Frank Erwin Center
"...Organized by the Texas Observer, the Texas Legislature Very Special Session Panel will talk about how the 83rd session and the resulting special sessions have gone/are going. Expect a lot of talk about the ongoing abortion fight, education funding, the rise of Democratic Sen..."
"...If any moment captured the underlying conflict leading into the 85th Texas Legislature, it came on the afternoon of Thursday, Jan. 5..."
"...Opening day of the 83rd Texas Legislature..."
"...If such a complicated piece of double-entry bookkeeping doesn't make sense, that's because it shouldn't, and Straus has not refrained from saying so. "This is the Texas Legislature," he told reporters last week through gritted teeth, just as the Senate Finance Committee approved the trick..."
"...With harassment swelling in the wake of the presidential election, Texas Democratic lawmakers are taking the bull by the horns. Two San Antonio legislators have announced they intend to file an anti-bullying bill, David's Law, today, the opening day of pre-filing for the 85th Legislature...."
"...Dear Editor, I just wanted to express the pure joy I felt when I heard about the Legislature's latest bill on cheerleading routines [“Naked City,” News, May 6]. I mean, they must have gotten a lot accomplished this session..."
"...His departure means the Texas Legislature has lost a much needed and increasingly rare voice of moderation in a leadership role amid growing conservative fanaticism. [image-1-right]..."
"...Beeson called attention to some of the statistical categories gathered together on these pages, as illustrations of the kind of challenges faced by many poor and working Texans. (Year in and year out, CPPP diligently compiles many of these statistics, issues policy papers describing their causes and effects, and stoically lobbies the Legislature in support of legislation that would ameliorate the worst consequences.) "Texans have one of the highest rates of poverty in the country," Beeson noted..."
"...When TMIIIP is adequately funded, the productions come, and the talent stays. Yet as the Texas Legislature considers its budget, the program is under threat of being severely underfunded..."
"...While at Texas A&M University, economics professor Analisa Packham found that when the Texas Legislature cut family planning funding by two-thirds, or $76 million, in 2011 and simultaneously defunded Planned Parenthood, teen abortions increased 3.1% in the following three years while teen births spiked by 3.4% in the following four years...."
"...While Ramos said there were no "smoking guns" to prove discriminatory intent, she noted that the Legislature was a racially charged environment in the 2011 session in which SB14 was passed. Moreover, in a sweeping condemnation of the process, and the refusal by the bill sponsors and backers to even consider amendments, she found that the underpinning intention of the bill was discriminatory...."
"...The city is looking at ways to deal with the overcrowding in the riverfront parks, especially Rio Vista Park, by limiting already scarce parking and outlawing some types of cooking grills. The Texas Legislature is considering a water recreation district below the city to bring some semblance of order to the large number of tubers on the river...."
"...First congressional redistricting; then, in short succession, voter ID and the state House maps. In less than two weeks, the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature has been dealt three critical blows to their legal fights to retain voter laws and districts that the courts have now found discriminate against the state‘s minority voters...."
"...Echoing Ramos' finding that the bill's Republican authors rejected amendments that would have at least reduced the bill's discriminatory impact, Rodriguez continued, "Although this ruling is gratifying, let me be clear: the Mexican American Legislative Caucus told the Texas Legislature in 2011 that SB 14 would discriminate against Latinos. Republicans shoved it down our throats anyway."..."
"..."Any legislation that would attack transgender Texans — especially vulnerable transgender children — is not only morally wrong, but, as we've seen in states like North Carolina, will hurt Texas' economy and reputation around the world. Frankly, the Texas Legislature has real issues to address like adequately funding our schools, improving health care, and fixing our broken CPS system..."
"...The conservative appeals court erred by not taking into account the burden the law imposes on abortion access together with the medical benefits the law ostensibly provides, as Casey requires. It also failed at checking evidence from the Texas Legislature to justify the law’s necessity, giving uncritical deference to the Lege: “Explicit legislative findings must be considered, but there were no such findings in HB 2.” SCOTUS makes clear they, like the federal district court that struck down HB 2, have “placed considerable weight upon evidence and argument presented in judicial proceedings,” including research on increased travel times, distance, number of women and providers affected, and inability to handle increased capacity when clinics close...."
"...The Texas health care system is far from equipped to handle the level of need, as providers are already overwhelmed and unable to absorb additional patients. As a result of funding cuts made by the Texas Legislature, more than 80 family planning clinics have shut their doors, according to research from the UT-Austin based Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP)..."
"...In these parts, it never rains but it pours, and we console ourselves with mordant reassurance like that of Doug Sahm's lyric, "You just can't live in Texas, if you don't have a lot of soul." One blessing of the rains is the brief distraction they offer from the slow-motion disaster that is the 84th Texas Legislature; as Molly Ivins liked to point out, one thing we learn early in covering Texas politics is that things can always get worse. Texas politicians have not yet met the Florida standard of officially outlawing the words "climate change," but they do know it's easy enough to make such inconvenient knowledge inaudible under the noisy pandering of constricting women's reproductive rights while promoting the ever-expanding rights of gun owners...."
"...There are actually a couple of seconds in the opening of The Texas Promise during which I'm fairly sure I could see the back of my own head. It's definitely filled with Texas Legislature regulars, as documentarian Vanessa Roth uses parts of the live feed from the State House floor from the debate in 2011, during which lawmakers sliced out $5.4 billion from the public school finance funds..."
"..."We are pleased the court rejected Planned Parenthood's latest attempt to skirt state law. The Texas Attorney General's office will continue to defend the Texas Legislature's decision to prohibit abortion providers and their affiliates from receiving taxpayer dollars through the Women's Health Program."..."
"...Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said in a statement that the court's decision "extends the Voting Rights Act beyond the limits intended by Congress and beyond the boundaries imposed by the Constitution. The Attorney General's Office will continue defending the maps enacted by the Texas Legislature and will immediately take steps to appeal this flawed decision to the U.S..."
"...For those of you who believe there isn't enough drama in the Texas legislature: HBO has announced it is developing a new political fiction series, set under our famous Capitol dome...."
"...“Today’s court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent,” Orlando said, “Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S..."
"...Texas case, which also invalidated the laws of 13 other states. However, since that decision in 2003, the Texas legislature has refused to strike the unconstitutional law from the books...."
"...That law will almost certainly have retrogressive effect: it imposes strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor, and racial minorities in Texas are disproportionately likely to live in poverty. And crucially, the Texas legislature defeated several amendments that could have made this a far closer case."..."
"...Ten years ago, the last time the health textbooks were approved, it was a fiasco. It took the State Board of Education more than a year, hundreds of changes were submitted to the commissioner by individual board members, and it was such an embarrassment for the state that the following year the Legislature took away the State Board of Education's power to determine content, and confined them to considering factual accuracy in the books...."
"...It's been months in the coming, but when Judge John Dietz finally released his ruling yesterday on the Texas public school finance system, it was no surprise to anyone: The current system of "Robin Hood" recapture is unconstitutional on multiple levels, create a de facto statewide property tax, and is underfunded by the legislature...."
"...As early as 1996, when the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum -- now bigger than life down on Martin Luther King Boulevard (or, depending on your point of view, "19th Street") -- was still in the conception stage, the decision had already been made to produce a "signature film" to be shown in the museum's IMAX theatre. The first proposal (dated July 2000 and tentatively titled This Land Called Texas) would have required seed money from the Legislature, followed by private donations, and a production that would feature voice-overs by six well-known narrators (Dan Rather, Tish Hinojosa, Lance Armstrong, Sissy Spacek, Chuck Norris or Tommy Lee Jones, and Barry Corbin)..."
"...May 20, 2003 Members of the Texas Legislature Capitol Building Austin, Texas, 78701..."
"...In a July 14 letter to Mayor Steve Adler, the American Association of Law Libraries announced that following its 110th annual meeting and conference in Austin (scheduled for July 15-18), the Chicago-based group will no longer host events in Texas, “due to recent moves by the Legislature to discriminate against LGBTQ people.” The event, which draws 3,000 attendees, has been held in San Antonio twice...."
"...However, if two bills pending in the Texas Legislature make it through both chambers, patients who don't receive full information about fetal abnormalities from their physicians would not be able to recoup the vital economic and legal recourse needed to care for their disabled child. Senate Bill 25, by Sen..."
"...Aptly released on Friday the 13th, the ruling is terribly unlucky for the 600-plus school districts and multiple civil rights groups that have been challenging the system ever since the Legislature slashed funding in 2011...."
"...AUSTIN - In this rapidly changing and uncertain world, is it not grand to know that we can always count on the Texas Legislature to show us how to really screw things up?..."
"...Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) could soon require that, over a phase-in period of five years, 100% of a wine's volume come from Texas-grown fruit in order to claim the state as an appellation of origin. House Bill 1514 and Senate Bill 1833, the "Truth in Labeling Act," were filed in February and are currently making their way through the 85th Legislature...."
"...As is customary, the big battles are likely to be fought over the budget, and even though this session's revenues are anticipated to be much better than the last, Gov. Rick Perry and the Republican leadership have already declared their determination to govern by austerity – and if possible, to lock that approach directly into the Texas Constitution – thereby making it much more difficult for future Legislatures (no matter what the economic and social conditions at the time) to act responsibly and flexibly in addressing the state's needs..."
"...In a 153-page opinion and 151-page finding of fact, the court’s panel split 2-1 against the state. In the majority opinion, District Judge Xavier Rodriguez and Chief District Judge Orlando Garcia found that the 2011 maps drawn by the GOP-dominated Legislature deliberately suppressed minority voting...."
"...“Rep. Tinderholt would tell you Texans can decide, and the Legislature can decide if every human should be protected..."
"...Farmers' markets and their related food and cooking demonstrations had previously fallen into a gray and murky area of food regulation. The Texas Legislature promulgated a variety of different regulations intended to address health and safety compliance at farmers' markets...."
"...I recently became aware that there currently is no publicly available source to be able to read the current laws of Texas. The "Texas Legislature Online" Web site at www.capitol.state.tx.us/statutes/statutes.html states, "Changes enacted by the 78th Legislature are not expected to be received from the West Group until June 2004, after which this site will be updated. Until then the Index to Sections Affected can be used to identify these changes." Can lawmakers expect Texans to understand and follow the law when there isn't an accurate copy available for approximately one year out of every two? It's ludicrous that in today's high tech world, Texas will not have an accurate version of its laws available online until sometime after June 2004. However, the more serious problem is the potentially dangerous trap Texas sets for the unwary..."
"...Democrats and Republicans both claim they can reshape the Texas Legislature in 2011, but Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, predicts the next session will be a disaster in one key area – the scheduled redistricting of legislative seats..."
"...In a 13-page summary of his 440-page ruling, he found that the current system is a de facto state property tax, and therefore unconstitutional. Dietz continued, "The court further finds that the Legislature has failed to meet its constitutional duty to suitably provide for Texas public schools because the school finance system is structured, operated, and funded so that it cannot provide a constitutionally adequate education for all Texas schoolchildren."..."
"...While cuts to the state's budget for women's health is alarming providers across the state, Perry, on the presidential campaign trail, boasted to Politico about the state's targeting of PP: "I was really proud to be able to sign legislation that we worked on with our Legislature to defund Planned Parenthood in the state of Texas," he said. "There are 12 abortion clinics that aren't open in the state of Texas today because our members of the Legislature had the courage, the wisdom to do that."..."
"...Keller should be removed from office. The public warning tells us that if you seek justice in Texas, proceed with caution because Keller is the presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The Texas Legislature can help restore integrity to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals by impeaching and removing Keller from office..."
"...4 emitter of sulfur and nitrogen oxide, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality took up two federal EPA air quality measures at its meeting last Wednesday: the Clean Air Interstate Rule and the Clean Air Mercury Rule. Both are designed to create control measures and enforcement mechanisms to reduce air pollutants; in HB 2481, the Texas Legislature in 2005 agreed to adopt the rules statewide, taking aim at coal-burning power plants..."
"...Within 10 months, May was fired by the TFSC. And within a year, SCI had hired a lobbyist who helped pass a bill through the Texas Legislature overhauling the TFSC and ousting board chair McNeil..."
"...However, the 5-4 ruling prevents states from crafting laws that have the “the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.” Abortion laws must actually “further the health or safety of a woman,” justices wrote. Lawmakers have cast the regulations as a means to protect the health and safety of women, but as evidenced by their overtly anti-choice stance and public proclamations to rid the state of abortion access, plaintiffs and reproductive rights advocates argue the Legislature’s true intent is far from their ostensible one..."
"...The resolution – sponsored by Council Member Mike Martinez and co-sponsored by CMs Laura Morrison and Bill Spelman — makes note of consensus among the medical community — including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Texas Medical Association, and the Texas Hospital Associations — that HB 2 places women’s health in danger; the higher costs and travel times associated with clinic closures as a result of HB 2; the Legislature’s deep cuts to family planning services and the fact that HB 2 has curtailed not just abortion services but preventive care, such as well-woman exams, cervical cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and birth control services...."