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Big City Blues
Although it has three of the 10 largest cities in the United States, Texas is still largely a state of home-rule cities. A brief look at the prospects for a real urban policy in Texas.
News Story  January 12, 2001, by Mike Clark-Madison
"...It was, after all, Austin's rapid growth that scared us locals into passing ordinances to limit development over the aquifer. And we've all seen, over the past decade of Austin-bashing, what the Legislature thinks about that particular use of our home-rule powers...."

Capitol Chronicle
Always count on the Texas Legislature to remember: The gold rules
News Column  May 9, 2003, by Michael King
"...That would explain why, in these very difficult times, the governor and Legislature have needed to devote so much precious time and energy to helping the truly helpless: insurance companies, housing manufacturers, pharmaceutical giants, HMOs, hospital and nursing home chains, and other destitute corporate persons whom tort reform will save from the poorhouse. That would also explain why the governor declared the rising cost of homeowners insurance an official state emergency, while the inability of more than a million Texas children to acquire health insurance is not even an inconvenience..."

Sex and the Senate
What will it take to curb sexual harassment at the Texas State Capitol?
News Story  January 24, 2019, by Mary Tuma
"...Not more than two days into the 86th Texas Legislature, the 150-member House of Representatives approved a new, stronger reporting process to secure justice for victims of sexual harassment at the Capitol. The unprecedented (at least in recent history) move comes in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which ousted abusive male figures from their perches in politics, journalism, and Hollywood..."

If It's Broke, Don't Fix It
Texas school finance system ruled constitutional
News Story  May 19, 2016, by Richard Whittaker
"...The court's opinion, authored by Justice Don Willett and handed down (with seemingly no irony) on Friday the 13th, found that the system hit the bare minimum required by the Texas Constitution, and so the court could not order the Legislature to improve it. However, while the court did not instruct lawmakers to act in the 2017 session, Willett called the current system flawed and "increasingly Daedalean," adding that students "deserve transformational, top-to-bottom reforms that amount to more than Band-Aid on top of Band-Aid..."

Another 'Special Session'
Political series returns to PBS in February.
DAILY News  January 24, 2007, by Wells Dunbar
"...It would work wonders for the pledge drive.) Anywho, each week Special Session devotes its half-hour to a new issue, with Stekler and his creekbed-dry wit querying his quests. According to the SS episode guide, upcoming shows touch on the new legislature, John Sharp, Ann Richards, and social services, like CHIP..."

The Last Don
Bob Bullock: The Crusty Boss of Texas Politics
News Story  January 31, 1997, by Robert Bryce
"...And while Bullock and his supporters will take issue with the mobster analogy, in this era he has become -- choose whatever metaphor you like -- the patrón, the godfather, the boss, of Texas politics. Anyone who wants to get something through the Texas Legislature must deal with Bob Bullock...."

Fallout From the Lege's War on Reproductive Rights
Texas waits on the full impact of legislative cuts
News Story  June 22, 2017, by Mary Tuma
"...When the Legislature called sine die in late May, Texas' reproductive health providers – still grappling with the effects of years of decimated family planning access – had only a few days to gauge the damage inflicted by the 85th regular session before Gov. Greg Abbott called a special session rife with the anti-abortion restrictions that didn't muster enough support to pass the first go-round..."

Wild, Wild Wildlife
Texas Parks & Wildlife's Andy Sansom
News Story  May 9, 1997, by Robert Bryce
"...Since 1990, when he became the executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), Sansom has overseen a turbulent period. The Texas Legislature targeted Sansom's agency in 1995 in an effort to restrict the access his biologists have to private land for scientific study..."

Thirty Years on Location
An overview of the Texas Film Commission, which has been wedding film production and the state economy for 30 years.
Screens Story  June 15, 2001, by Marc Savlov
"..."Bill Parsley was a friend of mine from the Texas Legislature back in those days," recalls Hall, "and he came by my office one day with a clipping about what they'd done in New Mexico. I looked at him, he looked at me, and we both said 'Why can't we do this?'"..."

Going Public
A new Sunset Commission report recommends opening Texas' public lands to use by the public as parkland.
News Story  May 19, 2000, by Robert Bryce
"...Second, a plan will have to be developed for managing access and providing a police presence on the land. Third, the Texas Legislature will have to appropriate money to start and sustain the project..."

Point Austin: The Definition of Insanity
Waiting for the Legislature to finally do its duty on school finance
News Column  January 17, 2019, by Michael King
"...Fresh from reviewing the News staff's upbeat interviews with the incoming Central Texas legislative delegation – Democrats all – I began the year ready to believe that the 86th Legislature was indeed going to be different. Reactionaries would retreat, open misogyny would return to the shadows, racism would be kept at arm's length, and the Capitol might actually accomplish some progress on school funding, health care, transportation ......"

SOS Files for Bankruptcy
The stalwart defenders of Barton Springs reorganize in face of court loss.
DAILY News  April 10, 2007, by Wells Dunbar
"...The Texas Supreme Court let stand a lower court’s ruling requiring the Alliance to pay $294,000 in attorney fees to the Lazy Nine Municipal Utility District (“MUD”), a special government district created by the Texas Legislature at the request of Austin developers Bill Gunn and Ed Horne (of Wilshire Homes) and their partner, Forest City Properties of Cleveland, Ohio. In 2004, the developers began seeking approvals for a massive development in the Hill Country west of Austin..."

Point Austin: Tools for Lege Watching
Considering Texas' future – a few things to keep in mind
News Column  December 14, 2012, by Michael King
"...Elsewhere in this issue ("Will Texas Do Better?"), we take another look at the prospects of the upcoming 83rd Legislature, largely through the perspective of the prefiled bills. We don't claim to be exhaustive: Several hundred bills are already filed, and several thousand will hit the committees in the next couple of months, most of them destined never to reach the floor..."

What's the Damage?
The news staff takes a look at the fallout from the 84th legislative session
News Story  June 4, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...The 84th Legislature formally ended on June 1, but had sine die been called a month ago, there would have been few tears. It started in a calmer fashion..."

All but Illegal
As the final provisions of HB 2 loom, Texas abortion clinics brace for closure
News Story  July 24, 2014, by Mary Tuma
"..."Texas abortion provision is not an investment that people are interested in at this point in time," says Miller. "It's seen as a dicey, high-risk move – every time the Legislature meets, a new barrier is passed..."

The Return of the Lege
State’s 85th Legislature already a battle of House and Senate
News Story  January 5, 2017, by Richard Whittaker
"...The 85th Texas Legislature is imminent, but don't expect a simple fight between Democrats and Republicans. In a re-run of 2015, the bitterest disputes look set to be between House and Senate. [inset-1-right]..."

Riding the Pinwheel
The GOP redraws the map of Texas – brazenly sidestepping most of the state's newest voters
News Story  August 26, 2011, by Lee Nichols
"...Outside a committee hearing room during the 82nd Texas Legislature, I ran into Austin political consultant (and staunch Democrat) Alfred Stanley. He was waiting to testify against a really bad state Senate redistricting map that would unnecessarily carve up Travis County four ways...."

Neighborly Concern
As the Texas film industry tries to keep up with New Mexico's and Louisiana's, the Lege approves an incentive program tall on talk but short on funding sources
Screens Story  June 3, 2005, by Joe O'Connell
"...It's a case of good news and bad news for a Texas film industry seeking to at least slightly level the playing field with Louisiana and New Mexico. The Legislature approved a one-time $20 million film incentive program for the next two years, but missing from the bill is an actual funding source for the incentive plan, which also includes – at least on paper – another $10 million in tourism dollars..."

Why Is Doil Lane Still on Death Row?
Despite a Supreme Court ban on the execution of the mentally retarded, those prisoners remain on Texas' death row.
News Story  October 17, 2003, by Rita Radostitz
"...Eventually the state of Kansas stepped in, removed him from his home and sent him to the Brown School in San Marcos, a residential treatment center for children with developmental disabilities. Testing from his time at the Brown School, and later for his appeals, shows that his intellectual functioning is significantly impaired, that his full scale IQ is 65-67 -- among the lowest 1% of the population -- and that his mental and emotional development is that of an 8- to 10-year-old child.Slow Wheels Turning In 2001, the Texas Legislature passed a bill that would have banned the execution of the mentally retarded..."

Point Austin: Shoot First
Boys and their toys, at the Legislature and elsewhere
News Column  June 1, 2017, by Michael King
"...The dust – or should we say the gunpowder? – has hardly settled on the 85th Texas Legislature, and by the time you read this, Gov. Greg Abbott will likely have announced a Very Special Session, since we apparently haven't done enough to purify public bathrooms of the suspicion of lurking transgenderism..."

Texans Protest Film Incentive Cut
Change.org petition demands special session to save program
DAILY News  May 29, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...Whether it's settling the budget, education, or abortion rights, they've become commonplace. But as the Texas Legislature slashes film incentives, there's a call for Gov..."

House to Bridge the Road Funding Gap
Lower chamber meeting at 2pm today for third special session
DAILY News  August 5, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...Day seven of the third special session of the 83rd Texas Legislature, and the House will meet today for another attempt to provide $1 billion a year extra for road construction and maintenance. The big question now: Can the House and Senate reach an agreement on how this affects the Rainy Day Fund?..."

State Budget Estimate Up, But Much Already Spent
Texas prepares for second half of grand bait and switch
DAILY News  January 7, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...As the Texas Legislature prepares to reconvene tomorrow, there's some good budget news from Comptroller Susan Combs with a healthier-than-expected budget revenue estimate...."

Balancing the Books After Years of Neglecting Schools
The Texas Legislature wants to fix school finance, but how?
News Story  April 6, 2017, by Richard Whittaker
"...For Education Austin's Zarifis, those federal cuts are as worrying as whatever damage the Legislature may wreak, because those federal dollars are so targeted. "We're running on such a slim budget," he said..."

Just Say No!
Rick Perry's approach to sex education has helped Texas boost its teen pregnancy rate
News Story  October 28, 2011, by Jordan Smith
"...Conservative lawmakers and advocates wholeheartedly agree. Although a host of bills have been filed during recent sessions that would require sex education to be comprehensive and medically accurate, those measures have been repeatedly rejected by the Republican-dominated Legislature, often without even a committee hearing..."

The Name of the Game
Raising deer, oryx, antelope, and more on central texas ranches
Food Story  June 7, 2002, by MM Pack
"...It wasn't until the early Eighties that Texans began raising these same exotic deer and antelope as commercial sources of meat. Inspired by New Zealand's success, and looking for creative and minimally disruptive ways to utilize the land, ranchers persuaded the Legislature to amend existing game laws, clarifying that exotics are private property like livestock, unlike the native white-tailed and mule deer that are publicly owned..."

Austin at Large: Put on Your Shrinking Caps
So why – let alone how – do we "need" to "reform" Texas property taxes?
News Column  February 7, 2019, by Mike Clark-Madison
"...Or are they? Two years ago, a Legislature with more Republicans than it has now was unable to adopt a higher cap than is proposed now, one that will now apply to politically popular school districts as well as less favored cities and counties. Aside from wishes and promises, details have yet to emerge on how the state will make those schools whole; nobody's even pretending to make whole the cities, counties, college and health districts, and other authorities who would be on a glide path toward fiscal crisis if HB 2 works as promised..."

Dems Call for Health Care for All Texans
State Rep. Gina Hinojosa pledges to carry comprehensive health care bill to the 86th Texas Lege
News Story  December 6, 2018, by Michael King
"...Austin state Rep. Gina Hinojosa said she would carry the bill in the upcoming 86th Texas Legislature...."

Doggett: GOP Still Hunting Me
Austin congressman warns of plan to split Travis four ways
DAILY News  April 18, 2011, by Lee Nichols
"...House majority leader and Travis’ other two Congressmen. The latter two, he said, “have offered to the Texas Legislature a map last week that divides Travis County not in three ways but in four ways.”..."

Gov. Perry: Special Session Begins July 1
Lege to consider sunset, TxDOT bonds, and TxDOT authority
DAILY News  June 25, 2009, by Lee Nichols
"...AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today announced that a special session of the Texas Legislature will begin on Wednesday, July 1, at 10 a.m...."

How to Lose a Safe Seat
Dems point fingers after embarrassing defeat in HD 118
DAILY News  January 30, 2016, by Richard Whittaker
"...Struggling to slap a cheery face on this debacle, Texas Democratic Party Deputy Executive Director Manny Garcia wrote, "The newly elected Republican state representative of San Antonio will never take a vote in the legislature. Early voting for the Democratic primary starts in just 20 days, and we fully expect HD 118 to be a Democratic seat during the 85th Texas Legislature in 2017."..."

"Donald Moffett" at the Blanton
The Blanton exhibition marks a shift not only toward artists from Texas but also toward more political art
Arts Review  November 19, 2015, by Caitlin Greenwood
"...In What Barbara Jordan Wore, to be displayed on December 5th, Moffett explores the life and legacy of the famed Texas politician. In his series of digital prints of the Texas Legislature in the late Sixties, Moffett offers a subtle nod to the fraught racial tides within Lone Star politics while simultaneously lauding Jordan for her public works..."

After the Election, the Deluge of Bills
More than 400 new pieces of legislation already filed for 2015
DAILY News  November 11, 2014, by Richard Whittaker
"...244 measures from the House. The 84th session of the Texas Legislature may not kick off until Jan..."

Laubenberg the Low-Spender
Empower Texans release Fiscal Responsibility Index to put percentages on conservatism
DAILY News  June 10, 2009, by Richard Whittaker
"...Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, and Kirk Watson, D-Austin, as well as Reps. Elliott Naishtat and Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, for being judged amongst the least conservative-pandering members of the Texas Legislature..."

Millions for Propaganda ... Nothing for Women's Health
Texas heavily underwrites anti-abortion centers, while slashing reproductive care
News Story  April 16, 2015, by Mary Tuma


Money for Nothing
The Texas record on "enterprise funds" is even worse than meets the eye
News Story  October 30, 2014, by Richard Whittaker


What Now? What Next?
With clinics already closing, Texas' extreme abortion restrictions head to the courts
News Story  July 26, 2013, by Jordan Smith


Environmental Cage Match
After a history of pulling its punches, is EPA finally forcing TCEQ to clean up the Texas air?
News Story  May 28, 2010, by Katherine Gregor
"...TCEQ is charged with permitting and enforcement for the EPA, to regulate the pollutants not only in Texas air but also in water and land; it has a duty to enforce both state and federal laws, including the federal Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. But since the Texas Legislature created a new industry-friendly state air permitting system in 1994-95, the agency has abetted Texas pollution-source operators and owners in violating federal law by issuing permits for emissions that do not conform to the Clean Air Act..."

Point Austin: How to Suppress the Vote
With its latest lies, Texas GOP reminds us: This is all they’ve got
News Column  January 31, 2019, by Michael King


Lawsuits Challenge Pro-Israel Loyalty Oaths
Pflugerville speech therapist challenges anti-boycott requirement in Texas law
News Story  December 20, 2018, by Mary Tuma
"...Somewhat under the radar, the Texas Legislature passed in 2017, with broad bipartisan support, House Bill 89 by Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, which prohibits all government entities from contracting with any entity that boycotts Israel, and corresponding language has now begun to appear in public-sector contracts..."

Point Austin: The Art of the Possible
A few thoughts on Texas Democratic prospects
News Column  May 31, 2018, by Michael King
"...Before we can hope for a "progressive" Texas Legislature and Congressional delegation, we had better continue to work toward a state politics that at least allows for opposition voices at the table. Right now in Texas, that's a pipe dream – meaning basic state services like public education, health care, transportation, etc., will continue to be held hostage by symbolic but real political cruelties like bathroom bills and even tighter restrictions on abortion..."

Providers Caution Clinics Won't Reopen Soon
Abortion landscape in Texas will take "years" to rebuild post-HB 2
DAILY News  June 27, 2016, by Mary Tuma
"..."We are going to work to make sure that anything comes before us will be defeated by courts, if not by us in the Texas Legislature,” she said...."

Greg Abbott, Founding Father
Texas governor wants to rewrite U.S. Constitution
DAILY News  January 11, 2016, by Richard Whittaker
"...There are three barriers for Abbott to pass before this convention can even happen. One, he has to get the Texas Legislature to approve his call in the next session..."

News Roundup: Storms, Season's Greetings, and Open Carry
Reminder: Open carry law takes effect Jan. 1
DAILY News  December 29, 2015, by the News Staff
"...Because, apparently, being able to carry rifles and shotguns on the street, and a concealed handgun, isn't security enough for them. Many law enforcement officials have been critical of the new open carry law passed by the Texas Legislature last Spring, and the difficulty it presents for officers in working out who is and isn't carrying a gun legally..."

Next Stop for HB 2 – The Supreme Court?
Legal experts eye Texas law as the most likely abortion case to make it to the high court
News Story  June 25, 2015, by Mary Tuma


Anti-Sharia Bill Dead, but Sentiment Alive
HB 562 unlikely to make it out of the House, but the Islamophobia behind it is here to stay
News Story  May 21, 2015, by Dina Samir Shehata
"...The 84th session of the Texas Legislature, which wraps up at the end of this month, has not lacked for anti-Muslim sentiment. Anti-Sharia law House Bill 562, filed by Rep..."

Top 10 State Stories
The 10 stories that defined politics in Texas in 2014
News Story  December 31, 2014, by Richard Whittaker


sxswf: Even More 'Incendiary'
More from our Q&A with filmmakers Steve Mims and Joe Bailey Jr.
DAILY SXSW  March 10, 2011, by Jordan Smith
"...AC: I wanted to ask you…I don't know if you know this, but this morning [Feb. 28] the [Texas Legislature's] Senate Nominations Committee took up the nomination of John Bradley to be on the [Forensic Science Commission] panel [which is currently reviewing the arson science used to convict Willingham] – because he was, in an interim situation, appointed, so the Senate has never confirmed him..."

Brewers Lobby at the Capitol
Beermakers hopeful that deal has been worked out with distributors
DAILY News  February 23, 2011, by Lee Nichols
"...Such bills have failed the past two sessions. (The Texas Legislature meets every other year.) Blocker says he has a bill ready to go, but needs a legislator to sign on as an author...."

Strippers to the Supremes
Texas Supreme Court gets into major First Amendment case
DAILY News  March 26, 2010, by Richard Whittaker
"...The Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1751 in 2007 as a way to pay for sexual assault recovery services and the now-defunct Texas health opportunity pool. Its clear First Amendment violations have been pointed out in the lower courts, and the state has tried to unsuccessfully defend it..."

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