November 26, 2014      4:51 PM

Press Releases: Thanksgiving wishes, pro-life defense, endorsements, and more

November 26, 2014      1:36 PM

Darby: Proposal will extend and expand border surge

Rep. Drew Darby lays out the facts of the proposal to keep the border surge going into the New Year

As a member of the Legislative Budget Board, I’m looking forward to voting on Monday to extend and expand the state’s law enforcement surge in the border region. The proposal agreed to by the state’s leadership continues this state’s strong commitment to border security.

The proposal from Governor Perry, Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst and Speaker Straus significantly increases the presence of Department of Public Safety troopers along the Texas-Mexico border.

This plan provides $65 million to continue increased DPS activity through August 31, the vast majority of which will provide needed overtime pay for state troopers. Using those resources for overtime provides the equivalent coverage of hiring an additional 650 troopers to patrol the border region – but at about half the cost. This is a smart investment of our resources that will build on the success of Operation Strong Safety II that was launched this past fall.

In addition to allowing more patrol hours, it will also fund additional equipment and technology, as well as more aircraft flight time. Each of these is an important component of our fight against criminal elements along the border.

The complete column from Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, can be found in the R&D Department.

By Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo

November 25, 2014      5:45 PM

Kolkhorst Endorsed by Gov. Perry in SD 18 special election

"...I am confident in her ability to help keep Texas the nation's economic engine and model for conservative government."

Here is the release about the endorsement.

November 25, 2014      5:11 PM

Odds and Ends

Top GOP donor reportedly says Cruz is “too right wing” and Texans for Life Coalition leader seeks to “set the record straight” on Speaker Straus

Many people are already getting on the road to grandma’s (or wherever) for Thanksgiving and you can feel the slowdown in the news world. But there are nevertheless a couple things worth passing along to you via Buzz Central on this Tuesday afternoon.  

First, Texans for Life Coalition President Kyleen Wright has had just about enough of the attacks on Texas House Speaker Joe Straus from some who have been assailing him over Wright’s signature issue: Ending abortion.

Writing for the conservative and combative Texas GOP Vote, Wright said her fellow Republicans should be celebrating their huge electoral victory this year and coming together on policy initiatives. Of course, on the very next day after the election some had already resumed their never-ending campaign against the Speaker.  

November 25, 2014      4:27 PM

Reps Callegari and Ritter join Sid Miller transition team at TDA

The two experts on water are helping shape policy now

November 25, 2014      4:20 PM

Press Releases: Endorsements, Ferguson reactions, transportation funding and more

November 25, 2014      3:27 PM

Court tosses out AgendaWise lawsuit over video streaming of Legislature and media credentials

Also, “there is no expectation” the Texas Tribune will regain contract to live stream the Legislature; Evan Smith says they’re working on that

The Third Court of Appeals in Austin on Tuesday tossed out a lawsuit filed by Midland oilman Tim Dunn’s AgendaWise in which the operators of the blog argued they were wrongly denied media credentials at the Texas Legislature.

AgendaWise, a right-wing blog that is part of Dunn’s network of organizations, wanted access to the Texas Capitol computer servers for a video feed. It’s the same kind of access previously granted to the Texas Tribune for that outlet’s video feed. AgendaWise also wanted a floor pass for blogger Weston Hicks.

Among their arguments, attorneys for AgendaWise felt it was unfair for the Tribune to be given access to government servers for the Trib’s video stream.

By Scott Braddock

November 24, 2014      9:05 PM

Rep. Turner agrees with Chairman Geren there should be a record vote for Speaker

Geren says he turned in his own letter to the SOS today requesting a record vote “Funny it took Turner so long to come around to this"

The freshman lawmaker challenging Speaker Joe Straus to preside over the Texas House said late Monday that he agrees with Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Ft. Worth, that there should be a record vote for Speaker as the 2015 session opens in January.

In a letter posted on a right wing blog, Rep. Scott Turner, R-Frisco, said to Geren:

"You were recently quoted in Quorum Report stating you plan to write a letter to the Texas Secretary of State requesting a record vote in the upcoming election for Speaker of the House of Representatives when the 84th Texas Legislature convenes. As you know, I have also stated my intent to take my campaign for Speaker to the floor of the House for a public vote. You correctly noted that current House rules and the temporary rules which will be adopted for the session’s opening day allow a single member to request a roll call vote."

November 24, 2014      5:12 PM

Exclusive: Straus says House will not vote to bust spending limit

Despite some chatter to the contrary, Straus says it ain’t happening: “We see no reason to do so”

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus told Quorum Report on Monday there is no way the House will vote to break the state's constitutional spending limit in the 2015 session of The Legislature. "The House is not going to break the spending limit," Straus said flatly during an interview with QR in the Speaker’s Office. “We see no reason to do so."

"We've consistently chosen the lowest estimate of economic growth and we should do the same next week," Straus said of the Dec 1 meeting of the Legislative Budget Board, which of course he co-chairs with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

Straus said the ability of lawmakers to stay well below the spending cap "shows the House's budget discipline. We've stayed under the limit and we've still been able to address priorities in significant ways."

There has been some chatter about this among some of the Republicans members who have been getting calls from constituents. There have been some reported mail pieces in certain districts about it and certain self-proclaimed conservative groups are claiming the House is poised to bust the spending cap.

By Scott Braddock

November 24, 2014      11:38 AM

Legislative Conference names Straus the 2015 Texan of the Year

“The House is ready to come together for a productive session," Straus says.

The Texas Legislative Conference on Monday announced that House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, will be the 2015 Texan of the Year as he heads into the next legislative session. Past honorees include Barbara Jordan, Laura Bush, David Robinson, and John Connally. The award will actually be given to him in March.

In the Legislative Conference’s announcement, the group said Straus “led efforts in the last session to address the state’s severe water shortages” and they noted the passage of Proposition 1, the voter-approved measure to provide an estimated $1.7 billion additional annually for transportation.

Straus was introduced at a morning press conference at the Capitol by Rep. Doug Miller, R-New Braunfels, who said he and Straus have “been down a long road together" and have, at times, cried in their beer together. Miller praised not only Straus, but also his wife. "Julie and Joe are quite the team," Miller said. "Quite a family. Quite a leadership."

Straus said if you have to cry in your beer, "I can't think of a better place than New Braunfels to do that." The press conference was held on the Texas Senate side of the Capitol. So, Straus joked that that's the part of the building where he often receives a "friendlier" reception.

November 24, 2014      10:04 AM

A dozen more GOP Reps announce their support for Straus

Incumbents and some incoming freshmen add their voices

A dozen more Republican Texas House members – both incumbents and some incoming freshmen – released yet another letter supporting Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, for reelection to preside over the chamber. 

The ones who signed this letter are Representatives Doc Anderson, Dennis Bonnen, DeWayne Burns, Dr. Greg Bonnen, Wayne Faircloth, Will Metcalf, Rick Miller, Andrew Murr, Dennis Paul, Phil Stephenson, Ed Thompson and John Wray.

The latest letter of support for Straus can be seen here.

November 24, 2014      9:29 AM

Governor-elect Abbott endorses Kolkhorst in SD18 special election

"“Lois is a job creator, a proven conservative and a principled and effective public servant,” said Abbott.

November 21, 2014      5:33 PM

As the week ends, 61 GOP Representatives have publicly pledged support to Straus

Conservative legislative victories "would not have been possible were it not for House Speaker Joe Straus and his member-driven approach"

The latest round of Republican Texas House members to sign a letter pledging their support to Speaker Joe Straus for reelection are Dwayne Bohac, Gary Elkins, Allen Fletcher, Patricia Harless, Dan Huberty, Jim Murphy, Gilbert Pena, Debbie Riddle, and Wayne Smith.

Their letter is here.

November 21, 2014      5:32 PM

Press Releases: Immigration praise and anger, textbook throwdown, and remembering a giant of the Texas Senate

November 21, 2014      5:19 PM

Confirmed: Miller taps Rep. Kleinschmidt as TDA General Counsel

Kleinschmidt to resign the House effective mid-January

Here is the release from Sid Miller.

November 21, 2014      2:21 PM

Sources: Kleinschmidt to resign, work for Sid Miller at Agriculture Commission

Reliable sources tell QR that Lexington state Rep Tim Kleinschmidt to take position with Sid Miller

November 21, 2014      2:03 PM

U of H President Khator to become Chair of Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

"I look forward to adding my perspective to the important monetary policy discussion"

The story from the Houston Chronicle.

November 21, 2014      12:02 PM

Resignation of Mike Villarreal is not a done deal

Governor's office taps the brakes on San Antonio representative’s plans to quit his House seat

Even though some headlines a couple weeks ago indicated that Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, had resigned his seat so that he could run for mayor of his hometown, Governor Perry's office has put the brakes on those plans for now. For his part, Villarreal sought to assure voters he is committed to running for mayor and he will not serve in the House in 2015.

The hangup is due to the way the Democrat worded his letter, which isn't technically a resignation. Instead, Villarreal said in the letter dated Nov. 6 that he will "decline to assume the office for which I have been elected in the Texas House of Representatives for the 84th Legislature."

In that letter, Villarreal also requested that Perry go ahead and call a special election “quickly” so that people who live in House District 123 will have representation as the session starts on Jan 13 – or at least pretty close to that.

By Scott Braddock

November 21, 2014      11:55 AM

Stanford: Will the GOP hold it together?

From the Left: Quorum Report’s liberal columnist Jason Stanford argues Republicans can save themselves by embracing immigration reform, rather than fighting the President on it

Nothing is less important in Washington these days than how Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration will affect millions of unauthorized immigrants. Obama has turned a population roughly equal to Alabama into taxpayers who can live in America without fear of deportation, and this town yawns. All anyone really wants to talk about is whether the Republicans will completely freak out or manage to hold it together long enough for the government to function. 

And by “function,” no one is thinking that Congress will do anything so radical as pass laws or other things imagined as normal by the Founding Fathers. No, the nightmare scenario for Republicans is a mass of anger and confusion that could derail their plans to govern just as they got control of Congress. Put simply, the right hand doesn’t know what the far-right hand is doing.

The choice is coming down to suing the President, which no one thinks will work, defunding the President’s immigration executive order, which the Republican House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers says is impossible, and of course shutting down the government in some sort of a legislative tantrum. So far, Republican leaders have managed to keep impeachment off the table, but no one thinks the relative peace will last. That’s how angry they are.

The rest of Jason Stanford’s column can be found by clicking on the R&D Department.

By Jason Stanford

November 20, 2014      5:12 PM

So far today, 11 more GOP Reps come out for Straus

The GOP leadership continues its blitz ahead of the session

The latest GOP Representatives to sign an open letter expressing their support for Speaker Joe Straus’ reelection are Byron Cook, Sarah Davis, Charlie Geren, Todd Hunter, Jim Keffer, John Kuempel, Lyle Larson, J.D. Sheffield, Jason Villalba, and John Zerwas. In a separate news release, Rep. J.M. Lozano also announced his support.

November 20, 2014      4:58 PM

Press Releases: Appointments, endorsements, preemptive immigration statements and more

November 20, 2014      2:42 PM

Greenfield: The Year That Was – State Expenditures in Fiscal Year 2014

Economist Stuart Greenfield on where the dollars really went

Along with the increase (6.0 percent) in total revenue, total expenditures also increased by a substantial amount (6.6 percent) in fiscal year 2014 (FY14).  Of the $6.2 billion increase in state expenditures in FY14, over half (50.6 percent) was accounted for by the increase in Public Assistance Payments, primarily Medicaid, while 20.5 percent of the increase was for public education.

As shown in Table 1, two items, public assistance payments (38.5 percent, an increase from FY13), and public education payments (24.7 percent, a decrease from FY13) accounted for almost 2/3rds of state expenditures. 

The complete column from Dr. Stuart Greenfield can be found in the R&D Department.

By Stuart Greenfield, Ph.D.

November 20, 2014      2:27 PM

Patrick announces Spence, Fisher, and Morrissey will be in leadership team

Some veterans of the Capitol join Patrick's inner circle

Lt. Gov-Elect Dan Patrick on Thursday announced his leadership team heading into the 2015 session. Logan Spence will be Chief of Staff, Walter Fisher, long-serving parliamentarian has agreed to serve as Senior Advisor, and the Budget Director will be Mike Morrissey, the veteran of Gov. Perry's office.

Here’s the full announcement from Patrick’s office.

November 20, 2014      8:54 AM

Rep. Jose Menendez confirms he is running for Van de Putte Senate seat

Business friendly Democrat says he's in

November 20, 2014      8:07 AM

Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer to announce Senate bid this hour

Confirms to QR that he is in the race for Letitica Van de Putte's seat as she moves into the race for Mayor of SA

Here is his announcement.

November 19, 2014      11:03 PM

Van de Putte announces San Antonio mayoral bid and she is resigning from the Senate

“Yes, I will be running for mayor of the city that I love so very much”

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte tells KSAT Television in San Antonio she is in the race.

November 19, 2014      6:00 PM

Seven more GOP members sign letter in support of Straus for Speaker

This time it's Republican Reps Jimmie Don Aycock, Drew Darby, John Frullo, Ken King, Susan King, Four Price, John Smithee to sign a letter in support of Speaker Joe Straus.

Their letter is here.

November 19, 2014      5:01 PM

Some Republicans at the county level in North Texas endorse Scott Turner for Speaker

Collin and Dallas County GOP executive committees throw their support behind the man challenging Joe Straus; Turner starts to hint at how he’d run the House

The idea of whether there is a Speaker's race in Texas has been the subject of much debate in political circles as of late. While the emerging numbers – based on declarations of support from House members – suggests Rep. Joe Straus, R- San Antonio, will easily win re-election to preside over the chamber, there are some developments worth noting.

The executive committees of both the Dallas County GOP and the Collin County Republican Party have now endorsed Rep. Scott Turner, R-Frisco, in his bid to unseat Straus as presiding officer.

“I am honored by the decision of the Executive Committee of the Collin County Republican Party to support my campaign for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives,” Turner said in a press release. “The overwhelming support we are receiving from grassroots activists all over the state is truly humbling,” he said.

Dallas County GOP Chairman Wade Emmert, by the way, said he is staying neutral in this. He said he “will work with whomever wins Speaker.”

Turner did not return our call for comment about this and he has previously declined to discuss exactly what his vision would be for running the House.

In that press release about the Collin County GOP endorsement, Turner laid out a few things:

By Scott Braddock

November 19, 2014      4:59 PM

New Abbott Web Ad: Getting to Work

In newly released video, the Governor-Elect promises he's getting right into the thick of things

November 19, 2014      4:53 PM

Press Releases: More on the textbook fight, appointments, and thwarting Obamacare!

November 19, 2014      4:01 PM

O’Donnell: 2014 Democratic butt-kicking calls for ruthless examination of that party’s future

QR's resident curmudgeon with a rundown of what he thinks Texas D's need to do next

Before Texas Democrats try exorcism, a collective mikvah or consultation with the spirit of Edgar Cayce to get a handle on the future of their party, they might resort to a cold-hearted inventory of the seemingly hopeless state of mind and body of their organization. Here’s a few items they might want to look at closely:

Stop whining about Obama. --- On election night I heard at least three bright young Democrat operatives blaming the President’s low approval rating for fueling the party’s epic fail. Get real. Obama was never a significant factor in this Texas debacle one way or the other. All this kvetching makes you sound like Republicans.

Whiz kid consultants from elsewhere don’t hunt here. --- When Wendy Davis brought in campaign consultants fresh from the Obama re-election she was doomed. Texas is like no other state politically, geographically, demographically, economically or spiritually. There are so many different “Texases” no cookie cutter campaign techniques will work. Battleground Texas? You win some. You lose some. But these people don’t even know where to buy tickets.

The entire column from Edd O’Donnell can be found by clicking on the R&D Department.  

By Edd