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Texas <3 Teachers (Allegedly)
File under "chutzpah"
DAILY News  March 23, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...In 2009, the legislature approved a $4.1 billion biennial budget for the public school pension fund. When the TRS filed its legislative budget request last fall, it asked for $5 billion..."

Helping Women Helps Texas
Women's Health Program saves Texas money, says report
News Story  July 23, 2010, by Jordan Smith


Central Texas Barbecue Crash Course
Food Story  March 6, 2009, by Virginia B. Wood
"...Wayne Mueller represents the third generation of his family to operate the downtown Taylor barbecue joint bearing his grandfather's name. He told us proudly that the Texas Legislature had honored his late father, legendary pit master Bobby Mueller, in mid-February and that a copy of the resolution would soon join the numerous other awards gracing the smoke-stained restaurant walls..."

Sunset: End Texas Youth Commission
Legislative committee votes narrowly to combine juvenile probation and prison systems
DAILY News  January 15, 2009, by Richard Whittaker
"...The Texas Youth Commission has inched closer to being dissolved tonight after the joint House-Senate-appointee Sunset Advisory Commission voted 6-5 to recommend that the legislature dissolve the agency and merge it with the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission to become the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. The plan will now move into the legislative process for further discussion...."

Texas Needs Film Incentives
Postmarks  May 22, 2008
"...I urge readers to send copies of this article to their Texas state representative and senator, asking them to act on this important economic issue. To find out who represents you in the Texas Legislature, go to www.capitol.state.tx.us and click on "Who Represents Me?"..."

How Texas Youth Commission Fell
The scandal engulfing the Texas Youth Commission has claimed some scalps, but will the Legislature demand more?
DAILY News  March 1, 2007, by Richard Whittaker
"...Texas Youth Commission (a happy, skippy euphemism for the juvie people) is in trouble, and the Legislature is leading the charge to burn it to the ground. It's all over allegations of sexual abuse, cover-ups, and incompetence..."

Texas Platters
Music Review  July 11, 1997
"...Picante, the guitar, and even a molecule won consideration by the Texas Legislature this session to be the official state salsa, instrument, and uh, molecule. Why not go ahead and make Asleep at the Wheel the state's Official Band? They are, after all, the greatest ambassadors of Texas music around..."

Lege Lines: Senate Still Hasn’t Confirmed Texas Secretary of State David Whitley
Architect of recent “voter fraud” fiasco shifts blame to DPS
News Story  February 14, 2019, by Mike Clark-Madison, Michael King, Austin Sanders and Mary Tuma


The Texas Hammer: Women’s Health and Reproductive Rights
It's a war on women's health
News Story  March 16, 2017, by Mary Tuma
"...When it comes to defunding Planned Parenthood and attacking abortion rights, Texas pretty much wrote the playbook. In the name of anti-choice ideology, the Texas Legislature has systematically stripped the nationally affiliated reproductive health provider of funds locally and spent years decimating the family planning network, leaving women's health care in crisis...."

Stand With Texas Women Rally
July 1, 2013. 31 photos.
PHOTO GALLERY  July 2, 2013
"...Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst gavels in the second special session of the 83rd Texas Legislature...."

DOJ Says No to Texas Maps
Feds reject GOP end run around courts for redistricting
DAILY News  September 19, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...Shocking no one, the US Department of Justice has just refused to certify that either the Congressional or state house maps passed by the Legislature this year comply with the Voting Rights Act of 1965...."

SCHIP Veto - Texas Dems Respond
The deluge of anti-SCHIP veto statements from elected officials starts here.
DAILY News  October 3, 2007, by Richard Whittaker
"...But with one cruel stroke of his veto pen, President Bush has written off 3.8 million children who would have gained access much-needed health insurance under bipartisan legislation expanding CHIP." – Boyd Richie, chair of the Texas Democratic Party. "CHIP has been enormously successful in Texas, as our state ranks dead last in the nation when it comes to the percentage of our population without health care coverage. The Texas Legislature recently authorized a new law to restore the CHIP rolls by more than 120,000..."

Special Election Fills One of Three Vacant Seats in Texas House
Dem Art Fierro wins HD 79 while Houston's HD 145 goes to runoff
News Story  January 31, 2019, by Mary Tuma


Texas House: The Travis Delegation
Can Ana Jordan put a Democrat back in the HD 47 seat?
News Story  October 20, 2016, by Richard Whittaker
"...To Ana Jordan, his Dem­o­cratic challenger, Workman's job security through gerrymandering ill-serves his constituents, Democrat and Repub­lic­an. "If we can solve that," she says, "then we can solve a lot of things that are wrong with our Legislature."..."

Will Texas Do Better?
Familiar efforts to decriminalize weed and criminalize salvia are unlikely to pass
News Story  December 7, 2012, by Jordan Smith


As Big as Texas
The year and the decade in review
News Story  January 7, 2000


Texas Poised to Hit 500th Execution
Texas is on the eve of its 500th execution since death penalty reinstatement
News Story  June 21, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"...In a letter to Dallas County District Attorney Craig Wat­kins, McCarthy's attorney Maurie Levin pointed out that at the time of McCarthy's trial racial discrimination "pervaded" the county's jury selection process. Levin also noted that Watkins had told The Dallas Morning News that he would advocate during the recently concluded 83rd Legislature for passage of the Texas Racial Justice Act, which would allow death row inmates to appeal based on claims that racism played a role in their conviction...."

Texas' Cotton Boll
Farmers Fight Boll Weevil Program in Court
News Story  November 29, 1996, by Robert Bryce
"...20, proponents and opponents of the statewide boll weevil eradication program had a showdown at the Texas Supreme Court. Supporters said the Legislature was correct in using its police powers to rid the state of an economic menace..."

Sunset Commission Reports on Texas Medical Board
Follow-up review issues light recommendations
News Story  June 21, 2018, by Michael King
"...Although controversy continues to swirl around the Texas Medical Board concerning its inconsistent regulation of medical practice and its often arbitrary procedures, observers wouldn't necessarily know that from the recent state Sunset Commission review of the agency. Following a more extensive review of the TMB in 2016-17 – when a bill advancing the commission's recommendations failed to pass – the latest review focused on "evaluating the ongoing appropriateness of the original recommendations" and identifying those or others worth resubmitting to the 2019 Legislature...."

Point Austin: Things to Do in Texas When You're Lege
The special agenda is not so special
News Column  June 7, 2013, by Michael King
"...Of course, it's been pointed out many times that should the Legislature remain in session longer and more frequently than five months every two years, the amount of mischief accomplished would only multiply. There's certainly much to be said for that theory (e.g., see below)..."

It's Time to Hold the Legislature Accountable
Postmarks  August 19, 2005
"...Dear Editor, If the Legislature had focused on their assignment during the regular and special sessions, they might have had a better chance of accomplishing their mission. But they did not, and they did not. When Judge John Dietz declared the current system of public school finance unconstitutional, he didn't say a thing about “reforming” the current public education system..."

Carving Up Texas
A Preview of Redistricting at the Lege
News Story  February 9, 2001, by Mike Clark-Madison
"..."If you look at the nearly 21 million citizens in this state," says state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, "the 181 of us in the Legislature are by far the most self-interested and the least objective people to oversee redistricting." Which is exactly why the Lege won't let go of the once-a-decade job of redrawing the state's electoral maps..."

Texas Supreme Court Draws Widespread Criticism
Critics of 'Entergy v. Summers' decision find unlikely allies
News Story  August 22, 2008, by Lee Nichols
"...That decision sent up howls from legislators and labor activists who said the court had completely overlooked legislative intent and that the Legislature had never meant for the law to be applied to premises owners and had in fact made that quite clear in the debates that produced the law. Essentially, they said, the court has rewritten the law from the bench...."

Save Texas Schools Declares Independence
Have Texas lawmakers made 'adequate yearly progress'?
News Story  March 30, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...Save Texas Schools launched last year with a similar rally during the heart of the 82nd legislative session (see "Save Our Schools!," March 11, 2011), and while this year's was a much smaller affair, the core issue remained how Gov. Rick Perry and the Legislature effectively devastated districts statewide by cutting school funding by $5.4 billion in the current two-year budget cycle..."

Is Texas Bad for Kids?
A new report from Texans Care for Children shows kids faring poorly
News Story  January 16, 2009, by Richard Whittaker
"...Children in Texas are more likely to be born underweight, grow up in poverty, and face underfunded health and mental services than the national average. Those are just some of the worrying statistics in the 2009 "Children's Campaign Report" issued by advocacy group Texans Care for Children – just in time for the start of the 81st Legislature..."

Deep in the Heart of Texas Political Scandals
Crimes, carousing, and contravention from the Capitol grounds
News Story  January 5, 2017, by the News Staff
"...The black sheep of the 84th Legislature sure could use a primer on how to stay anonymous on the internet – and a few lessons about how not to force oneself sexually on a loved one. In Dec..."

Point Austin: Supremes v. Texas
The future of U.S. politics may become, "Vote for Show, Map for Dough"
News Column  March 10, 2006, by Michael King
"...of Justice, an oxymoron in its own right. Cruz continues to insist, with thus far unblemished judicial success, that the 2003 re-redistricting of Texas only corrected historical injustices instituted by Texas Democrats back in 1991, and that until the 2002 Republican Legislature seized righteous control of the process, Texas voters had been doomed to elect to Congress Democrats whom they would otherwise abhor...."

Why We are Here -- Working to Defend Texas
The "quorum-busting" Democrats defend their actions.
News Column  May 16, 2003
"...... The decision to make these changes is much too significant to rush through the legislature to satisfy DeLay's appetite for power." San Antonio Express News, 05/07/03..."

True Love and Lawsuits in the Wedding Capital of Texas
'Til death do us party
News Story  April 26, 2018, by Kate Groetzinger
"...People from the Dripping Springs area came to testify, but it died in committee. "Being a novice in the Legislature, I thought it would work," she said..."

Supremes Block Texas Maps: What Now?
The Supremes throw a monkey wrench into election maps and planning
News Story  December 16, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...Republican Party of Texas Chair Steve Munisteri said that the court's action proved that the district panel "exceeded [its] judicial authority and attempted to usurp the rightful duties of the Texas State Legislature," and said he hoped the justices would return to the original maps drawn by the Legislature. However, not every Republican will be happy with this latest turn of events..."

Drop in the Bucket: Disputed Fed Ed Funding Comes to Texas
Disputed fed ed funding comes to Texas
News Story  April 22, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...Now it looks more like a one-time addition to core funding. Jenny LaCoste-Caputo, director of communications for the Texas Association of School Administrators, said, "In a perfect world, it would have been great if we had equal funding from last biennium, and this would be over and above, but obviously that's not going to happen." The Legislature has until Septem­ber 2012 to spend the cash, meaning it can be added to the current biennium or placed in next year's biennial budget..."

Texas Youth Commission Trouble
Scandal enveloping Texas Youth Commission has only gotten worse in last week
News Story  March 16, 2007, by Richard Whittaker
"...Last Tuesday, in a shock move, law-enforcement officers took over all 21 TYC facilities. But the Legislature is still working on investigating the abuse, the alleged cover-up, and the future of the commission...."

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
"..."He didn't have to take up that position," he says, "but he has very doggedly set out with an issue that is intrinsically unpopular." Maxey is confident the effort won't be in vain. "Before Eddie Rodriguez leaves the Legislature, I'm sure people will be telling him, 'You were right, Eddie.'"..."

Preserving Planet Texas
Outdoor-loving Texans can thank the federal government for requiring the state to firm up its state parks planning over the next decade.
News Story  July 5, 2002, by Dan Oko
"..."From past experience and what we had been told, we didn't have very high hopes," Sybert said. "But the agency appears to be prepared to embrace its role as an advocate for fish and wildlife, and it's good to see that reaffirmed." Ultimately, Sybert worries that if TPWD leadership doesn't stake out a bigger piece of the pie, the Legislature will prune the agency's budget once again when it convenes this winter...."

Boycotting Texas’ Bigotry
News Story  July 20, 2017, by Mary Tuma
"...The event, which draws 3,000 attendees, has been held in San Antonio twice. Organizers told the mayor that "recent moves by the Legislature to discriminate against LGBTQ people" is the cause for its boycott, and that they would have ditched Austin this year also had scheduling obligations not intervened...."

Most Texas Voters Favor State-Funded Family Planning
And disapprove of 2011 fam-plan budget cuts
News Story  February 22, 2013, by Jordan Smith


Bill Keeps TVs Out of Texas Landfills
Don't put your television set in the garbage
News Story  June 5, 2009, by Lee Nichols
"..."With the switch to digital television less than a month away and millions of old TVs on their way to Texas landfills, today the Legislature took an important step toward stopping a potential avalanche of toxic TVs by passing this bill," said Robin Schneider of Texas Campaign for the Environment after the passage of House Bill 821. The bill, by San Antonio Democrat David Leibowitz, requires that television manufacturers recycle their market share of televisions recycled in Texas, regardless of the brand..."

Texas Comptroller Gives Legislature More Money to Spend
But don’t go crazy y’all
News Story  January 10, 2019, by Mike Clark-Madison
"...But don't go buy a new school system just yet! Hegar, as usual, sounded notes of caution in his BRE release, which for previous comptrollers has been an occasion for major grandstanding. "The Legislature will again face some difficult choices in balancing this budget," he said, citing both the need to close expected (Medicaid) and surprise (Harvey) shortfalls in the current biennium, as well as the inexorable pressure for "a potentially large boost in education spending to reduce the property tax burden and reform school finance."..."

Lege Lines: Does Texas Really Need a Special Session
Save for the sunset bill, does Texas really need a special session?
News Story  July 13, 2017, by Richard Whittaker
"...Few items capture the spirit of American politics quite like the campaign pin. As the sides get drawn for the state Legislature's upcoming special session, lawmakers have taken to sporting their team's respective badges..."

Texas Redistricting: A Timeline
News Story  March 9, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...On that night, Democrats were already discussing how the change would affect redistricting, since this would be the first time since passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that a Democrat would hold the White House in a Texas redistricting year. That meant an inevitable fight between the Republican-dominated Legislature and a Democratic U.S..."

The Texas Map Morass
SCOTUS sends San Antonio court back to the drawing board
News Story  January 27, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...The justices were debating the relative merits of the heavily gerrymandered maps passed by the Legislature last session (see "Riding the Pinwheel," Aug. 26, 2011) against the more balanced interim maps drawn by a three-judge panel in San Antonio (see "New Map Tweaks Local House Seats," Nov..."

Texas House: Balance of Power Hangs in the Balance
There's a 50-50 chance of seeing a 75-75 split in the House
News Story  December 5, 2008, by Richard Whittaker
"...With one narrow win in the House confirmed in a recount, Democrats are closer than ever to taking the House to a 75-75 split. So now it comes down to one remaining House recount, plus a Senate run-off, to settle the balance of power in the Legislature...."

The Texas Hammer: Ridesharing and TNCs
Need a ride? The Lege will take you for one.
News Story  March 16, 2017, by Michael King
"...The TNCs quickly shifted their attention to the 85th Legislature, looking for bill sponsors hostile to Austin government and sympathetic to the deregulatory cause. Two bills currently under consideration (HB 100 and SB 361) would address TNC regulation by effectively removing from cities the authority to regulate ride-hailing companies..."

What Does the Legislature Have Against Austin?
Postmarks  February 23, 2004
"...Dear Editor, Ever since I moved to Austin I have been shocked by how badly the Legislature treats the town that hosts it. Usually the capital gets more goodies because the Legislators work there..."

Deep Divisions in Texas' Powerful Anti-Choice Movement
Battle reflects Lege’s growing extremism
News Story  April 5, 2018, by Mary Tuma
"...The rift isn't just a disagreement between two like-minded parties; rather it's emblematic of a wider division between the growing extremism of far-right Republicans in the state Legis­lat­ure and their comparatively moderate counterparts, and it was a battle on full display during the 2017 session. The intra-movement conflict reflects the power struggle that exploded between House Speaker Joe Straus, his supposed acolytes, and the ultra-right Freedom Caucus, a group hellbent on shifting the Legislature further right. A War Within the Movement..."

Big, Bright Eyes of Texas
Celebrating the life of the bigger-than-life Ann Richards
News Story  September 15, 2006, by Amy Smith
"...It’s no secret that the relationship between Richards and Bullock turned sour not long after Richards took office as governor in 1991. But McNeely, who has covered the Legislature for more than four decades and knew Richards for nearly that long, couldn’t pry that potential gem of a tale out of the grande dame of Texas storytellers...."

Bad Science Marches at the Legislature
Anti-vaxxers turn out for Public Health meeting, promise more action
DAILY News  March 6, 2015, by Richard Whittaker


Texas Death Penalty Sentencing Declines
A new report shows sentencing on the decline – but Texas is still No. 1 when it comes to killing
News Story  December 11, 2009, by Jordan Smith
"...Lon Burn­am, D-Fort Worth, told reporters at the Capitol on Monday. He said when he first came to the Legislature in 1997, he wasn't sure that the death penalty should be abolished – but years of watching its administration has changed his mind..."

Texas Lyceum: Stimulus Funds Debate Reverberates
How do you persuade Rick Perry to do the right thing?
News Story  April 10, 2009, by Richard Whittaker


Does Harry Potter Cause Sexual Violence? Only in Texas.
Defending a new nudity tax, the AG says topless bars cause sexual violence
News Story  December 28, 2007, by Richard Whittaker
"...The association's lawyers agreed that funding the state's sexual-abuse programs is a good cause. However, if that case had been made at the Capitol and the Legislature had duly funded the programs with general revenues, the cash would have been available in September, along with the rest of the state budget..."

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