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Walking the Lege
With two weeks left, the 80th runs into foul weather
News Story  May 11, 2007, by Amy Smith
"...(Speaking of rough patches, anti-immigrant backbencher Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, threw sand on State Affairs Chairman David Swinford's moment of glory – he was roundly applauded Monday after surviving the grueling process of negotiating the homeland security bill through the House..."

Capitol Briefs
News Column  May 4, 2007
"...Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso. has gotten little traction on his bill for universal health care in Texas, which continues to languish in the Senate State Affairs Committee..."

Our readers talk back.
Columns  March 4, 2005
"...Two competing versions of the Anti-Gay-Marriage Amendment – HJR 6 and HJR 19 – have already been referred to the Texas House Committee on State Affairs. These proposed amendments would write discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Texans into our Constitution by banning marriage for same-sex couples..."

Looking Like Texas
District 51's Eddie Rodriguez represents the future of the state's people and policies
News Story  March 4, 2005, by Amy Smith
"...When Craddick handed down assignments two weeks later, Rodriguez, to his own surprise, was assigned seats on two of the committees he requested – Pensions and Investments, and Urban Affairs. Neither is highly sought by most members, but Rodriguez says he wanted committee slots where he could actually benefit people in his district – retired school teachers and government employees on the first committee, and affordable-housing clients on the second..."

Capitol Chronicle
Waiting for Ratliff: the Lege Ship Sinks and The Lifeboats are leaking
News Column  April 18, 2003, by Michael King
"...Bill Ratliff, R-Mt. Pleasant, and his State Affairs Committee will somehow manage to make the sack of bitter tort-reform lemons that is HB 4 into something approaching civil-justice lemonade..."

Naked City
Off the Desk:
News Story  May 23, 1997
"...But his peers in the House don't share his enthusiasm. Even though Krusee's bill exempted everyone who was elected to the Legislature before Sept 1, 1997, his bill died in the State Affairs Committee..."

Lege Lines: Deliberately Discriminatory
Voter ID's future in Texas, without the DoJ
News Story  March 2, 2017, by Richard Whittaker
"...However, beyond filing the bills, there seems to be very little immediate energy in the Legislature to move forward with any voter ID reform. In the Senate, election bills usually go through the State Affairs committee..."

Naked City
Expect some upsets at the state housing agency, as Gov. Rick Perry and the state Sunset Advisory Commission implement changes in the scandal-wracked department.
News Story  January 26, 2001, by Kevin Fullerton
"...The state Sunset Advisory Commission says the Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs should be given two years to put its programs and priorities in order, but the agency's future could be strongly affected by decisions made much sooner than that..."

On The Lege
Development Devils
News Column  April 22, 1999
"...The bill requires parental notification but not parental consent, as does similar legislation by Bay City Republican Tom Uher before a doctor may perform an abortion on a minor. The legislation, along with half a dozen other anti-abortion bills, is pending in Steve Wolens' State Affairs committee, where similar legislation has died more or less quietly in the past..."

Lege Lines: Robbin' the Hoods
How can state lawmakers fix school finance?
News Story  August 3, 2017, by Richard Whittaker
"...TASB assistant director of intergovernmental affairs Dax Gonzalez said bills like SB 19 are "sucking the air out of the room," while any substantive fix in a single special session is unlikely. History is on his side: The last time the Legislature really took on the issue in 2003, it took two regular sessions and seven specials to produce the now widely criticized Robin Hood system...."

Lege Lines: Session Winners and Losers
As sine die nears, bills drop left and right
News Story  May 28, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...Talking of the guns-for-everyone crowd, chamber security had to intervene when Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, almost got into a fistfight with State Affairs Committee Chair Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, after the Calendars Committee, on which Cook also sits, refused to put the abortion insurance restrictions in Senate Bill 575 up for debate..."

Lege Lines: Weak Oversight Rules, School Vouchers Pass Senate, and More...
Lege pushes weak oversight rules, school voucher bill sails through Senate, and more...
News Story  April 23, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...What Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, begrudgingly laid out as a committee substitute to Senate State Affairs on April 16 was a shadow of its former self..."

Reefer Roundup: 3/3/11
Your drug war news for the week
DAILY SXSW  March 3, 2011, by Jordan Smith
"...At least 14 other states have already enacted similar decrim measures and two are currently considering similar bills, he said. "I think it is time for Texas to join these 16 other states," he said in his closing remarks, "and [to] make sure that we have the kind of laws that [do good and that make Texas] one of the best states in the whole union." Especially given the dismal state of fiscal affairs here, he noted, it makes absolutely no sense to lock up nonviolent pot smokers..."

Our readers talk back.
Columns  May 30, 2003
"...I would like to see our Texas politicians refrain from the fifth-grade behavior exhibited with partisan politics and get to the business of handling state affairs. The aggressiveness and poor judgement demonstrated by the Republicans may turn some of us longtime Republicans into Democrats in the next election...."

Naked City
Beyond City Limits
News Story  May 30, 2003
"...Rick Perry may call an immediate special session next week (the regular session ends June 2) to break the deadlock. Senate State Affairs Chair Bill Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, has refused to allow a conference until his House counterpart, Civil Practices Chair Joe Nixon, R-Houston, agrees to a list of changes -- at which Nixon balks..."

Best of Austin Story  September 24, 1999
"...Since he's already a state employee as a professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, Council Member Bill Spelman is prohibited by law from accepting his council salary. So the citizens of Austin are getting his thoughtful, logical services free of charge..."

On The Lege
Knocking Out Hate
News Column  March 18, 1999
"...Hate Crimes Act. Gilliam told the House Judicial Affairs Committee that her group opposes the bill, authored by Rep..."

On the Lege
Parading in the Rain
News Column  May 12, 1995, by Robert Bryce
"...At a recent press conference, Austin City Councilmember Gus Garcia denounced the bill, saying, "the issue is that one greedy developer doesn't want to be controlled by anybody." The new district would have sole authority to regulate water quality standards in the 8,000 acres covered by the legislation. The bill is currently in the Senate State Affairs committee...."

LegeLand: A Bill To 'Protect Our Women'
Yet another fight over abortion
News Story  February 18, 2011, by Jordan Smith
"...9 marathon hearing on Senate Bill 16, Houston GOP Sen. Dan Patrick's ultrasound-required-before-abortion bill: None of the middle-aged white men on the Senate's State Affairs Com­mittee were going to let concerns about the coerciveness or intrusiveness (or the constitutionality) of Patrick's bill get in the way of passing it out of committee and on to the full Senate for consideration..."

Straus Won't Count his 114 Chickens
He's not speaker yet, and he wants you to know it
DAILY News  January 7, 2009, by Richard Whittaker
"...Instead, like Straus, she did come up through the Bexar County Republican Party. The first female state senator from Bexar, she left the lege in 1992 to become a two-term county judge, then returned to state-level affairs when she spent a six-year stint on the UT Board of Regents..."

Lege Lines: Billpocalypse!
Bills start dying as sine die draws near; schools get new A-F grading system; and more
News Story  May 21, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...He also implied the mass shooting in Waco had no impact on the handgun open carry rules in HB 910 because (wait for it) the bill hasn't passed yet... Some slightly good news on HB 910: the Senate State Affairs Committee has sent the bill to the full Senate, but has at least stripped off a widely criticized amendment barring cops from asking people with guns if they have a license....."

One Rule for the Lawmakers
CBS-42 catches reps in voting violations.
DAILY News  May 15, 2007, by Richard Whittaker
"...She's down as an author on House Bill 218, HB 626, and HB 101 - three of the big voter-suppression (sorry, that should be "voter identity verification") bills currently being pushed through the Lege. HB 218 requires voters to provide a voter-registration certificate and is now on the Senate floor; HB 626 requires a citizen present a birth certificate, citizenship papers, or a passport before they can register to vote and is being heard over in the Senate State Affairs Committee..."

No Real Alternative
In the name of "promoting childbirth," the state finds yet another way to deny health care to thousands of Texas women
News Story  January 26, 2007, by Jordan Smith
"..."They've served 11 women. Basically, in the same time period, we could've served over 8,000," commented Sarah Wheat, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region..."

Lege Wrap-Up
News Story  June 3, 2005
"...Talton, who tried to sell his bill as an "affordable-housing" measure, believes that poor people would be better served in the rental market – an idea supported by for-profit developers but widely disparaged among nonprofit groups. The proposal would have changed the focus of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs from home ownership to apartment leasing..."

Anti-Gay-Marriage Should Not Be in Constitution
Postmarks  February 28, 2005
"...Dear Editor, Two competing versions of the Anti-Gay-Marriage Amendment – HJR 6 and HJR 19 – have already been referred to the Texas House Committee on State Affairs. These proposed amendments would write discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Texans into our Constitution by banning marriage for same-sex couples..."

The Wisdom of Deacon Talton
Rep. Robert Talton's testimony on gay foster parents before the State Affairs committee.
News Story  May 2, 2003
"...The following excerpts, edited for clarity, are taken from an April 22 meeting of the House Committee on State Affairs, at which Rep. Robert Talton, R-Pasadena, introduced HB 1911, which would ban gay and lesbian foster parents..."

First Things First
Paradise by UT's Stadium Lights
News Column  May 2, 1997, by Louisa C. Brinsmade
"...For Darrell Royal, the beloved former UT football coach and the stadium's namesake, that analogy is right on the money, so to speak. Back in February, in the darkened hallway outside the Lieutenant Governor's meeting room, a congratulatory crowd gathered around Coach Royal and UT Chancellor William Cunningham, who had just won a swift victory on the stadium bill from the Senate State Affairs Committee inside..."

Sacrificing Seniority
Conservatives could cost Republicans committee appointments
DAILY News  February 16, 2010, by Richard Whittaker
"...Ogden and Smith are far from alone. Ranking incumbents like Education chair Rob Eisler, State Affairs chair Burt Solomons, Redistricting chair Delwin Jones, Pensions, Investments and Financial Services chair Vicki Truitt, and House Administration chair Charlie Geren all find themselves on the receiving end of the ire of more-conservative-than-thou challengers..."

News Story  May 11, 2007, by Kimberly Reeves
"...Legislation passed in both the House and Senate (and certain to draw the governor's veto) would place a moratorium on concession contract agreements with private equity companies, deals that promise upfront payments to the state, measured against long-term profits on toll roads. In its final version, the bill ended up tagged on to another bill concerning Harris County's toll authority, which passed through the House County Affairs Committee, rather than the more logical House Transportation – chaired by Round Rock Rep..."

Bill of the Week: We the People
Rewriting the Constitution is as easy as 1, 2, 3
News Story  April 13, 2017, by Richard Whittaker
"...The presumption was that the Texas House would follow suit. After all, all three measures passed through Senate State Affairs on Feb..."

HB 2 Protesters Return to Court
Prosecutors juggle charges – A, B, C – without resolution
DAILY News  April 22, 2014, by Jordan Smith
"...Quinzi remains unsatisfied with the state of affairs. In the first place, unless the class C charges are also dismissed, the persons arrested will not be able to have their arrest records expunged – meaning that although they were never convicted or even jailed on the more serious charges, their records will reflect that they were once arrested for the jailable offenses..."

OMFG, HB 626 Is Even Worse Than Voter-ID Bill
Phil King's awful voter registration bill makes the Voter ID bill look almost progressive by comparison.
DAILY News  April 30, 2007, by Lee Nichols
"...Hmmm … sounds mighty familiar. Perhaps Travis County should only set up voting booths in West Austin in the next election. HB 626 will be debated on the House floor on Monday. UPDATE: The Senate State Affairs Committee is hearing testimony on HB 218 as I type this (at 10:13am Monday); HB 626 has been postponed to the end of today's House calendar..."

Sandra Bland Trooper Indicted, Fired
Rep. Garnet Coleman reflects on the case
DAILY News  January 6, 2016, by Amy Kamp
"...A legislative inquiry into the conditions surrounding Bland's death and jail suicides in general was led by Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, who is chair of the House Committee on County Affairs..."

Playing Games with Pain
Laubenberg bill would ban abortion after ‘fetal pain’
DAILY News  April 15, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"...Metcalf was crushed. "Knowing that your daughter is dying is heartbreaking," she told the House State Affairs Committee on April 10, while testifying against a bill that seeks to ban all abortions after 20 weeks...."

The Other Perry
Democrat Radnofksy demands AG Abbott returns builder cash
DAILY News  March 3, 2010, by Richard Whittaker
"...This includes, particularly, the $170,000 from July 29 through December 15, 2005 the Perrys paid to Attorney General Abbott. After the Perrys paid $100,000 of this amount on December 15, 2005, the Attorney General was sent a December 16, 2005 request from the Chairman of the House Committee on State Affairs questioning the Comptroller's Review of the TRCC..."

News Story  March 6, 2009, by Richard Whittaker
"...Valinda Bolton has been elected vice chair of the Legislative Study Group; Naishtat remains treasurer... Senate State Affairs is considering Senate Bill 315 by Sen..."

Dying in Committee, Part 4
Amputees won't get much help from the Lege this session on low insurance payouts.
DAILY News  May 7, 2007, by Richard Whittaker
"...Chair Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, has left it at the bottom of the to-do list for his State Affairs Committee..."

News Top Tens
News Story  January 2, 2004
"...Pasadena Republican Robert Talton, on the other hand, is mean, snarly, rude, and, um, incompetent. Not even the State Affairs Committee's Republican majority could go along with a bill that would have prohibited gays and lesbians from becoming foster parents..."

Legislature Gets It Together
News Story  January 24, 2003, by Michael King
"...David Dewhurst announced his committee appointments, which were more bipartisan than expected, with six Democrats joining nine Republicans as chairs of Senate committees. Still, the biggest plums remain in GOP hands; Amarillo's Teel Bivins takes over the Finance Committee, Plano's Florence Shapiro will helm Education, Lewisville's Jane Nelson will lead Health and Human Services, and Mount Pleasant's Bill Ratliff -- Dewhurst's predecessor as Lite-Guv -- will chair State Affairs...."

Owen Egerton Gets Spooked Writing The Axe Murders of Villisca
Austin author on his new haunted house movie
Screens Story  January 19, 2017, by Richard Whittaker
"...Script conferences tend to be mundane affairs. They don't generally involve spending the night in a haunted crime scene in rural Iowa, but that's where Owen Egerton, satirical novelist and co-founder of movie mockers Master Pancake Theater, found himself when he signed on to write supernatural drama The Axe Murders of Villisca..."

Texas Makes Its HB2 Case to U.S. Supreme Court
Says no evidence women are harmed
DAILY News  November 12, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"..."Absolutely. No question; no question," says Sarah Wheat, vice president of community affairs for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, which operates family planning and abortion care clinics from Dallas to Austin..."

The Senate Committee Shuffle
Austin's four Senators get their appointments for 2013
DAILY News  January 21, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...Much to the chagrin of education advocates, she replaces Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, on Education. Cue one more solidly reactionary ally for pro-voucher chair Dan Patrick, R-Houston. Nominations (Vice-chair), Education, Jurisprudence, Transportation, Veterans Affairs and Military Institutions..."

The State of Austin's Hip-Hop Scene
Music Story  July 4, 1997, by Andy Langer
"...Two years ago, the scene also enjoyed a steady stream of house and block parties, plus affairs similar to the current run of Wednesday evening freestyle shows at Rosewood Park. Back then, however, nobody could have predicted the popularity of two Monday night club shows -- the "Blow Pop" series at Nasty's and the Electric Lounge -- while fewer still could have guessed the galvanizing effect they would have on the local scene despite the fact that the series eventually splintered into two separate shows with both factions claiming they had the "real" night..."

Greg Abbott, Founding Father
Texas governor wants to rewrite U.S. Constitution
DAILY News  January 11, 2016, by Richard Whittaker
"...Phil King, R-Weatherford last session: filed as House Bill 1110, it would not actually request a convention, merely clarify the rules for selecting delegates. However, it failed to get traction in the Senate State Affairs committee, and died an ignored death...."

Lege Lines: Film Incentive Program Funding Uncertain, Anti-Choice Buffoonery, and More
Lege considers film incentive program funding and anti-choice antics take hold
News Story  March 19, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...Kirk Watson, D-Austin, has filed SB 1619, extending the life of the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan from 2019 to 2023, and adding more counties to the air quality initiative... Questionable integrity: On March 16, the Senate State Affairs Committee voted out SB 10, Houston Repub­lican Sen..."

Grace Garcia Killed in Car Crash
Colleagues pay tribute to Annie's List head
DAILY News  June 3, 2014, by Brandon Watson
"...Garcia joined Annie's List after serving in the protocol office for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In the White House, she held several positions including Deputy Director in the Office of Presidential Scheduling and Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs for the Interior Department..."

Total Utility
The pain and politics of raising electric rates as a means of controlling our destiny
News Story  June 15, 2012, by Mike Kanin
"...For the utility, this provided some insulation. "From the very beginning, Marc Ott said one thing to us over and over and over again," says Mark Dreyfus, AE director of regulatory and government affairs..."

Teachers Want Books Checked at Pension Fund
TRS internal investigation isn't credible, union president says
News Story  October 29, 2010, by Richard Whittaker
"...31, 2009. It also dredges up old questions about James Lee's reforms at TRS, like his 2008 grilling by members of the Senate Finance and State Affairs committees over the board's decision to dump its ethics-advising fiduciary counsel in favor of a new firm with no public pension fund experience..."

Refugees Remain in Taylor Prison
ACLU files suit to spring children from 'residential facility'
News Story  April 13, 2007, by Diana Welch
"...Eddie Rodriguez introduced House Concurrent Resolution 64, requesting that DHS explore all alternatives to the detention of immigrant and asylum-seeking families. It was referred to the House Committee on State Affairs in February, and no action had been taken on it since..."

Naked City
Warren Chisum's HJR 6 doesn't discriminate against anyone ... except gays and lesbians
News Story  April 8, 2005, by Amy Smith
"...Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, whose HJR 6 brought out the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender troops Monday to testify against it, surprised the State Affairs Committee with a substitute that merges his bill with a separate bill authored by gay foe Robert Talton, the Pasadena Republican who riled folks in 2003 with his unsuccessful attempt to prevent gays and lesbians from becoming foster parents..."

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