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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.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

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:

The rest of the story, subscribers only

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

November 18, 2014      6:18 PM

Judge will not toss out felony case against Gov. Perry

Perry's defense attorneys were hoping their argument that the special prosecutor wasn't properly sworn in would doom the case

The details via the Associated Press.

November 18, 2014      6:16 PM

Press Releases: More bill filing, saving Texas history, textbook wars and more

November 18, 2014      6:06 PM

Updated: HK: The High Price of Tim Dunn--A tale of two burned state Reps

"Does anyone seriously believe that Tim Dunn and MQS would not have veto power on any committee assignments a Speaker Turner might consider?"

Update at 6:06pm Tuesday: Michael Quinn Sullivan did not previously respond to our request for comment about the email he sent last week to people in Rep. Capriglione’s district. This afternoon, Sullivan confirmed that this email, seen here, is a correct copy of what he wrote – SB

Midland oilman Tim Dunn is one of the most powerful Republicans most people have never met.  But his operations are well documented through his acknowledged subsidiaries, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Empower Texans and AgendaWise. 

Speaker candidate Scott Turner doesn’t have a lot of direct Dunn money in his campaign, but he is currently the clearly anointed “not Straus” favorite of the Dunn interlocking directorates.

So Giovanni Capriglione rocked Dunn-world last week by saying what every sentient political professional at the Capitol already knew, that Turner had neither the policy depth nor the political support inside the Republican Caucus or House to be Speaker. The Southlake freshman was not naïve, he knew he would face the orchestrated wrath of the Dunn conglomerate.

It did not take long for Dunn spokesman Michael Quinn Sullivan to flame Capriglione’s district with an email attacking their rep.  In fact, he effectively declared war on the Tarrant County lawmaker by saying Capriglione is "supporting Joe Straus, who has thwarted all conservative reforms."

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Harvey Kronberg

November 18, 2014      5:29 PM

Wayne Slater to retire as Senior Political Writer of the Dallas Morning News

"No specific plans but we'll see what happens," Slater says.

November 18, 2014      5:15 PM

Bearse: A Pocketful of Gruber

From the Right: QR’s conservative columnist argues there is a right way and a wrong way for the GOP to oppose President Obama’s promised executive action on immigration

Our constitutional law professor in chief will always seize a political opportunity, even if it creates a constitutional crisis. In theory a president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” After all, it’s in the Constitution. But President Obama is making a different calculation: that Republican objection over a constitutional separation of powers issue will be overshadowed by the political benefit resulting from his executive order on immigration.

Here is the trap he is trying to set for Republican candidates running for president: oppose his order on constitutional grounds, and then spend months answering whether alternatively you would deport those 4.5 million people. He wants Republican candidates to oppose the order in the primary, and have it come back to bite the nominee in the general.

This is a president who locked down war memorials from veterans to make a point about the government shut down. He will do anything to advance his political goals. He will even tell you if you like your doctor, you can keep him. He has proven he will say anything, and do anything to win a political victory. He has a pocketful of Gruber.

The complete column from Eric Bearse can be found in the R&D Department.

By Eric Bearse

November 18, 2014      4:13 PM

Nine more North Texas Republican Reps proudly announce support for Straus

Latest to throw their support behind Straus include Jodie Laubenberg and James White

Another day another letter from quite conservative members of the Texas House who say they “proudly add our support to Speaker Joe Straus.”

The signatories of this letter, which you can see here, are Jodie Laubenberg, Dan Flynn, Larry Phillips, Angie Chen Button, Kenneth Sheets, James White, Cindy Burkett, Linda Koop, Morgan Meyer.

November 18, 2014      2:52 PM

HK: Geren to call the bluff and move for record Speaker vote

Prepared to test how deep Dunn's support/fear is on the House floor

In his usual understated fashion, House Administration Chairman Charlie Geren tells QR that he is sick of the pro-Turner, anti-Straus nonsense ginned up by Tim Dunn and his spokesman Michael Quinn Sullivan.

In a conversation last night, Geren noted that a few Tea Party groups had said they would go after any House member who voted against allowing a record vote in the Speaker’s race.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Harvey Kronberg

November 18, 2014      2:42 PM

Straus, Dewhurst and Perry propose to extend border surge

$86 million needs LBB approval, would extend security surge through next Summer

Texas’ top Republican leaders on Tuesday agreed to extend the state-led border security surge through the end of the fiscal year.

There had been speculation about whether The Legislature would have to deal with this right off the bat in January, but Speaker Joe Straus, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, and outgoing Gov. Rick Perry signed off on a budget execution that will "marshal resources from a variety of state sources to enhance the state's efforts to secure the border region,” the three of them announced in a joint statement.

The agreement they signed off on needs the approval of the Legislative Budget Board, which meets again on Dec. 1.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Scott Braddock

November 18, 2014      1:50 PM

Statesman: Paxton Associate named in securities action

Paxton “has described Mowery as a friend and business associate.”

From the Austin American-Statesman's Chuck Lindell:

"A state judge will determine whether to revoke the securities license of Frederick Mowery, who was linked to the State Securities Board’s May reprimand of Attorney General-elect Ken Paxton, for allegations that included failure to disclose conflicts of interest, plagiarism and lying to investigators.

Mowery was given 20 days to respond to the allegations — announced Tuesday by the securities board — and invited to appear at a Jan. 27 hearing before an administrative law judge in Austin....Paxton, a Republican state senator from McKinney, has described Mowery as a friend and business associate.”

The full story is here.

November 18, 2014      9:11 AM

Correction: 12 more Republicans announce support for Straus

The drumbeat continues despite outside sabre rattling

The new names and statement of support for Straus can be found here.

November 17, 2014      6:05 PM

Press Releases: Announcements, awards, endorsements, and more

November 17, 2014      4:58 PM

Both Austin County Judge Carolyn Bilski and geologist Becky Berger, who previously ran for RRC, to run for Kolkhorst House seat if open

November 17, 2014      4:39 PM

Seven more Republicans announce support for Straus

Five incumbents and two freshmen cite conservative record

The statement from seven more Republicans supporting Speaker Joe Straus can be found here.

November 17, 2014      4:27 PM

Enriquez: Resounding Republican victory means it is time to get things done

Co-Founder of Glasshouse Policy points to data that suggests even in a GOP dominated Legislature, bipartisan bills have the best chance of passage

As the dust settles from the recent election, it is clear that the 84th Texas Legislature will look a lot like the 83rd Legislative Session, including Republican dominance of the Texas House and Senate, and control of key leadership roles statewide. So, it would be wise for policy practitioners to learn from the successes of the previous session and try to repeat those successes this time around.

Glasshouse Policy crunched the numbers from the 83rd Session and the data confirms that the clearest path to getting things done begins with Republicans and Democrats working together. In fact, our research reveals that a bipartisan-authored bill filed in the Texas House of Representatives was nearly 6 times more likely to pass than a bill filed by same-party legislators.

We arrived at this conclusion after taking a close look at the political parties of the joint-authors of every bill filed in both the Texas House and Senate. For the purposes of our report, bills jointly authored by at least one member of each political party are considered to be “bipartisan.”

What did we find when our analysis was complete? Bills coauthored with bipartisan support, while rare, were more likely to become law than their single-party counterparts. And, interestingly, despite the success of collaborative bills, there were relatively few bipartisan bills filed.  

Here are some of our key findings:

The complete column from Francisco Enriquez can be found in the R&D Department.

By Francisco Enriquez

November 17, 2014      3:25 PM

Van de Putte misses key deadline in SA mayor race consideration

Friday was deadline to resign the Senate and guarantee an “expedited” Special election

The Secretary of State’s office has confirmed a quirk in election law that may complicate Senator Leticia Van de Putte’s decision whether or not to run for San Antonio mayor this spring.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Harvey Kronberg

November 17, 2014      2:53 PM

Flash: Joaquin Castro will not head Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Although Castro was rumored to be in the mix, Pelosi taps New Mexico Rep Ben Ray Lujan

November 17, 2014      2:17 PM

Updated: Kolkhorst first out of gate with TV ad in Senate race

Titled "Only One" ad promotes conservative record

In addition to going up on TV for the December 6 special election, Lois Kolkhorst’s campaign today announced a major fundraiser and reception with special guest Glenn Hegar on Wednesday in Brenham.

The campaign says that over 1,000 local contributors are listed as hosts.

November 14, 2014      4:38 PM

Updated: Hegar resigns the Senate, let the race for his seat begin

As if it hasn't been going already - there are three declared candidates

Sen. Glenn Hegar, now Comptroller-Elect Hegar, formally submitted his resignation from his Senate seat on Friday. His last day as a senator will actually be December 5.

There are already three declared candidates in the race to succeed him. They are all Republicans.

Gary Gates Jr is a real estate investor from Richmond, Charles Gregory III is a businessman and former Mayor Protem of Simonton, and Rep. Lois Kolkhorst from Brenham are all declared candidates.

Late in the day, Gov. Perry announced the special election will be held on Saturday, Dec 6. That means early voting starts on Nov 26 and the filing deadline is Nov 19.

November 14, 2014      4:36 PM

Press Releases: Sunset, immigration, school problems, and more

November 14, 2014      3:14 PM

Stanford: Make Election Day a Holiday

From the Left: QR’s liberal columnist Jason Stanford says designating Election Day a national day off from work just makes sense

Apparently, you’re pretty busy. I’m a little surprised that you have time to read the paper, frankly. And you’re not alone. Only 36% of our countrymen bothered to vote in the midterm elections. A lot of people were busy that day.

Unless we are prepared to admit that control of Congress will be determined largely by non-voters, we need to take a fresh look at reinvigorating the basic currency of democracy—voting. And that’s exactly why Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders wants to make Election Day a national holiday.

Turnout in the midterm elections hasn’t been this low since 1942, and back then my grandmother was busy changing my now 72-year-old dad’s diaper. Grandpa Stanford was busy, too, fighting fascism in Europe. So if turnout was a little low in the middle of World War II, I’m willing to give the Greatest Generation a pass.

But a lot has happened since then. We lowered the voting age, passed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, and, with the Motor Voter Law, made it easier to register to vote. The United States has systematically welcomed more and more Americans into the fold, and now what? Voting? Eh, who has time?

The complete column from Jason Stanford can be found in today’s R&D Department.

By Jason Stanford

November 14, 2014      7:39 AM

Seven North Texas Republican Reps agree there is no race for Speaker

They call for "unprecedented unity among Republicans as we enter the 84th Legislature"

A letter signed by Reps. Tan Parker, Phil King, Drew Springer, James Frank, Ron Simmons, Myra Crownover and Giovanni Capriglione can be found here.