Government

Government
11:29 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Feds Deny Education Commissioner's Testing Request

TEA Commissioner Michael Williams.
Christopher C. Leonard cc

The U.S. Department of Education has denied the Texas Education Commissioner’s waiver to opt-out of  testing requirements connected to the No Child Left Behind program.

Since taking office, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams has petitioned the federal government to allow Texas to opt-out of 15 provisions in the Department of Education program known as No Child Left Behind.

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Bexar County
9:12 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Commissioners Approve Bexar County Budget

Bexar County

  Bexar County Commissioners have approved a budget of $1.6 billion for the coming fiscal year, which includes an increase of $2.5 million in record management funds -- things like fees for platting and marriage licenses.

The property tax rate did not increase, but Precinct 3 Commissioner Kevin Wolff explained in court Tuesday morning that in good economic times when property values go up, taxpayers are often confused about why their tax bill is higher.

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Texas Supreme Court
5:14 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Gov. Perry Appoints New Chief Justice

Texas Supreme Court justices, January 2013. Hecht is seated on left (in blue tie) and Jefferson is seated in the middle.
State of Texas

Gov. Rick Perry has announced a successor to lead the Texas Supreme Court following the resignation of Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson.

Perry has appointed Justice Nathan Hecht to replace Jefferson, who announced his departure starting Oct. 1. Hecht has become known as a champion of indigent defense ensuring that everyone has access to legal aid.

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Redistricting - 2014 Election
12:23 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Court Approves Interim Maps For 2014 Election

San Antonio-area state House districts approved by the 83rd Legislature 2013-2014.
State of Texas District Viewer

Late Friday a federal court in San Antonio decided that the State of Texas could use voting maps from this summer’s special session on a temporary basis ahead of the 2014 March primaries. 

The decision is the latest in the on-going battle in the state over redistricting and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is claiming this one as a victory.

Abbott released this statement:

"We are pleased that the court agreed to allow the 2014 elections to proceed on time using the new maps drawn by the legislature. That certainly benefits all Texans."  

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Non-Discrimination Ordinance
3:59 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Abbott Says San Antonio NDO Is Subject To Legal Challenge

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.
State of Texas

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said there is a provision in the city’s non-discrimination ordinance that silences anyone who may have a disagreement with the newly updated ordinance, which provides protections for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community.

"I believe that violates the first amendment -- both freedom of speech and freedom of religion -- and violates the Texas Constitution. And I believe that makes the San Antonio ordinance subject to a legal challenge," Abbott said.

Now the question is if Abbott will take legal action.

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Transportation
1:03 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Clock Ticking For Options In South Texas Gravel Road Conversion Plan

At least 83 miles of roads in South Texas could be converted to gravel in a TxDOT proposal.
Larry D. Moore Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Stakeholders met with oil company officials to discuss a solution to the South Texas gravel road conversion proposed by the Texas Department of Transportation.

Both sides aired out their frustrations against TxDOT’s plan to quickly convert the crumbling roads in South Texas to gravel or have counties take over the maintenance for these state roads.

Marathon Oil’s Hugo Gutierrez said his company is willing to shoulder some of the transportation cost, but that becomes complicated:

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2014 Election
10:18 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Davis Supporters Will Continue To Wait, Opponents "Look Bad"

Sen. Davis speaking at a pro-choice rally outside the capitol on July 1.
Senator Wendy R. Davis Facebook

Earlier this month, state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, postponed her announcement about the 2014 governor’s race to tend to her ailing father. Now that he has passed away, her decision continues to sit in limbo.

Grace Garcia runs the women’s democratic group Annie’s List, one of the groups leading the charge for Davis to run for governor, and said they are taking a break from the politics until "the appropriate time."

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Government
4:43 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Grand Jury Appointed To Hear Coercion Case Against Gov. Perry And Travis County DA

rickperry.org

A specially-appointed grand jury is being seated in two unique cases; a criminal coercion complainant against Governor Rick Perry and separate case against Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg.  

Although the cases are connected in some respects, they will have separate trial dates if they make it past the grand jury.  Craig McDonald, with Texans for Public Justice, who filed the complainant against Republican Governor Rick Perry for his threat and veto of the budget of State’s Public Integrity Unit, says having a grand jury selected is a good sign.

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Texas Redistricting
10:36 am
Thu September 5, 2013

A Win For Davis In Redistricting Suit Against Abbott, State

As Wendy Davis mourns the loss of her father and weighs a run for governor, she can count the recent court ruling as a victory.
David Martin Davies TPR News

A Federal court in San Antonio has ruled in favor of state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, in a redistricting case that at one time threatened to dismantle her senate district.

The federal three-judge panel has decided to throw out Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s claims that the 2011 Republican-drawn map that broke down Davis' district into four to five white-dominated districts was valid.

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City Government
8:26 am
Thu September 5, 2013

San Antonio City Council Hears From Public On Eve Of Historic Non-Discrimination Revision Vote

Councilman Ray Lopez, along with Ron Nirenberg, listens to people speak in favor and against the proposed non-discrimination ordinance.
Ryan Loyd TPR News

It was one of the last chances residents had to speak directly to each council member about a proposed revision to San Antonio’s non-discrimination ordinance.

More than 700 people – more than last week – signed up. After midnight, Mayor Julián Castro had those who had yet to speak line up so they could approach the podium quickly because the council will be back in the morning to hear from more citizens ahead of its expected vote on the matter.

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