Government

Texas Legislature - Business
12:16 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Last Of Perry Business Tax Cuts Goes Through With Key Oversight Provision

Ryan Poppe TPR News

A Democratic senator was able to add a last-minute provision to the last of Gov. Rick Perry’s business tax cut bills calling for more oversight and monitoring of the program. 

Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, was able to add his provision to House Bill 500, which provides  Texas small businesses with $600 million in tax cuts.

The attachment bill would have the Texas Comptroller review the businesses receiving a tax cut to be sure such cuts were effective.

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City Growth
11:02 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Southside Street Project Boosting Growth For Area Schools, Businesses

Landsat image of Southeast San Antonio in 1974.
U.S. Geological Survey

The city has begun a major "complete streets" project on Villaret Boulevard, which spans east and west on the city's Southside.

Once completed, the $7 million project will double the width of Villaret Boulevard the length of Palo Alto College, a drainage system will be installed to prevent flooding in future storms, and there will be lighting, curbs, sidewalks, and bike lanes.

These improvements are needed to  keep up with continued growth of Palo Alto, as well as housing and industry locating in that part of town.

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Medicaid Expansion
9:38 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Protesters For Medicaid Expansion Disrupt Gov. Perry At Speaking Event

Gov. Perry speaks at the Austin Chamber of Commerce.
Ryan Poppe TPR

A group of protesters managed to infiltrate Gov. Rick Perry's speech announcing the latest bill that awards tax cuts for Texas small businesses. 

Moments after the Senate gave the final passage of a bill awarding over $600 million in tax cuts for small businesses, Perry made the announcement at the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

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Texas Legislature
3:03 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

House Democrats Successfully Kill Welfare Drug Testing Bill

Ryan Poppe TPR News

House Democrats were able to stall a vote on a bill that would have mandated welfare recipients be drug screened before receiving benefits, an action that ultimately killed the bill entirely.  

The bill would have required anyone applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits to be screened for illicit drug use and it immediately struck a chord with House Democrats like Rep. Sylvester Turner of Houston.

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City Government
12:57 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Mixed Review For Anti-Discrimination Proposal

The council's governance committee met in the main chamber halls because many people on both sides of the anti-discrimination issue showed up to hear the discussion.
Ryan Loyd TPR

When it comes to city hiring practices or contracts the council awards, District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal believes everyone should be included in protections against discrimination, which is why he’s suggesting an update to San Antonio’s anti-discrimination policies to include gender identity, sexual orientation, and veterans.

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Texas Legislature
6:25 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Legislature Tightens Cell Phone Search Privacy

Chris Eudaily TPR

You may not be aware that currently police do not need a warrant to search through your GPS locator in your cell phone, but that is about to change. 

The house passed House Bill 1608, which was added as an amendment to Senate Bill 1052, and stops the warrantless search of a person’s cell phone records.

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Medicaid Expansion
1:14 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

What Medical Options Are Left For Texas’ Working Poor?

Ryan Poppe TPR News

Now that every opportunity for Medicaid expansion is gone at the state capitol, the lawmaker who authored the GOP plan, which eventually failed, explained what medical options are left for the state’s working poor.

Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, is a doctor and has seen first hand the problems the 1.5 million Texans without health insurance face when it comes to seeking medical care.

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Texas Legislature
5:14 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Bill To Prohibit Enforcement Of Federal Gun Laws Dies In Senate

Flickr user David Trawin (trawin) cc

House Bill 928 would criminalize any police officer enforcing a new federal gun law in the state of Texas, and it immediately struck tensions between Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, and Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston.

"I could be for this if you take an amendment I’m going to offer to your bill," said Ellis. "I’m going to offer an amendment to close the 'gun show loophole.'"

"The criminal background checks at gun shows would doom this wonderful bill that we are trying to do right here," replied Estes.

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City Government
4:01 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Bernal Gets Support, Backlash On Anti-Discrimination Expansion Proposal

District 1's Diego Bernal says the city is lagging on anti-discrimination policies and has proposed an expansion to include such groups as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.
Gonzalo Rodriguez Duable

The San Antonio City Council could soon take up an anti-discrimination ordinance to include additional groups.

District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal proposed a policy that would also be consolidated with other anti-discrimination regulations that he said are scattered about in a constellation of codes and ordinances.

City staffers are researching how to go about consolidating the policies. The council’s governance committee will meet Tuesday and decide whether to advance the issue to the full city council.

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Texas Legislature
12:44 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Both Sides Compromise To Pass State Budget Bill

Wikipedia Commons

After several late-nights of heated discussions, a joint committee of senators and representatives unanimously approved a $100 billion state budget. 

For the last week Republicans and Democrats have gone back and forth arguing about what should be left in the state’s budget and what should be left out.  

The biggest factor was how much Republicans would be willing to give up to restore funding for public education.

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