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October 3, 2023      3:57 PM

Hearst Newspapers obtain records showing Lt. Gov. Patrick called Senators Huffman and Birdwell during Paxton impeachment trial deliberations

Patrick previously admitted to Quorum Report that he had spoken to two GOP senators during deliberations but did not say who they were

Reporter Cayla Harris with the update:

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick spoke to two Republican senators widely seen as swing votes during the deliberations in Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial, according to public records obtained by Hearst Newspapers.

Patrick had a 15-minute conversation with Sen. Joan Huffman about 10 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 15, the records show. Senators had begun deliberating around noon, and they voted to acquit Paxton of all corruption charges the next day. The lieutenant governor also spoke with Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, twice during deliberations. He talked to the senator for three minutes around 5:30 p.m. Friday, and they chatted again for 15 minutes early Saturday morning. Birdwell initiated the calls both times.

Patrick previously acknowledged that he talked to two senators on Friday to discuss procedural questions they raised, but he had not named them publicly. Patrick was acting as judge during the trial and has repeatedly denied that he in any way influenced the outcome. He also has explicitly rejected accusations that he called senators during deliberations to ask them to vote “no” on the articles of impeachment. Hearst Newspapers requested Patrick’s call logs, which his office turned over late Monday.

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October 2, 2023      4:49 PM

Flashback to 2015 with Jay Leeson: A Politics of Place

As another special session looms, this time focused mostly on school vouchers, the words of our late friend Jay Leeson from 2015 are as salient as ever: “The more you vote against your place the less you have to come home to.”

Editor’s note: My friend Jay Leeson passed away late last week surrounded by friends and family in Lubbock, a city he loved so well. In the time I knew him, Jay became a strong voice for West Texas on the radio, TV, and in print. He was only 44. But a person doesn’t need to live a long time to leave a lasting legacy. Back in 2015, he approached me about writing something to put the challenges of the region in perspective for those who live in rural Texas and those who represent it in the halls of power. The result was this article, “A Politics of Place.” As we head into another special session, this time focused on diverting resources from public schools for private school vouchers, Jay’s words could never be more important. He said “the more you vote against your place the less you have to come home to.”

Rest in peace, my friend. Your thoughts and words live on – SB

A place carries a continuity of knowledge and passes it from generation to generation. How it works, what makes it turn.

When there’s disruption in this continuity, learning transpires by trial-and-error – costly lessons of what a place will and will not tolerate.

Such learning risks decline. Perhaps ruin.

In my late teens and early twenties, I rambled around a region built on agriculture, education and health care with a well-worn copy of Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom in my truck console, an authentic 1964 Goldwater-Miller bumper sticker and anti-government talk shows blaring on the AM radio.

That was the late 1990s and early 2000s. A disruptive political period in the region, in which West Texan social conservatism finally divorced the Democratic Party and native fiscal frugality married Republicanism – a party that, outside of Reconstruction and Larry Combest’s coordination with Charlie Stenholm in the 2002 Farm Bill, had made little contribution to the region.

The incongruence of my developing political identity to my surrounding economic realities never even occurred to me.

Then I grew up.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Jay Leeson

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October 2, 2023      1:54 PM

GOP sources in Houston say Senator Cruz will announce Alex Mealer as victory chair this week

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October 2, 2023      11:02 AM

Rep. Nate Schatzline leaves Freedom Caucus

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September 29, 2023      8:27 PM

Special session to start Oct. 9

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September 29, 2023      10:26 AM

Texas Supreme Court allows whistleblower lawsuit against Paxton to move forward

The suit was on hold while the Legislature considered whether to fund a proposed $3.3 million settlement. After that fell apart, the suit will be heard in state district court in Travis County

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September 28, 2023      11:22 PM

Sad news out of West Texas: Radio host and columnist Jay Leeson passed away

He was 44

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September 27, 2023      4:55 PM

Advocates urge Gov. Abbott to take action on Texans losing Medicaid coverage

Abbott could prevent wrongful coverage denials by directing HHSC to take a pause until the agency corrects the errors and audits its system; if he doesn’t, “then the federal Medicaid and federal SNAP agencies are going to need to step in.”

Since April, 900,000 Texans have been kicked off Medicaid rolls since the COVID-19 pandemic declaration. Among them are more than 100,000 disenrolled for procedural reasons. On a press call, a coalition of advocates said they have had enough.

“The failure of the State is historic and unacceptable, and we have brought experts to explain how bad the problem is and what can be done. And it should be clear that the Governor could fix these issues at this very moment. But due to the fact that nothing has been done to this point, we are asking our federal agencies to act and address these issues to save lives,” said Every Texan Chief of Legislative Affairs Luis Figueroa.

According to several whistleblower letters, the Health and Human Services Commission imposed an unrealistic timeline on upgraded information technology and not adopted what advocates suggest are best practice streamlining measures to ease the strain on the overburdened eligibility system.

They’ve been warning of this for years, too.

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By James Russell

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September 27, 2023      4:14 PM

Former District Director for Rep. Cuellar to run against him as a Republican

Jose Sanz of Laredo said he'll bring a strong conservative voice to stop deficit spending, secure the border, and put more money in the pockets of hard-working South Texas residents. “Now is the time to stand up and fight for the values most South Texans share,” he said

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September 26, 2023      3:44 PM

Comptroller Hegar’s office disagrees with Paxton on giving him back pay for when he was suspended, encourages OAG to ask Texas Supreme Court for ruling

“We are a phone call away and are more than willing to have a conversation on how to efficiently seek a ruling, which is a position we have consistently held since we sent our letter 117 days ago"

After Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday demanded that Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s office issue him back pay for the time he was suspended, Hegar’s office on Tuesday told Paxton to take it up with the Texas Supreme Court.

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By Scott Braddock

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September 26, 2023      2:18 PM

Houston federal judge issues a permanent injunction against SB 12, the law restricting drag shows

Judge Hittner ruled the law is an "unconstitutional restriction on speech" & cannot be enforced.

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September 26, 2023      2:15 PM

Watch: Paxton whistleblowers slam Patrick's performance in impeachment trial, vow to force the AG to take the stand

Some of you asked where you could see the news conference. Here you go

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