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Postmarks
Letter to Isaac
Columns  February 18, 1999
"...The Chronicle's Robert Bryce dismissed as "almost laughable" our call for a lifetime ban on revolving-door lobbying, in part because self-serving members of the Texas Legislature are unlikely to pass such a reform anytime soon...."

That Was the Year That Was
Impatience Is a Virtue
News Column  December 31, 1998, by Jenny Staff
"...The politics of downtown revitalization aren't the only things that bode less peace and harmony for the council in 1999. Here are more potential challenges : The 76th Texas Legislative Session: Some of the public servants who will gather as members of the Texas Legislature this session, to be called to order in a matter of days, are not only disinclined to work with the city that hosts their legislative shindig; they are its sworn antagonists..."

Budget Blackboard
Write 100 Times: AISD Needs More Money
News Story  June 20, 1997, by Roseana Auten
"...AISD Budget Director David Rastellini estimates that a nine cent increase in the current tax rate of 1.311 would be needed to fund the proposed budget, bringing the preliminary tax rate to about $1.40 per $100 property valuation. The cause of the delay, of course, was the long, protracted (and ultimately, rather fruitless) struggle at the Texas Legislature over property tax reform..."

Environs Top 10
Five Predictions for the Coming Year:
News Story  January 10, 1997, by Robert Bryce
"...1. The Texas Legislature finally deals with water..."

Chronicle Endorsements: County, Statewide, and Federal Races
What, you expected us to endorse a Republican in 2018?
News Story  October 18, 2018, by The Chronicle Editorial Board
"...The Chronicle is a left-leaning paper; it should come as no surprise that the candidates we support for the partisan county, statewide, and federal races are left-leaning Democrats. The Texas Legislature did away with straight-ticket voting starting in 2020, but the option remains for the 2018 midterms; if you'd like to set the lever on auto, that's fine by us (as long as you then scroll through the ballot to get to the local nonpartisan races)..."

Headlines
News Story  June 1, 2017
"...Paxton previously appealed the judge's opinion, which called the rule a "pretext" for restricting abortion access. A similar rule is found in anti-choice SB 8, passed by the Texas Legislature in May...."

Pct. 2 Candidates Face Off
Commissioner hopefuls tackle gun shows, immigration laws
DAILY News  December 11, 2013, by Christopher Hooks
"...She also touts her experience working with the Texas Legislature — Shea’s made property tax reform a big part of her campaign, and she holds out the promise of convening a statewide group of counties and municipalities to apply pressure to the Legislature. Eliminating loopholes that allow commercial properties to be appraised at lower than their true value, thereby raising rates for homeowners, will help make the city a more affordable place to live, she says...."

Lege's Environmental Report Card
Most of Austin's delegation fares well on scorecard
News Story  August 12, 2011, by Lee Nichols
"...Mark Strama. "What is striking about the Texas Legislature this year is the sheer volume of environmental legislation considered and the surprising amount of good bills passed and signed into law," said TLCV Executive Director David Weinberg..."

Headlines
News Story  June 3, 2011
"...• Just after 5pm on May 30, both chambers of the Texas Legislature adjourned sine die, ending the 82nd regular session. Then they returned at 8am the next morning for the first special session after Gov..."

Special Session? Sure
GOP's bad timing opens door to Dem filibuster
DAILY News  May 30, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...Look at that picture: That's how the 82nd Legislature really finished. With Sen..."

Mr. Smarty Pants Knows
A hypothesized planet, a triple-double season, and more
Columns  March 25, 2011, by Mr. Smarty Pants
"...House Joint Resolution 123, passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011, rescinded the 1899 application of the 26th Texas Legislature to the United States Congress to call an unrestricted convention under Article V of the United States Constitution...."

Missing the Point on Election Fraud
Texas Civil Rights Project criticizes Perry, Senate
DAILY News  January 24, 2011, by Lee Nichols
"...The Texas Civil Rights Project today criticized Gov. Perry and the Legislature for making Voter ID an "emergency" priority..."

Bill of the Week
Brutal budget process in store
News Column  January 21, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...If you didn't laugh, you'd cry. Every two years, the Texas Legislature is constitutionally mandated to pass a balanced budget..."

Mr. Smarty Pants Knows
Shemp, 'O Holy Night,' bathrooms vs. kitchens, and House Bill 81
Columns  January 14, 2011, by Mr. Smarty Pants
"...House Bill 81 from the 82nd Texas Legislature (2011) and House Bill 81 from the 81st Texas Legislature (2009) are the same bill filed by the same legislator. The proposed law has to do with using public funds to print some public documents in a language other than English...."

Speaker No Evil: GOP Caucuses Up
Get ready for a rumble down at the Capitol
News Story  January 7, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...The 82nd session of the Texas Legislature will convene for its first day of business at noon on Jan. 11..."

A Billion Down
Gov. Perry cuts $1.2 billion from his "balanced" budget
DAILY News  May 18, 2010, by Richard Whittaker
"...What's more depressing? That, after bailing the current budget out with federal stimulus dollars, the Republican leadership of the Texas State Legislature will get props for today's announcement of $1.2 billion in budget cuts, or that they rejected almost exactly that amount in additional federal cash?..."

Math be Hard
Republican Party of Texas needs to recalculate budget claims
DAILY News  June 8, 2009, by Richard Whittaker
"...As part of their Week in Review email blast, released on Friday, the Republican Party of Texas made some excited and pretty bold claims about what the legislature just passed in the 2010-11 budget...."

Session Ends With Finger-Pointing, Unfinished Business
Perry says he has no immediate plans to call legislators back to Austin
News Story  June 5, 2009, by Richard Whittaker
"...A week ago, the Texas Legislature was divided along party lines. But with sine die – the final day of the 81st session – come and gone, the fate of several state agencies and billions in transportation funds hang in limbo, setting the House and Senate at each other's throats and leaving a whisper of special session in the air...."

Horses Stolen! Barn Door Confirmed Unlocked!
Long suppressed, Department of Justice memorandum recommended that the re-redistricting map forced upon the Legislature by Tom DeLay and his cronies should be rejected, because it did not sufficiently protect the rights of minority Texans
News Story  December 9, 2005, by Michael King
"...As if we needed any confirmation, last week The Washington Post acquired a copy of the officially suppressed Department of Justice memorandum prepared by the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division. As long suspected, the professional staff of the division unanimously recommended that the re-redistricting map forced upon the Legislature by DeLay and his cronies should be rejected, because it did not sufficiently protect the rights of minority Texans – indeed, it was "retrogressive" as that term is defined in the constitutional challenges brought before the U.S..."

Naked City
A one-day event seeks to link top Web designers with nonprofits who need them
News Story  August 26, 2005, by Wells Dunbar
"...At the press conference, Mayor Will Wynn emphasized the importance of accessibility. Garnering giggles and groans by saying he "wasn't going to editorialize on the Texas Legislature," he pointed to one achievement from the Capitol crew last session: passage of HB 2819, which, taking effect Sept..."

Forgotten but Not Quite Gone
The 79th Legislature ends not with a bang, but lots of whimpers
News Column  June 3, 2005, by Amy Smith
"...So enjoy the reprieve while you can. As with most sessions, the 79th Legislature had its share of highs and lows – the lowest point, the night Democratic Rep..."

Arts Folks Nix Tex Tix Tax
When the Texas Legislature sought to pay for a property tax cut with a tax on performing arts events, local arts groups mobilized and made their opposition heard
Arts Story  May 21, 2004, by Robert Faires
"...When it appeared last week that the Texas Legislature might try to help pay for a property tax cut with a tax on performing arts events, local arts groups did not take it lying down. In fact, they showed just how quickly cultural coalitions can mobilize and how artists can make themselves heard as clearly in the back rooms of the Capitol as in the back rows of theatres..."

About AIDS
Texas Lege Should Follow a Rational Approach on Drugs
Columns  March 2, 2001
"...Gary Johnson has taken an unusual approach in the war against drugs by treating substance abuse as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice concern. He's sending a whole package of bills, eight in all, to the Legislature, an attempt so bold that it is unprecedented..."

Naked City
Working It Out
News Story  September 10, 1999, by Erica C. Barnett
"...During George W. Bush's first session as governor, the Texas Legislature was instructed to fabricate a "welfare reform" initiative that would jibe with the state's -- and the governor's -- pro-privatization, local-control-oriented, "right to work" philosophy..."

A New Social Order
Whither Equinomics?
News Story  August 12, 1999, by Jenny Staff Johnson
"...I had hoped to spend a lot less time on environmental issues this term and put the time into economic issues, but I'm just going to have to work real hard on both. Now that our friends up the street there came to town," he said, referring to the Texas Legislature, "thousands of more acres will be grandfathered under old, weak regulation..."

Paper Tigers
Some Editors Not So Smart About Smart Growth
News Column  April 3, 1998, by Lee Nichols
"...Noting that city council greens might block Motorola's plans with zoning requirements, Oppel countered, "But they should not use that power, because it would not be fair and would put at risk the environmental-business coalition. Pushing around Motorola in Circle C - the most controversial political taking yet - will hand pro-developer interests in the Texas Legislature a free pass to dismantle annexation." Oppel also warned that we might get into "an ugly fight..."

Friends and Family Gather to Honor Activist Nadine Eckhardt
Eulogies and memories at Saengerrunde Hall
DAILY News  January 23, 2019, by Michael King
"...In 1966, Curtis Graves was the first African-American to be elected to the Texas Legislature since 1899. He campaigned alongside Eckhardt, who was running for Congress in a north Houston district that overlapped that of Graves..."

Laying Down the Law
Postmarks  July 16, 2018
"...Perhaps he simply chooses to ignore the precedent of previous attorneys general, i.e., the "rule of law." Either way, hopefully a court will be quick to recognize Paxton's antics as just what they are, politically motivated antics. It is too bad that the state Legislature changed the law so that persons wrongfully sued by the attorney general cannot be awarded their attorneys' fees for having to defend a frivolous lawsuit..."

Straus Announces House Committees
Lots of seats but no chair positions for reps in Travis County
DAILY News  February 9, 2017, by Richard Whittaker
"...And now the fun begins. Speaker Joe Straus has just announced House committee appointments and membership for the 85th Legislature..."

Paxton on Porn
AG signs amicus brief against Exxxotica show in Dallas
DAILY News  April 15, 2016, by Richard Whittaker
"...However, this does raise an old specter for Republicans from the 2015 session. During the 84th Legislature, Rep..."

TCAD Lawsuit Dismissed: Onward and Upward?
News Story  November 12, 2015, by Michael King
"...The primary goal of the lawsuit is a "level playing field" between commercial and residential properties, in theory to be assisted by "full sales disclosure" reflecting the actual market values of commercial properties – a standard repeatedly rejected by the state Legislature. Combined with the ability of commercial owners to litigate their appraisals, and to recoup their legal costs from appraisal districts (but not the reverse), the current system is heavily weighted in favor of commercial property owners...."

TCAD Challenge Moves to Court
Mayor announces next stage of appraisal fight
DAILY News  August 24, 2015, by Michael King
"...The mayor said Crigler's presence confirmed that the city and TCAD "do not see each other as adversaries in this action." He praised Crigler's work, and called the suit a collaborative effort in the interest of tax fairness. He noted that Crigler has advocated at the Legislature to allow more accurate information into the appraisal process – specifically additional property sales information expressing actual market value – and that the challenge lawsuit is another attempt to improve appraisal information...."

Wiley Aims for Workman
Travis County GOP rep faces primary challenge
DAILY News  June 19, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...Now that the regular session of the 84th Legislature is over, primary season is upon us. As of this morning, Travis County has its first intraparty struggle, as former District 6 Austin City Council candidate Jay Wiley will challenge three-term incumbent state Rep..."

Perry Expands the Call
Governor adds transportation, abortion, and minimum sentencing to special session
News Story  June 14, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...For those in the Texas Legislature waiting for the other shoe to drop on the special session, the footwear pours down as Gov. Rick Perry adds not one but three more items to the call: transportation, abortions, and minimum sentencing..."

Special Session Redistricting Hearings Commence
Senate and House committees taking testimony for next three days
DAILY News  May 30, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...The first called special session of the 83rd Legislature begins in earnest Thursday morning as the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting holds their first, and seemingly only, public meeting...."

Re-Re-Redrawing the Delegation
Federal panel split on how to cut Travis House seats
DAILY News  November 18, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...While launching a severe overhaul of the Fort Worth Senate seats, the panel decided to leave the Travis County upper chamber as the legislature planned, split four ways. However, the panel split over the House proposals..."

Special Bills for a Special Session
UPDATE: Measures mix unfinished business, new ideas, grandstanding
DAILY News  May 31, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...The first special session of the 82nd Legislature is only 525 minutes old, but there has already been the micro-flurry of bills filed. The big question is, how many fill Gov..."

Headlines
News Story  May 27, 2011
"...• The Texas Legislature is in budget meltdown after failing to reach an agreement on how to spread more than $4 billion in school funding cuts. Lawmakers only have until the session ends Monday to reach an agreement, or they'll be back for a special session..."

Cap Metro: Between a Rock and a Union
Lege bill would put Cap Metro labor arrangement in union crosshairs
News Story  May 13, 2011, by Lee Nichols
"...Simply getting lower labor costs cannot be regarded as "good economic reasons," Pittman wrote, as the effect "would be to eliminate the very protections of the employees' right to collectively bargain." Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez, who sits on Cap Metro's board, said, "I want to ensure that our work force is treated well, our service remains at its highest standards and our transit agency in the best possible financial position. Any resistance to a state statute mandate should be discussed with the Texas Legislature."..."

The Daily Hustle: 11/16/10
City Council Agenda 101
DAILY News  November 16, 2010, by Wells Dunbar
"...Item 17: $740,000 for “representation services” and lobbying at the upcoming Texas legislature...."

Lege Races Yield Weak Brew
Texas tea party efforts peter out
News Story  March 5, 2010, by Richard Whittaker
"...The predicted tsunami of anti-incumbent feeling sweeping away established names turned out to be more of a drip in the March 2 primaries for the Legislature. Tea party activists, often backed by well-funded think tanks like Empower Texans, targeted insufficiently conservative Republicans like House Elections Committee Chair Todd Smith, R-Euless, and even Senate Finance Committee Chair Steve Ogden, R-Bryan – but to little effect..."

Top 9 Lege Stories
News Story  January 1, 2010, by Lee Nichols and Richard Whittaker
"...7) NOT SO SPECIAL With the main session chubbed to death, there was a load of pending business that the Legislature could have settled in a special session. Instead, Gov..."

The Bad Precedents
The skinny on the best band in the Texas state legislature
DAILY News  June 1, 2009, by Richard Whittaker
"...When it comes to the Texas Legislature, more than policy nuance, more than floor politics, more than gossip and the fate of bills, the one question asked most often is, "So is there really a band made of legislators?"..."

Apples and More Apples
Postmarks  August 22, 2005
"...Dear Editor, State Legislature: apples and oranges. The Texas Legislature may be filled with some good apples and bad apples, but it sure does look like all the apples are filled with worms. Let's recap some of the special-interest legislation that was approved and/or permitted so far this year: - deregulation of higher education tuition; - eliminate "frivolous" malpractice lawsuits to lower medical costs (ha!); - increase lawmakers retirement benefits, tied to pay raises for judges; - unconstitutional provision for longer terms for members of Regional Mobility Authorities; - lax home insurance legislation (doubled the cost of homeowners insurance); - lax health care legislation (increases in costly health care insurance); - deregulation of telecom (telephone) costs (our bills should increase shortly); - inability to approve adequate financing and learning outcomes for public education; - approves governor's and TxDOT's plans for toll roads (double taxation); - shirks away publicly from new taxes, yet adds new taxes in many areas; - promises property tax-relief, yet doesn't deliver; - religious institutions don't have to pay property taxes on land investments; - lax regulations on charter schools; - push former state costs onto local districts. So, if all the apples in the legislative barrel continue to have worms in them wouldn't it make sense to replace those apples ASAP with oranges?..."

The Facts So Far
News Story  October 13, 2000, by Mike Clark-Madison
"...What are we voting on? You're giving permission (politically, if not literally) for Capital Metro to commence with building a 52-mile light rail system, which will, according to the transit authority, take at least until 2018.Why are we voting on it? In 1997, the Texas Legislature, in response to public controversies about Capital Metro's management and accountability (and the valiant efforts of anti-rail forces), dissolved the all-citizen Cap Met board. They also gave Capital Metro the authority -- which, given the context, meant they gave Cap Met an order -- to hold an up-or-down referendum on light rail in or before November 2000..."

Naked City
Organized through Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish congregations, the Industrial Areas Foundation's Saturday gathering was not unlike a secular church service.
News Story  September 29, 2000, by Emily Pyle
"..."Elected officials understand the power of an organization like IAF," said Naishtat. "And they understand the pressure brought to bear on the Texas Legislature by tens of thousands of Texans who need the Legislature to do more for them and for their families."..."

Politics Feature
News Story  August 25, 2000, by Louis Dubose
"...The history of anti-gay legislation in the Texas Legislature is as long as it is ignoble. And although odds are good that the state's sodomy statute will soon be ruled in violation of the state's constitution (see "In and Out," August 11), odds are better that Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, will be back in January with another anti-gay initiative...."

Nouveau Hugo
Time to Stop the Cycle?
News Story  February 11, 1999, by Erica C. Barnett
"...In many ways, the point is moot. Increasingly, lawmakers are seeking to capitalize on their experience by peddling influence in the Capitol after they retire, making the Texas Legislature little more than basic training for an army of lobbyists...."

Forum Fracas
Watershed Worries
News Column  November 27, 1998, by Jenny Staff
"...Spelman said the council would like to approve a city policy on impervious cover transfers in order to allay fears that the deal would set off a fit of deal-making between the council and developers. According to City Hall insiders, the council has a fear of its own: that by taking a hard line on the Forum issue, it will be viewed as a cadre of left-wing, salamander-worshipping crazies by the members of the Texas Legislature who, when they reconvene in January, will have the power to either resume their Austin-bashing ways or to let up on us a little..."

Annexation Relief Act
Council Aids Its Newest Citizens
News Column  May 1, 1998, by Kayte VanScoy
"...But does all this philanthropy come out of the goodness of council's heart? Hardly. More like from a rational fear of not only the court system, but more importantly, the conservative 1999 Texas Legislature, which has already promised to come after Austin for its annexation actions..."

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