Texas

Medicaid Work Requirements under Fire | 04-19-2019

The Trump administration is plunging ahead with waivers that will encourage states to impose controversial work requirements on Medicaid recipients despite a federal judge’s ruling striking down such requirements in Arkansas and Kentucky. ...

State Lawmakers Turning to Local Office for Next Job | 04-19-2019

The usual next step up the ladder for state legislators is statewide office or Congress. But some are now heading in the opposite direction and running for mayor. One attraction is that the job generally pays better than most part-time legislatures...

Business - April 22 2019 | 04-19-2019

TX Supreme Court Rules The TEXAS Supreme Court rules that the state does not have to reveal the identity of the manufacturer of the drugs used to carry out executions. Doing so, the court ruled, “would create a substantial threat of physical...

Immigration - April 22 2019 | 04-19-2019

WA House Approves SB 5497 The WASHINGTON House approves SB 5497 , a measure that would, among several things, require state agencies to provide services without considering a person’s citizenship or immigration status and to put in place secure...

The Local Front - April 22 2019 | 04-19-2019

Sacramento City Council Passes Ordinance The SACRAMENTO City Council passes an ordinance that makes it illegal to sell flavored e-cigarette cartridges, menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products within city limits (SACRAMENTO BEE). CO...

TX Gov Calls for Sales Tax Hike | 04-12-2019

A call for the first sales tax increase in Texas in nearly 30 years came from an unlikely source last week: Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who has routinely touted his state as a haven for tax- and regulation-averse conservatives. His proposed penny...

Budgets in Brief - April 15 2019 | 04-12-2019

ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY TAX CREDIT EXTENDED IN NY A provision extending NEW YORK’s film and television credit for two years was quietly inserted into the state budget shortly before it was approved last month. The credit, which cost the state...

Health & Science - April 15 2019 | 04-12-2019

IL Governor Signs HB 345 ILLINOIS Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signs HB 345 , which raises the age for legally buying tobacco products in the Prairie State to 21. The bill, which takes effect on July 1, covers all tobacco and vaping products, including cigarettes...

Consumer Data Privacy Bills Introduced in Half of States | 04-05-2019

Legislation dealing with consumer data privacy has been introduced this year in at least 25 states, according to information from the National Conference of State Legislatures and LexisNexis State Net. As of April 3, such measures had been passed by their...

Business - April 8 2019 | 04-05-2019

TX Senate Approves SB 17 The TEXAS Senate approves SB 17 , which would allow occupational license holders whose licenses are at risk due to professional behavior or speech to cite “sincerely held religious beliefs” as cause for their actions...

Retiree Renters Present Challenges, Opportunities for Cities | 03-22-2019

Between 2007 and 2017, the number of renters in the United States over the age of 60 increased by 43 percent, according to a report this month from RentCafé , a nationwide apartment search service. That surge in older renters, in turn, helped raise...

A Burger For Me, Kibble For My Date | 03-22-2019

Texas might be about to go to the dogs, and that’s not a bad thing. As the Wichita Falls Times Record News reports (say that three times fast!), the Lone Star State Senate passed a bill last week that would make it legal for eateries to allow dogs...

Towers of Power: Federal, State and Local Governments Vie for Control of 5G | 03-15-2019

The next generation of wireless technology, 5G, could bring major advancements in everything from entertainment to public safety. But federal, state and local governments are at odds over how that technology should be deployed and where regulatory authority...

Most 5G Laws Enacted in Red States | 03-15-2019

As of mid-February, 21 states had passed laws streamlining regulations for the deployment of 5G or small-cell technology. In 12 of those states, Republicans controlled both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office when the laws were...

Budgets in Brief - March 18 2019 | 03-15-2019

TX SENATE APPROVES $8.4B IN ADDITIONAL SPENDING FOR FY 2019 The TEXAS Senate approved a supplemental FY 2019 appropriation of $8.4 billion for lingering expenses associated with Hurricane Harvey, school safety measures and the teacher retirement system...

States Grapple with Complexities of Health Reform | 03-08-2019

It has been just over two years since President Donald Trump famously bemoaned the complexities of the American health care system, telling a meeting of the nation’s governors that “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.” ...

Corporate Incentive Recipients Breaking Job Promises | 03-08-2019

Two years ago Amazon announced plans to build a second headquarters in North America and invited cities to vie for the 50,000 jobs that facility would provide. More than 200 cities responded with incentive proposals. But companies don’t always...

Politics in Brief - March 11 2019 | 03-08-2019

REPUBLICAN WON’T RUN IN NC CONGRESSIONAL RACE DO-OVER Republican Mark Harris said last week he will not run in NORTH CAROLINA’s new election for the 9th Congressional District due to health concerns. The GOP candidate in that race will...

Politics in Brief - February 11 2019 | 02-08-2019

TX FLAGS 95,000 VOTERS FOR CITIZENSHIP VERIFICATION The TEXAS secretary of state’s office announced last month that it had flagged 95,000 registered voters for citizenship checks. The individuals were flagged because they had provided a form of...

Now for Something That Really Matters | 02-08-2019

A gubernatorial State of the State address is a governor’s spotlight moment, the time where they get the stage all to themselves to showcase everything they believe to be important. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott understands this as well as anyone, which...

More States Ready for Moderate Recession Than Not | 01-18-2019

As of September 2018, 23 states had enough rainy day and other reserve funds to weather a moderate recession, while 17 states lacked such reserves, according to Moody’s Analytics. The other 10 states had reserve balances that were within 5 percentage...

Budgets in Brief - January 21 2019 | 01-18-2019

BIG TRANSPORTATION FUNDING PROBLEM IN OH OHIO has run out of money for major road projects. A coalition of local governments, chambers of commerce, contractors, engineers and truck drivers called Fix Our Roads Ohio has formed to push for solutions...

Lawmakers Grapple With Proliferation of E-Scooters | 01-11-2019

Many lawmakers left their state capitol buildings around the country after adjourning last year having never seen an e-scooter. A good number may never even have heard of such a thing. But that’s changed for many lawmakers returning for sessions...

Politics in Brief - January 14 2019 | 01-11-2019

HIGH TURNOVER AMONG TX GOVT WORKERS IN 2018 Well over 28,000 TEXAS state employees, 19.3 percent of the total state government workforce, left their jobs last year, the highest turnover in five years, according to a report from the state auditor’s...

Some Shrinking U.S. Cities Thriving | 12-14-2018

Conventional wisdom holds that cities need population growth to be economically healthy. But between 2000 and 2016 per-capita income in Pittsburgh rose 24 percent - well over the national average of 18 percent - while the city’s population shrunk...

Governors in Brief - December 3 2018 | 11-30-2018

BAKER URGES NEW STEPS FOR REPORTING MA HATE CRIMES Taking a cue from the recommendations of a state task force, MASSACHUSETTS Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said the Bay State will create a new website to track hate crimes and urged police chiefs to designate...

Voters, Courts Slowly Taking Redistricting Power from Lawmakers | 11-16-2018

While Congressional and state legislative races drew most of the attention on Election Day, those races were hardly the only critical issues voters would decide. Missouri, Colorado and Michigan became the latest states to endorse independent commissions...

Politics in Brief - November 12 2018 | 11-09-2018

‘RAINBOW WAVE’ IN TX Fourteen, or 40 percent, of the 35 gay, bisexual and transgender candidates on the ballot in TEXAS won their races on Tuesday. State and national activists said this election cycle, which saw a record 400 LGBTQ individuals...

Education - November 12 2018 | 11-09-2018

5th Circuit Court of Appeals Rules The 5 th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules that the U.S. Department of Education was within its rights to withhold $33.3 million in grant funding from TEXAS after the Lone Star State in 2012 reduced state spending...

Politics in Brief - November 5 2018 | 11-02-2018

APPEALS COURT ORDERS OH TO LET PURGED VOTERS CAST BALLOTS: The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered OHIO to allow voters purged from the state’s registration rolls for not voting over a six-year period to participate in the Nov. 6 election...

Baker Remains Most Popular Governor | 10-12-2018

For the seventh quarter in a row, polling by Morning Consult shows that the ten most popular governors in America are all Republicans. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker topped the list with a 70 percent approval rating, followed closely by Maryland Gov...

Governors in Brief - October 15 2018 | 10-12-2018

Baker Opposes MA Nurse Staffing Mandates MASSACHUSETTS Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said a recent report by the state Health Policy Commission has convinced him to vote no on Question 1 , a ballot measure that would require strict nurse-to-patient ratios...

The Local Front - October 15 2018 | 10-12-2018

TX City Council Unanimously Approves The SAN ANTONIO City Council unanimously approves a six-month pilot program regulating electric scooters. Riders will be required to use sidewalks or roads, but will be barred from roadways where the speed limit...

Politics in Brief - October 1 2018 | 09-28-2018

TX VOTER ROLLS SWELL TO 15.6M Nearly 400,000 names have been added to TEXAS’ voter rolls since March. The total number of registered voters in the state is now 15.6 million, 1.6 million more than at the time of the last midterm election, in 2014...

Boom in Energy States May be Helping Drive National Economy | 09-14-2018

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, America’s GDP grew by 4.2 percent between the first quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of this year, the highest quarterly rate since 2014. And an energy boom, fueled by higher oil and gas prices...

Budgets in Brief - September 10 2018 | 09-07-2018

STATES AWARDED MILLIONS IN ACA LAWSUIT A federal court in TEXAS ruled that the federal government improperly charged several states millions of dollars in state Medicaid fees that provide funding for the Affordable Care Act. Under the terms of the...

Immigration - September 10 2018 | 09-07-2018

Going On In TX A federal judge declines to order that the U.S. government halt the federal Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, which shields young immigrants brought to this country as children from deportation. U.S. District Judge Andrew...

Social Policy - September 10 2018 | 09-07-2018

Going On in TX A federal court issues an injunction blocking TEXAS from telling abortion providers and medical facilities how to dispose of fetal remains from abortions and miscarriages. U.S. District Judge David Ezra said the law requiring burial...

State and Local Candidates Want to Use Campaign Funds for Child Care | 08-17-2018

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) ruled in May that candidates for congressional office can use their campaign funds to pay for child care. Since then, state and local candidates across the country, including an unprecedented number of women, have...

The Local Front - August 20 2018 | 08-17-2018

TX City Council Approves Proposal The SAN ANTONIO City Council approves a proposal to require all employers except government entities to provide employees with one hour of paid sick leave for every 34 hours worked. Employers with more than five...

Abbott Proposes Tougher TX Bail Rules | 08-10-2018

Citing the shooting death last year of a state trooper by a man with a long criminal history, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) last week proposed making access to bail more difficult for defendants charged with certain serious crimes. Abbott’s proposal...

California Projected to Lose $329M to Cybercrime in 2018 | 08-03-2018

California will have the highest cybercrime losses of any state this year, according to analysis of data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Insurance Information Institute by Website Builder Expert. The website development adviser estimates...

Sparkling City of the Roaches | 08-03-2018

Feel like your elected officials are not paying any attention to issues you care about? You can always take the tack that Corpus Christi resident Patricia Polastri took last month when she wanted to make a point to the “Sparkling City by the Sea”...

Budgets in Brief - July 23 2018 | 07-20-2018

CO TO EXCEED TABOR REVENUE CAP IN COMING YEARS Despite the passage of a bill last year ( SB 267 ) exempting a state hospital fee from the revenue cap imposed by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) initiative approved by voters in 1992, COLORADO...

Fair Percentage of Airbnb Rentals Full-Time | 07-13-2018

According to a 2016 analysis of Airbnb booking data by the website fivethirtyeight.com, among the 25 cities with the largest Airbnb markets at that time, Honolulu, Hawaii had the highest percentage of active listings that were rented at least 180 days...

Straws Latest Flashpoint in Battle Over Plastics | 06-29-2018

Today, a visitor to a Bon Appétit cafe will have no problem finding plenty of tasty things to nosh on. But finding a plastic straw for their soda or a plastic stirrer for their coffee will soon be impossible. San Francisco-based Bon Appétit...

Politics in Brief - July 2 2018 | 06-29-2018

SCOTUS LARGELY UPHOLDS CONTESTED TX POLITICAL DISTRICTS In a 5-4 decision last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all but one of the handful of TEXAS legislative districts and both of the congressional districts that a three-judge panel said...

Quite the Pickle | 06-08-2018

When Anita and Jim McHaney retired in 2006, they figured they’d spend their golden years growing and selling produce from their Texas farm. This included beets and other vegetables they pickled and sold alongside the kale and collard greens popular...

IRS Warns States Against Dodging SALT Deduction | 06-01-2018

After Congress imposed a $10,000 limit on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction with the federal tax overhaul it passed last year, high-tax states like California and New York began strategizing ways for their taxpaying residents to get around the...

Politics in Brief - May 21 2018 | 05-18-2018

JUDGE ORDERS TX TO ALLOW ONLINE VOTER REGISTRATION THROUGH DPS: A federal judge has ordered the state of TEXAS to allow residents to register to vote online when they renew their driver’s license through the Department of Public Safety’s...