Government

News about politics and government.

Environmental Protection Agency

AUSTIN — Cities and counties statewide could no longer prohibit hydraulic fracturing under a sweeping, oil and gas industry-backed bill that has cleared the Texas Legislature.

The proposal was easily approved by the Senate on Monday after passing the House last month. It now heads to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for signature into law.

Legislators moved quickly after Denton, a university town near Dallas, voted in November to impose a local fracking ban amid environmental and safety concerns. That ordinance is now being challenged in court. Conservatives say the new restrictions are needed to prevent a patchwork of drilling laws across Texas.

But the issue has been among the most contentious in Abbott’s first legislative session.

State senators are wrangling over a bill that would protect clergy who don’t want to perform same-sex marriages.

The author of the bill is Sen. Craig Estes, a Republican from Wichita Falls. He says some religious leaders in Texas oppose gay marriage. They’re waiting to see how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the issue in June, and they want to make sure they won’t be legally required to marry same-sex couples.

Ethics Panel To Investigate After Texas Lawmaker Stickland Ejected From Hearing

May 2, 2015
Ryan E. Poppe

The chairman of the House Committee on General Investigating and Ethics said Friday he plans to investigate allegations that witnesses were signed up improperly to speak at a transportation committee meeting from which state Rep. Jonathan Stickland was escorted out. “There will be an investigation into allegations of broken rules,” said state Rep. John Kuempel, R-Seguin, the committee’s chairman. 

Late Thursday night, state Rep. Joe Pickett, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, ordered Stickland out of the hearing. Pickett, D-El Paso, accused Stickland of listing witnesses who were not in Austin as supporters of the Bedford Republican’s House Bill 142 to ban red light cameras. 

Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio

A lot of Bexar County property owners say they're in shock after getting their property appraisals in the mail this week. The values of area homes are going up, which, in turn, means higher taxes are on the way. If someone isn’t planning on selling their home, they aren’t going to be happy.

Chris Eudaily / TPR News

How much should City Council members and the mayor be paid? That’s one of the issues on the ballot as early voting continues in San Antonio’s local elections. We decided to size up the issue by talking to voters and a former mayor who knows what it takes to be an effective city official.

San Antonio council members do not currently earn a salary. They’re paid $20 for each meeting they attend, or about $1000 per year. The mayor receives a little more per meeting, earning a maximum of $4,000 a year.

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