a lengthy debate among lawmakers over the best way to regulate services like Uber and Lyft, the Texas House backed a proposal that would override local regulations concerning ride-hailing companies. House Bill 100, by state Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, would establish a statewide framework to regulate […]

Senate passes AirBnB bill

As you know, I don’t care for this. A Senate bill that would limit local government control of short-term home rentals in Texas passed out of the upper chamber Tuesday in a 21-9 vote. Under Senate Bill 451 by state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, Texas cities would be prevented from banning short-term rentals […]

Another study of bathrooms and business

Short answer: Bathroom bills are bad. Legislation viewed by many as discriminatory toward LGBT Texans — including proposals to regulate which bathrooms transgender individuals may use — could cost the state $3.3 billion in annual tourism dollars and more than 35,600 full-time jobs associated with leisure travel and conventions, according to a study by the […]

Texas Lyceum poll on immigration

Our state has more nuanced views than you might think. The pollsters found that 62 percent of Texans said immigration helps the United States more than it hurts the country. That’s an increase from 2016, when 54 percent of the respondents said they viewed immigration was more beneficial than harmful. The pollsters defined “sanctuary” entities […]

AirBnB tax collection deal

Seems reasonable. [AirBnB] announced Wednesday it will begin collecting and remitting the 6 percent state hotel occupancy tax May 1. The decision followed more than a year of talks, said Laura Spanjian, Airbnb’s Texas public policy manager. Airbnb has similar tax-collection agreements with 25-plus states. “These agreements are a meaningful revenue boost for communities, and […]

More on the House bathroom bill

Still a very bad idea. After largely avoiding discussions so far on proposals to regulate bathrooms, the Texas House will wade into the debate this week with a measure some are hoping will serve as an alternative to the Senate’s “bathroom bill.” Setting aside the Senate’s proposal, the House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday will […]

Hog apocalypse update

The poison plan for controlling feral hogs is set to be put on pause by the Legislature. A bill poised to pass the Texas House would amend the Texas Agriculture Code to prohibit the Department of Agriculture from registering, approving for use or allowing use of any pesticide for feral hog control unless a study […]

The status of Section 3

Lyle Denniston looks at a key aspect of the voting rights-related lawsuits in Texas. About four years after the Supreme Court took away the government’s strongest authority to protect minority voters’ rights, a backup power under the federal Voting Rights Act – weaker and harder to use – is now being threatened, just as federal […]

“Sanctuary cities” bill passes House committee

Something like this is going to pass, it’s just a matter of what form it takes. A state House committee on Wednesday passed a “sanctuary cities” bill that is less harsh than the version passed by the Senate, but that still would require local sheriffs and jailers to comply with federal requests to hold on […]

Bill to fix voting interpreters considered

This needs to happen, and it really shouldn’t be a big deal. Almost three years after Mallika Das, a naturalized citizen who spoke Bengali, was unable to vote properly because she was not proficient in English, Texas lawmakers are considering a change to an obscure provision of Texas election law regarding language interpreters. Members of […]

Bathroom bill 2.0

Beware. House lawmakers will debate a so-called “bathroom bill” next week that supporters hope will be less worrisome to business interests concerned the measure could hurt the Texas economy. The decision to debate the House bill, and to set aside a more severe version passed last month in the Senate, marks the latest split the two chambers have endured during a […]

Making vaccination information public

I support this. While most parents in Texas vaccinate their children, the number of parents opting out of immunizations for non-medical reasons is on the rise. Since Texas changed its laws to allow parents to opt out citing a conscientious objection, the number of unvaccinated children has shot up more than 1,700 percent in 13 […]

“Strongly held religious beliefs” do not justify discrimination

This is a very bad idea. Legislation that would allow county clerks in Texas to decline to issue same-sex marriage licenses if it conflicts with their religious beliefs was tentatively approved Tuesday by the Texas Senate. State Sen. Brian Birdwell, a Granbury Republican who authored the measure, said the Senate Bill 522 would allow clerks […]

Voter ID education was a massive failure

This is outrageous. The University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs recently completed a report, “The Texas Voter ID Law and the 2016 Election,” based on surveys of registered voters who sat out the 2016 elections in the state’s two highest profile battleground jurisdictions: Harris County and Congressional District 23 (CD-23), which stretches from […]

Voter ID law declared discriminatory

Again. A federal judge has ruled — for the second time — that Texas lawmakers intentionally discriminated against Latino and black voters in passing a strict voter identification law in 2011. U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos ruled Monday that Texas “has not met its burden” in proving that lawmakers passed the nation’s strictest photo […]

House passes its budget

Mostly shenanigan-free, with a nice little side order of shade for a few people who deserve it. After 15 and a half hours of debate on hundreds of amendments to the Texas House budget, lawmakers in the lower chamber passed the two-year, $218 billion document, with 131 votes in favor and 16 votes against. The […]

Dukes fails to get charges tossed

Too bad for her. A Travis County state district judge denied a motion by state Rep. Dawnna Dukes to dismiss four felony counts against her for tampering with public records. Dukes’ attorneys on March 8 asked Judge Brad Urrutia to dismiss four of her 13 indicted felony charges, arguing that an agreement she signed in […]

Pension reform bill passes House committee

Two for two. Houston’s pension reform bill will now move to the floor of each legislative chamber after a Texas House committee joined its Senate counterparts in passing the measure 6-1 Wednesday. With Rep. Roberto Alonzo, D-Dallas, opposed, the pensions committee adopted House Bill 43, which will now head to a scheduling committee to be […]