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Will Texas Do Better?
Lege preview Part II – the wonders and the horrors
News Story  December 14, 2012, by Michael King
"...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..."

Court: Texas House Districts Unlawful, Unconstitutional
Panel of judges rules 2-1 against drawing of 2011 maps
DAILY News  April 20, 2017, by Richard Whittaker
"...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...."

Texas Lawmaker Wants to Make Abortion Completely Illegal
NARAL Pro-Choice says bill "most extreme" abortion measure at the Lege
DAILY News  January 12, 2017, by Mary Tuma
"...“Rep. Tinderholt would tell you Texans can decide, and the Legislature can decide if every human should be protected..."

The Common Law: Strange Brew – Interesting New Texas Laws
New Texas laws affect eating, drinking, weapons, and tanning
Columns  October 4, 2013, by Luke Ellis
"...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...."

Laws of Texas Inaccessible
Postmarks  October 1, 2003
"...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..."

Texas Lege: The Shape of Things to Come
Wentworth predicts redistricting disaster
News Story  January 15, 2010, by Richard Whittaker
"...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..."

The Destruction of Texas Health Care
The GOP crusade against Planned Parenthood is devastating basic care for Texas women
News Story  February 3, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...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."..."

People of Texas Need To Be Aware of Judge Keller
Postmarks  July 20, 2010
"...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..."

New Pollution Rules for Coal-Crazed Texas
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality takes up two federal EPA air quality measures to hopefully reduce mercury and carbon dioxide pollution
News Story  March 10, 2006, by Daniel Mottola
"...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..."

Funeralgate Hits Texas
What Did Bush Know?
News Story  July 8, 1999, by Robert Bryce
"...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..."

Supreme Court to Hear Texas Abortion Case This Week
HB 2 oral arguments start Wednesday
DAILY News  March 1, 2016, by Mary Tuma
"...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..."

Council Takes a Stand Against Texas Abortion Law
Resolution to repeal HB 2 unanimously passes Council
DAILY News  September 25, 2014, by Mary Tuma
"...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...."

Court Rules Texas School Finance Unconstitutional
Dietz says current system fails students, must be rebuilt
DAILY News  August 28, 2014, by Richard Whittaker
"...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."..."

MPP: Ready to Roll on Pot in Texas
The Marijuana Policy Project is rolling out a Texas legalization campaign
News Story  February 28, 2014, by Jordan Smith


Texas Budget Ping-Pong Begins
Chambers now start carving away at each other's proposals
DAILY News  March 24, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...Budget rubber met the spending road this week at the House of Representatives got its hands on Senate Bill 1, the Senate's draft budget for the next biennium. In the proposals out of both chambers, Texans saw what they expected: A legislature that has seemingly never heard of inflation, and forgot about its 2011 cuts...."

Will Texas Do Better?
As the 83rd Legislature slouches toward Austin, hope dances a two-step with apprehension
News Story  December 7, 2012, by Michael King


Back by Popular Demand: Save Texas Schools
Public schools march and rally set for March 24
News Story  March 23, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...Ultimately, the plan is to build what Weeks called "a pro-education, pro-public schools Legislature." Last year, it was all about lobbying sitting lawmakers. This year, the group's energy is going into the elections..."

House Calls for Statewide Broadcasts of Legislature
Letter signed by 97 members goes out to cable companies
DAILY News  February 2, 2009, by Lee Nichols
"...Earlier today, a bi-partisan group of 97 House members, led by State Representative Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio), sent a letter to Texas cable and satellite providers asking them to cooperate with the legislature to televise the Texas legislative sessions across the state...."

Fiddling While Texas Burns
The fight over "tort-reform" is masking a bigger battle over state priorities.
News Column  March 28, 2003, by Michael King
"...During the long and bitter debate, there has been plenty of hypocrisy to go around, but let us not deny Rep. Wilson his latest moment in the sun.When Elephants Battle -- Under current world circumstances, it's understandable if regular Chronicle readers have lost pretty much all interest in the proceedings of the Texas Legislature..."

Save Texas Schools Gets Back in the Game
Protesters call foul on education funding
DAILY News  March 24, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...And we get back to that huddle and they say, 'You've got to complete your passes, teacher.' We're aware of that. You've got to make your blocks, Legislature..."

How to Get the Legislature to Work
Postmarks  July 25, 2005
"...Editor: The aging process could be slowed down if it had to work its way through the Texas Legislature. School finance should be the only thing the latest special session finishes..."

Lege Lines: Texas GOP Tees up More Voter ID Nonsense
Secretary of State issues election advisory, ignites right-wing voter fraud frenzy
News Story  January 31, 2019, by Mary Tuma


Sounding the Alarm on Texas' Nursing Home System
25% of the state's 1,200 long-term care centers have been cited for serious standard deficiencies
News Story  October 19, 2017, by Nina Hernandez and Annamarya Scaccia
"...It seems the Texas Legislature has finally listened. In June, a bipartisan coalition of state lawmakers passed House Bill 2025, in an effort to crack down on offending nursing homes that routinely dodge punishment..."

Cowboys vs. Hippies: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Subtext
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre reflects Austin's culture in 1974
Screens Story  October 2, 2014, by Richard Whittaker
"...All that bitterness and fear is present in the film, but it still had its supporters. (Side story: In 2007, when the Texas Legislature started funding the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentives Program, they added a clause to the rules saying that a film could be denied funds for making Texas look bad..."

Lone Star Literature: A Texas Anthology
Lone Star Literature: A Texas Anthology
Books Review  February 24, 2006, by R.U. Steinberg
"...Looking for a little commentary on Texas politics? There's O. Henry's "Art and the Bronco" about a cowboy artist dealing with the Texas Legislature of the 1890s..."

The Future May Finally Be Brightening for Texas Film Incentives
The sequel to film rebates?
Screens Story  January 3, 2019, by Richard Whittaker
"...The national scene for film, TV, and gaming incentives is undoubtedly in flux. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 31 states offer incentives, down from 44..."

Providers Fight Another Texas Abortion Ban
Health risks and pain for patients
News Story  November 9, 2017, by Mary Tuma
"...However, Senate Bill 8, a package anti-abortion law passed by the Texas Legislature this session, includes a ban on D&E and imposes criminal penalties in the form of a state jail felony (punishable by a minimum of 180 days, and up to two years in jail, and a fine of up to $10,000) for doctors who violate the provision, with the exception of vaguely defined "medical emergencies." Rath­er than needlessly over-regulating clinics, as with HB 2, the new ban takes a different tack, one born from the National Right to Life Committee: attacking abortion methods outright by arguing that a safe medical procedure is "inhumane" to a "live" being – the fetus. The ban forces doctors to jeopardize patient health and safety by violating their standard of care, all in the name of ideological and politicized state law. [inset-1]..."

Texas' Marijuana Policy May Be Progressing Quicker Than Expected
Texas' marijuana policy may be progressing quicker than anyone realizes
News Story  May 11, 2017, by Braden Maccke
"...As a nationwide trend of ballot initiatives calling for an end to marijuana prohibition for both recreational and medical users took hold in 2015, the Texas Legislature began work on Senate Bill 339, which would eventually become the Texas Com­pas­sionate Use Act. The state law, effective June 2015, allows for the use of cannabidiol (CBD) only by intractable epileptics who've had the drug prescribed by their own doctors..."

Texas Maternal Mortality Rate Soars
Local health department examining deaths: Is the Lege to blame?
News Story  September 8, 2016, by Mary Tuma
"...So what's going on? The obvious culprit for the startling death rate is the Texas Legislature's deep and politically motivated slashes to family planning in 2011, which led to the closure or reduction in services of more than 80 health clinics. There's also the sustained destruction of the women's health care safety net, which includes the removal of providers like Planned Parenthood from Medicaid programs that offered exams and basic preventative care like screenings for diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer..."

Texas School Funding
Still unconstitutional
News Story  September 4, 2014, by Richard Whittaker


Planned Parenthood Out, But Docs Can Still Discuss Abortion in New Texas Women's Health Program
HHSC relaxes abortion gag rule
DAILY News  October 19, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...If the ban on Planned Parenthood "goes away, that really subverts the intent of the law," he said. And, "the Legislature's going to have to work it out." What would women do if the TWHP goes away altogether? "That would be a question, bluntly, of what did they do before we had the waiver to begin with," he said...."

Perry Rejects Health Care for Texas
Governor throws away $13 billion in funds
DAILY News  July 9, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...But expect some quick Perry packpedalling on this: After all, the legislature was looking forward to getting its hands on this issue next session...."

Strama and the Mystery of the Texas Score Contradictions
State rep puzzled by how students do well and badly at the same time
DAILY News  June 18, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...The Texas talent pool is already worryingly shallow. Strama has been one of the legislature's forward-thinkers on the tech sector (the dumbest move Speaker Joe Straus ever pulled was dissolving Strama's Technology, Economic Development & Workforce Committee), and he's been hearing worrying rumblings..."

Four New Congressional Seats for Texas
Democrats demand better representation for minorities
DAILY News  December 21, 2010, by Lee Nichols
"...“I look forward to working with the Legislature in the process of drawing these new seats into our state’s district map and ensuring that Texas remains a leader in job creation and a land of opportunity for those willing to come here and risk their capital,” Perry added...."

Dickensian Texas
Budget boss warns ending Medicaid means patients on the street
DAILY News  November 24, 2010, by Richard Whittaker
"...A crowd member then asked Pitts what that would mean for a friend of his suffering from a brain tumor and receiving support from Medicaid. Pitts responded: I'm going to tell you that we're looking into getting out of Medicaid, not have Medicaid program in the state of Texas." The crowd member asked Pitts a very simple question: What will his friend with cancer do? Pitts' answer was blunt and to the point. The legislature's gonna have to determine who will be eligible for certain things..."

Texas Supremes Ponder 'Pole Tax'
Debate over stripper surcharge goes to state's highest court
News Story  April 2, 2010, by Richard Whittaker
"...Alternatively nicknamed the "pole tax" and the "titty tax," the $5-per-customer fee on live nude entertainment at venues allowing alcohol consumption was passed by the Texas Legislature in 2007. Since then, Texas Entertainment Association and Karpod Inc..."

Texas Biodiesel Industry Talks Big Business in Austin
Conference and Expo drift: Those who have raised biodiesel industry out of infancy seeking sustained growth
News Story  September 14, 2007, by Daniel Mottola
"...Among the pressing topics highlighted at the event were emerging sources for lower-cost feedstocks, preferably from nonfood agricultural crops. Biodiesel backers were also briefed on the tankful of regulatory issues the industry had to contend with this year, including an important state production incentive left unfunded by the Texas Legislature and the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality's nearly 3-year-old threat to outlaw popular biodiesel blends if producers can't reign in emissions of smog-forming nitrogen oxides, or NOx, as part of its Texas Low Emission Diesel Program, designed to reduce smog and ozone pollution..."

Will Texas Catch Some Solar Rays?
Local and worldwide solar-energy experts convene in Austin and deliver this message: The day when solar energy will compete economically with traditional fossil-fueled power is fast approaching, and Texas is doing much less than it could be to utilize its solar potential
News Story  June 29, 2007, by Daniel Mottola
"...Back in Houston, Coleman said, "We have a problem: It's hot, people can't afford their electric bills, the air is dirty, and it's making people sick." Citing a statewide opinion poll in which 84% of respondents said the Texas Legislature should encourage solar power, Coleman has vowed to keep fighting for PV incentives...."

'Texas Tough' Sex Crime Wave Hits the Dome
Sex-predator hysteria threatens a legal backlash
News Story  February 9, 2007, by Wells Dunbar


Human Rights Campaign Calls Texas a "High Priority" for LGBTQ Equality
A long way to go, but public opinion trends toward legislative action
News Story  February 7, 2019, by Sarah Marloff


"Trans in Texas" Comes to HBO
HBO's Vice series returns to the Lone Star State to cover trans rights
DAILY Qmmunity  August 23, 2018, by Sarah Marloff
"...Now 7, Shappley received a fair amount of press during last year’s painful and painfully long bathroom bill debate. (The bill, in multiple iterations, failed.) But, with November’s midterm elections looming and the next state Legislature session convening in January 2019, Vice correspondent Gianna Toboni decided to return to Texas to check in on the new Austin residents and spotlight other obstacles faced by Texas' massive trans community...."

The Texas Hammer: Gerrymandering
Fragmenting progressive counties
News Story  March 16, 2017, by Michael King
"...Nation Without Representation. The most visible symbol of the Texas Legislature's disdain for Austin and Travis County is the Central Texas congressional map..."

Day Trips: Storybook Capital of Texas, Abilene
Whimsical sculptures of children's book characters enliven downtown Abilene
Columns  September 15, 2016, by Gerald McLeod
"...Once you see all of the sculptures it is hard not to come away with a smile, especially after seeing Duck on a Bike. The Texas Legislature was so impressed with the community art collection that it named Abilene the Storybook Capital of Texas in 2015...."

Farewell to Linda Bridges, Hero of Texas Schools
Teachers union leader passes, leaving legacy of advocacy
DAILY News  January 14, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...The first day of the 84th Legislature was marred and overshadowed for many by the devastating news that Linda Bridges, president of the state's largest teaching union, had died unexpectedly of natural causes on the night of Jan. 12, aged 65...."

Death Watch: Texas Court Declines to Consider Final Appeal
McCarthy would be 500th inmate and 5th woman to be executed
DAILY News  June 26, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"...At issue is whether Dallas County prosecutors impermissibly struck from the jury pool all but one qualified minority potential juror. District Attorney Craig Watkins this spring agreed to postpone McCarthy's execution until today in order to give state lawmakers, during the then-ongoing 83rd Legislature, an opportunity to pass a so-called "Texas Racial Justice Act," which would allow death row inmates to claim on appeal that racial bias influenced their conviction...."

The Hightower Report: Goofy is not just a cartoon character – he's a legislator in Texas
Drew Springer fights Austin's bag ban
News Column  March 15, 2013, by Jim Hightower


Jesus, Take the Wheel: Texas Education Is a Mess of Biblical Proportions
Texas education is a mess of biblical proportions
News Story  January 25, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"...Although the Texas Legislature in 2007 passed a law requiring school districts to teach the influence of the Bible on history and literature, just 60 districts have used that to create special electives on the Bible. Indeed, before the bill was passed, there were 25 Bible courses already offered, and a 2006 report by the Texas Freedom Net­work Education Fund detailed "serious academic and constitutional problems" with most of them..."

Texas Still Leads Nation in Executions
New death sentences continue to decline & exonerations keep coming
DAILY News  December 18, 2012, by Jordan Smith


A Son of the Fathers of Texas
Steve Mendell's life, work, and music filled in the gaps
DAILY Music  September 24, 2012, by Margaret Moser
"...Steve Mendell was particularly proud of a special project called The Fathers of Texas, an original collection of songs and narratives tracing the roots of the state back to its early days of settlement. On San Jacinto Day in 1997, the Texas Legislature adopted a resolution naming the Fathers of Texas as the Texas State Historical Soundtrack...."

Scott Quitting Texas Education Agency
Controversial schools commissioner to leave July 2
DAILY News  May 1, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...Locally, he will be remembered as the man that refused to save Pearce Middle School even when the Legislature practically begged him to do so, then tried to bury both it and Eastside Memorial by refusing to grant new PEIMS numbers and restart the accountability clock. He also got into a public feud with Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen...."

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