October 20, 2017      5:04 PM

Reappraisal of property brings war of words, limited returns

Craymer at TTARA says “Given that we’re looking at a substantial structural gap next session, I’m not sure it’s a game changer…It’s added to a long list of pressures on the budget, but it doesn’t change the overall budget story.”

Reappraisals of property after Hurricane Harvey may not show up on current tax bills, but it definitely has shown up on the radar of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and his Democratic challenger Mike Collier.

Collier, in an opinion piece published in the Corpus Christi Caller Times, blamed Patrick’s fixation with bathrooms for the failure to pass a mandatory reappraisal bill last session. Patrick followed with a piece this week blaming the House and accusing Rep. Sarah Davis, R-Houston, of sandbagging the Senate bill because she wanted her name on the bill. Patrick omitted that the Senate killed 80 percent of Davis’ bills and no senator filed a bill on it during the special session. She did. Davis was also the House sponsor of Sen. Van Taylor’s bill on the issue.

By Kimberly Reeves

October 20, 2017      5:03 PM

Straus keynotes TFRW lunch, urges GOP women to seek office

“I think we can all agree that there need to be more Republican women serving at the state Capitol. We need your experience, your background, and your perspective”

DALLAS – To a warm reception from the crowd gathered at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Speaker of the Texas House Joe Straus on Friday gave the keynote speech at the Texas Federation of Republican Women’s luncheon. It’s part of the group’s 31st biennial convention unfolding this weekend in DFW.

“It’s great to be with the people who made this the most reliably red state in the country,” Straus said. Speaker Straus touted the state’s Republican leadership for making Texas as big as “its trucks, its economy and Republican majority.”

Noting that he’s helped the party claim majorities at other state capitols in his role with the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, Straus said he’s often asked how Texas stays rock solid GOP.

By James Russell

October 20, 2017      5:02 PM

Audio: A Week of the 'Asinine, Insensitive and Insane'

This week's Texas Take podcast features Rick Perry defending President Trump's comments on fallen soldiers, Gov. Abbott taking heat for the latest anti-Straus PAC and more

Each week, Quorum Report Editor Scott Braddock and Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau Chief Mike Ward break down the week’s political news in the Texas Take Podcast. It’s a project of Quorum Report and the Chronicle in collaboration with Texas Public Radio in San Antonio.

You can listen to the latest show via Texas Public Radio by clicking here.

Next week, the show will be presented in part by the Texas Association of Realtors. For information on how your group or company can sponsor the show, contact Scott at ksbraddock@gmail.com

October 20, 2017      4:56 PM

Appeals court blocks undocumented teenager in Texas access to abortion for now

Here’s the latest from CBS News.

October 20, 2017      4:56 PM

Press Releases: People on the move, campaign videos, investigations, and more

Click the Press Releases button above for the latest

October 20, 2017      12:12 PM

Finance Chair Nelson announces staffing changes

Dave Nelson moves up to Senate Finance Committee Director, Travis Broussard will now be chief of staff to Chair Nelson

Here’s the full announcement from Sen. Jane Nelson’s office.

October 20, 2017      12:03 PM

Hearing dates announced for Texas House Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness

Hearings will be held Nov 15th and on Dec 5th

The hearings will be held at the Texas Capitol. Those with questions about logistics should direct them to Chairman Byron Cook’s office: toni.barcellona@house.texas.gov

October 19, 2017      5:04 PM

Anti-Straus PAC seizes on Abbott's anger at the House to launch 2018 effort

Dave Carney quote resurrected: “It’s pretty clear the culture of the House is corrupt”; said one House Republican: “So much for the governor wanting to work with us”

Some in Texas House leadership were privately seething at Gov. Greg Abbott following the leaked announcement of a new PAC aimed at “toppling” Speaker Joe Straus and other Republicans considered to be on his team in the upcoming primary elections.

That’s because the announcement of the New Leadership PAC, apparently headed by Austin businessman Don Dyer – who’s long been aligned with Texas Public Policy Foundation board members including Empower Texans Chairman Tim Dunn – featured quotes from Abbott’s top political consultant Dave Carney.

Those TPPF board members, along with Dyer, spent heavily in 2016 to try to unseat Straus and other House Republicans.

By Scott Braddock

October 19, 2017      5:03 PM

TFRW kicks off 31st convention in Dallas

Huffines greets patriots, Bush defends Alamo, and a top Republican warns the GOP to stop the bitterness in primaries: “We have to be strong, so strong. But we have to be dignified”

DALLAS –– “We’re not just the most powerful Republican women’s organization in the country, but the planet,” said an official with the Texas Federation of Republican Women as the organization kicked off its 31st biennial convention today.

The largely celebratory event featured speeches from multiple party and elected officials. But it also highlighted the type of future leaders the relatively mainstream organization is eyeing.

By James Russell

October 19, 2017      5:02 PM

TDCJ denies claims of inmate mistreatment during Hurricane Harvey

The prison system’s tab for Hurricane Harvey runs about $2.5 million in overtime for the evacuation effort and possibly up to $1 million for damage to facilities

Officials at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice strongly reject claims that inmates were mistreated or neglected in either Beaumont or Rosharon during Hurricane Harvey.

Chair Dale Wainwright noted the claims, outlined in this complaint and in this article in The Nation, during his comments at this morning’s Texas Board of Criminal Justice meeting. The complaint outlines allegations from dozens of prisoners who claimed to be denied access to restroom and shower facilities, as well as limited food and water.

By Kimberly Reeves

October 19, 2017      4:55 PM

Patrick scores the endorsements of Cruz, Abbott and Cornyn

Gov. Abbott said Patrick “has proven to be a partner in our fight to advance conservative ideas, preserve Texas values and keep our state the envy of the nation.”

Here’s the full release from the Dan Patrick Campaign.

October 19, 2017      10:35 AM

Gov. Abbott endorses Van Taylor for Congress

“Van is exactly the type of courageous leader we need in Washington," Abbott said

October 18, 2017      5:03 PM

Rep. Tinderholt questions goal of Texas House Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness

He’s concerned that “a handful of politically correct and socially liberal corporations are attempting to speak on behalf of all businesses in Texas”

Someone in the Texas House had to be the first. Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, on Wednesday became the first Republican to question the goals of the recently created Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness to be chaired by Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana.

Speaker Joe Straus last week announced the panel’s creation amid the simmering fight over the “bathroom bill” that went down in flames during the regular and special sessions this year. That was despite the enthusiastic support of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and tepid support from Gov. Greg Abbott, who according to our reporting was privately telling contributors not to worry about it because it would die in the House thanks to Straus’ opposition.

By Scott Braddock

October 18, 2017      5:02 PM

Press Releases: Legislative Honor Roll, endorsements, and more

Click the Press Releases button above for the latest

October 18, 2017      4:59 PM

Judge orders Trump administration to allow abortion for undocumented teen in Texas

Here’s the latest via the Washington Post.

October 17, 2017      6:00 PM

Paxton urges US Supreme Court to add Texas redistricting to the docket

Matt Angle counters “The reason it’s worth continuing is that whatever map is in place is going to be the baseline…It’s the mark from which you are not supposed to retrogress.”

Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a brief calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the Texas redistricting case and reverse what it calls the district court’s “novel constitutional-for-the-courts-but-not-for-the-Legislature theory” in attempting to force the state to redraw lines.

Paxton’s appeals of a federal three-judge panel opinion in September has already delayed the implementation of any potential revised maps for the 2018 election cycle. That makes the so-called 2012 interim maps, known as Plan C235, the permanent maps through 2020.

By Kimberly Reeves

October 17, 2017      5:59 PM

In bid for Speaker, Rep. King proposes changes to committee selection and how bills are brought to the floor

"In recent decades the power over legislation has moved more and more away from members and into the Office of the Speaker,” King said

In his bid to be the next presiding officer of the Texas House of Representatives, Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, is proposing term limits for speaker and chairmen, some changes to how committees are chosen, and arguing that any bill with two-thirds support should be brought to the floor even if it hasn’t been voted on in committee.

In a letter that we are now told was sent to all the district offices of members on Oct 11, Rep. King said his goal "is to empower individual members and increase transparency in our rules and procedures."

There was no comment from Speaker Joe Straus’ office. Straus has said, though, that he is running for another term and is happy to have competition for the job.

By Scott Braddock

October 17, 2017      4:45 PM

Press Releases: BBQ Bill, campaign announcements, fundraising, and more

Click the Press Releases button above for the latest

October 17, 2017      4:11 PM

Texas business tax climate ranked thirteenth in the United States

Tax Foundation State Business Tax Climate Index says top states are Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, and Florida

The rankings can be seen here.

October 16, 2017      5:59 PM

Head of Breitbart Texas slams Empower Texans and Dunn, signals involvement in primaries

Brandon Darby of Breitbart comments on Empower Texans and other third-party groups: “They define greater good, and everyone else can go to hell? I don’t think so."

This was in our NewsClips and is worth highlighting in The Buzz since this nugget was a bit buried in this column by our friend Jay Leeson in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal:

He (Brandon Darby) brings up a recent conversation wherein a prominent political consultant pleaded with him to ease up on a stray West Texas lawmaker. “He told me, ‘People need to have courage to vote for what’s not in their own people’s interest, but for the state’s greater good.’ Well, whose interest is that, who defines ‘greater good’? Should it be a billionaire in Midland-Odessa and couple of people who run his organization?” he asks, with an intentionally unsubtle reference to Tim Dunn, Michael Quinn Sullivan and Empower Texans.

“They define greater good, and everyone else can go to hell? I don’t think so…It’s like the money gospel preachers who convince an elderly populace that in order to get saved and get blessings, they need to dip into their savings and give it to them, while these preachers live lavish lifestyles.”

October 16, 2017      5:58 PM

Press Releases: Election announcements, film incentives, school safety, and more

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October 13, 2017      5:39 PM

TWIA will spend the balance in its catastrophe reserve fund to pay Harvey storm claims

The $741 million in the trust fund is the first layer of liquidity for the windstorm insurer of last resort in the state; an additional layer of bond proceeds will be tapped to help cover the remainder of claims

The state’s windstorm insurer of last resort expects to spend what’s left in its catastrophe reserve trust fund to cover losses incurred by Hurricane Harvey.

In a statement released today, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association said it expects to record losses of $1.13 billion from the storm, which struck the Port Aransas/Rockport area on Aug. 25 as a Category 3 storm.

By John Reynolds

October 13, 2017      5:37 PM

Audio: Fighting over Harvey aid and a bathroom bill

The latest Texas Take podcast features an angry Gov. Abbott taking on fellow Republicans in the U.S. House plus a fresh debate over medical marijuana in Texas

Each week, Quorum Report Editor Scott Braddock and Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau Chief Mike Ward break down the week’s political news in the Texas Take Podcast. It’s a project of Quorum Report and the Houston Chronicle in collaboration with Texas Public Radio in San Antonio.  

Click here to check out the latest show. You can also subscribe to the show on iTunes by searching for Texas Take.

October 13, 2017      5:11 PM

Press Releases: Iran reactions, ACA reactions, coal plants shutting down, announcements, endorsements, and more

Click the Press Releases button above to see all the latest and greatest

October 13, 2017      2:54 PM

Smith: The Dark Carnivals Our Elections Have Become

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith argues that there are several reasons our democratic elections are out of control.

Consider a hypothetical. A business broker has been carrying messages for an alleged party to a criminal conspiracy. The broker is only providing a venue for the delivery of the information. As a federal investigation into the conspiracy widens, the broker, already part of the investigation, decides to destroy this customer’s communications, normally archived as a regular part of its business practices.

It’s not hard to imagine that the proprietors of such a business in that circumstance might worry that maybe the destruction of evidence wasn’t the brightest of moves.  Visions of the pokey, the hoosegow, the joint, the calaboose, that is, prison, might float menacingly through their minds.

Now, for the non-hypothetical.

The full column by Glenn W. Smith is in the R&D Department.

By Glenn W. Smith

October 13, 2017      10:03 AM

Chairman Larson announces for reelection