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Postmarks
Our readers talk back.
Columns  May 13, 2005
"...Scott M. DaigleTexas Legislature: A Beacon of Light?Dear Editor,..."

Many Toll Questions for Harper
Postmarks  September 13, 2004
"...10 issue of the Chronicle [Postmarks], Texas Toll Party representative Jean Harper listed three column inches of questions related to the Austin toll plan. One question, especially, piqued my attention: "Are you aware that the reason for the tolls is that the state doesn’t have money for maintenance, so it’s spending Austin’s allotted money on statewide maintenance?" This question prompts some questions of my own. What is your source for this information? Why is the Austin district being so ignominiously singled out? Was the action of diverting Austin’s money approved by the Texas Transportation Commission? Was the transfer approved by the Legislative Budget Board? Did the Texas Legislature approve the transfer of Austin’s highway construction money? Did Gov..."

The Hightower Report
The Texas Lege comforts the comfortable and afflicts the afflicted; and Nevada proves to be a poor dumping ground.
News Column  May 16, 2003, by Jim Hightower
"...This week I have twin goobers for you -- and both are from the Capital of Gooberishness, the Texas Legislature. Like most states, Texas faces a dire budget deficit, falling nearly $10 billion short of the revenues needed just to cover existing spending, which already is inadequate to cover such essential public services as schools and children's health...."

Page Two
Our Top 10s give you another chance to laugh, and rail, at us; Republican dominance and a state budget crisis bode ill for government services, and for Austin; we bid a fond farewell to "Dancing About Architecture" and chart a new course, a bit.
Columns  January 3, 2003, by Louis Black
"...I don't know. Given that Terry Keel, who is part of this area's delegation, has already suggested the Legislature might step in if the city goes for two-way streets, this seems optimistic..."

Page Two
Saving what we can of Barton Springs -- most recently threatened by a proposed development deal between the city and Stratus Properties -- requires pragmatism and compromise.
Columns  July 19, 2002, by Louis Black
"...Given the U.S. Constitution, the courts, and the Legislature, realistically there isn't much that can be done to stop development..."

Naked City
Spicewood residents are protesting plans by Rainbow Materials to build a concrete batch plant in their small, semirural community.
News Story  March 16, 2001, by Dan Oko
"...The plant, where trucks are loaded with ready-mix concrete to take to nearby construction sites, has been the source of unwanted noise as well as dust that Wiseman suspects has poisoned neighborhood wells and has rendered her new $7,000 rainwater collection system unusable except for plants. With the Texas Legislature currently considering SB 546, which would streamline the process for permitting new plants and eliminate the opportunity for public comment before the plants are approved, Wiseman says the time has come to just say no...."

The Whole Truce
Gary Bradley ponders the significance of his proposed settlement agreement with the city of Austin.
News Story  February 25, 2000, by Robert Bryce
"...And there have been several colorful skirmishes, including spirited confrontations between Bradley and members of Earth First! over the southern extension of the MoPac expressway. It's difficult to say who had the upper hand during all the fights, but Bradley has clearly been effective at mobilizing his friends in the Texas Legislature..."

Budget Cuts, Name Changes at AISD
Union urges wait-and-see stance on funding at board meeting
News Story  December 20, 2018, by Austin Sanders
"...• "No major decisions" on the budget until after the 86th Texas Legislature concludes in May (or later if a special session is called);..."

Dawnna Dukes' Charges Dropped
13 felonies gone, two misdemeanors resolved
DAILY News  October 24, 2017, by Richard Whittaker
"...It’s a lousy outcome for all concerned. Dukes had become a political pariah within Democratic circles – not simply over the charges, but over what many perceive as her unwillingness or inability to do her job in the state legislature..."

AISD Weighs Tax Increase
District considers joining already crowded election ballot
News Story  June 29, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...The local balancing act is only half of AISD's deliberations; then there are the unfathomable machinations of the Texas Legislature. The current school finance system collapsed during the last session – leading to massive statewide cuts and layoffs – and now faces multiple legal challenges (see "School Lawsuits Multiply," Nov..."

CHIP Changes Kick In Sept. 1
The changes to the Children's Health Insurance Program that passed in the last legislative session go into effect Sept. 1.
DAILY News  August 16, 2007, by Michael May
"...Another change is that most families will be able to enroll in the program immediately instead of waiting 90 days for coverage. The changes are part of an effort by the Texas Legislature to expand CHIP, which covers children from families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicare, but too low to afford private insurance..."

Media Watch: The Incredible Disappearing Telecom Committee
Two years after Lege passed sweeping reorganization of competitive landscape for delivering telecommunication services to homes, community groups wonder what happened to committee that was supposed to monitor law's impact
News Column  May 18, 2007, by Kevin Brass
"...Two years after the Texas Legislature passed a sweeping reorganization of the competitive landscape for delivering telecommunication services to homes, community groups are wondering what happened to a much-anticipated committee that was supposed to monitor the law's impact...."

AISD Budget
District may have resources to reverse cuts if it can muster the courage to raise taxes
News Story  June 30, 2006, by Michael May
"...The salary increase is not simply due to AISD's generosity. The Legislature gave AISD $11 million so that every teacher could have a $2,000 raise..."

Naked City
Three high-profile contenders for an open seat on the Travis Co. bench
News Story  December 5, 2003, by Amy Smith
"...The March primary is still months away, but the race for the open 200th District Court seat has turned into a high-stakes match between three top Democratic contenders: Gisela Triana, an ambitious county court-at-law judge; John Hathaway, a longtime associate judge, and Jan Soifer, a popular lawyer who is already catching flak from detractors (and even some supporters) for her role in the 2001 redistricting that helped transform the Texas Legislature...."

Council Watch
Important Council actions in 1999 and what's on the agenda for 2000.
News Column  January 7, 2000, by Jenny Staff Johnson
"...It was a doozy of a challenge they undertook, but they did it (they being Save Our Springs Alliance, Real Estate Council of Austin, and the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce): The odd bedfellows proved they could reach significant common ground, the kind that has the potential to bring positive change to a long-deadlocked area of Austin's public life. Now if the Texas Legislature would only cooperate and accept their hard-won compromise...."

Austin's First Cannabis Oil Dispensary Is Ready to Grow
Compassionate Cultivation prepares to serve epilepsy patients
News Story  November 30, 2017, by Mary Tuma
"...But a new medicine was in the process of providing interim relief, so the family stayed put and hoped that one day deeply conservative Texas would see the light. Thankfully for Elliot and the estimated 150,000 Texans with intractable epilepsy, the Texas Legislature in 2015 passed the Compassionate Use Act, a law that legalizes the use of a strain of low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and high cannabidiol (CBD) medicinal cannabis for patients with epilepsy uncontrolled by pharmaceuticals who receive a recommendation from their physician..."

Point Austin: Return on Investment
Austin Energy rate cuts are both a financial and political dividend
News Column  September 1, 2016, by Michael King
"...It's no secret that Austin's publicly-owned utility operates in shadow of a skeptical Public Utility Commission and a hostile Texas Legislature, encouraging both suburban ratepayers and major industrial consumers to brandish those hammers when they're feeling pinched. With AE's finances having improved since the last rate case, Adler believes the backlash had potential consequences..."

An Undue Burden: Supremes Vindicate Pro-Choice Texans
Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt
News Story  June 30, 2016, by Mary Tuma
"...Rep. Lloyd Doggett and the Texas Legislature's Travis County delegation, packed Scholz Garten Monday afternoon to celebrate the historic U.S..."

They Shoot Movies, Don't They?
Heather Page on the state of the Texas Film Commission
Screens Story  April 21, 2016, by Richard Whittaker
"...However, those rival states have one big advantage: Their governors and legislatures made long-term commitments to ensure their incentives are stably funded. Take Georgia: The state's highly attractive and consistent program attracted blockbusters like Ant-Man and continuing tenants like The Walking Dead..."

School Finance on Trial
Hearing only expected to last a short two and a half hours
News Story  August 27, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...With a failure to account for inflation, that left a $5.4 billion hole. Successive legislatures have put some cash back (see timeline) but Equity Center executive director Wayne Pierce said, "You're talking five or six years, and they're not even where they were then."..."

Early Warning: The Lege is Coming!
Tribune Fest offers a taste of things to come
DAILY News  September 26, 2012, by Michael King
"...“Bienvenidos” is not exactly in Riddle’s vocabulary, and though she preemptively declared it “offensive” to call her “anti-immigrant” – she also made it clear that she considers “undocumented immigrant” and “criminals” to be synonymous terms. “Our first priority,” she said, “should be the safety and security of the people of Texas,” and reported that Houston is now “the command and control center of the Mexican drug cartels” and moreover, that “there are people in Libya who want us dead!” What either had to do with immigration issues at the Legislature was never precisely clear – but look for Riddle to sponsor legislation closing the Texas border with Libya. For a fuller taste of Riddle's rabid xenophobia, visit her Facebook page – utterly charming...."

Dr. Perry vs. Obamacare
Whatever Gov. Tough Guy says, Texas health care is about to get a federal upgrade
News Story  July 27, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...A quarter of the state's population is uninsured – and that group of roughly 6 million people does not include the percentage of those underinsured. Four million Texans currently depend on Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program, and both programs have seen their funding slashed under Perry and the Republican-dominated Legislature..."

Is That a Wrap for Incentives?
Amid economic woes and a race-baiting controversy, the future of TV, video game, and film funding in Texas looks shaky
Screens Story  January 28, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...When lawmakers first put money in the program in 2007, in-state production went up. When the Legislature improved the terms and added more cash in 2009, production went up again..."

Stingulus: Rick Perry and the $555 Million He Doesn't Want
Perry's stingy rejection of the stimulus money might backfire
News Story  March 20, 2009, by Lee Nichols
"...Rick Perry announced that he would reject the $555 million in federal stimulus money that Texas could have claimed for unemployment-insurance funds. Why? The policy reason is that the cash came with conditions – to claim the money, the Texas Legislature would have to broaden its definition of involuntary unemployment and accept more people into coverage..."

Abandoning the Nest
Hurt by the state's inadequate incentives program, Texas film crews take flight
Screens Story  May 23, 2008, by Joe O'Connell
"...Texas finally joined the incentives race in 2007, when the film industry banded together as the Texas Motion Picture Alliance and convinced the Legislature to approve a two-year program funded at $10 million a year, with an additional $2 million set aside for creation of a state film archive, crew training programs, and administrative costs. It came after a 2005 program that was approved without funding by the Legislature and offered a scant 5% rebate (the original bill asked for 20%) and included a befuddling, bemusing clause that precludes payment for films that "portray Texas or Texans in a negative fashion."..."

Vote for Proposition 11 and Open Government
Postmarks  October 19, 2007
"...Dear Editor, It is horrifying that you have encouraged Chronicle readers to vote against Proposition 11, which requires votes on legislation by our representatives and senators in the Texas Legislature to be recorded [“'Austin Chronicle' Endorsements,” News, Oct. 19]..."

Naked City
News Story  August 3, 2007
"...The news is cause for celebration among conservationists, who feared increasing demand from the aquifer's biggest customer, the San Antonio Water System, would place the aquifer in peril in the event of an extreme drought. Earlier this year, the state Legislature approved a water bill that massively raised pumping caps set by the legislation that formed the authority..."

Lege Lowdown
News Column  February 9, 2007
"..."I must consider carefully the costs and benefits of all proposed health-care legislation. I defend the constitutional role of the legislature in balancing budgetary priorities and available funding." – Jordan Smith, Amy Smith, Kimberley Reeves Read Perry's order at www.governor.state.tx.us/divisions/press/exorders/rp65. Perry: Lotto Dreams, More Cervix Talk Last month, Gov..."

'The Time to Speak Is Now'
Judge John Dietz on the Texas school finance system and closing the gaps
News Story  September 17, 2004, by Michael King
"...It says: "The people of Texas have themselves set the standards for their schools. The court's responsibility is to decide whether that standard has been satisfied, not to judge the wisdom of the policy choices of the Legislature, or to impose a different policy of our choosing..."

The Class of 1985
The 69th Legislature, 1985, marked a turning point in the future of Texas politics
News Story  February 27, 2004, by Lucius Lomax
"..."I think that in the Senate," Laney says, the members "already know what's going to happen because they've decided in conference, and then they come out in public and vote." In the House it's impossible to touch base like that with every rep on every issue, Laney says. Although it was much less true in last year's GOP-heavy 78th Legislature, there's still an opportunity to sway votes through debate, Laney says, through what was once called "speechifying" – in order to survive, a member must learn the value of public persuasion..."

Postmarks
Our readers talk back.
Columns  August 1, 2003
"...Thank you for your piece on the pending corporate asbestos bailout bill currently pending before the Texas Legislature ["Capitol Chronicle," July 25]. My firm has been zealously representing victims poisoned by corporate neglect for many years now..."

The House Adjourns to Oklahoma
The House Dems may be losing the legislative wars, but they're finally winning the PR battle.
News Column  May 16, 2003, by Michael King
"...But for the moment, the House Democrats find themselves in the unlikely position of holding the high ground -- from Oklahoma, no less -- and defying those carpet-bagging Washington, D.C., politicians determined to bully their way into the sacred precincts of the Texas Legislature. Meanwhile, House Republicans are receiving "hall passes" from Tom Craddick to take private tours of the Bullock Texas History Museum..."

A Shifting Landscape
Texas Parks & Wildlife at an organizational crossroads
News Story  February 8, 2002, by Dan Oko
"...Sansom began his tenure overseeing land acquisition, and ascended to the directorship in 1990. For more than a decade, until January 1 of this year, he alternately cajoled and confronted powerful landowners who often view the Legislature as no more than a tool to protect their property rights, and the agency as an annoying obstruction in that process..."

Looking for Tony
Democrats are settling on Tony Sanchez as their next gubernatorial candidate before anyone has an idea who he is.
News Story  December 8, 2000, by Amy Smith
"...To some political observers, this recalls the position George W. Bush took during the last Legislative session, when the governor refused to talk about his presidential candidacy until the Legislature had adjourned -- because, he said, his responsibility was to the people of the state of Texas..."

The Greening of George W. Bush
An industry pollution control program started backed by Gov. George W. Bush has cleaned less than 3% of the industrial toxic emissions it aimed to clean up.
News Story  October 27, 2000, by Louis Dubose
"...Considering the origins of the governor's voluntary emission law, a 3% reduction might be considered substantial.Let's Volunteer Yet before the Legislature set out to address the problem, there was a voluntary program operated under the auspices of Gov. Bush's office..."

Naked City
Off the Desk:
News Story  December 31, 1998
"...The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles won a major battle Monday against a group of lawyers' demanding it open its clemency proceedings to public scrutiny, but the reprieve may prove temporary as a bill designed to end the secretive process moves forward in the Texas Legislature...."

Making Hay Out of Gay
News Story  October 30, 1998
"...Maxey, however, considers his legislative work on behalf of gays and lesbians an important part of his job. "I'm sorry, but I'm the only openly gay person up there [in the Legislature] in a right-wing, homophobic state," he says..."

What a Dump
What Does Gov. Bush Have Buried in West Texas?
News Story  March 13, 1998, by Nate Blakeslee
"..."It has always been our position that Texas could build a dump for itself and have it remain a stand-alone facility," says Sam Goodhope of the AG's office. In any event, the "protection" offered by the compact is less than reassuring: Not only can other states be added to the compact in the future, but the agreement sets up a governor-appointed commission that can contract with any generator, anywhere, anytime, to take waste from non-party states, without congressional or state legislature approval...."

Chasing Gary
To Annex or Not to Annex
News Story  September 19, 1997, by Robert Bryce
"...Circle C residents pay the remainder, through a surcharge on their water and wastewater bills. According to sources close to the situation, the city had already been considering annexing two of the four Circle C MUDs before the Legislature passed HB 3193, the law that McCown found unconstitutional last month...."

day trips
Columns  May 30, 1997, by Gerald E. McLeod
"...The state of Texas now has an official state dinosaur. Add that to the list of other official state symbols such as the state flower (bluebonnet), tree (pecan), food (chili), sport (rodeo), and a dozen or so other things that the state legislature has chosen to represent Texas...."

Lone Justice
To Protect Resources, Judge Bunton Defies Politicians
News Story  September 13, 1996, by Robert Bryce
"...And in July, he spoke at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos about the water situation in Texas. He said the Texas Legislature needs to re-examine water rights in the state..."

Public Notice: Happy New Year?
Hoping for new starts at each level of government
News Column  January 3, 2019, by Nick Barbaro
"...Lots of political new beginnings this week and next: The new Congress gets sworn in today in D.C., the new Texas Legislature takes over Tuesday, and the new City Coun­­cil is seated Monday – with significant shifts in the power blocs at all three levels...."

What Follows Five Years of Failure at Mendez Middle School?
Making the grade
News Story  August 30, 2018, by Austin Sanders
"...More expected was the mark for Mendez Middle School, which received its fifth consecutive failing grade. Usually that brings sanction by the state – which used to close those schools down, or take control of them from the district – but a new law passed by the Texas Legislature last year now allows districts to partner with charter schools to improve a campus' performance..."

Sheriff Sally Hernandez Continues to Do "What’s Right"
Besieged by the state GOP, Hernandez shows no sign of backing down from her immigration policies
News Story  July 6, 2017, by Mary Tuma
"..."This is not a pronouncement of sound public policy; it is a dangerous game of political Russian roulette – with the lives of Texans at stake," the governor wrote in a January letter to Hernandez. "I will be working with the Texas Legislature to do more to protect our citizens from misguided and dangerous sanctuary policies like yours..."

“Cruel” Anti-Abortion SB 8 Sent to Gov’s Desk to Become Law
Expect a court challenge over "unconstitutional" bill
DAILY News  May 26, 2017, by Mary Tuma
"...The Senate approved the House’s even harsher version of the bill by a 22-9 vote, moving it to Abbott’s desk to become law. Both Sens. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, and Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso, pointed out the inevitable prior to the final vote – that the multi-part anti-choice bill will end up in litigation, sharing the same fate as virtually every abortion restriction passed by the Texas Legislature in recent history..."

Whole Woman’s Health Reopens
Reproductive health provider sees 40 patients on first days back in business
News Story  May 18, 2017, by Mary Tuma
"...After more than a decade as a reproductive health provider offering services to 60,000 patients from its flagship clinic on I-35 and Highway 183, Whole Woman's Health ceased operations in July 2014. Like half of the state's abortion clinics, WWH shuttered due to the state Legislature's draconian 2013 anti-choice package law, House Bill 2...."

SXSW Panel: Women’s Representation: Five Steps to Win Gender Parity
Wendy Davis on Clinton's loss and the prospect of future gains
DAILY SXSW  March 11, 2017, by Mary Tuma
"...Texas isn’t much better, ranking 42 out of 50 in gender parity (down from sixth in 1993) nationally. Since hitting a peak in 2009-10, the proportion of women in the Texas Legislature has steadily declined..."

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..."

Study: Less Contraception, More Medicaid Births After Planned Parenthood Ban
Where contraception access is strained, Medicaid births rise
DAILY News  February 3, 2016, by Mary Tuma
"...Seventh Street, participated in the WHP. “It was really one of those rare public health success stories … Governor Perry and his allies at the Texas Legislature dismantled the entire program to meet political goals and the women lost access to healthcare screenings and exams as a result." Data following the removal of Planned Parenthood shows the new, Texas-run program is serving significantly fewer clients...."

Lege Lines: School Finance Math; Tax Plans Diverge; Veteran Benefits Restricted; and More
Is school finance dead this session?; House and Senate tax plans split; Lege restricts veterans' benefits; and more
News Story  May 14, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...However, Sen. José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, said that if the Legislature is serious about its economic future, "the solution should be to increase funding to public universities." Mandatory Gun Shows..."

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