Government

School Vouchers
2:31 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Cardinal Testifies In Favor Of School Voucher Bill, Still Unlikely To Pass

With the House banning voucher funding for private and charter schools, it is very unlikely that this new effort will yield any results.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, testified in favor of Sen. Dan Patrick's bill that provides students with tax credits or vouchers to attend a private school.

"We have parents who are committed to their child’s education and want to get them out of poor performing schools," DiNardo said. "How could any of us look these parents in the eye and say that their children should be denied an opportunity for a better future simply because the system we have now, which in many cases is failed, is the only option we are going to allow them."

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Human Trafficking
1:58 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Websites Selling Sex Advertising Avoid Liability With Senate Bill Word Change

Backpage.com

The idea behind Senate Bill 94 was to hurt human traffickers by shutting down their internet connection to customers. The law was intended to stop websites from selling ads for sex.

The women, who are often underage, are trafficked for sex, their traffickers get the money, and the websites also get a cut. The Aim Group, an online media analyst, estimated that Backpage.com took in $22 million last year from escort advertising.

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Texas Legislature
9:53 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Is Increased Sales Tax The Answer To TxDOT Debt?

Even though raising the state sales tax could help with TxDOT debt, conservative groups like the Tea Party are staunchly opposed to any tax increase.
Eileen Pace TPR

In order to curb the amount of debt owed by the Texas Department of Transportation, Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, is proposing the state raise the sales tax by one-half cent.

"Over the past ten years a large part of funding for TxDOT projects has been done by issuing debt. TxDOT has outstanding debt exceeding $12 billion. If we continue down this path it will 2045 before all these bonds are paid off and it will cost the taxpayers about $28 billion including principal and interest," Eltife said.

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U.S.-Mexico Natural Resources
4:54 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Mexican Government Authorizes Additional Water Flow Into U.S.

Mexican nationals on the south side of the Rio Grande at Boquillas, Mexico.
Lorne Matalon Marfa Public Radio

The Mexican Government has agreed to release additional water into the Rio Grande from its tributaries outside of a 79-year-old treaty on water rights as both counties face a difficult drought.

The 90-day agreement will allow additional water from the San Rodrigo River to flow into the Rio Grande and be used by the two countries.

The agreement comes a few weeks after several South Texas congressmen voiced grave concerns about water shortages.

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Texas Legislature
3:55 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Lawmaker Takes Another Crack At Legalized Gambling In Texas

Texas State Capitol in Austin.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

This is the sixth gambling bill that Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, has authored in the last decade and he is hoping for the passage of a constitutional amendment that allows Texas voters to decide on the issue of legalized gambling.

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City Council Elections
1:39 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

LGBT Group Endorses Candidates For City Election, Castro May Get Another Chance

San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro told the nation he supports marriage equality at the Democratic National Convention in Sept. 2012.
Ryan Loyd TPR News

The Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio are the only Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender organization of their kind in Bexar County to screen and endorse candidates for public office.

For endorsement consideration, candidates must fill out a questionnaire on issues like non-discrimination and during its recent review of candidates for the San Antonio City Council, 22 of the 39 candidates completed their questionnaires.

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Medicaid Expansion
12:44 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Perry Meeting With Florida Governor Rick Scott At "Strategic Forum"

Perry and Florida Gov, Rick Scott could discuss Medicaid expansion, a possibility that some people think is encouraging for eventual expansion in Texas.
rickperry.org

Gov. Rick Perry is visiting West Palm Beach today to take part in roundtable discussion with Florida Gov. Rick Scott at what is being called the Palm Beach Strategic Forum.

Perry's office indicated that he is in the state to discuss his ideas about economic development, but the topic of Medicaid expansion is certainly a possibility. 

Texas Medical Association’s President Michael Spear said that much is encouraging:

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Texas Democrats
9:21 am
Mon April 8, 2013

Battleground Boerne: Democrats Enlist Castro To Help Break Republican Stronghold

Jim McGrody, president of the Kendall County Democratic Club, introduces Congressman Joaquín Castro.
Jack Morgan

  State Democrats are on the move to Turn Texas Blue, a campaign to turn around the last three decades of Republican domination.

The effort went local last week when Kendall County Democrats asked for input from Congressman Joaquín Castro.

Texas has voted Republican in the last nine general elections, and hasn’t elected a Democrat to a statewide office since the 1990s. Between the Tea-Partiers and Governor Rick Perry, Democrats are feeling the squeeze.

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State Budget
11:51 am
Fri April 5, 2013

House Passes $93 Billion Budget, Says No To Private School Vouchers

Though the House didn't fully restore education from the 2011 cuts, it did put $3.5 billion back.
Flickr user Phil Ostroff cc

The Texas House passed a $93.5 billion budget bill that bans state funding of school vouchers and open-enrollment charter schools and paves the way for accepting Medicaid expansion.

During the debate on the budget, Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Corpus Christi, introduced the amendment that prohibits the funding of school vouchers.

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Gun Violence In Schools
4:56 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Teacher Gun Training Bill Heads To House Floor For Debate/Vote

As the entire country continues to grapple with gun violence at schools, the Texas House could be close to a vote on teacher gun training.
Oleg Volt Wikipedia Commons

A bill that provides teachers with law enforcement training on how to "take-out" a gunman on campus moves one step closer to becoming law.

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