Texas

Texas’ Infrastructure Best In Nation In 2017 | 08-18-2017

Texas has the best infrastructure in the country, according to CNBC’s 2017 “America’s Top States for Business” rankings . With only 1.7 percent of its bridges deemed “structurally deficient” but a 25.6 minute average...

TX Turning Purple? | 08-11-2017

Since 2000, millions of new residents have poured into Texas, expanding the population of Austin’s Travis County by 350,000, swelling San Antonio’s Bexar County by 500,000 and making three suburbs of those two cities among the fastest-growing...

Social Policy - August 14 2017 | 08-11-2017

Texas Approves HB 214 The TEXAS House approves HB 214 , which requires women to pay an additional insurance premium if they want their health plan to cover abortions performed outside of medical emergencies. The bill, which does not contain exceptions...

Self-Driving Cars Could Be Costly for Cities | 08-11-2017

Not long from now, fleets of self-driving cars could be transporting passengers all over America’s cities. The resulting reduction in the need for privately owned vehicles poses a significant problem for those cities’ governments. “Municipalities...

Budgets In Brief - August 14 2017 | 08-11-2017

LOTTERY REVENUES DOWN IN NM Lottery proceeds for the 2017 fiscal year in NEW MEXICO were down $8.5 million, or about 18 percent, from last fiscal year. The decline is believed to be due in part to a reduction in prize payouts resulting from legislative...

States Attend To Issue Of Medical ‘Balance Billing’ | 08-11-2017

The practice among out-of-network healthcare providers of billing patients when the patients’ insurance carriers don’t cover the full cost of the providers’ services - known as “balance billing” - isn’t the healthcare...

Budgets In Brief - August 7 2017 | 08-04-2017

NEW JERSEY EMPLOYEES TO GET BACK PAY State workers in NEW JERSEY will get back pay for time off they had to take during the state’s government shutdown last month. Gov. Chris Christie (R) signed legislation this week authorizing retroactive pay...

Politics In Brief - July 24 2017 | 07-21-2017

RAIMONDO SIGNS RI VOTER REGISTRATION BILL RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) signed legislation last week making the Ocean State the 9 th to allow automatic voter registration. The legislation will automatically register anyone doing business with...

DOJ Seeks End To Legal Proceedings On TX Voter ID Law | 07-14-2017

This month the U.S. Justice Department petitioned the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to take no further action against the voter ID law passed in that state in 2011 - SB 14, which has faced numerous legal challenges - because the...

States Over-Riding Local Riding Rules | 07-14-2017

The gig business is becoming really big business. And as the number of people using ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft has mushroomed in the last couple of years - with no sign of leveling off - local governments around the country have sought to regulate...

Social Policy - July 10 2017 | 07-07-2017

Social Policy In Texas The TEXAS Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples have no right to spousal benefits in the Lone Star State. The court unanimously determined that while a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling clearly legalized same-sex marriage, that...

States Address Cybersecurity, Election Reform And Other Issues | 07-07-2017

Despite the unusual amount of uncertainty heading into this year’s state legislative sessions, a few of the issues we predicted last December might receive particular attention from lawmakers, such as cybersecurity and transportation funding, have...

Education - June 19 2017 | 06-16-2017

Florida Signs SB 436 FLORIDA Gov. Rick Scott (R) signs SB 436 , a measure to ensure that students are able to express their religious views in class assignments, on their clothing or jewelry or by praying during the school day (ORLANDO SENTINEL). ...

Budgets In Brief - June 19 2017 | 06-16-2017

IL Gov Calls Special Budget Session ILLINOIS Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) has called a special session to try to end the state’s unprecedented budget impasse that has already drug on for two years and will enter its third on July 1. The special session...

Potpourri - June 12 2017 | 06-09-2017

Rhode Island Approves SB 555 The RHODE ISLAND Senate approves SB 555 , which would require parents to take an online driving course ahead of their children obtaining a driver’s license. It moves to the House, which passed a similar bill last...

TX Election Reform Bill Pleases Both Republicans And Democrats | 06-09-2017

When it comes to the issue of election reform, the Texas Legislature, dominated by Republicans, leans far more in the direction of tightening voter identification and other requirements to prevent fraud than toward expanding voter access. But this month...

Politics In Brief - June 12 2017 | 06-09-2017

Russian Election Cyberattacks Broader Than Indicated U.S. Sen. Mark Warner of VIRGINIA , the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Russian cyberattacks on U.S. election systems were broader and impacted more states than indicated...

And Then Again, Again | 06-02-2017

Hey, Texas is on a roll! Yep, not to be outdone by some teachers harassing schoolkids, Gov. Greg Abbott took the opportunity last week to show his own backside to the world by making a joke about shooting reporters. As reported by The Hill , Abbott was...

Business - June 5 2017 | 06-02-2017

California Approves AB 168 The CALIFORNIA Assembly approves AB 168 , so-called “gender equity” legislation that would bar Golden State employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. It moves to the Senate (SACRAMENTO BEE...

Politics In Brief - June 5 2017 | 06-02-2017

TX Lawmakers Approve Changes to Voter ID Law The TEXAS Legislature approved a bill ( SB 5 ) loosening the requirements of the voter ID law passed by the state in 2011, which the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year discriminated against...

Business - May 22 2017 | 05-19-2017

Nevada Approves SB 106 The NEVADA Senate approves SB 106 , which would raise the Silver State minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2022. The measure, which would hike the wage standard by .75 cents every year for the next five years, moves to the Assembly...

Crime & Punishment - May 22 2017 | 05-19-2017

California Approves SB 439 The CALIFORNIA Senate approves SB 439 , which would ensure that counties treat juvenile offenders 11 or younger in the child services system instead of the juvenile courts. It moves to the Assembly (ASSOCIATED PRESS). ...

Education - May 22 2017 | 05-19-2017

Texas Approves SB 7 The TEXAS Senate gives final approval to SB 7 , which would require Lone Star State principals and superintendents to report inappropriate teacher-student relationships or face jail time and fines up to $10,000. It moves to Gov...

Education - May 15 2017 | 05-12-2017

Texas Approves Senate Bill 7 The TEXAS House approves Senate Bill 7 , which would require principals and superintendents to report teachers having inappropriate relationships with students or face a state jail felony or a fine of up to $10,000. It...

Immigration - May 15 2017 | 05-12-2017

Texas Approves SB 1018 The TEXAS Senate approves SB 1018 , legislation that would make it easier for the state to license privately run detention centers as “family residential centers” in order to hold immigrant families in detention centers...

Social Policy - May 15 2017 | 05-12-2017

Texas Approves HB 3859 The TEXAS House approves HB 3859 , which would allow foster care and adoption agencies to refuse to place children with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender households over religious objections. It moves to the Senate (AUSTIN...

Business - May 8 2017 | 05-04-2017

Vermont Approves HB 196 The VERMONT House approves HB 196 , which would require business owners to provide workers with six weeks of family leave at 80 percent of their salary, paid for by a statewide payroll tax on all workers. The measure moves to...

Education - May 8 2017 | 05-04-2017

Louisiana Approves HB 79 The LOUISIANA House unanimously approves HB 79 , which would ban the paddling of disabled students at Pelican State public schools. The bill moves to the Senate (ADVOCATE [BATON ROUGE]). Arizona Signs SB 1042 ARIZONA...

Immigration - May 8 2017 | 05-04-2017

Texas Approves SB 4 The TEXAS Senate gives final approval to SB 4 , which would make it a crime for law enforcement to refuse cooperation with federal immigration officials. Local jurisdictions could also face fines of up to $25,000 per day for violating...

Business - May 1 2017 | 04-28-2017

Texas Approves HB 100 The TEXAS House approves HB 100 , which would establish a statewide framework for regulating ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft. The measure, which would also override local regulations already in place, would establish...

Crime & Punishment - May 1 2017 | 04-28-2017

Crime In Colorado The United States Supreme Court rules that people freed from prison when their convictions are reversed deserve a refund of what they paid in fees, court costs and restitution. The ruling also orders COLORADO to refund several thousand...

Education - May 1 2017 | 04-28-2017

Oklahoma Approves HB 1693 The OKLAHOMA Senate approves HB 1693 , which would overhaul the Sooner State’s public school accountability system to give equal weight to student performance in English language arts and mathematics as well as student...

Health & Science - May 1 2017 | 04-28-2017

Health In Texas And Arizona The U.S. Food and Drug Administration rules that states may not import drugs used for lethal injection. The agency said the drugs states like TEXAS and ARIZONA were seeking to bring in were unapproved and misbranded (TEXAS...

Politics In Brief - May 1 2017 | 04-28-2017

AL SENATE VOTES TO LET CHURCH CREATE OWN POLICE FORCE The ALABAMA Senate passed a bill ( SB 193 ) that would allow the Briarwood Presbyterian Church, located in the suburbs of Birmingham, to establish its own police force. The measure on behalf of...

Sanctuary Cities Split Country | 04-28-2017

To anyone who has watched the national political culture split into two poles over the last decade or so, it should be little surprise that the country is moving in opposite directions on so-called sanctuary cities, those which bar local officials from...

Crime & Punishment - April 17 2017 | 04-14-2017

Texas Approves HB 281 The TEXAS House approves HB 281 , which would create a statewide database for DNA evidence from sexual assault. It moves to the Senate (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN). Iowa Approves SB 444 The IOWA Senate gives final approval...

Social Policy - April 17 2017 | 04-14-2017

Texas Approves SB 522 The TEXAS Senate approves SB 522 , which would allow county clerks to recuse themselves from signing marriage licenses for same-sex couples because of religious objections. It moves now to the House (TEXAS TRIBUNE).

Politics In Brief - April 17 2017 | 04-14-2017

JUDGE RULES TX VOTER ID LAW INTENTIONALY DISCRIMINATORY U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of TEXAS Nelva Gonzales Ramos ruled that the state’s Republican controlled Legislature deliberately discriminated against minority voters when...

Crime & Punishment - April 10 2017 | 04-07-2017

Alabama Approves HB 36 The ALABAMA House approves HB 36 , which would extend the Heart of Dixie’s so-called “stand your ground” law, which allows people to use deadly force to defend themselves, to include churches. It moves to the...

Health & Science - April 10 2017 | 04-07-2017

Kansas Vetoes HB 2044 The KANSAS House fails to override Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) veto of HB 2044 , which would have expanded Medicaid in the Sunflower State to include people with incomes at 133 percent of the poverty line (KANSAS CITY STAR...

The Devil Ain’t Making Them Do It | 03-31-2017

Rare is the day some lawmaker somewhere doesn’t invoke their religion as cause for opposing or supporting a bill. But as my religious friends will tell you, if you have God then you also have to have Satan, and Old Ned is definitely looking to make...

Opioid Overdose Rates Up and Rising in States | 03-31-2017

Between 2014 and 2015 death rates due to opioid overdose rose by over 25 percent - more than twice the national average (11 percent) - in five states and the District of Columbia. The five states with the highest opioid death rates in 2015 were West Virginia...

Education - April 3 2017 | 03-31-2017

Mississippi Legislature Approves SB 2273 The MISSISSIPPI Legislature gives final approval to SB 2273 , which would reinforce that cursive writing be taught to Magnolia State public school students. It is now with Gov. Phil Bryant (R), who is expected...

Governors in Brief - April 3 2017 | 03-31-2017

MORE GOVS NOW PONDERING MEDICAID EXPANSION : With the failure of the Congressional proposal to overturn the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, a growing number of governors are expressing openness to expanding their states’ Medicaid programs...

Budgets in Brief - April 3 2017 | 03-31-2017

ID PASSES GROCERY TAX REPEAL: The IDAHO Legislature has passed legislation repealing the state’s tax on groceries, effective July 1, 2018. If signed by Gov. C.L. Butch Otter (R), IDAHO would join 37 other states without a grocery tax. (ASSOCIATED...

All In the Name of Good Health | 03-17-2017

Texas state Rep. Jessica Farrar isn’t fond of her male colleagues proposing bills they claim will protect women’s health but which she says are in fact barely-veiled attempts to block women from obtaining a legal abortion. So, as the Houston...

Social Policy - March 20 2017 | 03-17-2017

New Jersey Approves AB 3091 The NEW JERSEY Senate approves AB 3091 , which would set the legal age for marriage at 18. The measure, which is intended to prevent forced arranged marriages, moves to Gov. Chris Christie (R) for consideration (NJ.COM)...

Potpourri - March 20 2017 | 03-17-2017

Texas Approves HB 62 The TEXAS House approves HB 62 , which would ban Lone Star State motorists from texting while behind the wheel. It needs one more affirmative vote in the House before it can move to the Senate (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN). ...

Federal Court Rules TX Remap Racially Discriminatory | 03-17-2017

In a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit invalidated three congressional districts drawn by Texas’ GOP-led Legislature in 2011 on the grounds that the Republican lawmakers intentionally curbed the influence...

Dams With ‘High Hazard Potential’ Scattered Across U.S. | 03-17-2017

As of 2015, 1,235 of North Carolina’s dams were classified as “high hazard potential” by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the highest number in the nation. Texas had 1,212 dams with that same hazard potential, meaning that a...