December 7, 2018      12:03 PM

People on the Move

Building a government in Austin with new staff hires for new members, trade associations hiring new executives and promoting others, and at least somebody in the Rick Perry orbit in DC is making money

Are all y’all worn out yet from all the fundraisers ahead of the deadline? Well, the end is in sight and session is on the way as evidenced by various offices staffing up and trade groups putting their plans in place.

It’s that time of year: Lobby contracts are being signed and holiday decorations are everywhere. I even received my new Christmas neckties. They’re classy, I promise.

If you’ve got career news to share, please pass it along at ksbraddock@gmail.com and put “POTM” in the subject line. It helps a lot.

Lots to get to this week, so here’s the latest People on the Move:

By Scott Braddock

December 7, 2018      8:50 AM

Toy drive for detained immigrant kids becomes bipartisan, raises more than 500 soccer balls overnight

Democratic Sen. Rodriguez is spearheading the effort; GOP Representatives Jeff Leach, Matt Krause, and Jason Villalba joined overnight with many others to help with raising more than 500 soccer balls so far

An effort to deliver a little bit of Christmas joy to detained immigrant children in El Paso County spearheaded by the office of Sen. Jose Rodriguez became bipartisan overnight and has raised more than 500 items so far. There are 2,400 kids and the deadline to get this done is next Thursday, Dec 13.

“The children are not allowed visitors, gifts of any kind, or even hugs. However, for this holiday season, the Office of Senator José Rodríguez has received permission to provide a gift of a soccer ball,” per the senator’s office. Overnight, Republican Representatives Jeff Leach, Matt Krause, and Jason Villalba joined with the Democratic senator’s effort by purchasing soccer balls for the kids along with hundreds of other people after the toy drive began to circulate on social media.

If you’d like to purchase one or more of the balls for the kids, click this link. Depending on your browser you may have to right click the link.

By Scott Braddock

December 6, 2018      4:18 PM

HK: With parliamentarian choices, Chair Bonnen gives a nod to the last Democratic Texas House Speaker

Newbie Republicans might be alarmed at the thought of a conservative Speaker even invoking the name of the last Democrat to preside over the House, but for long-time members and lobbyists, Laney was considered a model

Speaker-to-be Dennis Bonnen has spent the last several weeks telling various members and lobby constituencies that he hopes to model his Speakership style in the fashion of former Speaker Pete Laney, D-Hale Center.

And in today’s announcement of Sharon Carter and Hugh Brady as House Parliamentarians, Bonnen underscored his intention

By Harvey Kronberg

December 6, 2018      4:14 PM

Amazing Grace: George H. W. Bush remembered at state funeral in Houston

“It’s the honor of a lifetime to share his name,” Commissioner Bush said in eulogy; Jim Baker told the crowd about his conversations with 41: “Our glory, George, is to have had you as such a president and such a friend.”

In a state funeral that included the Oak Ridge Boys performing “Amazing Grace,” dignitaries from around Texas and the nation gathered at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston Thursday morning to pay tribute to the forty first President of the United States George Herbert Walker Bush.

With Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, and many others in attendance Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush eulogized his grandfather and said, “We all grew up in awe of my grandfather, a larger than life figure.”

By Scott Braddock

December 6, 2018      4:07 PM

Commissioner Miller comes out in support for lifting ban on hemp production

But says “Hate to break it to the potheads, but marijuana is still illegal in Texas and under federal law. Ending the ban on hemp won’t change that."

In a perhaps surprising move, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller on Thursday said Congress should lift the federal ban on hemp production.

“This is all about taking the shackles off the American farmer,” Commissioner Miller said.

December 6, 2018      2:12 PM

Texas Secretary of State Pablos announces he will leave office this month

"With the midterm elections successfully behind us, and the 86th legislative session around the corner, I believe this would be a good time to begin the process of transitioning out of my position," Pablos said

December 6, 2018      9:01 AM

Chair Bonnen and working group name new Texas House Parliamentarians

Sharon Carter and Hugh Brady will serve jointly as Parliamentarians for the Texas House of Representatives in the 86th Legislative Session, per Rep. Bonnen's office

December 5, 2018      5:59 PM

Ahead of session, Center for Public Policy Priorities looks to broaden reach across policy areas

Former Chairman Keffer: “During the last election, 100 percent of the people who voted decided 50 percent of the people had lost their minds. CPPP is trying to bridge that gap with the facts, with the numbers and figures, that can help policymakers.”

The Center for Public Policy Priorities on Wednesday rolled out a broad overview of its upcoming policy agenda, saying Texas has failed to invest in its most important resource: its growing and diverse population. 

For more than a decade, CPPP has been known at the Texas Capitol for the expertise of its policy experts: Dick Lavine on property taxes; Eva DeLuna Castro on budget issues; Anne Dunkelberg on Medicaid; and Chandra Villanueva on school finance.

The recent hiring of Luis Figueroa as a legislative and policy director, however, sends the message CPPP is looking to broaden its reach.

By Kimberly Reeves

December 5, 2018      5:57 PM

THCA hopes bankruptcy filing by largest nursing home provider in Texas sparks reform

"We’re hoping this isn’t just a wake-up call for our state leaders, but a call to action to address this before this becomes widespread across the state.”

Long term health care advocates are hoping this week's bankruptcy filing by the largest provider of nursing home services in the state proves to be a genuine wakeup call for lawmakers in Austin ahead of the 2019 session.

Senior Care Centers, LLC, announced on Tuesday it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas.

December 3, 2018      6:34 PM

In its final report of year, House State Affairs takes HHSC to task over DNR

Lawmakers say law was improperly implemented, questioning whether the agency “gave heavy consideration to a highly problematic letter that sought to go beyond the bounds of the law” – a letter from Texas Right to Life

The final interim report released by the Texas House State Affairs Committee of this year puts the Health and Human Services Commission under higher scrutiny after its handling of a rule regarding issues of end of life.

The result of a contentious September 6 hearing, the 42-page document highlights the complicated journey of Senate Bill 11, authored by Sen. Charles Perry, R Lubbock, and sponsored by Rep. Greg Bonnen, R Friendswood. There was no immediate comment on the report from the agency.

By James Russell

December 3, 2018      6:13 PM

Pauken: How to win by losing

From the Right: Former Texas GOP Chairman Tom Pauken argues Beto O’Rourke will be the first Democrat in modern history to run statewide in Texas whose career isn’t ended by his loss

Beto O’Rourke may have narrowly lost the race for the U.S. Senate in Texas to Ted Cruz (the final results show Cruz with 51% of the vote and O’Rourke 48%), but he outperformed any Democrat in a statewide race since the 1990s.

 Moreover, he was able to raise and spend over $70 million in his campaign, the largest sum ever raised for a Senate race in Texas – and nearly twice as much as the incumbent Ted Cruz raised.

The full column by former Texas GOP Chairman Tom Pauken is in the R&D Department.

By Tom Pauken

December 1, 2018      2:25 PM

After short meeting, Texas House Republicans endorse Chairman Bonnen for Speaker

Caucus Chair Burrows says “Texas House Republicans have full faith in Representative Dennis Bonnen as he has committed his Speakership to supporting and empowering our members of the Texas House so they may dutifully represent the values and principles of their districts."

December 1, 2018      10:48 AM

State Republican Executive Committee condemns efforts to oust Muslim Republican leader in Tarrant County

“The Republican Party of Texas calls for all Republican organizations to advocate...religious liberty for all Americans”

The State Republican Executive Committee on Saturday unanimously voted to condemn efforts in Tarrant County to remove a party leader because he is Muslim.

Tarrant County GOP Vice Chair Shahid Shafi, a surgeon who is also a Southlake City Council member, had come under pressure lately by some party activists while others had defended his leadership and called it “disgusting” that he was targeted because of his faith. Dr. Shafi spoke to the SREC right after their vote and thanked them for the move.

“The Republican Party of Texas calls for all Republican organizations to advocate...religious liberty for all Americans,” reads the resolution adopted by the SREC. “The State Republican Executive Committee encourages all Republican county executive committees to follow the Rules of the Republican Party of Texas related to participation in meetings and conventions; and reaffirmour core values of religious liberty and the freedom to practice all faiths.”

November 30, 2018      5:27 PM

Updated: Lawmakers stick to $7.5B as sufficient balance for Rainy Day Fund, freeing up excess funds for investment

A select committee has voted to maintain $7.5 billion as the sufficient balance of the Rainy Day Fund, opening the door for Comptroller Glenn Hegar to invest additional funds.

The state’s Economic Stabilization Fund, or ESF, currently is sitting at a balance of $12.5 billion, the highest balance ever in the fund’s 30-year history. The concept of the “sufficient balance” – and the creation of a committee to determine that amount – occurred with the voters’ decision to send a portion of so-called excess funds to state transportation projects.

November 30, 2018      5:19 PM

Paxton sues City of San Antonio over alleged violations of SB4, the sanctuary cities ban

November 30, 2018      11:27 AM

People on the Move

A lobby group expands, a new lobby shop on the scene, hires at trade groups, an appointment, and total staffer moves

Major props to all of you who stood in line for as long as 90 minutes at Chairman Dennis Bonnen’s fundraiser this week. Speaking of that, what do y’all think of the new Four Seasons layout? I'll pass along your notes to their management. Seems like a safe bet that the bar is going to miss out on quite a bit of business during session if they don’t find a way to bring down the noise level. Or maybe I’m just getting old and can’t hear as well.

Meantime, the Reagan Building has been bustling with Rep. Bonnen’s appointments heading in and out of his temporary headquarters. House Administration Chairman Charlie Geren told QR that the office Bonnen is using is the one that would have been assigned to a random member heading into session in the event there was going to be a contested speaker’s race. There are only 149 regular offices for House members, plus the speaker’s office, and Joe Straus is still using that one.

Thanks for all your well wishes after I experienced the joy of a kidney stone on Thanksgiving break. All the “this too shall pass” jokes were appreciated. Now that I’m better, it’s back to work. If there’s career news to share, please send it to ksbraddock@gmail.com and put “POTM” in that subject line, please and thank you.

Here’s this week’s People on the Move:

By Scott Braddock