Harvey Kronberg's Quorum Report
DAILY BUZZ
NEWS CLIPS
R & D
PRESS RELEASES
CALENDAR
LOGIN
LOGOUT



Lead Stories

New York Times - May 26, 2015

Federal Panel Lets Injunction Against Obama’s Immigration Actions Stand

A federal appeals court on Tuesday denied the Obama administration’s request to lift a hold on the president’s executive actions on immigration, which would have granted protection from deportation as well as work permits to millions of immigrants in the country illegally. Two of three judges on a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, left in place an injunction by a Federal District Court judge in Brownsville, Tex. The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by Texas and 25 other states against actions President Obama took in November. Many of the initiatives were scheduled to take effect this month.

click here for more


Ft. Worth Business Press - May 23, 2015

Texas House OKs fines for posting 'no guns' signs

The Texas Legislature has approved fines for governmental entities that post signs prohibiting the carrying of concealed handguns in areas where licensed Texans are allowed to carry them. Authored by tea party-backed Republican Sen. Donna Campbell, the plan passed both chambers with little debate, despite opposition from some municipal groups. Saturday's House approval 116-23 sends it to Gov. Greg Abbott to be signed into law.

click here for more


Austin American Statesman - May 26, 2015

Joe Pickett: Deal done on legislation using sales taxes for highways

House and Senate negotiators have sealed a deal on a proposed constitutional amendment that, if voters approved it in 2016, would direct $2.5 billion more (and rising) to Texas highways, House Transportation Committee chair Joe Pickett told the American-Statesman Tuesday. Under terms agreed to in a House-Senate conference committee on Senate Joint Resolution 5, the Texas Department of Transportation would get $2.5 billion a year in state sales tax revenue beginning in the 2017-2018 budget year, provided that overall sales taxes exceed $28 billion. The comptroller expects that overall sales tax will be almost $29.7 billion two years earlier, in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - May 26, 2015

Senate approves bill to beef up border security

The Senate on Tuesday tentatively approved legislation to bolster security along the Texas-Mexico border, using $800 million over the next two years to put more state troopers in the region and beef up law enforcement infrastructure. Already passed by the House, the measure must return to the lower chamber for approval of Senate amendments. Among the most significant provisions of the bill is the hiring of 250 new state troopers to patrol areas near the border to reduce criminal activities such as smuggling of drugs and guns. The proposal also would create a training facility in the Rio Grande Valley for law enforcement officers and allow the DPS to set up southbound checkpoints. It also provides funding for DPS officers to have a 10-hour workday.

click here for more


Texas Tribune - May 26, 2015

Hopes Fading for New Rules to Limit Tuition Growth

Texas lawmakers upset with the climbing cost of college began this year with high hopes for new limits on tuition increases. But as the end of the state’s legislative session nears, hopes are fading. All the bills seeking to regulate state schools’ tuition have died. And there’s little time left in the legislative session to find new paths to revive the idea. Not everyone has given up, but some of the top advocates for tuition regulation are already turning their sights to the 2017 session.

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - May 26, 2015

Texas House tentatively OKs 'campus carry' proposal

The House on Tuesday tentatively approved a GOP-backed “campus carry” proposal, but only after a bizarre ending in which Democrats struck a deal to allow a vote on the measure before a hard midnight deadline. The Democratic gambit, which involved pulling down dozens of amendments as the clock was starting to run out, appears to be two-fold on the divisive measure to allow licensed Texans to carry concealed handguns in most university buildings. Lawmakers agreed to amend the bill to allow all universities to at least partially opt out of “campus carry.” That tweak — made with bipartisan support — marked somewhat of a victory for gun control advocates who wanted to weaken the legislation.

click here for more


Amarillo Globe News - May 26, 2015

Controversial immigration bills die in Texas Senate

Despite an overwhelming Republican majority in the Texas Legislature, two controversial bills dealing with illegal immigration, including the so-called “sanctuary cities” measure state Sen. Charles Perry filed, won’t become law this year — unless Gov. Greg Abbott calls a special session and puts one or both on the agenda. Perry’s Senate Bill 185, which would have required cities to comply with federal immigration laws, and another Senate bill that would have repealed a 14-year law that allows some undocumented students to get in-state tuition at public colleges and universities, are dead this session.

click here for more


The Atlantic - May 26, 2015

Waiting Periods and the Rising Price of Abortion

There’s a new type of abortion roadblock that’s swiftly gaining popularity: a state-imposed wait between the day a woman decides to have the procedure and the day she can actually get one. In recent weeks, Oklahoma tripled the length of its waiting period, becoming the fourth state with a 72-hour (three-day) delay. Florida enacted a 24-hour waiting period between two different appointments—one for an ultrasound and another for the procedure. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a two-day waiting-period bill last month—and simultaneously made the state the record-holder for the number of abortion restrictions passed in 2015 so far, advocates say. Tennessee passed a 48-hour wait just last week. Twenty-six states in all now impose these mandatory delays.

click here for more


State Stories

Dallas Morning News - May 27, 2015

Dizzying moves by Texas House Dems endanger ‘campus carry,’ abortion measures

House Republicans and Democrats clashed Tuesday over stalling tactics that endangered bills championed by staunch conservatives, such as a “campus carry” gun bill and a measure that would bar health insurers that sell policies in the Obamacare state marketplace from covering abortions. At times, the daylong wrangling baffled onlookers. The chamber’s outnumbered Democrats began to stall by asking extensive questions and then abruptly stopped, only to resume again early in the evening. By then it was unclear if there was still enough fodder on the agenda for their “chubbing” to work.

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - May 26, 2015

State Rep. Eric Johnson preserves in-person jail visits

It was weird to me as a kid that my dad took time out of his weekends so that he and a friend could truck up to the state prison in Atmore, Alabama and sit and talk with the inmates. He never asked me to go along, and I probably wouldn’t have if he did so I don’t really know what those days were like for him, what he did, who he talked to, what they said to him, what they hoped for. I do know he was a great talker, a great teller of tales, so I’m certain the time was interestingly passed. And I know he took a Bible with him, prayer books, his rosary, that sort of thing. He was always more tuned in to that other world than his son.

click here for more


Austin American Statesman - May 27, 2015

Environmental groups likely to ask feds to oversee Texas coal plants

Alleging that Texas environmental regulators met privately with utility lobbyists before easing pollution reporting requirements for coal-fired power plants, a coalition of environmental groups is likely to ask the federal government today to revisit and tighten permits. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality authorized up to 30 times more soot per hour from power plants than federal standards allow at 19 power plants across the state, say the members of the coalition, which is led by the Environmental Integrity Project.

click here for more


El Paso Times - May 27, 2015

State Senate passes $800M border-security bill

Amid reports that border-violence is down, the Texas Senate on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to an $800-million border-security bill and it refused a requirement that state police report arrests and drug seizures along the border. House Bill 11 doubles the money the state is spending on border security even though the Houston Chronicle reported last week that border violence has been dropping for years.

click here for more


El Paso Times - May 26, 2015

Tussle in Legislature over Hueco Tanks, Hays County water

Residents of flood-ravaged Hays County were furious Tuesday that State Rep. Mary González used a legislative maneuver in an attempt to kill a local bill they say will protect their wells. In calls and emails, several asked why a lawmaker whose district is 500 miles away would insert herself into a strictly local debate. "She seems like a decent person," said Nancy Weaver, who lives about a half mile from a commercial wellfield that she and her neighbors fear will pump down the water table, rendering their wells useless. "I can't help but wonder what's gotten into her."

click here for more


Texas Tribune - May 26, 2015

Health Insurance Card Bill Clears Senate

House Bill 1514, which would add a special label to the health insurance cards of people purchasing health plans on the exchange created by the Affordable Care Act, passed the Texas Senate late Tuesday evening. The bill, which passed the House earlier this month, would apply to more than a million Texans with “qualified health plans” purchased on Healthcare.gov by adding a new label — “QHP” — to their insurance cards. It passed 20-11 and now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott for approval.

click here for more


Texas Tribune - May 26, 2015

House OKs Raising Age of Juvenile Offenders to 18

A final effort to raise from 17 to 18 the age at which offenders automatically enter the adult legal system made it through the Texas House on Tuesday, tacked onto a bill reorganizing the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. The House passed Senate Bill 1630, 134-11. The underlying bill, authored by state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston would place juveniles being punished for lesser crimes in regional facilities closer to their homes.

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - May 27, 2015

Texas House OKs ethics bill calling for ‘dark money’ disclosure

The House approved an ethics bill Tuesday that would force disclosure of “dark money” and prohibit the secret recording of lawmakers at the Capitol that has rattled many lawmakers and legislative aides and watchers. Tuesday’s three-hour debate was at times tense, as tea party members tried to remove the disclosure and taping provisions. The bill tenatively passed, 96-48. Gov. Greg Abbott named ethics as one of his emergency items of the session, tapping two North Texas lawmakers, Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, and Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, to lead the charge.

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - May 27, 2015

House, Senate deal would boost Texas road fund by billions

The Legislature’s two most influential transportation lawmakers have struck a deal to boost the annual road budget by a projected $3 billion or more, possibly putting Texas in a position to keep congestion from getting worse. House Transportation Chairman Joe Pickett and Senate Transportation Chairman Robert Nichols said Tuesday the strategy would shift more money toward the construction and maintenance of toll-free roads. The model, which would require the approval of voters in November 2016, relies on general sales tax and the motor vehicle sales tax. There would also be ways to limit the extra money to the Texas Department of Transportation, if the economy falters.

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - May 27, 2015

Texas Senate approves border security bill

The Senate approved legislation Tuesday to bolster security along the Texas-Mexico border, using $800 million over the next two years to put more state troopers in the region and beef up law enforcement infrastructure. Among the most significant provisions of the bill is the hiring of 250 new state troopers to patrol areas near the border to reduce criminal activities such as smuggling of drugs and guns. The proposal also would create a training facility in the Rio Grande Valley for law enforcement officers and allow the Department of Public Safety to set up southbound checkpoints. It also provides funding for DPS officers to have a 10-hour workday.

click here for more


Ft. Worth Star Telegram - May 26, 2015

False conviction bill passes Texas Senate

Cory Session didn’t give up. Two years after a proposal died in the Texas Legislature that would have created an exoneration commission to study false convictions — and be named for his brother, Tim Cole, a Fort Worth man found innocent of a rape conviction years after he died in prison — it unanimously passed the Senate. House Bill 48, which creates the Tim Cole Exoneration Review Commission to study wrongful convictions, now heads back to the House of Representatives for consideration of changes made in the Senate.

click here for more


Texas Tribune - May 26, 2015

House Passes Weakened Campus Carry Bill

Thirty minutes before a key midnight deadline — and facing a potentially fatal procedural challenge — the Texas House hurriedly approved a bill requiring public universities to allow concealed handguns on campus Tuesday night. The 101-to-47 vote on Senate Bill 11 came after House Republicans added language exempting health facilities and letting universities carve out gun-free zones. They also adopted an amendment stating that private colleges would have to follow whatever public universities do. The version that passed the House, which still must take a final vote on the measure, is a significant departure from the legislation that passed the Senate.

click here for more


Texas Tribune - May 26, 2015

Before Central Texas Flooding, Officials Sounded Alarm

When some residents of Wimberley woke up early Sunday morning to flooding inside their homes, the fear and surprise were palpable: The Texas Hill Country had been going through a record, multiyear drought. But just three months earlier, local officials had voiced concerns about the rapidly growing region's vulnerability to devastating flooding. “The more we know, the safer we will be when flooding occurs,” Hays County Judge Bert Cobb said in a February news release after county commissioners voted to help pay for an ongoing study by the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority on flood risk for the area.

click here for more


Houston Chronicle - May 26, 2015

Crude's slump still taking a toll on Texas

Crude prices slipped again Tuesday as more evidence emerged that the 11-month oil slump is ripping into the Texas economy, with manufacturing continuing to take a hit. A barrel of U.S. oil ended the trading day $1.69 cheaper as the dollar made gains against foreign currencies and as traders weighed whether the recent rally in crude prices to around $60 a barrel could hasten the return of U.S. drilling. Oil is traded in dollars, so when the dollar rises, oil is more expensive for foreign buyers. Wobbling oil prices don't speak well for the recent rally and belie expectations that crude will return quickly to the highs of last year, said Kent Bayazitoglu, an analyst at consulting firm Gelber & Associates in Houston.

click here for more


Houston Chronicle - May 26, 2015

House gives initial green light to ethics bill

Texas House on Tuesday gave the initial green light to an overhauled version of Gov. Greg Abbott's signature ethics bill for the session, approving controversial provisions to force disclosure of so-called dark money and to require consent before recording lawmakers in the Capitol. The bill passed on a 96-48 vote after nearly three hours of debate that at times devolved into a testy back and forth that focused on products to clean urine for drug tests. A final vote on the measure is expected as early as Wednesday, which will then set up a showdown between the House and Senate to reconcile differences in the proposal.

click here for more


Texas Observer - May 26, 2015

Wimberley Groundwater Protection Faces Challenge from El Paso Democrat

While the citizens of Wimberley pick through the awesome damage wrought by the Memorial Day flooding, a different sort of water fight is reaching a climax at the Capitol. In a last-minute surprise, an El Paso Democrat is holding up a bill that would bring groundwater regulation to the “white zone” of Hays County, an area without a groundwater district and potentially unlimited pumping. A private company plans to pump 5 million gallons of water a day from the stressed Trinity Aquifer and nearby residents worry the water mining will deplete their wells as well as springs and streams.

click here for more


Texas Observer - May 26, 2015

How Jonathan Stickland Faceplanted on Anti-Abortion Legislation

Most normal, God-fearing Texans spent their Memorial Day weekend barbecuing (indoors), watching Netflix and honoring—if only between kegstands—the fallen. What did Texas legislators do for Memorial Day weekend, apart from debating whether to cut education benefits for veterans? Bickering about abortion, mostly. An odd sequence of events at the Capitol, culminating in a near-fistfight on the House floor, turned Sunday into a pretty good day for pro-choice activists. (That is, of course, relatively speaking.)

click here for more


Texas Tribune - May 27, 2015

In Deadly Flood, Abbott Faces First Big Leadership Test

Gov. Greg Abbott's predecessor — a soon-to-be presidential candidate named Rick Perry — would call it the no-manual test. "Nobody gave me the manual," Perry tells audience after audience, ticking off the impromptu leadership tests that came with being the governor of Texas: tackling the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States last year, dealing with the explosion of the space shuttle Columbia over the Lone Star State in 2003 and combatting the most destructive wildfire in state history in 2011.

click here for more


Texas Tribune - May 27, 2015

After Day of Rules Warfare, Both Sides Claim Some Wins

As the clock struck midnight, the failure of an anti-abortion initiative — dear to the hearts of the far right — marked the end of a tumultuous day on the floor of the Texas House that saw the passage of sweeping ethics reform and a version of legislation allowing concealed carrying of handguns on college campuses. On the last day that it could approve major legislation that began in the Senate, the lower chamber embarked on an all-day procedural waltz, with Democrats attempting to kill bills by delaying them past midnight, and Republicans looking for openings to move their legislation.

click here for more


Texas Tribune - May 26, 2015

Funding Cut as Film, Video Game Lobbies Squabble

With a $63 million budget cut looming over the state's film incentives program, advocates for the film and video game industries are weighing what went wrong — and pointing fingers. The two-year budget deal reached by House and Senate negotiators last week includes about $32 million for the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, less than half the amount requested by Gov. Greg Abbott’s office, and about a third of the program’s funding for the current biennium.

click here for more


Austin American Statesman - May 26, 2015

Herman: Open carry produces strange and sad day in Senate

There have been lots of strange and sad days in the Texas Senate, so I’ll shy from branding a recent one as the strangest and saddest I’ve seen in Your State Capitol’s easternmost chamber. But it was among the stranger and sadder. We’ll address strange first. The topic was legalizing open carry of handguns by folks, bless their hearts, with concealed handgun licenses and a perceived need to openly carry handguns. As I’ve said before, open carry seems creepy to me, but I can find no reason to ban it. In fact, I might find it helpful to know that someone, perhaps a creepy someone, is carrying a gun.

click here for more


Texas Tribune - May 26, 2015

Senate Approves $564.6 Million Supplemental Budget Bill

The Texas Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to pass a bill that plugs holes in the 2014-15 budget and shores up the health care plan for retired teachers. With little debate, the Senate passed House Bill 2, a supplemental budget bill that addresses needs in the current budget, which ends Aug. 31. Lawmakers routinely pass a supplemental budget bill each session. The final changes to HB 2 were worked out as part of a larger budget deal between members from both chambers in recent weeks.

click here for more


Texas Tribune - May 26, 2015

House Kicks Off Ethics Reform Debate

With little time left on the legislative clock, the Texas House kicked off debate Tuesday evening on a sweeping ethics reform package — containing everything from disclosure of so-called “dark money” to restrictions on donations by politicians who become lobbyists. The legislation, Senate Bill 19, also includes a controversial provision that takes aim at the activists who have been secretly filming lawmakers in and around the Capitol this session. Specifically, it would require people who record conversations with lawmakers inside the Capitol to gain the consent of all parties to the conversation or face a civil lawsuit.

click here for more


Texas Tribune - May 26, 2015

Anti-Gay Marriage Bill Gets Another Try

A Texas Senate committee on Tuesday approved a measure that would forbid state or local governments from using public money to issue same-sex marriage licenses, reviving a proposal that died in the House earlier this month. The Committee on Intergovernmental Relations voted 4-2 in favor of House Bill 2977, sending it to the full Senate. It was the second time this week the panel voted on the wide-ranging county government bill, which included a provision on gay marriage. Committee Chairman Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, the Senate sponsor of the measure, agreed to the second vote after fellow Democrats said they were not given enough time to review the bill before they voted on it Monday.

click here for more


Houston Chronicle - May 26, 2015

Lawmakers give up on bill to limit lawsuits against insurers

Lawmakers have given up on a controversial bill that would have made it harder for Texas homeowners and businesses to sue their insurance companies to recover damages after storms. Senate Bill 1628, which passed the upper chamber on a party-line vote last month, failed to make it to the state House floor before a key deadline and could not be added on to any other bill, said Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo, who sponsored it in that chamber. "I've given up looking for a vehicle," Smithee said Tuesday evening. "It's too bad."

click here for more


Austin American Statesman - May 26, 2015

Higarda: Abortion ID bill is unfairly targets immigrants

My name is Vero Higareda. I am 21 years old. I am an immigrant Latina. I am a student at the University of Texas-Pan American. And I oppose House Bill 3994. This legislation would further restrict access to abortion services for young people in a state that has already been devastated by clinic closures. As someone who lives in a community already among the hardest hit by recent cuts to family planning and restrictions on abortion access, I fear what the impact — yet another restriction on abortion — could have for women like me.

click here for more


Texas Tribune - May 26, 2015

Abbott, Paxton Praise Panel's Ruling on Immigration Order

Three months after a Brownsville-based federal judge halted President Obama’s executive action on immigration, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the White House’s request to let the controversial immigration policy proceed. The policy, called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, was announced in November. It would have allowed for the roughly 5 million undocumented immigrants nationwide — including an estimated 1.6 million undocumented immigrants in Texas — apply for three-year renewable work permits and reprieves from deportation proceedings.

click here for more


Texas Tribune - May 26, 2015

House Republicans Fail to Move Up Controversial Bills

House Democrats narrowly avoided a Republican-led effort on Tuesday to rearrange the chamber's calendar to make sure controversial measures got a vote before a midnight deadline. Republicans needed a two-thirds vote to suspend the rules and reorder the calendar; the 96-53 vote didn't meet that threshold. Two Republicans, Rep. Rick Galindo of San Antonio and Sarah Davis of West University Place, voted against the calendar switch-up, while one Democrat, Rep. Garnet Coleman of Houston, voted for it.

click here for more


Austin American Statesman - May 26, 2015

House abruptly approves campus carry gun bill, just before deadline

The Texas House abruptly cut off debate late Tuesday night, canceling action on more than 100 Democratic amendments, to give initial approval to a measure allowing guns to be carried in university dorms, classrooms and other buildings. The so-called campus carry measure was approved, 101-47. Final House approval is expected Wednesday, after which it would return to the Senate to consider changes. Cutting off debate ended a daylong Democratic effort to avoid a floor vote on the campus carry legislation before a drop-dead midnight deadline to have an initial vote on Senate bills.

click here for more


Austin American Statesman - May 26, 2015

Insurance expert: Flooding damage will be ‘huge dollar figure’

Insurance agents spent Wednesday fielding calls from Central Texas customers dealing with the aftermath of flooding and damage to their homes and automobiles. It’s too soon to determine the total amount of insured property losses caused by the storms, but based on the extensive damage, the final tally is expected to be the worst in recent years, insurance officials said. “There were tornadoes, straight-line winds, floods. We’ve got damage all over. It’s going to be a huge dollar figure,” said Mark Hanna, a spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas, a trade association of about 500 insurers. “Insurance adjusters are already pouring into the state, checking out the areas that were hardest hit.”

click here for more


Austin American Statesman - May 26, 2015

Protections for adoption agencies who refuse gay couples dies — twice

A proposal to shield religious adoption agencies from being sued if they don’t serve same-sex couples is dead for now after the bill’s author pulled the amendment from the House floor Tuesday night in the waning minutes before a key deadline. In a surprise move, Rep. Scott Sanford, R-McKinney, didn’t push his far-reaching amendment to Senate Bill 206, a lengthy Sunset bill meant to streamline the Department of Family and Protective Services. The House gave tentative approval of that bill Tuesday.

click here for more


Austin American Statesman - May 26, 2015

Anti-gay marriage bill resurrected in Senate

The Texas Senate has revived Republican legislation, killed almost two weeks ago in the House, that seeks to create a de facto ban on gay marriage no matter how the federal courts rule. Language from House Bill 4105 by Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia, was tacked on to another measure Monday along with 22 other bills seeking new life as the legislative session enters its final days. The newly expanded bill is expected to get a Senate floor vote Wednesday. But while 21 of the added bills were for strictly local matters, HB 4105 has generated national attention, and controversy, for its attempt to thwart a U.S. Supreme Court ruling — which could legalize gay marriage in a decision expected next month — by banning state and local government employees from issuing a marriage license to same-sex couples.

click here for more


Houston Chronicle - May 26, 2015

Democrats 'chub' out the clock on deadline day

There is chubbing, and then there is chubbing. Texas Democrats took the humorously-named tradition of delay tactics to a new level Tuesday in the state House, delivering lengthy speeches, raising technical questions, and proposing more than 100 amendments to legislation to allow guns on college campuses in an attempt to run out the clock on that bill and proposals that would bar health insurance plans from covering abortion and protect faith-based agencies that do not let gay couples adopt children. By the key midnight deadline, all but a watered-down version of the campus carry bill were dead.

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - May 26, 2015

Legislature poised to give revenge porn victims opportunity to sue

Texans who post so-called revenge porn online could face criminal and civil charges under legislation tentatively approved by the House Tuesday. Both chambers put forth legislation this session that would allow courts to bring charges against Texans who share nude or sexually explicit pictures online in an effort to harm another person, typically an ex-partner. But the Senate version, authored by Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, is poised to make it to the governor’s desk. Under that legislation, revenge porn victims could seek compensation from offenders and charges for revenge porn could result in up to one year in jail or an up to $4,000 fine, or both. House lawmakers unanimously approved the measure.

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - May 26, 2015

Collin lawmaker drops effort to revive bill protecting “rights of conscience” for child-welfare providers

A Collin County lawmaker late Tuesday gave up on trying to revive his bill designed to shield faith-based child welfare organizations from being forced to do things that may violate religious beliefs. Rep. Scott Sanford, R-McKinney, has said the measure is needed but he pulled down his amendment to allow the House more time to get to a bill prohibiting insurance coverage of abortions in policies sold in the federally run Texas health insurance marketplace. “The pro-life bills are really important to us,” he said. “In order to get to them, we need to pull down our amendment.”

click here for more


Ft. Worth Star Telegram - May 26, 2015

House passes ‘campus carry’ minutes before midnight deadline

Texas moved closer to allowing concealed handguns in classrooms and other areas on public college campuses late Tuesday night, as House members gave tentative approval just minutes before the midnight deadline. An hours-long debate over Senate Bill 11, known as “campus carry,” abruptly wrapped up as the deadline to pass Senate bills out of the lower chamber loomed and a vote was suddenly called on the measure. House members approved the measure on a 101-47 vote after more than 100 amendments were suddenly dropped.

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - May 26, 2015

Anti-gay measures resurrected in Legislature’s final days

A measure that prevents county clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples was placed in an omnibus county government bill that passed out of committee and now heads to the full Senate. Critics decried the maneuver that seeks to nullify a potential U.S. Supreme Court decision that could legalize gay marriage in the state. The court is expected to issue its decision at the end of June. Two Democratic senators who initially voted for the omnibus bill on Monday night not realizing the anti-gay marriage language had been added were allowed a second vote on the bill Tuesday so they could switch their votes to “No.” The bill still advanced over their objections.

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - May 26, 2015

Ethics overhaul bill at risk as deadline nears

Cleaning up Texas politics was a key priority for Gov. Greg Abbott this session, but now delay tactics in the House threaten to kill the effort. Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, carried the ethics overhaul bill that included requiring a cooling off period before lawmakers could be lobbyists, drug testing for candidates and increased financial disclosures. The bill was revamped in the House after leadership in that chamber criticized the Senate’s efforts as a weak effort to address ethics.

click here for more


Texas Tribune - May 26, 2015

Border Security Bill Tentatively Passes Senate

An expansive border security bill declared a priority by Gov. Greg Abbott was given tentative approval Tuesday by the Texas Senate. The vote marked the near end of a months-long disagreement between the House and the Senate on issues like how to staff and spend on border security, and in what capacity to keep the Texas National Guard in the Rio Grande Valley to assist in border security operations.

click here for more


Texas Tribune - May 26, 2015

House OKs Raising Age of Juvenile Offenders to 18

A final effort to raise from 17 to 18 the age at which offenders automatically enter the adult legal system made it through the Texas House on Tuesday, tacked onto a bill reorganizing the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. The House passed Senate Bill 1630, 134-11. The underlying bill, authored by Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston would place juveniles being punished for lesser crimes in regional facilities closer to their homes.

click here for more


KWES - May 23, 2015

Landgraf Succeeds in Effort to Create New District Court

Friday, the Texas House gave final approval to Senate Bill 1139, which authorizes the creation of the 446th District Court of Texas located in Ector County. State Representative Brooks Landgraf offered the initial legislation creating the court when he filed House Bill 1089 earlier this year. Landgraf initiated the effort to create a new judicial district in Ector County after discussing with local leaders problems that result from having back-logged cases. A new district court has not been created in Ector County since 1985, despite significant population growth during the period since then

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - May 26, 2015

Cruz joins Gov. Abbott at flood briefing in Houston

en. Ted Cruz — who lives in Houston and has his presidential campaign headquarters there — will join Gov. Greg Abbott this afternoon for a briefing on storm damage, a Cruz aide said. They’ll hear from emergency officials and law enforcement, and attend a news conference at 4pm CT at the Houston Office Of Emergency Management. Abbott announced earlier that he would survey flood damage and meet with local leaders to discuss state recovery resources. He spoke a few hours ago with President Barack Obama, and a federal emergency declaration of some sort seems likely.

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - May 26, 2015

Republicans start to kill Dems’ bills. Abortion, campus carry, gay fostering in House Dems’ sights: Can they “chub” 12 hours?

A bill to prohibit health insurers from covering abortion in the Obamacare state marketplace, a campus carry gun measure and an expected amendment that could limit foster parenting by gays and lesbians were in Democrats’ sights as the House approached a late Tuesday bill-passing deadline. The stalling began shortly after lunch Tuesday, following party caucuses and some preliminary skirmishing over the rules about the calendar of bills before the full House. It boils down to a struggle over clock management: Could the 52 House Democrats slow action to a crawl for 12 hours, until a midnight deadline for tentatively passing Senate bills?

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - May 26, 2015

Lawmakers reach deal to give Texas roads $3B annual boost

Transportation-minded lawmakers have struck a deal to boost the state’s annual roads budget by an estimated $3 billion or more, putting Texas perhaps in position to at least keep congestion from getting worse. House Transportation Chairman Joe Pickett and Senate Transportation Chairman Robert Nichols said on Tuesday that they had agreed to terms on a complex strategy to shift more funds toward the construction and maintenance of nontolled roads. The model, which would require the approval of Texas voters, would rely on both general sales tax and the motor vehicle sales tax. There would be also governors in place to scale back the extra funds to the Texas Department of Transportation, if the economy tanks.

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - May 26, 2015

Senate approves bill to require DART and others to videotape board meetings

The goings-on of Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s board meetings could soon be just a click away. The Senate on Monday approved a House bill by Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Frisco, to require DART and certain other governmental entities to record their regular meetings and post that video online within a week. The measure now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott. Fallon has said that he offered the legislation to improve “visibility and transparency in government.”

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - May 26, 2015

Bill to preserve in-person visitations in most county jails heads to Gov. Abbott

Most county jails in Texas are on the verge of having to offer inmates two 20-minute, in-person visitation periods per week. The Senate voted 24-7 on Monday to pass a bill by Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, to address the growing trend of county jails moving more toward video visitation. The proposal now only needs the approval of Gov. Greg Abbott to become law. Sen. John Whitmire, the bill’s Senate sponsor, stressed the impact that in-person visitations can have.

click here for more


Ft. Worth Star Telegram - May 26, 2015

House running out of time to consider ‘campus carry’

A sharply debated proposal to let licensed Texans carry concealed handguns on public college campuses statewide was at risk of heading to the legislative graveyard late Tuesday, as a critical midnight deadline approached. The life or death of this measure, and dozens of other bills, was up in the air late in the evening, slowed down earlier in the day by procedural moves such as “chubbing” — lengthy discussions about minute points on minor bills that otherwise would pass easily and without discussion. “It absolutely killed some bills,” said state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake. “There are important bills on this calendar that may not have an opportunity to be heard because of the chubbing.”

click here for more


San Antonio Express News - May 26, 2015

It’s almost official: Texas loves the Alamo

The House will have to agree with the Senate’s changes to the Alamo preservation bill, which removes any controversy and instead puts into law what Texans knew all along — the state loves the Alamo. The original bill authored by Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, was intended to change the makeup of the Alamo Preservation Advisory Board to remove the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. The board was written into law in 2011 to give the land office and option for receiving recommendations about the future of the Alamo. A committee substitute passed by the Senate would not change the makeup of the board, but instead reminded Texans that “the Alamo has played an important role in the history of this state and continues to be a symbol of liberty and freedom for this state.”

click here for more


Associated Press - May 26, 2015

Texas House OKs stricter ethics rules, dark money disclosure

The Texas House has passed a sweeping package of stricter ethics rules for state lawmakers and other elected officials — including mandating more financial disclosure for "dark money" groups. Gov. Greg Abbott has championed ethics overhauls, and the measure already passed the Senate. But top House leaders called that version superficial and added its own rules, which it said were tougher. Both seek to limit lawmakers' becoming lobbyists immediately after leaving the Legislature. Before debate even began, though, the House stripped an unexpected Senate amendment mandating drug testing for all candidates for elected office.

click here for more

This article appeared in the San Antonio Express News


San Antonio Express News - May 26, 2015

Senate approves landmark legislation on exonerations

Landmark legislation to create a panel of legal experts and lawmakers to study Texas’ high number of exonerations and recommend changes in state laws to keep more innocent people from going to prison was approved unanimously by the Texas Senate on Tuesday. Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, said the new Timothy Cole Exoneration Commission - to be established in September - would investigate and identify the main causes of false convictions, and make recommendations to prevent such cases from reoccurring in the future.

click here for more


San Antonio Express News - May 26, 2015

State lawmakers eyeing first bullion depository

Texas could get its own version of Fort Knox, the impenetrable repository for the nation’s gold bullion, if the Legislature gets its way. Under House Bill 483, approved unanimously on Tuesday by the state Senate, Comptroller Glenn Hegar would be authorized to establish and administer the state’s first bullion depository at a site not yet determined. No other state has its own state bullion depository, officials said. Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, said the state and its agencies have more than $1 billion worth of gold that now is kept in secure facilities in other states. She said there is concern that fortune should be in Texas.

click here for more


Tyler Morning Telegraph - May 23, 2015

Former Texas House Representative Leo Berman passes away

Former state Rep. Leo Berman passed away Saturday after a long battle with lymphoma. He was 79. Berman served as District 6 representative, which represented Tyler and portions of Smith County, from 1999 to 2012. He was known as a conservative stalwart and was given leaderships roles, including positions on the House Appropriations committee and chairmanships on Defense Affairs and State-Federal Relations, under former House Speaker Tom Craddick.

click here for more


Houston Chronicle - May 26, 2015

Dallas Fed: Texas manufacturers slumped to Great Recession-level output in May

The Dallas Fed says factories churning out equipment and products in Texas slowed their output this month to levels unseen since 2009 when the nation was still mired in a recession. Texas manufacturing activity in May edged lower for the third month in a row as the effects of the oil slump continued to ripple through the state. About 28 percent of the state’s manufacturers reported a slowdown, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ monthly survey on Tuesday. “We are seeing all industries hold cash,” a fabricated metal manufacturing executive said in the survey. Others said refineries are spending less money on machinery and demand from the state’s oil producers only got worse this month.

click here for more


Motley Fool - May 23, 2015

Energy Future Holdings: How the Biggest Leveraged Buyout In History Became a Disaster

When private equity giants KKR, TPG Group, and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners came together in 2007 to make a $44 billion bid for TXU Corp., they didn't foresee the calamity the deal would eventually become. In just seven years what amounted to the largest buyout in history -- in the relatively stable electric utility market -- would become the largest nonfinancial bankruptcy in U.S. history. How did this happen? The answer lies in the risks private equity firms must take to generate outsized returns and the confidence that can lead even the smartest investors to make acquisitions at precisely the wrong moment in time.

click here for more


Law 360 - May 22, 2015

Texas House OKs Bill To Punish Bad Faith Patent Demands

The Texas House on Friday unanimously passed a bill allowing the state’s attorney general to bring suit against nonpracticing entities that send misleading demand letters, as well as creating a possible $50,000 civil penalty for bad faith patent infringement claims. S.B. 1457 prohibits sending demand letters for alleged patent infringement if the letter falsely states the sender has filed a lawsuit in connection with the claim, the claim is “objectively baseless” because the sender doesn’t have current patent licensing or enforcement rights

click here for more


New York Times - May 22, 2015

Fernandez: Texas, Land of Multiple Calamities

The 21st century had barely started when then-Gov. Rick Perry claimed it on behalf of the State of Texas. “You might say historians will look back on this as the ‘Texas Century,’?” Mr. Perry said at his last inaugural address in Austin in January 2011. “Americans once looked to the East Coast for opportunity and inspiration, then to the West Coast. Today they are looking to the Gulf Coast. They are looking to Texas.” Sometimes I think Mr. Perry was over-reaching. And there are times, such as this week, when I think he was spot-on: People are indeed looking to Texas, though often for reasons that have nothing to do with its economy or politics or influence. They are looking to its disasters, natural and man-made.

click here for more


Washington Post - May 22, 2015

Texas prayed for drought-busting rain four years ago. It finally came.

In 2011, governor Rick Perry signed a proclamation asking Texans to pray for rain. Four years later, it finally came. At the time, nearly 70 percent of Texas was in extreme drought, the second-most intense category. Six months later in October 2011, the dry spell peaked, and over 70 percent of the state was in the worst drought category of exceptional. Though the drought has fluctuated in strength and location since then, on the whole the second-largest state in the nation, with an economy that leans heavily on its agriculture industry, has remained in persistent dryness.

click here for more


Dallas Observer - May 22, 2015

Texas no longer in open defiance of federal anti-prison rape law

We're trying. That's the gist of a letter sent by Texas Governor Greg Abbott to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch regarding Texas' compliance with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) last week. "I cannot yet certify that the state is in full compliance with Prison Rape Elimination Act ("PREA"), because our PREA audits are still ongoing," Abbott wrote. "But every facility that has completed the PREA audit process has been certified as fully compliant. And I can assure you that we will fully implement DOJ's PREA standards wherever feasible."

click here for more


Longview News Journal - May 25, 2015

Weissert: Crunch time could be calm

The closing days of Texas' legislative session usually mean political chaos, with some lawmakers scrambling to finalize pet proposed legislation and others working just as hard to block bills they despise. But this year's final week may be a cakewalk. Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus announced a budget deal that includes $3.8 billion in tax cuts, ending weeks of impasse featuring dueling Senate and House spending plans. The governor's other top priorities, billions of extra dollars for pre-kindergarten programs, border security and improving the state's traffic-clogged roads and highways, all have won bipartisan support. After a Senate fight that stretched late into Friday night, open carry of handguns is just a few steps away from legalization.

click here for more


Austin American Statesman - May 26, 2015

Texas Senate gives preliminary approval to border bill

The Texas Senate tentatively passed a modified version of the House’s border security bill on Tuesday, fulfilling a mandate from the governor. The upper chamber approved House Bill 11 with a 27-4 vote after the Senate sponsor, Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, made one significant change with an amendment to create an oversight committee with members from both chambers who will study border security — and state spending on the border — during the interim before the 2017 session.

click here for more


Austin American Statesman - May 26, 2015

Will Texas House’s spending limit fly?

A bill the Texas House may consider Tuesday would further limit state spending, but not in the exact way fiscal hawks — or the Senate — wanted. Gov. Greg Abbott, too. The Texas Constitution already says state spending cannot grow faster than the state’s economy, although it applies to less than half of the two-year budget. Republicans including Abbott and groups like Empower Texans and the Texas Public Policy Foundation have called on lawmakers to expand that spending limit to cover all of the budget, as well as change the way it is calculated — in a way that would likely make it lower — and also require a higher vote threshold to exceed it. Currently, a simple majority vote is needed in the House and Senate.

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - May 26, 2015

Senate takes aim at double-dipping officeholders

Legislation to prohibit Texas elected officials from “double dipping” – collecting a state pension while still in office earning a salary – won unanimous approval from the Senate on Tuesday. The bill was prompted by former Gov. Rick Perry’s revelation a few years ago that that he was collecting a state pension of about $90,000 in addition to his $150,000 salary as governor. The double dipping was disclosed in a personal financial statement Perry filed as a presidential candidate.

click here for more


Associated Press - May 26, 2015

Texas Senate approves bill boosting foster care training

The Senate has approved mandating 35 hours of training for potential foster care parents, more than double what some are now required to have. The proposal by Sunnyvale Republican Rep. Cindy Burkett cleared the House last month and passed the Senate without debate Tuesday. Both chambers will have to reconcile small tweaks before it goes to Gov. Greg Abbott to be signed into law. The proposal toughens the foster-care screening process. Critics worried it could make the already-difficult recruitment of foster parents even harder, but opposition was minimal.

click here for more

This article appeared in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram


County Stories

San Antonio Express News - May 26, 2015

Panel backs changes to SAWS rate structure

A citizen advisory panel unanimously supported proposed changes Tuesday night to the San Antonio Water System rate structure, saying the plan would help the utility maintain stability, keep bills affordable for low-volume users and encourage conservation. The 17-member SAWS Rate Advisory Committee approved more than 20 proposals, including expansion of residential rate blocks from four to eight and fees for owners of large properties who fail to inspect automatic irrigation systems. One committee member, Manuel Pelaez-Prada, said the process, launched when the group began meeting in early 2014, reflected a need to react to urban growth, aging infrastructure and higher water costs.

click here for more


City Stories

San Antonio Express News - May 26, 2015

Taylor, Van de Putte say mayor's office won't be stepping stone

Making their pitches to talk-radio listeners, mayoral runoff candidates Ivy Taylor and Leticia Van de Putte emphasized their conservative credentials on Tuesday by swearing off tax increases and vowing not to use the city’s top office as a political springboard. With early voting set to begin Monday for the June 13 mayoral runoff election, the candidates sparred lightly for their daytime audience, covering many of the same topics that have marked the campaign including taxes and the unresolved contract negotiations with police and firefighters. Both said they would eschew partisan activity as mayor and weren’t interested in high-level appointments like the one that caused Julián Castro to give up the mayor’s role last July to become secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

click here for more


Midland Reporter Telegram - May 22, 2015

Section of 191 to be dedicated as Naylor Memorial Highway

The Texas House on Friday approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Tom Craddick and authored by Senator Kel Seliger to designate a portion of State Highway 191 as Sergeant Michael Naylor Memorial Highway, according to a press release from Craddick’s office. Naylor was killed Oct. 9 while attempting to serve a warrant on convicted child molester Dan Higgins. Naylor was shot once in the head and died at Midland Memorial Hospital. An hours-long standoff ensued that ended in Higgins surrendering to law enforcement officials.

click here for more


Dallas Business Journal - May 26, 2015

Denton can no longer enforce ban as Vantage gets ready to frack June 1

Vantage Energy is scheduled to start hydraulic fracking operations in Denton on June 1 as the city determines that its ban is no longer enforceable. The Colorado-based company plans to frack eight different wells in West Denton off University Drive and Nail Road. The city also expects organized protestors to be on-site. The news comes just days after Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 40 into law, a controversial bill that prohibits cities from enacting fracking bans. The bill erases the Denton frack ban.

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - May 26, 2015

Jones: Bill requiring DART to put meetings online has origins in Pat Fallon email

Tom Benning has a breaking story about a bill by Frisco Rep. Pat Fallon that will result in DART recording and posting public meetings online (assuming Gov. Greg Abbott signs this open government bill). Good for Fallon. Good for residents of the 13 DART cities who take an interest in how the transit agency is run. A few points to make about Fallon’s HB 283: – When I saw Benning’s story, I emailed to DART’s PIO Morgan Lyons for a comment. Here it is: “We will study the final bill following the governor’s signature and develop a plan to comply with it.”

click here for more


Austin American Statesman - May 26, 2015

Austin official resigns in wake of women training scandal

Assistant City Manager Anthony Snipes has resigned following widespread criticism and national media attention over a training session he organized that focused on how to work with the female-majority Austin City Council. The training included comments that were widely perceived to be sexist and stereotypical comments about women. City Manager Marc Ott confirmed Snipes’ resignation Tuesday in a memo sent to Mayor Steve Adler and the other City Council members. Ott previously put Snipes on paid administrative leave pending the results of an internal investigation into the March 27 training session.

click here for more


National Stories

CityLab - May 26, 2015

The Troubled Relationship Between Texas and FEMA

Over the past two weeks, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has declared a state of disaster for 46 different counties. Two dozen counties made that list on Memorial Day, as extreme weather marked by tornadoes and flooding continued to sweep across the state. “I have, as governor, declared disaster declarations literally from the Red River to the Rio Grande,” said Governor Abbott during a press conference late on Tuesday. Earlier Tuesday, President Barack Obama told reporters that he expects that “there will be some significant requests made to Washington” for emergency aid. Yet as of Tuesday afternoon, with at least 4 people dead and 40 missing in Central Texas alone, Governor Abbott had not formally requested federal aid.

click here for more


Washington Post - May 26, 2015

Morning Plum: Is GOP again shooting itself in foot with Latinos?

In the wake of yesterday’s ruling upholding an injunction on Obama’s executive actions shielding millions of people from deportation, Bloomberg reports that immigration advocates are vowing to extract a steep price from Republicans in next year’s elections. Which raises the question: Will continued GOP opposition to Obama’s executive actions — as distinct from their foot-dragging on legislative reform — further complicate their efforts to do better than Mitt Romney among Latinos in 2016? Bloomberg notes: Backers of Obama’s action said the case will exacerbate frustration among Hispanic voters, an increasingly powerful bloc, and solidify their anger at Republican lawmakers who’ve thwarted changes to U.S. immigration law.

click here for more


Washington Post - May 26, 2015

Why aren’t millennials running for office? It’s not because they’re turned off. It’s age.

There's no question that young people are not terribly enamored of politics. No one is terribly excited about politics/politicians. Approval of Congress remains near all-time lows, trust in government is nearly the same -- and millennials are at the leading edge of the push to partisan independence. (An aside: If you are using Google Chrome and haven't yet installed this plug-in that replaces the word "millennial" with "snake people," it is highly recommended and will make this post even better.) But it's easy to take that indifference to politics a bit further than might be warranted. Our Carlos Lozada reviewed a book from two political scientists that casts a very grim light on millennial interest in running for office. "The mean-spirited, broken system that has come to characterize American politics turns young people off to the idea of running for office," Lozada quotes the pair as writing.

click here for more


New York Times - May 26, 2015

Cleveland Police to Accept Tough Standards on Force

The Cleveland Police Department, which has become synonymous with the racially charged debate over police tactics, has agreed to follow some of the most exacting standards in the nation over how and when its officers can use force, and it will accept close oversight to make sure those rules are not ignored, city and federal officials said Tuesday. The agreement is part of a settlement with the Justice Department over what federal officials have called a pattern of unconstitutional policing and abuse in Cleveland. The department found in a review released late last year that police officers here used stun guns inappropriately, punched and kicked unarmed people, and shot at people who posed no threat. The episodes often went unreported and uninvestigated, investigators found.

click here for more


New York Times - May 26, 2015

Parties Plan Aggressive Courtship of Latinos in Swing States

Latinos in Colorado and across the country vote Democratic by more than 60 percent, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, and were a pillar of Mr. Obama’s coalition in the last two presidential elections. But Cory Gardner, a Republican, unseated Mark Udall, the Democrat, in the Senate race in Colorado last year after breaking with Republicans on some immigration votes. And in Aurora, Representative Mike Coffman, a Republican who once supported denying automatic citizenship to the American-born children of unauthorized immigrants, held on to his seat in a district that was redrawn to become 20 percent Hispanic. Republicans say they revived their fortunes in part by turning away from the talk about “amnesty” and “illegals” embodied by immigration hard-liners like Tom Tancredo, who held Mr. Coffman’s seat for a decade until 2009. The party lost Latino voters by more than 40 points in 2012, surveys showed. To change that, moderate Republicans said, candidates have to stop talking about border fences and self-deportation and plant roots in immigrant neighborhoods.

click here for more


Reason - May 24, 2015

Jeb Bush Criticizes George W. Bush for Spending Too Much—But as Florida’s Governor He Also Increased Spending

After spending a week awkwardly defending his brother’s legacy of failure in the most recent Iraq war by saying things like, “News flash to the world, if they’re trying to find places where there’s big space between me and my brother, this might not be one of those,” Jeb Bush, when questioned, tentatively broached an issue yesterday on which he might actually have a kinda-sorta disagreement with his brother: government spending. So he claims anyway. The New York Times reports: “I think that, in Washington during my brother’s time, Republicans spent too much money,” Mr. Bush said Thursday when asked to describe where there was a “big space” between himself and his brother George W. Bush.

click here for more


Bloomberg - May 24, 2015

It's Small Stuff That Ends Presidential Runs

U.S. presidential campaigns usually aren't sunk by major policy mistakes or the attacks of an opponent. They result from self-inflicted, unforced errors. This was apparent anew when Jeb Bush, the establishment favorite for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, recently tripped over himself as he tried, repeatedly, to answer a simple, predictable and fair question: Knowing what we know now would you have invaded Iraq in 2003? This isn't fatal for Bush, though he can ill-afford many more such fumbles. He'll be hit with other questions on the shortcomings of his brother President George W. Bush, such as his botched 2005 effort to overhaul Social Security.

click here for more


Bloomberg - May 24, 2015

Rick Perry Can't Get Enough of Iowa

Presidential campaigns are measured by a lot of metrics. Polls. Fundraising. Advertising buys. And don't forget days spent in Iowa. The Des Moines Register on Sunday tallied up the number of days each Republican contender has appeared in the key nominating state during the 2016 election cycle and ranked them as “Iowa Light,” “Iowa Medium,” or “Iowa Heavy.” It underscores the close attention the Hawkeye State is paying to the crowded GOP field (where six candidates have formally declared their campaigns and more are expected to do so in coming weeks).

click here for more


Politico - May 26, 2015

Barbara Bush's birthday bash comes with $5,000 cover charge

The cover charge for former first lady Barbara Bush’s 90th birthday dinner celebration is $5,000. The Bush family is collecting big bucks for the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy as part of the matriarch’s birthday bash on June 8, and providing guests with a menu of perk packages. Story Continued Below For a cool $1,000, donors will be recognized at the gift presentation at Bush’s Birthday Tribute Dinner. Such a donation will also get the donor access to “post-event communications” and a copy of Bush’s memoir, which is being re-released for her birthday.

click here for more


Reuters - May 24, 2015

U.S. Republicans navigate the new politics of energy abundance

U.S. Republicans have had to watch from the sidelines as the Obama White House has taken political credit for America's unexpected energy boom and tumbling gas prices. Now it has left their presidential candidates scrambling for a way to reclaim leadership on an issue the party once seemed to own. Their apparent answer: calling time on a 40-year-old federal ban on crude oil exports and using the newfound energy bounty to strategic advantage. "We've got an abundance of supply," Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said this week in Oklahoma at a gathering of putative Republican candidates for next year's presidential election. Lifting the ban, he said, would allow exports to "our allies in Europe, where, instead of being dependent on (President) Vladimir Putin and the Russians, they could be dependent on Americans."

click here for more


Dallas Morning News - May 26, 2015

Abbott and Obama: chums on disaster, adversaries on immigration

Hours after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the president spoke about the storm damage in Texas –both focused on the needs of flood ravaged Americans — a federal appeals court put a quick end to the truce. Texas has led a 26-state court fight against President Barack Obama’s immigration policies. And on Tuesday, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court order putting Obama’s actions on hold. Abbott was quick to gloat about the victory over Obama’s “unlawful action.”

click here for more


Washington Post - May 26, 2015

Here’s how the first president of the social media age has chosen to connect with Americans

The gathering in Beverly Hills in early April had all the elements of a Hollywood pitch meeting: influential celebrities, powerful agents, marketing moguls and social media strategists. The only hint of difference was the presence of a lone government official: Paulette Aniskoff, head of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Aniskoff had journeyed from Washington to the offices of the entertainment company Live Nation for a strategy session on how YouTube and Vine stars could use their digital celebrity to promote some of the Obama administration’s key policies.

click here for more


Politico - May 26, 2015

Rick Perry on why he lost in 2012: 'I wasn't healthy'

As former Texas Gov. Rick Perry gears up for a potential 2016 White House run, he’s finally coming to terms with his lack of preparation, both mental and physical, that led to serious embarrassment on the 2012 trail. “There were two issues with me in 2011. One is I wasn’t healthy,” Perry said regarding back surgery he had in 2011 before he launched his bid, in an interview Tuesday on NPR’s “Morning Edition.” “You know all the health stories — it was what it was. Story Continued Below “The other [issue] was in preparation and just spending the time on all the issues that are important.”

click here for more


Washington Post - May 26, 2015

Milbank: The decline of Rand Paul

Rand Paul took a left turn on his journey to the Republican nomination, and now his hopes seem to be headed south. The libertarian Kentucky senator’s new book, “Taking a Stand,” came out Tuesday, and it is chock-full of lines that would position Paul well — if he were running against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. On the environment: “You’ll find I’m a tree hugger, literally .?.?. I’m a Republican who wants clean air, clean water, and the life-extending miracle of electricity. I compost.”

click here for more


Washington Post - May 26, 2015

Schroeder: Democrats root for Ted Cruz to win Republican nomination

Democrats hope for Ted Cruz, but fear Jeb Bush. The Hill surveyed Democratic lawmakers, former members and strategists, and found they are rooting for Cruz to win the Republican presidential nomination. Jeb Bush, meanwhile, is the 2016 candidate Democrats fear the most. Why Cruz? Democrats think the Texas senator, a conservative firebrand, would alienate independent voters, propel liberals to the polls and give their party the best shot at picking up congressional seats in next year’s election. Bush, meanwhile, would be a tougher opponent since he is a former governor from a political dynasty who can raise hundreds of millions of dollars and appeal more strongly to women and independent voters.

click here for more


The Hill - May 26, 2015

Feds unveil long-awaited overhaul of Medicaid managed care

The federal government on Tuesday unveiled a long-awaited regulatory package that sets national standards for managed care under Medicaid, marking the biggest changes to the growing program in more than a decade. The nearly 700-page rule, described by some groups as an “uber rule,” contains instructions about what state Medicaid programs must do when hiring private health plans to handle long-term care for the elderly and disabled – also known as managed care. The Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) is proposing that Medicaid managed care groups align their standards with those in the private marketplace to create more uniform practices across states.

click here for more


Politico - May 27, 2015

Class of 2015 faces grim job hunt

For members of the Class of 2015 — many of whom were in high school at the time of Obama’s speech — that is still far from the truth. A White House official noted that the unemployment rate for recent college grads is dropping and that Obama has pushed for lower college tuition and student loan debt relief, among other initiatives. “The president will continue to fight for policies that accelerate this trend,” the official said. Still, according to research coming out on Wednesday from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, the unemployment rate for young college graduates is down to 7.2 percent, lower than it was during the worst of the Great Recession but still well above historical norms. And the “underemployment rate” for recent college grads — which includes part-time workers who want full-time jobs or have simply given up looking — is 14.9 percent, well above the 9.6 percent in 2007 before the recession began.

click here for more


Copyright May 27, 2015, Harvey Kronberg, www.quorumreport.com, All rights are reserved