Texas is the second most populous state in the country, with the nation’s second highest GDP, after California. It also holds the dubious honor of having the lowest percentage of people with a high school diploma (81.4% for fiscal year 2012), among U.S. states. And not surprisingly, perhaps, it has among the lowest spends nationally per student, per year, on education, where it is ninth from last.
A member of the Texas House is using a 2013 study on how Texans view marijuana prohibition as the basis for a proposal to decriminalize the possession of the drug, used for both recreational and medicinal purposes, and drop criminal penalties associated with being caught with it.
A Catholic-supported group has been able to raise enough private funds to have a Nativity scene on display inside the Texas State Capitol, the week before Christmas. And the Texas Nativity Scene Project, the group that put this together, said the presence of the manger scene in the Capitol building is a win for those trying to keep the “Christ in Christmas.”
Bexar County Commissioners have finalized the county’s wish list for the next legislative session.
More than half of next year's Legislative Agenda falls into the category of “do no harm.”
Those items - almost 20 items on the list - involve policy positions on issues that are already in place, but on which commissioners want to take a stand in case any bills arise that would affect the status quo.
Commissioner Kevin Wolff said they want to ensure continued support for the military, which makes a $13 billion impact on the local economy every year.
Should the state of Texas provide stated additional legal protection for an individual’s right to religious freedom when it concerns counties, municipalities or even homeowners’ associations? One state lawmaker thinks it does, and has authored a potential constitutional amendment ahead of the 2015 session, a clause that would protect anyone wanting to make a public expression of their religious beliefs.
The state’s highest criminal court will soon decide on whether a Texas law, banning the desecration of the flag, is constitutional. The attorneys for defendant Terrance Johnson, who said his right to despoil the flag was protected under the First Amendment, have said freedom of speech and expression should not be contingent on the method used to destroy a flag.
Some lawmakers at the state Capitol are taking time out of their schedules to let Texas school districts know students, teachers and school administrators are protected by the Attorney General’s Office this Christmas season.
Two San Antonio City Council members are through hearing arguments being presented by the city's public safety unions as they negotiate health and benefit contracts with the city. While council members hope negotiations resume, Dist. 4 Councilman Rey Saldana and Dist. 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg have made it clear that they will not be intimidated.
Going into the 2015 session, Texas Governor-elect Greg Abbott announced his legislative priorities from the state Capitol. And in keeping with promises made on the campaign trail, he promised to bring a new standard to Texas’ Pre-K program, which is connected to the state’s Kindergarten through 3rd grade program. “I want to ensure all children finish the 3rd grade reading and doing math on grade-level,” stated Abbott, emphatically.
The Texas Capitol will soon be abuzz with lawmakers returning for the session. But changes are in the air for members representing Bexar County.
According to last session’s Texas House of Representatives rankings, Bexar County’s legislative delegation held four of the top 50 spots, including Ruth Jones McClendon at No. 19, Mike Villarreal at No. 30, Jose Menendez at No. 32, and Trey Martinez Fischer at No. 35.