Harvey Kronberg's Quorum Report - Mobile

August 16, 2017      10:24 AM

Speaker Straus attends meeting of the Texas House GOP Caucus focused on how he is elected

“If we had held the vote today, Speaker Straus would have been overwhelmingly re-elected,” said a Republican member in attendance

Roughly 80 members of the Texas House Republican Caucus met for about two hours Wednesday morning and talked about the procedures for choosing the Speaker. Speaker Joe Straus was in attendance and only described the talks as positive.

Despite social media posts this morning and over the last week describing the meeting as a referendum on the speaker’s performance, Republicans who were in attendance told Quorum Report that the meeting was, in many ways, a “love fest” for the speaker and “If we had held the vote today, Speaker Straus would have been overwhelmingly re-elected.”

More on this later…

By Scott Braddock

August 15, 2017      9:53 PM

The Texas Senate adjourns sine die

August 15, 2017      9:46 PM

Gov. Abbott suggests special session was a success

Abbott's spokesman John Wittman tells KXAN's Phil Prazan that "Our office believes this special session has produced a far better Texas than before."

August 15, 2017      8:58 PM

Senate still refuses to concur on House changes to SB 1, demands another special session

"We're going to fight another day," Bettencourt said. "I hope the governor calls us back at soon as possible."

August 15, 2017      7:32 PM

SB: House tells the Senate to take it or leave it

Final questions of the special center on whether Patrick wants to declare a substantive victory and whether Abbott has internalized the damage he’s done to his own ability to govern

Now that the Texas House has adjourned sine die, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is on the spot as to whether he will declare a substantive victory in his decades-long crusade against local governments and accept the fact that he’s won on his signature issue: He has now successfully forced an automatic rollback rate for cities and counties through both legislative chambers.

Yes, Patrick prefers 4 percent. But the law now includes no automatic rollback rate and only the ability to petition for an election at 8 percent. That’s the same as it was when Patrick first loaded people on buses in Houston and brought them to the Capitol to voice their outrage about property taxes way back when he was only a radio talk show host.

The chatter in the lobby just before Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dennis Bonnen took to the mic this evening was that “Senate Bill 1 is dead.”

Bonnen, however, told his colleagues he was not asking for House conferees to be appointed because he wanted to save the bill. "I'm trying to keep the bill alive," Chair Bonnen said. "If we appointed conferees now it would kill the bill because we are out of time."

The question of timing might be up for debate.

There is no doubt, though, that the Senate could simply discharge its conferees – which include no Democrats and only anti-local government crusaders – and Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, could move to concur on House changes to the property tax bill.

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By Scott Braddock

August 15, 2017      6:52 PM

The Texas House adjourns Sine Die

August 15, 2017      6:47 PM

Chair Bonnen is not asking for House conferees on SB 1

"I'm trying to keep the bill alive," Chair Bonnen said. "If we appointed conferees now it would kill the bill because we are out of time."

August 15, 2017      6:27 PM

Updated: After heated debate, Texas House concurs on changes to school finance package

Vote on HB 21 was 94 to 46; vote on HB 30 was 118 to 24

Although they were unsatisfied with the version of HB 21 that came back from the Senate, House members ultimately voted in favor of the temporary fix for the state’s school finance system with a 94-46 vote.

“To say I’m disappointed is an understatement,” said Chairman Dan Huberty, R-Kingwood, as he asked for concurrence on Senate changes to HB 21. Huberty asked members to vote for the bill because it was “the right thing to do,” even though several aspects of the bill differed from House’s original version.

The biggest of these changes is the primary source of funding: deferral of managed care payment, proposed by the Senate, as opposed to using the Economic Stabilization Fund, which the House had approved prior to sending the bill to the Senate.

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August 15, 2017      6:02 PM

Redistricting may now compel a second special session

Paxton has three days to declare whether the state intends to offer a legislative fix

A three-judge federal panel has offered up an ultimatum on the Texas Congressional maps: Decide to fix CD 27 and 35 now or we’ll meet in September and fix it for you.

Today’s decision only addresses Congressional maps, and it is a clear message the court is serious about fixing before candidates file for primary races in December.

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By Kimberly Reeves

August 15, 2017      5:16 PM

Federal court finds Congressional Districts 27 and 35 are unconstitutional

That's Doggett and Farenthold

Check out the ruling by clicking here.

August 15, 2017      5:05 PM

Texas House concurs on changes to tree bill, sends to Gov. Abbott

119-23 was the vote

August 15, 2017      5:03 PM

Press Releases: Endorsements, DACA, property taxes, Planned Parenthood, and more

Click the Press Releases button above for the latest

August 15, 2017      9:05 AM

Texas House GOP Caucus meeting moved to Wednesday at 8:30am

It will be at the Reagan building in JHR 120, per email from Chair Tan Parker

August 15, 2017      12:48 AM

Senate gives final passage to school finance package HB 21 and HB 30

Final vote on HB 30 was 25 to 6; final vote on HB 30 was 26 to 5

August 15, 2017      12:35 AM

Texas Senate requests conference one SB 1

Conferees are Bettencourt, Buckingham, Creighton, Hancock and Taylor of Collin

August 15, 2017      12:31 AM

Senate tries to save tree bill, makes changes to fix problems cited by Speaker Straus

Straus had returned HB 7 to the Senate saying amendments related to regulations in ETJs and dealing with certain sized trees were not germane. Senators stripped out those provisions and sent it back to the House

August 14, 2017      10:56 PM

Senate pushes hard on school finance deal, advances $351 million for school districts, $212 million for TRS-Care

Vote was 25 to 6 on HB21 and 26 to 5 on HB 30 on second reading

The special session’s school finance bills made it to the floor of the Texas Senate on Monday night and the ragged edges of continuing negotiations were evident.

Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, admitted some aspects of negotiations were ongoing, but that the House had agreed to consider using a deferral of a managed care payment to finance what may end up being a short-term finance fix and funds to shore up TRS-Care.

Privately, House members said Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, was reticent to put the funding mechanism on the table, for fear it would put more stress on a state health care system already strained by funding cuts. No doubt the Senate’s refusal to restore cuts to critical therapy services during the regular session would be on the minds of the House leadership.

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By Kimberly Reeves

August 14, 2017      5:54 PM

House moves today signal logjam is ending over school finance for now

The Senate has yet to act on HB 21 and HB 30

Earlier in the day, Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, shook off Tea Party objections that the House wasn’t being tough enough in Senate Bill 1, the property tax bill, sticking to the 6 percent rollback rate and adding appraisal district reform, House Bill 32, to the bill.

That property tax bill was a must-get for both Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott. It was followed by Sen. Larry Taylor’s ask: an interim school finance commission. The commission’s chief opponent, Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Kingwood, made sure an exchange that linked SB 1 and HB 21 was reduced to writing and added to the journal. 

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By Kimberly Reeves

August 14, 2017      4:56 PM

Texas House passes SB16 to third reading on a vote of 142 to 2

August 14, 2017      3:30 PM

Texas House gives final passage to SB 1

Over objections of Freedom Caucus, leadership muscles through the bill on third reading with 6% rollback rate intact

August 14, 2017      3:29 PM

Texas House condemns hate in Charlottesville, denounces white nationalist rally planned for A&M

“We call upon the Texas A&M system and university administrators, and all of our state leadership, students, alumni, to unequivocally denounce and fight against these violent groups and their venom…”

Texas House members gathered around Representative Helen Giddings, D-DeSoto, on Monday afternoon to condemn the white supremacist group violently protesting in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend.

Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old woman protesting the white supremacist group, died when a car plowed through a crowd of counter-protesters, killing her and injuring at least 19 other people. Two Virginia state troopers who were monitoring the riots, H. Jay Cullen and Berke Bates, also died when their helicopter crashed on Saturday evening.

Rep. Giddings also called on Texas A&M University to denounce an upcoming white supremacist rally scheduled to take place in College Station on September 11. Rep. Paul Workman, R-Austin, said he and other TAMU alums plan to send TAMU a letter urging them to ban the white supremacist rally.

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By Lyanne A. Guarecuco

August 14, 2017      2:28 PM

Texas House adopts fiscally conservative calendar rule on amendments to SB 19, TRS-Care

Under the rule, the Senate's proposed teacher pay raises would be out of order; only amendments allowed will be those that reduce the cost of the plan. Vote on the calendar rule was 86 to 45

August 13, 2017      10:37 PM

Updated: House and Senate get down to negotiations over school finance

"We’ve got to start over” says Chair Nelson; she and Chair Huberty were behind closed doors tonight as both chambers waited

Senate Finance kicked out its preferred funding mechanism for school finance, House Bill 30, earlier this evening in anticipation of negotiations with the House that got underway shortly thereafter. Both chambers gaveled out until Monday as the talks wrapped up for the evening around 9pm. The House will be back at 1pm while the Senate is in recess until 4pm Monday afternoon.

House Bill 30 is the lighter, more digestible version of school finance: $150 million for hardship grants; $60 million for the Existing Debt Allotment; another $60 million for charter schools that appears to have no strings attached to it; and $40 million to remedy gaps in the small district allotment.

The runs for the $311 million bill went out from Sen. Larry Taylor’s, R-Friendswood, office this morning. Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, said he would vote for the bill but only to keep the discussion going with the House in conference committee.

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By Kimberly Reeves

August 13, 2017      10:28 PM

Sen. Schwertner to attend rally countering white nationalists at Texas A&M

"The racist and bigoted hate speech promoted by these groups does not reflect the values of Texas A&M University or the people of Texas and it should be loudly and consistently condemned by all responsible voices of our society," said the Republican who represents College Station in the Texas Senate.

August 13, 2017      9:18 PM

Senate gavels out until 4pm Monday

August 13, 2017      9:17 PM

As of tonight, Sen. Zaffirini has cast 60,000 consecutive votes in the Texas Senate

"My constituents elected me to be their voice and to vote on their behalf in the Texas Senate, which is why I take voting so seriously...Accordingly, I cast every vote by balancing the needs and interests of Senate District 21 families with those of our great state."

August 13, 2017      8:02 PM

House votes to postpone final passage of SB 1

Vote was 109 to 15

August 13, 2017      6:51 PM

House State Affairs sends HB 14 to Calendars

When asked by QR, Chairman Cook's office said the bill banning local government contracts with abortion providers was filed with the committee coordinator Saturday night before 8:45pm. For some reason, TLO did not update until this evening.

August 13, 2017      6:28 PM

Senate Finance kicks out HB 30

August 13, 2017      6:22 PM

Senate concurs on House changes to SB6, annexation, on a vote of 21 to 10

Sen. Menendez, who filibustered it during the regular session, said the five mile buffer for military bases might have helped it pass earlier this year