Texas

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...

Trump Administration Drops Discrimination Claim In TX Voter ID Case | 03-03-2017

The U.S. Department of Justice has dropped its longstanding claim that the Texas Legislature intentionally discriminated against minority voters when it passed the strictest voter ID law in the nation in 2011, while maintaining that the law had a “discriminatory...

Budgets In Brief - February 20 2017 | 02-17-2017

GA Approves Supplemental Budget GEORGIA’s General Assembly has approved a midyear, supplemental spending plan that includes about $27 million to give 20 percent raises to state law enforcement officers and $50 million for a new cybersecurity...

Gov. Bad Luck Charm | 02-03-2017

If you are a Dallas Cowboys fan it might behoove you to lobby team owner Jerry Jones to stop letting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) anywhere near them. For the unaware, in spite of his Garden State roots Christie is a rabid Cowboys fan. That has never...

Social Policy - February 6 2017 | 02-03-2017

Arkansas Approves HB 1035 The ARKANSAS House approves HB 1035 , which would bar the use of food stamps to buy junk food. Under the measure, food stamp recipients would be allowed to purchase only foods contained on a list of approved items developed...

Politics In Brief - February 6 2017 | 02-03-2017

AR Revives Voter ID Law ARKANSAS’ Republican-controlled House approved a voter ID bill last week ( HB 1047 ) that is nearly identical to a voter ID law unanimously struck down by the state’s Supreme Court in 2014. Four of the justices in...

TX Gov. Blocks Funding to ‘Sanctuary City’ | 02-03-2017

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) blocked $1.5 million in state funding for courts, crime victim services and other programs in Austin, the state’s most liberal city, after the city’s sheriff, Sally Hernandez, a Democrat, announced that jails there...

New GOP Majorities Push Dem-Unfriendly Agenda: | 01-13-2017

Republicans won control of a few more governors’ offices and state legislative chambers in November, giving them command of both branches of the government in states where Democrats had previously maintained footholds, including Iowa, Kentucky,...

Texas Cities Troubled by Pension Liabilities | 12-09-2016

Chicago has the largest unfunded pension liability of any city in the nation - more than seven times its annual operating revenues - according to a new report from Moody’s. But four of the other cities on the financial analysis firm’s list...

Just So Much Wrong With This | 11-04-2016

Texas state House candidate Kyle Biedermann isn’t wasting any time living down to the shady stereotype many folks have of elected officials. As the Texas Tribune reports , Biedermann recently took great pains to invite a host of Lone Star State...

Crime & Punishment - October 24 2016 | 10-21-2016

Crime In Florida The FLORIDA Supreme Court rules that death penalty verdicts must be unanimous. The ruling strikes down a Sunshine State law that allowed for capital punishment verdicts when just 10 of 12 jurors agree. It is yet to be determined how...

As Good As It Gets | 10-21-2016

And then there is this: the campaign video from Texas County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty. In an election season most people will desperately be trying to forget, this is one you will want to remember and maybe even share with your friends...who actually...

Social Policy - October 24 2016 | 10-21-2016

Social Policy In Texas A federal judge in TEXAS reaffirms that a temporary injunction barring federal officials from enforcing a school directive on transgender bathrooms applied to every state in the nation. The Obama administration was seeking to...

States Sue To Block Federal Overtime Rule | 09-30-2016

Twenty-one predominantly Republican-governed states have filed a federal lawsuit challenging a new Obama administration rule extending mandatory overtime pay to millions of American workers. The rule, which was finalized in May and takes effect in December...

He Came, He Danced, He Went Home | 09-30-2016

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s dancing days are over. Yes, as the Houston Press reports, Perry last week became the second dancer this season to be voted off the ABC reality dancing show “Dancing With The Stars.” Alas, his demise came...

Voting Restrictions Running Out Of Steam In States? | 09-09-2016

New voting restrictions will be in effect in 15 states for the first time in a presidential election this year. But courts have blocked or loosened such restrictions in a few states. And legislative activity aimed at expanding voter access is outpacing...

Politics In Brief - September 12 2016 | 09-09-2016

Feds Say TX Misleading Voters about Voter ID Requirement The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a motion in federal court accusing TEXAS officials of misleading voters by telling them they can cast a ballot without a form of photo ID specified by...

Budgets In Brief - September 5 2016 | 09-02-2016

TX DPS Wants $1B for Border Security The TEXAS Department of Public Safety is seeking an additional $320 million in the state’s next two-year budget - on top of its current funding base of $750 million - to beef up border security. (DALLAS MORNING...

Public Pension Return Rates Lagging In States | 08-19-2016

Investment returns for large public pension plans in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2015 were significantly lower than the plans’ assumed rates of return, according to money management news source Pensions & Investments . The one-year return...

Court Battle Over TX Voter ID Continues | 08-19-2016

As the Cap J reported in its last issue , a federal judge approved a plan this month that will allow Texans without government-issued IDs to vote in the November election if they sign a declaration of citizenship and present proof of residence, such as...

Most States Allow Transportation Network Companies | 08-12-2016

Thirty-seven states have passed laws regulating transportation network companies (TNCs), according to the R Street Institute and LexisNexis State Net’s legislative tracking database. The most recent addition to that group is Delaware, where Gov...

Politics In Brief - August 15 2016 | 08-12-2016

Judge Approves Watered Down TX Voter ID Law U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos approved a plan last week eliminating the mandatory requirement for TEXAS voters to present an ID before casting a ballot in the November election. The change, necessitated...

Tough Day For GOP-Backed Voter Restrictions | 08-05-2016

Local and federal courts struck down Republican-backed voter restrictions in three states in a single day last month. A three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a North Carolina law restricting the number of acceptable forms...

Politics In Brief - August 1 2016 | 07-29-2016

CO Voters to Consider Minimum Wage Increase A proposal to raise COLORADO’s minimum wage appears to be headed for the state’s November ballot, with backers saying this month that they expected to deliver 200,000 petition signatures to the...

Immigration - August 1 2016 | 07-29-2016

Massachusetts Endorses HB 4488 The MASSACHUSETTS House and Senate each endorse HB 4488 , a bill that would bring the Bay State in compliance with the 2001 federal Real ID law. That law requires states to issue driver’s licenses that are more...

Texas et al Win Challenge To Obama Immigration Policy | 07-15-2016

Twenty-five states joined Texas in challenging President Obama’s executive actions on immigration policy in November 2014, expanding temporary relief from deportation for undocumented immigrants. Fifteen states also filed amicus, or “friend...

Little Correlation Between Gun Laws and Worst Mass Shootings | 07-08-2016

Three of the eight states where the deadliest mass shootings since 1984 have occurred - California, Connecticut and New York - are among those with the strictest gun laws, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. None of those shootings took...

Budgets In Brief - July 11 2016 | 07-08-2016

More Tax Cuts Coming to AR ARKANSAS Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said he’ll likely seek more tax cuts with the state having ended last fiscal year with a $177 million budget surplus. “The sky has not fallen because we had a tax cut, but as expected...

Texas Abortion Ruling Reverberates In Other States | 07-01-2016

Last week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a 2013 Texas law requiring doctors and clinics that perform abortions to meet hospital-like standards resulted in the almost immediate effective invalidation of similar laws facing legal challenge...

High Court Rulings Thwart Abortion, Affirmative Action Opponents | 07-01-2016

In the many months since the February death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, High Court observers have pondered the potential impact of his absence and the ongoing vacancy of the seat Senate Republicans refuse to fill. Now the time for pondering...

How ‘Bout Them Cowboys! | 07-01-2016

Sports fans know that in Texas the Dallas Cowboys are akin to royalty. But that doesn’t mean everyone is okay putting up with the bad behavior of a spoiled prince. As the Dallas Morning News reports , state Sen. Royce West has filed suit against...

Education - July 5 2016 | 07-01-2016

Education In TX The U.S. Supreme Court rejects a call to abolish a policy at the University of TEXAS that considers an applicant’s race in admissions. The court ruled that the university system had complied with earlier court rulings that allow...

Immigration - July 5 2016 | 07-01-2016

Immigration In TX The U.S. Supreme Court deadlocks on a challenge to President Barack Obama’s executive order allowing children of unauthorized immigrants to avoid deportation and to live and work legally in the United States. The no-decision...

Social Policy - July 5 2016 | 07-01-2016

Social Policy In TX The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a TEXAS law that requires clinics that provide abortions to meet surgical-center operating standards and doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The High Court determined in...

TX Supreme Court Upholds ‘Robin Hood’ School Funding System | 05-20-2016

The Texas Supreme Court ruled this month that the state’s “Robin Hood” school funding system, under which wealthy districts share property tax revenues with poorer districts, while not perfect, is not unconstitutional. “Our...

Supreme Court Refuses to Block TX Voter ID Law - For Now | 05-05-2016

Last month the U.S. Supreme Court refused for the second time to block Texas’ voter ID law - the strictest in the nation, allowing only certain forms of photo ID, including gun licenses but not student IDs - from remaining in effect. The justices...

Drone Laws Passed In Over Half of States In Last Few Years | 05-05-2016

Since 2013, 27 states have enacted laws addressing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The laws generally define what UAS or drones are and specify how they can be used by law enforcement...

Supreme Court Upholds One Person, One Vote | 04-08-2016

In one of the most consequential cases of its current term, Evenwel v. Abbott , the U.S. Supreme Court voted unanimously last week to uphold the standard of one person, one vote in drawing election districts. Two Texas voters had argued that only eligible...

Governors In Brief - April 11 2016 | 04-08-2016

Bentley Impeachment Effort Moves Forward As expected, Rep. Ed Henry (R) filed articles of impeachment against ALABAMA Gov. Robert Bentley (R) last week. Those articles accuse the governor of, among several things, “willful neglect of duty,”...

More States Oppose Obama Immigration Policy Than Support | 03-18-2016

Texas and twenty-five other states have filed suit to block President Obama’s executive actions in November shielding undocumented immigrants from deportation for three years, according to the Pew Research Center. Twelve states have filed an amicus...

The Crazy Is Strong in This One | 03-11-2016

With all the attention on GOP presidential aspirant and narcissistic loony toon Donald Trump, it is easy to forget he’s far from the only one of his ilk on the scene. Case in point comes from Texas, where the Travis County Republican Party is beside...