July 27, 2017      5:36 PM

ICYMI: Paxton trial set for Dec 11

July 27, 2017      5:21 PM

After it previously died in the Senate, House again passes abortion complication reporting bill

Caprigilone argues Texans should want the information, Alvarado counters “Once again, we’re in the courts, and we’ll probably end up there again.”

An abortion debate unfolded in the Texas House on Thursday morning when lawmakers took up a bill that would increase reporting requirements for abortion complications while placing more strenuous time requirements on physicians who work in abortion clinics.

HB 13, authored by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, is almost identical to its Senate companion SB 10, authored by Sen. Donna Campbell, which passed in the full Senate earlier this week. HB 13 ultimately passed the House on a vote of 97-46 vote. During the regular session, similar legislation died in the Texas Senate.

The bill requires physicians who perform abortions to report complications from abortion procedures, creating a civil penalty of $500 per violation for physicians or facilities who fail to report complications within their allotted time frames.

By Lyanne A. Guarecuco

July 27, 2017      5:10 PM

Patrick announces appointments

“I look forward to working with each of these appointees as they work to make sure our state maintains a strong economy with safe communities and thriving schools…”

The full list of appointments can be found here.

July 27, 2017      5:05 PM

Press Releases: DACA, hearings, people on the move, and the Senate Tour de Force!

Click the Press Releases button above for the latest

July 26, 2017      6:11 PM

Deed-restricted communities carved out of Workman's tree bill

Some were riled up and confused as to why The Woodlands should be getting a better deal on controlling trees simply because of land covenants

Rep. Paul Workman’s, R-Austin, tree ordinance bill offered a perfect solution to protect home owners from the overreach of “a local patchwork of regulations.”

Until it didn’t.

Workman, in the House Urban Affairs Committee, noted the substitute on House Bill 70 would include language to allow property owner associations – if not cities – to continue to enforce dedicatory instruments, otherwise known as deed restrictions.

By Kimberly Reeves

July 26, 2017      6:09 PM

Chairman Cook tells the DMN a bathroom bill is unnecessary and potentially dangerous

CEOs from companies like IBM, Texas Instruments and American Airlines have been visiting with Texas House leaders today

The scoop by Dallas Morning News reporter Lauren McGaughy is right here.

July 26, 2017      6:04 PM

Press Releases: Senate Bill Train!, teacher bonuses, annexation, and more

Click the Press Releases button above for the latest

July 25, 2017      6:45 PM

Mayors concerned with centralizing power in Austin to meet with Gov. Abbott

But the mayors of Austin, Dallas, Denton, Fort Worth, Houston, Plano, San Antonio and Sugar Land aren’t welcome in the Central Office so far

A week ago, mayors from across the state wrote a joint letter to Governor Greg Abbott expressing concern over “several of the proposals announced as part of the call for the 85th Special Legislative Session,” among them “harmful proposals such as revenue and spending caps, limiting annexation authority and other measures preempting local development ordinances.” 

It seems the letter may have served some purpose — 10 of the mayors who signed it, including those from Corpus Christi, Galveston, San Marcos, Amarillo, El Paso, Lubbock, Arlington, Frisco, Irving and McKinney, will be meeting with the Governor.

By Lyanne A. Guarecuco

July 25, 2017      6:41 PM

Mostly on party lines, Senate passes SB3 to engrossment

July 25, 2017      3:53 PM

After four hours of questions, the Senate votes to suspend on bathroom bill

Lt. Gov. Patrick says 30 amendments have been filed; he expects the Senate to work until at least midnight

July 25, 2017      12:05 PM

After heated debate on scope of special session call, Senate moves forward with bathroom bill

Democrats argued SB3 goes outside the scope of Abbott's call: “This can’t be cured simply by turning a blind eye to what the Constitution says”

An impassioned debate over the authority of the Office of the Governor broke out in the Texas Senate Tuesday afternoon after Democrats tried to take down the “bathroom bill” by arguing the specific legislation, Senate Bill 3, goes outside the bounds of Gov. Greg Abbott’s expanded call.

Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, raised a point of order saying that SB 3 goes outside the bounds of the governor’s call because the legislation includes gender-based restrictions on who is allowed to participate in female athletics.  

Sen. Watson said SB 3 includes "whether boys get to play in girls' sports."

"Members, that ain't nowhere in the call," Watson said, and said the “subject itself must be in the call.”

By Lyanne A. Guarecuco and Scott Braddock

July 25, 2017      10:36 AM

Gov. Abbott strong-arming certain Republican House members behind closed doors, sources say

Abbott told roughly 50 House members who are part of the “Texas Conservative Coalition” they need to put their names on his priority bills by this Friday, Republicans in attendance said

Editor’s note: A copy of the list of bills handed to House members by Abbott’s staff is available to our subscribers at the end of the story – SB

Despite publicly backing away from an earlier threat to scorecard members of the Texas Legislature during this special session, Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday told a select group of Republican House members that he expects their names to be on his priority bills by this Friday, Quorum Report has learned.

Speaking to a group of about 45 to 50 GOP members – in a meeting in the Member’s Lounge arranged by Texas Conservative Coalition Executive Director John Colyandro – Abbott signaled he does not expect all of his 19 items to make it to the floor of the House, Republicans who were there told QR.

By Scott Braddock

July 24, 2017      8:05 PM

One change in House school finance proposal shifts support

Charter school funding creates some uncertainty but Chair Huberty maintains the most important point is “If you want property tax reform, you need school finance reform,”

The addition of charter facility funding shifted a number of testifiers from supportive to neutral positions on House Bill 21, the same-but-not-exactly-the-same House school finance bill.

Chair Rep. Dan Huberty, R-The Woodlands, admitted his bill was a down payment on the House effort to fix school finance. The $1.9 billion the House would be willing to pump into school finance would come from a revised revenue picture and the deferral of one monthly payment to Texas school districts into the debt column in the next biennium.

“If you want property tax reform, you need school finance reform,” Huberty told his committee as he rolled out the new House Bill 21. “The two work together. That’s just a fact.”

By Kimberly Reeves

July 24, 2017      7:57 PM

Abortion complications reporting legislation moves forward in both chambers

The bills appear to disproportionately affect physicians who perform abortions in non-emergency abortion facilities

Within two hours of each other, the House State Affairs Committee and the full Senate approved measures that, upon first glance, aim to increase reporting of abortion complications across the state.

But upon closer inspection, it appears the bills would disproportionately affect physicians who perform abortions in non-emergency abortion facilities.

The House State Affairs committee gave preliminary approval to HB 13 today, authored by Rep.  Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, with an 8-2 vote. Not long after, the full Senate passed SB 10, authored by State Senator Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels to engrossment with a 22-9 vote.

By Lyanne A. Guarecuco

July 24, 2017      5:43 PM

Audio: GOP Denton County Judge Horn and former Chair Keffer voice radio ads against bathroom bills

On why she did the ad, Judge Mary Horn said "The bathroom bill is a solution looking for a problem and goes against my Christian values and conservative principles. I support laws that help our economy thrive and the bathroom bills will harm our state, our businesses and cost jobs."

Here is the ad featuring Denton County Judge Mary Horn.

Click here to listen to the ad that features former Chairman Jim Keffer, R-Eastland.  

July 24, 2017      5:42 PM

Press Releases: Reactions to San Antonio tragedy, school finance, maternal mortality, privacy, and more

July 24, 2017      3:24 PM

North Texas Commission urges Straus to stand firm on bathroom bills

“House Bills 46 and 50 would set a dangerous precedent that would be perceived as discriminatory and prejudicial to our most vulnerable citizens”

The North Texas Commission is the latest business group urging House leadership to stand firm against bathroom legislation.

The group’s Board of Directors sent a letter signed by President and CEO James D. Spaniolo to Speaker Joe Straus this morning, urging him to vote “NO” on HB 46 and HB 50 and to oppose “any bill that would be viewed as discriminatory on the basis of gender, ethnicity, sexual preference or identity that would damage Texas’ reputation as a ‘business-friendly’ state.”

By Lyanne A. Guarecuco

July 24, 2017      2:35 PM

With no debate, Texas House passes HB1 to third reading

July 24, 2017      1:47 PM

After 3 and a half hour caucus, Senate gets down to work on passing around 10 to 12 bills

As debates begin, Senate Democrats hold steady on denying suspension of the three day rule

July 22, 2017      1:08 PM

Bo Pilgrim passed away

Co-founder of Pilgrim's Pride and longtime political player was 89

Here is the story from the Longview News-Journal.

July 22, 2017      10:47 AM

License holders sue over fees meant to keep Texas Racing Commission solvent

Tracks argue it should have gone through normal rulemaking, the choice to implement the fee went outside the board’s authority, and it gave license holders no chance to review the supporting materials

Four of the 10 remaining owners of racetrack licenses in Texas have sued the Texas Racing Commission and its board for passing a supplemental fee last month to cover agency shortfalls.

License holders – and especially the greyhound license holders – had warned the board and staff that additional costs would be devastating to the industry. The license holders – LRP Group, Ltd.; Valle de los Tosoros, Ltd.; Gulf Coast Racing, LLC; and Gulf Greyhound Partners, Ltd. – filed a temporary injunction against the supplemental fee, due August 1.

By Kimberly Reeves

July 21, 2017      8:00 PM

Updated: Senate State affairs kicks out bathroom legislation to kick off the weekend

Lack of invited testimony signals to business leaders that senators are disinterested in their thoughts; hundreds line up to oppose restrictions on which people can relieve themselves in which public facilities

In the first public hearing on the so-called bathroom bills of the special session, over 250 people signed up to testify on SB 3 and SB 91, most of whom opposed the measure. It was a familiar sight for those who attended committee hearings on similar legislation during the regular session. And just like the regular session, the legislation was kicked out of the committee nearly along party lines, with one Democrat voting yes.

The bills authored by Senator Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, were filed to answer Governor Greg Abbott’s call to “protect the privacy of women and children” during the special session, following a relentless push from Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick to legislate which people can use which public facilities.

By Lyanne A. Guarecuco

July 21, 2017      6:32 PM

Press Releases: Teacher pay, bathrooms, conservative solutions, and more

Click the Press Releases button above for the latest

July 21, 2017      2:40 PM

Audio: Patrick suggests Speaker Straus is a closet Democrat

Patrick says Straus is "a Republican who has a Democrat as his chief of staff, a Democrat consultant and who gets elected by 55 Democrats." Straus spokesman says "Yes, our chief of staff last worked in government for noted Democrat Rick Perry."

For the first two years or so of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's time as presiding officer of the Senate, he regularly took a pass on weighing in much at all about Texas House Speaker Joe Straus.

When previously asked about whether Straus was sufficiently conservative, Patrick would often demur and stay focused on leading the Texas Senate in his public comments.  

That time in Patrick's political career has now fully concluded, it seems.

By Scott Braddock

July 21, 2017      2:38 PM

Smith: Political Dollars and Dangling Participles

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith argues that the enormous sums donors give state Republican officeholders raise especially disturbing questions in a one-party state like Texas.

Wealthy Texans are contributing extraordinary sums of money to Texas Republican officials these days. The sums are so large it’s a wonder that a candidate hasn’t surfaced with the message, “Elect me and I’ll grant your wishes for half the price.” Government favors at a discount.

It has a certain appeal.

Looking at Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s recent campaign finance report, former Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane gave Patrick $150,000 in June. Highway contractor James Pitcock matched McLane with another $150,000 to Patrick. Apparently not to be outdone, H. Ross Perot gave Patrick $150,000 on June 28 and another $75,000 on June 30.

It’s almost like pitiful little $50,000 contributors will have a hard time getting beneficiaries of their largess to return their phone calls these days.

The full column by Glenn W. Smith is in the R&D Department.

By Glenn W. Smith

July 20, 2017      5:19 PM

KR: Texas Senate school finance proposal takes from one hand to give to the other

"The move to transfer money from HHSC, which primarily funds Medicaid, could be devastating if lawmakers don’t put the funds back in 2019”

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s proposed funding of teacher longevity bonuses, TRS-Care support and bumps to charter school facility funding would squeeze $675 million from the Health and Human Services Commission, pitting the budget’s two major agencies against each other.

Temporary or no, many of those who would benefit from Senate Bill 19 are dismayed by the chosen method of finance. The bill mirrors much of what Patrick promised in a news conference last week, pulling from an agency that just propped up funding for Child Protective Services.

By Kimberly Reeves

July 20, 2017      5:18 PM

Press Releases: Sunset, bill filings galore, tagging, and more

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July 20, 2017      10:50 AM

Calendars to meet Friday to set Sunset in the House for Monday

Chairman Hunter says the deadline for filing amendments will be 24 hours prior to the floor debate. So, amendments need to be in by 2pm Sunday.

July 20, 2017      12:44 AM

Abbott expands call to include all items he had listed, adds TRS-Care to the mix

Teacher pay raises including TRS-Care, school finance, limited school vouchers, property taxes, spending limit, spending limits for cities and counties, union dues, abortion restrictions, maternal mortality, and more. On TRS-Care, teacher groups have recently rallied around a proposal by Rep. Lance Gooden.

Here is the supplemental proclamation.

July 20, 2017      12:32 AM

Just after 12:30am, the Texas Senate passes Sunset legislation on third reading