Code Red? City Council meets today, April 25, where the headline debate is likely to occur over – you guessed it – the next steps in rewriting the land use code (Item 11). Matters heated up at Tuesday's work session, and some of those sparks should be visible today.
LGBTQ & Title VII: The Supreme Court will take up three cases that could decide the future of LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace. Federal law currently prevents employers from firing workers based on sex, but now the conservative-majority court will weigh in on whether or not "sex" and Title VII protections extend to sexual orientation and gender identity. (See "Qmmunity," Apr. 26.)
License to Discriminate: Meanwhile, six bills that would impose statewide discriminations on Texas' queer and trans communities are currently pending in the House State Affairs Committee. If passed, they'll grant state-licensed professionals freedom to discriminate under the guise of "sincerely held" religious beliefs and overturn nondiscrimination ordinances in cities.
Impending Capitol Collision: As the 86th Legislature careens toward sine die (May 27), the two chambers still look divided on how to balance property tax cuts (and caps) with public school finance reform – which involves collecting less money while spending more money. ... The predictable solutions? Raise the sales tax and cut Medicaid.
Senate Tackles School Finance: The Senate Education Committee will hold a hearing today (April 25) on the House's "Texas Plan" to reform school finance. Key differences between the two chambers – on employee pay raises and how much property tax relief can be achieved inside these fixes – will finally be addressed. (See "Making the Math Work on Real School Finance Reform," Apr. 26.)
Hegar vs. Cornyn? Combat veteran and author MJ Hegar, who in 2018 lost narrowly to GOP incumbent John Carter in CD 31, announced she'll challenge Sen. John Cornyn for a seat also getting a look from U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro several other Dem candidates. In a savvy strategic move, Cornyn began attacking Hegar-supporter and comedian Patton Oswalt for profanity on Twitter...
Deadly Traffic Toll: As of April 21, 22 deadly car crashes have taken place in the city, causing 23 deaths. At this time in 2018, there had been 19 killer crashes and 20 traffic fatalities.