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February 26, 2020      6:09 PM

Both parties up from 2018 in early vote totals

Statewide Republicans have voted 656,572 while Democrats have voted 536,005 with the three heaviest days of Early Voting yet to come. Both parties are way up from 2018, GOP is about the same as 2016 while the Dems are way up from 2016 and running behind 2008

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February 26, 2020      5:45 PM

Capitol Complex construction remains on time and on budget

The massive Capitol Complex project continues to be on time and on budget, with the first concrete slab of the office tower at 1601 Congress poured already.

Construction manager Lou Saksen of Balfour Beatty updated the Texas Facilities Commission this past week, outlining progress on the multiple construction packages currently underway along Congress Avenue between the Capitol and Martin Luther King Boulevard.

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By Kimberly Reeves

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February 26, 2020      5:38 PM

Rep. Howard supports Rep. Eddie Rodriguez for Texas Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Watson

She tweeted: "The issues Central Texas cares about will be front & center next #txlege session. And we need an #SD14 Senator who can hit the ground running. That’s why I’m supporting my colleague @eddiefortexas to continue the great partnership we’ve had in the TX Senate."

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February 25, 2020      5:17 PM

8-day reports show Texas House colleagues rallying for Flynn, Sheffield

Senators not helping out each other, though one is working against a House colleague

With less than a week until the primary, the 8-day reports are coming in and the money race is on.

Here are the key takeaways:

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By James Russell

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February 24, 2020      6:09 PM

Construction materials spark conflict

No matter how Texas lawmakers address concrete and aggregate production, nothing will likely slow the need for new facilities and local opposition will still spring up to each and every one of them

Anytime an issue results in an 1,100 percent increase in bills filed over a 4-year period, it is worth noting. When that happens, it’s possible it will have ripple effects for the legislative program of many in the Texas Capitol community, whether intended or not.

Aggregate and concrete production issues, especially the location of these facilities, have come to the forefront and it does not appear they will go away any time soon. For those not familiar with the term, “aggregate” includes crushed rock, sand and gravel—materials essential for construction.

Besides the sheer volume of bills, the number of bills viewed by industry as adverse increased by 3,200 percent over that same 4-year period. The number of legislators introducing bills viewed by the industry as adverse increased from one to thirteen.

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By Jon Fisher

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February 24, 2020      6:06 PM

Braddock on Radio: Democratic Establishment dealing with Bernie the way the GOP dealt with the Tea Party

KFYO Radio Host and your Editor Scott Braddock discuss the Bernie surge and what it may mean for Texas

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February 24, 2020      5:54 PM

SB: Jon Fisher joins Quorum Report as a contributing writer

With good relationships on both sides of the aisle, Jon brings a lifetime of political experience to a new part time gig as a journalist

Some of you have already been getting calls from our newest reporter as he worked on his first story for Quorum Report. Jon Fisher comes to QR with a lifetime of political experience.

A former legislative and Congressional staffer and campaign operative, Jon spent the last 39 years as a business lobbyist with Texas Chemical Council and then the Associated Builders and Contractors of Texas. Jon has had great relationships with Republicans and Democrats alike – something that’s been harder and harder to do in the political world as of late – and he’s also been a good friend of mine over the years. He’s one of the readers who would never hesitate to point out one of my typos. Well, now I’m his editor.

Jon is now retired from lobbying and wanted to give journalism a try as a part time gig. Mr. Kronberg and I liked the idea primarily because the skillset Jon brings to the table will make for excellent reading on business issues, starting with his first story to be published this afternoon on costs of construction materials.

You can reach Jon at jonfisherquorumreport@gmail.com

By Scott Braddock

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February 24, 2020      5:44 PM

U of H poll shows Biden and Sanders virtually tied in Texas

Full results are here.

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February 22, 2020      12:39 PM

TWIA vote could eventually force rate increases

The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association board took a vote this week on funding to finance windstorm claims that could end up squeezing the cost of policyholder premiums.

Lawmakers have made it clear – especially in the wake of Hurricane Harvey – that they don’t want TWIA policy rates to go up while communities continue to recover from Harvey-related storm damage. That strong opposition – joined by dozens of policyholders – pushed back a recommendation in December to increase policy premiums by 5 percent.

Policyholders could claim victory for now. But is it fleeting?

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By Kimberly Reeves

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February 21, 2020      7:33 PM

Rep. Gina Hinojosa will not run for Senate

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February 20, 2020      5:00 PM

Rep. Howard opts out of Senate run

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February 20, 2020      4:55 PM

MJ Hegar raised $638,000, has $850,000 cash on hand

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February 20, 2020      4:52 PM

Amid controversy, TRS sticks with current office space

The overall tension centers on the competing needs of the components of TRS. The investment division would prefer to be downtown while the suburbs would offer more economical locations for a member services center

The Teacher Retirement System has bowed to retiree pressure and gone with a seven-year extension of its current downtown lease rather than moving its investment division into the new high-end Indeed Tower on Sixth Street next March.

The agency was bombarded with Facebook comments and emails after reports that the Indeed Tower lease would cost $326,000 a month. Especially angry was the Texas Retired Teachers Association, who weren’t eager to hear that their dollars would go to luxury digs.

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By Kimberly Reeves

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February 20, 2020      8:38 AM

Focused on flipping the Texas House, Rep. Celia Israel takes a pass on running for Senate

Rep. Israel says her focus is working as Chair of the Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee - organizing and raising campaign cash - to build a majority in this year's elections

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February 20, 2020      8:35 AM

Debt collection up, pot arrests down in latest court statistics

Rise in debt cases is attributed to the Trump Administration’s loosening of debt-collection regulations

Annual court statistics unveiled at the Texas Judicial Council indicate a sharp rise in civil cases around debt and eviction last year and a steep drop in both prosecution and conviction of misdemeanor marijuana cases.

Angela Garcia, the chief data officer at the Texas Office of Court Administration, presented an overview of the numbers this past week, outlining one-year and five-year trends in case load across municipal, county, district and the Texas Supreme Court.

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By Kimberly Reeves

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February 19, 2020      4:56 PM

SB: Texas Senate has options after Patrick doubled down on rules change

In renewing his promise to push for a simple majority threshold, Patrick admits his “team” may be smaller than the GOP Caucus; senators may fear Patrick’s role on the Legislative Redistricting Board but there is almost always a workaround when playing legislative chess

Out with the old and in with the new. As we prepare for the imminent free-for-all to fill the soon-to-be-vacated seat held by Sen. Kirk Watson, it’s appropriate to reflect on the environment in the Texas Senate and how it may be about to change.

Just after the filing deadline passed in December, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was proud of the fact that none of the GOP senators who serve in Austin had drawn a primary challenger. “These senators told the people of their districts what they were going to do – and they did it – which is why no one is challenging them,” Patrick said.

And why would any upstart candidate challenge them from the right? Senators had data on their side. During session, it was fairly well known that Patrick would provide senators with individualized polling results showing how voters in their districts felt about his priority bills right before those measures would be debated on the floor. A lack of GOP Senate primaries may mean Republicans are liberated to an extent. In short: Retribution for them can only be dealt out by Patrick, not the voters in safe Republican districts.

But Patrick doesn’t need to endorse primary challengers or fund insurgent campaigns – the way he exacted revenge on former Sen. Craig Estes – to find significant leverage with senators and keep them on his “team.”

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By Scott Braddock

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