Dan Patrick

Dan Patrick via YouTube

AUSTIN — Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens has never been shy about buttonholing elected officials, but it’s seldom been easier since Texas’ new lieutenant governor set up regular conference calls for select business leaders and donors to advise him on issues before the Legislature.

In Texas, where the wall between big money and government is like the low cattle fencing that pens the state’s ranchland, new Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s new invitation-only calls have provided an especially direct connection between the state’s business elite and the Legislature’s agenda.

“Why wouldn’t I want to learn from and communicate with the job creators? Why would we want to pass legislation that might impact our economy in a negative way?” said Patrick, who schedules bills for action, explaining the calls.

Flickr user Fibonacci Blue / cc

AUSTIN — The national debate over religious objection laws roiled again Thursday in Texas, after Republican lawmakers abruptly pushed a new proposal on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court hearing historic arguments over gay marriage.

Even advocates for same-sex couples say the bill, aimed at allowing clergy members to refuse officiating marriages that violate their beliefs, largely duplicates protections that already exist.

However, the legislation drew attention because of its timing — weeks after filing deadlines had passed in the Texas Senate and on the same day the landmark gay marriage case was heard in Washington.

Ryan E. Poppe

AUSTIN — Republican Gov. Greg Abbott met with the Honduran president last week in his first visit with a Central American leader since he took office and promised to stanch the flow of immigrants coming across the border.

It was a break from friction Abbott is confronting closer to home in the Capitol.

With six weeks left in a legislative session that began with Abbott giving largely non-contentious marching orders like ethics reforms and tax cuts — and leaving hot-button issues like gay rights and abortion aside — a standoff between the GOP in the House and Senate has put some of his agenda in gridlock.

From Texas Standard:

In a letter presented Tuesday, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s Grassroots Advisory Board called two pre-kindergarten enhancement bills in the Texas Legislature “a threat to parental rights.”

The letter also called out the bills for being “godless” and “socialistic" — a take that's at striking odds with that of Gov. Greg Abbott, who made pre-K funding a priority during his campaign.

Bonnen: Patrick ‘Playing Games’ With Border Security

Apr 22, 2015
Courtesy: Bob Daemmrich / The Texas Tribune

A key member of the Texas House’s Republican leadership blasted Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick as a Washington-style politician a day after the Texas Senate passed its version of a sweeping border security bill. 

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