October 19, 2018      4:59 PM

Harris County shatters other counties' voter registration numbers

Thanks to Nicole Krajl for compiling the list

With about 1.6 million new voters registered from 2017 to 2018, some have asked who won the registration sweepstakes.

By Harvey Kronberg

October 19, 2018      4:56 PM

Feds respond to Texas special ed plan, promise ongoing oversight

Commissioner Morath says TEA has completed more than half the items in corrective action response

Federal authorities made it clear to the Texas Education Agency, in a letter dated today, that the U.S. Department of Education expects an ongoing oversight role in the state’s implementation of a special education corrective action plan.

October 19, 2018      1:22 PM

People on the Move

Promotions at state agencies, new titles in the governor’s office, a presidential appointment, and honoring a push for access to justice

We’re so close to the end now.

The block walkers are everywhere in legislative races, the TV ads are vicious – though, none from the Democratic challenger for US Senate would qualify. Early voting begins Monday.

It was great to see Chairman Rafael Anchia and other members of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus at their meeting in San Antonio this week along with several Republican candidates for speaker.

Did the MALC members play golf in this nasty weather? Well, Rep. Ramon Romero cannot be deterred. I’ll leave it at that.

Back in Austin, there were important hires and promotions at state agencies while there are also some openings to tell you about. Feel free to send career news anytime to ksbraddock@gmail.com and put “POTM” in the subject line so I don’t lose track of it.

Here’s Texas’ weekly edition of People on the Move:

By Scott Braddock

October 18, 2018      5:15 PM

Updated: Dallas County GOP issues rebuke to Deuell, Ratliff after endorsing Democrats

DCRP Chair Shorey tells QR “We’re asking them to stop this kind of behavior”; former Rep. Ratliff says he’ll hang a copy of the resolution in his office “to commemorate the day my Republican party officially left me”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with comment from Dr. Deuell – SB

Following high-profile endorsements of Democratic candidates by two Republican former members of the Texas Legislature, the Dallas County Republican Party this week officially called for such endorsements to end and for “party unity.”

As QR readers who have followed this are aware, former Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, endorsed the Democratic candidates running against Senators Don Huffines and Bob Hall. Former Rep. Bennett Ratliff, R-Coppell, endorsed Julie Johnson, who’s running against Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving.

By Scott Braddock

October 18, 2018      4:28 PM

Mayor of Coppell endorses Julie Johnson over Rep. Rinaldi

“Republicans have a saying ‘A bad Republican is better than a good Democrat’ - in my opinion, not this year”

Saying "People over politics," Coppell Mayor Karen Selbo Hunt on Thursday afternoon endorsed the Democratic nominee running against Rep. Matt Rinaldi.

October 17, 2018      9:55 PM

Abbott and Patrick will both speak at Trump rally for Cruz in Houston Monday

Patrick says tonight: "I invited President Trump to visit Texas in July because keeping Texas red – from the top of the ballot to the bottom -- is critical."

October 17, 2018      2:37 PM

Video: Dr. Hotze and Woodfill point to Drag Queen Story time as reason Houstonians should vote straight GOP

They plan to spend up to $1 million on TV and mail

Pledging to spend up to $1 million on TV and mail pieces, Dr. Steve Hotze and former Harris County GOP Chairman Jared Woodfill are seizing on the controversy over “Drag Queen Story Time” for kids in a Houston public library to argue that voters in the Bayou City should vote straight Republican.

They’re using the same PAC they used to help defeat the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which they labeled the “bathroom ordinance.”

Dr. Hotze, of course, is Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s former business partner who’s spent decades crusading against what he calls the “radical homosexual agenda” in Texas.
The ad is below.

October 16, 2018      11:02 PM

SB: Beto learns to make a fist

Debate performance doesn’t equate to the overall campaign, but offers clues to a potential change in the narrative

Editor’s note: Here’s a quick take on the debate tonight. Would love to know your thoughts on how it unfolded at ksbraddock@gmail.com – SB

With less than a week to go until early voting, Rep. Beto O’Rourke on Tuesday night finally began to do what a challenger must to be competitive: Offer an argument for voters to fire the incumbent.

By Scott Braddock

October 16, 2018      4:29 PM

Texas House members ready to tackle the cost of flood mitigation

“We’ve talked a lot about the budgetary issues – big ones – that we’re going to be facing over the next few bienniums …I think this is one that we’re going to have to add to the list. I’m not sure how much longer we can afford not to take action.”

The need for flood management in Texas goes without saying on a day like this, when Lake Travis in Central Texas is rising a foot every hour and the Kingsland bridge over the Llano River is collapsing under the weight of flood waters.

Chair Rep. Lyle Larson’s House Natural Resources Committee took up water legislation passed in the last session, including the state flood mitigation plan, which set the stage for up to $30 billion in proposed projects to alleviate flood risks.

The initial process to launch the plan – mapping the state for flood risks – is estimated to cost $604 million. House members like Rep. Trent Ashby, R-Lufkin, didn’t balk at the price tag.

Ashby told his colleagues lawmakers needed to learn from recent history.

By Kimberly Reeves

October 16, 2018      4:25 PM

On TV: Julie Johnson slams Rep. Rinaldi over property taxes, school vouchers

"Where was Matt Rinaldi when his neighbors needed him?"

October 16, 2018      4:22 PM

Video: Tony Dale up on TV as a Bipartisan Leader

Touts sex crimes legislation aimed at keeping children safe

October 15, 2018      4:30 PM

Judicial pay raises may require a permanent decoupling of those salaries and lawmaker retirements

Over the last 18 years, Texas judges have had 2 raises; Chief Justice Hecht says “Public service…should not be public servitude.”

An interim joint committee is studying the idea of a formula for judicial raises, a concept likely to include debate about decoupling judicial pay raises from lawmaker pension annuities.

A number of lawmakers consider that debate to be intractable, an obstacle that has stopped lawmakers from moving toward the idea of regular, predictable raises for judges. Stymied by the issues, the Senate inserted an interim study of the formula into a concurrent resolution.

Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht’s own 38-year career on the bench is an illustration of the challenge.

By Kimberly Reeves

October 15, 2018      4:28 PM

UT Regents Chair Sara Martinez Tucker to step down in January

October 15, 2018      11:06 AM

Poll shows Abbott leading Valdez 58% to 29%

In the Texas Interested Citizens Survey, 3% went for the libertarian and 10% of voters were undecided

The Texas Interested Citizens Survey shows Gov. Greg Abbott with a huge lead over former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, 58% to 29%.

The TIC, started in 1989, is funded by “professional and trade organizations and has correctly surveyed all gubernatorial elections in Texas from 1990 through 2014,” per the pollsters at the Eppstein Group, which has always done the polling.

October 15, 2018      11:04 AM

Video: Ted Cruz loves White Castle

"Fire Ted Cruz" PAC releases another video directed by Richard Linklater