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April 16, 2021      5:13 PM

Biden Administration rescinds earlier decision by Trump Administration to greenlight Texas' $100 billion-plus Medicaid plan

The Washington Post first obtained the CMS letter and reports the "decision is seen as an effort to push Texas officials toward expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to cover more low-income residents"

The scoop from the Washington Post:

The Biden administration on Friday rescinded approval for changes to Texas’s Medicaid program granted by the Trump administration, saying that federal Medicaid officials “materially erred” by speeding approval for the state’s $100 billion-plus request in January. The decision was characterized as an effort to push state officials toward accepting the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, which would cover more low-income residents, said two federal health officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. Texas, which has more uninsured people than any other state, is one of 12 that have not expanded the program.

“[W]e are rescinding the approval issued on January 15, 2021,” because it did not go through the full federal rulemaking process, Liz Richter, the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, wrote in a letter to Texas officials obtained by The Washington Post.

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April 16, 2021      12:50 PM

People on the Move

Think tank changes, campaign veterans, and more

Nerves are fraying, emotionally draining debates are unfolding here in mid-April, and yet somehow there are quite a few political professionals who just this week are making their very first office visits of the legislative session. COVID-19 fears are diminishing now as vaccines are becoming more evenly distributed throughout the community. But some restrictions on movement in the Texas Capitol complex remain nearly as strict as when the protests of last summer were still raging in the streets.

We’ve managed to go from a legislative session that was laser-focused on coronavirus and the ice storm to a red meat free for all. Jeremy Wallace and I delved into that on this week’s podcast.

Meantime, career news has been a little harder to come by the last couple weeks. Most folks in the Capitol are now settled into their roles for at least the next six weeks as we head toward sine die. People will start moving around again after that, you would expect. If you do have career news to share, though, feel free to send it anytime to ksbraddock@gmail.com. Please use POTM in the subject line. The Capitol community is always interested.

Here’s the latest edition of People on the Move.

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By Scott Braddock

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April 15, 2021      5:22 PM

Texas House advances permitless carry legislation on a vote of 84 to 56

Rep. Meyer, R-Dallas, voted against it, Rep. Chen Button was present not voting. Rep Guerra, by the way, was off the floor because of an unexpected death in his family and returned to the district this morning

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April 15, 2021      12:07 PM

Despite constitutional objections, Texas Senate votes to ban certain lobbying at the Texas Capitol

Republican leadership rejected an amendment to bar the State of Texas from lobbying in DC while voting to bar cities and counties from lobbying in Austin; Sen. Gutierrez did successfully argue for an amendment to allow local government to lobby on issues related to the military

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April 14, 2021      9:49 AM

Congressman Kevin Brady to retire, announces he will not seek a 14th term

Rep. Brady broke the news of his retirement in prepared remarks to the The Woodlands Chamber of Commerce, a group he once led

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April 14, 2021      6:20 AM

Texas Senate votes 29 to 2 to approve constitutional amendment to force a special session during prolonged disaster

Senators also voted overwhelmingly to put lawmakers, not the governor, squarely in charge of whether businesses can be ordered to shut down during a disaster

A constitutional amendment to put state lawmakers back at the decision table during disasters and emergencies passed the Texas Senate late Tuesday. The enabling legislation, meantime, was stripped of an amendment that would allow lawmakers to override a governor’s executive orders.

Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, was frank about the outlines of his bill, which has more than a dozen co-sponsors: He stripped out the parts that were being sponsored by other Senators and landed on a bill that could gain the supermajority needed for a constitutional amendment.

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By Kimberly Reeves

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April 14, 2021      6:00 AM

Former Lt. Gov. Dewhurst arrested on domestic-violence charge in Dallas, per reports

The news overnight from the Dallas Morning News:

Former Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst was arrested Tuesday afternoon in Dallas on a domestic-violence charge. Dallas police announced the arrest just before midnight Tuesday. According to police, officers were called about 5:15 p.m. about a disturbance in the 3300 block of West Mockingbird Lane, near Dallas Love Field. They spoke to a woman who said she had been assaulted by a man she knew. Police said they identified Dewhurst as a suspect, and he was taken into custody on a misdemeanor charge of family-violence assault and booked into the Dallas County jail.

Jail records showed that he had been booked into the facility about 12:15 a.m. Wednesday. His bail had not been set, and it was unclear whether he had an attorney. Dallas police said the department’s public integrity unit would conduct the investigation.

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April 13, 2021      3:49 PM

In congressional bid, Rep. Ellzey to report more than $500,000 raised

"More than 8,300 donors join to push the former fighter pilot to Congress in the Texas Special Election," per his campaign for congress

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April 13, 2021      3:45 PM

On party-line vote, Texas Senate advances creation of a statewide appellate court

Under SB 1529 by Chair Huffman, the proposed appellate court would consist of 5 justices elected statewide and deal with all matters related to the state, state agencies, and state actors

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April 12, 2021      5:46 PM

As Chair Bonnen promises more compromises will be made, Texas House Appropriations votes to advance state budget

Bonnen and the LBB acknowledge a combination of factors – higher property values, less-than-expected school attendance increases, and federal funds from the CARES Act – have freed up $5.5 billion to balance the House budget

The Texas House Appropriations Committee voted out its budget and supplemental budget on close to unanimous votes Monday morning, with promises from Chair Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood, that compromises and revisions will continue to be made.

Chairman Bonnen provided a list of highlights before the vote:

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By Kimberly Reeves

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April 12, 2021      1:43 PM

Nominations recommends full Senate confirm Will McAdams for PUC

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