Government

2015 State Budget
9:17 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Senate’s Proposed Budget Includes $4 Billion In Tax Cuts

Flower Mound Republican Jane Nelson is the author of the senate's budget bill SB 2 and chairwoman of the Senate Finance Committee
Credit Ryan E. Poppe

The Texas Senate leaders’ proposed state budget released this week goes the extra mile on items like border security and tax cuts, and aims to spend 6 percent more than what was budgeted for in 2013.

Despite an overwhelming number of Tea Party Republicans in the Senate and the Senate Finance Committee Chairperson, Jane Nelson, being a fiscal conservative, Nelson’s budget bill is actually $3 billion more than a budget proposal in the Texas House.  

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Tuition Regulation
10:32 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Lawmakers Push To Reclaim Control Over College Tuition Rates

Student Financial Aid Office on UT-Austin campus.
Credit Ryan E. Poppe

  The Legislature had given that authority to schools in 2003.  But now, higher tuition costs are making colleges unaffordable for many Texas students and some some lawmakers are rethinking that decision.  

It’s a cold, wintry day on the University of Texas campus in Austin,  the bells from the school’s fabled clock tower echo throughout campus. Trevor Goodchild, a senior majoring in geography,  is bundled up as he heads for the financial aid office. 

He stands in line, waiting to find out when his student loan will go through.

 

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2016 Election
7:14 pm
Sun January 25, 2015

Koch Brothers Event Drawing Republican Hopefuls Rubio, Paul, Cruz, Walker

WASHINGTON  — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is sending clear signs about an expected run for the presidency in 2016. The first-term Republican lawmaker planned to join several other potential candidates at a gathering Sunday in Palm Springs, California, organized by the conservative billionaire Koch brothers, who have a keen interest in the party’s contenders.

More than 450 allies and donors to the Koch network were to attend, with the closing event a panel discussion with Rubio and fellow Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas on domestic policy.

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2016 Election
12:37 am
Sun January 25, 2015

Texans Eyeing The White House Try To Stand Out In Crowded Iowa

Two Texans, Former Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz, joined a lineup of possible GOP presidential candidates in Iowa.
Cooper Neill Texas Tribune

DES MOINES, Iowa — The robust Christian right in early-voting Iowa plays an outsize role in helping determine the Republican presidential nominee, a political reality not lost on the parade of would-be 2016 candidates trying to draw attention at a Saturday gathering of social conservatives.

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Military Honors
4:27 pm
Sat January 24, 2015

After 64 Years, Korean War Vet MIA Laid To Rest In Texas

Remains of Korean-Army Sgt. Gilberto L. Sanchez brought home to rest at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
Credit Ryan E. Poppe

Born between the two Great Wars in October 1931, Sgt. 1st Class Gilberto Sanchez was destined for heroism in a third. The 19-year-old combat medic was serving with the 32nd infantry regiment, 7th infantry division in North Korea when he, like hundreds of other soldiers of the U.S.-led United Nations’ coalition, disappeared in December 1950, in the middle of the horror that was the Chosin Reservoir battle.

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Texas Legislature
12:20 am
Sat January 24, 2015

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Names Senate Panels; Further Sidelines Democrats

AUSTIN — Democrats in the Texas Senate were even more sidelined by the Republican majority Friday, as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced committee appointments with the minority party in charge of only two panels.

Patrick, a Tea Party favorite, had warned he was under no obligation to appoint Democrats to leadership positions for the 2015 session. The only two Democrats to get them were the longest-serving member of the Senate and a border lawmaker who has sided with the GOP in critical votes in the last two years.

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Elections
9:32 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Feb. 17 Special Runoff Election Set For House, Senate Seats

AUSTIN — Special runoff elections on Feb. 17 will choose a new member of the Texas Senate and new representatives for two House districts.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday set the election date for the last three open seats in the Texas Legislature. The biggest prize is the San Antonio Senate seat that Democrat Leticia Van de Putte has held since 1999.

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Government
4:32 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Texas Matters: SCOTUS, Disparate Impact And Discrimination In Texas Public Housing

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 is one of President Johnson's signature civil rights laws
Credit LBJ Presidential Library / public domain

The new Texas Solicitor General, Scott A. Keller, has been on the job about three weeks and already has had to stand before the U.S. Supreme Court and defend Texas.

On Wednesday, the high court heard Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs vs. The Inclusive Communities Project.

At issue is a concept called “disparate impact” and if Texas is violating disparate impact rules and discriminating against low-income, predominately African American families, in how it administers housing grants.

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Government
6:07 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Republicans Effectively Shut Out Democrats In Texas Senate

Lt Gov Dan Patrick consulting the senate parliamentarian before senate passed measure to remove two-thirds rule

  

  

On Wednesday, his first full day as Lt. Governor, Dan Patrick and most state Senate Republicans kept a promise. They changed a Senate rule that has given Democrats, the minority party in Texas for many years, a way to prevent bills from being debated. 

It’s the first time in the Senate’s history that lawmakers voted to suspend the rule known as the two-thirds majority rule for nearly all of the legislative session. For decades the rule required 21 of the 31 senators to agree before a bill could be debated. 

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4:00 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

House Passes Bill Forbidding Taxpayer Funds For Abortion

On Thursday, as thousands of people gathered at the National Mall for the annual anti-abortion March For Life, on this 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the House Republicans pushed through a move, 239 to 179, that would bar the use of taxpayer money to pay for abortions. It is likely to meet resistance in the Senate, and definitely faces a White House veto. Late Wednesday night, House Republicans leaders had canceled a vote on a more comprehensive bill that would have made most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy illegal. That bill had clauses objected to by women in the GOP itself. They said the bill did not do enough to protect rape victims.
WASHINGTON - House Republicans on Thursday formally abandoned plans to vote on a contentious bill that would make most abortions illegal after 20 weeks of pregnancy as they struggled to mend another unwelcome rift that threatens to tarnish their party's image with women and younger voters.

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