August 21, 2017      5:44 PM

SB: Abbott strategy against Texas House Republicans is ready, fire, aim

Any possible attempt by Abbott to seek retribution against rank and file House members would be random and out of spite by a governor who has not learned to govern

After nearly a solid week of non-stop broadside attacks on Texas House Republicans by Gov. Greg Abbott, a common refrain we’ve heard at Buzz Central from lawmakers and the lobby goes something like this: “Is this just posturing or is he seriously going to pick targets in the primaries?”

Make no mistake, Abbott is already effectively targeting all Republican members who unanimously voted to elect Speaker Joe Straus in January and similarly all gave their presiding officer a standing ovation at the House GOP Caucus meeting last week at the behest of Rep. Matt Schaefer, Chairman of the Freedom Caucus, who thanked Straus for his years of service.

When Abbott was profiled by Texas Monthly in October of 2013, the cover story began by highlighting his skills with a 12-gauge shotgun. The metaphor is perhaps even more appropriate now, given his scattershot approach to politically threatening members of his own party.

By Scott Braddock

August 21, 2017      5:41 PM

Press Releases: Cannabis concerns, cancer grants, ESSA, and more

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August 21, 2017      2:58 PM

Statesman: Travis County judge will not let Dukes' attorneys quit the case

"...Dukes, who has already found a replacement lawyer, told the judge she opposed her attorneys leaving the case."

The latest coverage of the case from the Austin American-Statesman is here.

August 18, 2017      5:03 PM

Crowded field forms for Rep. Dukes' Texas House seat as she faces prosecution

From a former Austin Mayor Pro Tem to an openly gay former Republican, this race will have it all

A startup founder, an immigration lawyer, a former Austin City Council member, an openly gay former Republican, and a Manor ISD board member are all part of the lineup challenging Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, for the Texas House seat she’ occupied since 1996, following a legislative session in which she missed more than 921 votes.

Dukes has been indicted on 13 counts of tampering with a governmental record and two charges of abuse of official capacity by a public servant. After letting an offer expire from the Travis County District Attorney’s Office earlier this month that would have dropped the charges against her on the condition that she resign, paid $3,500, and underwent an alcohol and drug assessment, the future status of the House seat is unclear.

In the most populated democratic primary for HD 46 since she has been a House member, at least half a dozen candidates have stepped up to challenge Dukes.

By Lyanne A. Guarecuco

August 18, 2017      5:01 PM

Paxton: No second special session, redistricting will be appealed to Supreme Court

In a legal filing today, the deadline for a decision from the AG, Paxton's office notified the court that the case is heading to the SCOTUS

August 18, 2017      5:00 PM

In fundraising email, Gov. Abbott doubles down on attacking Straus and House GOP

In email to supporters, Abbott's campaign says "Rather than work on issues important to Texans, they chose to engage in political theater and showboat on items far outside the Governor's agenda." The items the House "showboated" on, of course, included school finance and life-saving therapies for disabled children.

August 18, 2017      4:58 PM

ICYMI: Rep. Matt Shaheen will run for reelection instead of seek Senate seat

Decision clears the decks for a Huffines Caucus in the Texas Senate

August 18, 2017      4:48 PM

Adversaries in abortion debate meet in the middle on judicial bypass tweak

Protecting the anonymity of minors “needed to be assured” and nothing in the bill would allow anyone outside the court system to pinpoint the particular judge or child, although some worry about recording a date of birth

The final result of the special session’s judicial bypass bill for minors is a tentative compromise between the two sides of the abortion debate, neither of which necessarily trusts the other.

The US Supreme Court has decided a child who finds herself pregnant can bypass parental permission by seeking a judicial bypass through the courts. Two years ago, lawmakers reformed the judicial bypass process in House Bill 3994, requiring verification of age by doctors, giving judges more tools and time for decisions and requiring the court clerk to retain records.

That’s how we now know 174 judicial bypass cases were filed in 2016. Forty percent of those cases were filed in Houston. A total of 133 cases were granted, and only 4 cases were dismissed. And seven regions of the state, divided by courts of appeal, had fewer than 4 cases.

But pro-life advocates saw loopholes in the process.

By Kimberly Reeves

August 18, 2017      4:43 PM

Press Releases: Redistricting reactions, school funding, special session postmortems, and more

August 18, 2017      4:41 PM

Executive Director David Reynolds parts ways with the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association

Reynolds tells QR he is looking for other opportunities now around the Texas Capitol

August 18, 2017      4:41 PM

Chairman Darby announces for re-election

"It is an honor to serve West Texas families and businesses that provide the fuel, food, and fiber to Texas and the nation...I'm proud of the groundwork we laid this session to advance significant school finance reform to reduce Robin Hood and ensure local property taxes are not diverted to other areas of the state budget."

August 18, 2017      12:04 PM

Reports: Steve Bannon booted from White House

August 17, 2017      6:04 PM

Texas continues to play defense on redistricting questions

Abbott suggests he will take a pass on a second special session

Plaintiffs in the current redistricting challenge are drafting a new Congressional map to take to a three-judge panel in September, a move it now appears will be challenged by the state.

Comments from Gov. Greg Abbott would indicate the state will bypass a second special session and, once more, play defense on redistricting challenges.

In an interview with KXAN, Abbott talked about appealing the decision of the court.

By Kimberly Reeves

August 17, 2017      6:02 PM

Press Releases: Education, Confederate monuments, maternal mortality, bathrooms, and more

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August 16, 2017      10:24 AM

Speaker Straus attends meeting of the Texas House GOP Caucus focused on how he is elected

“If we had held the vote today, Speaker Straus would have been overwhelmingly re-elected,” said a Republican member in attendance

Roughly 80 members of the Texas House Republican Caucus met for about two hours Wednesday morning and talked about the procedures for choosing the Speaker. Speaker Joe Straus was in attendance and only described the talks as positive.

Despite social media posts this morning and over the last week describing the meeting as a referendum on the speaker’s performance, Republicans who were in attendance told Quorum Report that the meeting was, in many ways, a “love fest” for the speaker and “If we had held the vote today, Speaker Straus would have been overwhelmingly re-elected.”

By Scott Braddock

August 15, 2017      9:53 PM

The Texas Senate adjourns sine die

August 15, 2017      9:46 PM

Gov. Abbott suggests special session was a success

Abbott's spokesman John Wittman tells KXAN's Phil Prazan that "Our office believes this special session has produced a far better Texas than before."

August 15, 2017      8:58 PM

Senate still refuses to concur on House changes to SB 1, demands another special session

"We're going to fight another day," Bettencourt said. "I hope the governor calls us back at soon as possible."

August 15, 2017      7:32 PM

SB: House tells the Senate to take it or leave it

Final questions of the special center on whether Patrick wants to declare a substantive victory and whether Abbott has internalized the damage he’s done to his own ability to govern

Now that the Texas House has adjourned sine die, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is on the spot as to whether he will declare a substantive victory in his decades-long crusade against local governments and accept the fact that he’s won on his signature issue: He has now successfully forced an automatic rollback rate for cities and counties through both legislative chambers.

Yes, Patrick prefers 4 percent. But the law now includes no automatic rollback rate and only the ability to petition for an election at 8 percent. That’s the same as it was when Patrick first loaded people on buses in Houston and brought them to the Capitol to voice their outrage about property taxes way back when he was only a radio talk show host.

The chatter in the lobby just before Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dennis Bonnen took to the mic this evening was that “Senate Bill 1 is dead.”

Bonnen, however, told his colleagues he was not asking for House conferees to be appointed because he wanted to save the bill. "I'm trying to keep the bill alive," Chair Bonnen said. "If we appointed conferees now it would kill the bill because we are out of time."

The question of timing might be up for debate.

There is no doubt, though, that the Senate could simply discharge its conferees – which include no Democrats and only anti-local government crusaders – and Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, could move to concur on House changes to the property tax bill.

By Scott Braddock

August 15, 2017      6:52 PM

The Texas House adjourns Sine Die

August 15, 2017      6:47 PM

Chair Bonnen is not asking for House conferees on SB 1

"I'm trying to keep the bill alive," Chair Bonnen said. "If we appointed conferees now it would kill the bill because we are out of time."

August 15, 2017      6:27 PM

Updated: After heated debate, Texas House concurs on changes to school finance package

Vote on HB 21 was 94 to 46; vote on HB 30 was 118 to 24

Although they were unsatisfied with the version of HB 21 that came back from the Senate, House members ultimately voted in favor of the temporary fix for the state’s school finance system with a 94-46 vote.

“To say I’m disappointed is an understatement,” said Chairman Dan Huberty, R-Kingwood, as he asked for concurrence on Senate changes to HB 21. Huberty asked members to vote for the bill because it was “the right thing to do,” even though several aspects of the bill differed from House’s original version.

The biggest of these changes is the primary source of funding: deferral of managed care payment, proposed by the Senate, as opposed to using the Economic Stabilization Fund, which the House had approved prior to sending the bill to the Senate.

August 15, 2017      6:02 PM

Redistricting may now compel a second special session

Paxton has three days to declare whether the state intends to offer a legislative fix

A three-judge federal panel has offered up an ultimatum on the Texas Congressional maps: Decide to fix CD 27 and 35 now or we’ll meet in September and fix it for you.

Today’s decision only addresses Congressional maps, and it is a clear message the court is serious about fixing before candidates file for primary races in December.

By Kimberly Reeves

August 15, 2017      5:16 PM

Federal court finds Congressional Districts 27 and 35 are unconstitutional

That's Doggett and Farenthold

Check out the ruling by clicking here.

August 15, 2017      5:05 PM

Texas House concurs on changes to tree bill, sends to Gov. Abbott

119-23 was the vote

August 15, 2017      5:03 PM

Press Releases: Endorsements, DACA, property taxes, Planned Parenthood, and more

Click the Press Releases button above for the latest

August 15, 2017      9:05 AM

Texas House GOP Caucus meeting moved to Wednesday at 8:30am

It will be at the Reagan building in JHR 120, per email from Chair Tan Parker

August 15, 2017      12:48 AM

Senate gives final passage to school finance package HB 21 and HB 30

Final vote on HB 30 was 25 to 6; final vote on HB 30 was 26 to 5

August 15, 2017      12:35 AM

Texas Senate requests conference one SB 1

Conferees are Bettencourt, Buckingham, Creighton, Hancock and Taylor of Collin

August 15, 2017      12:31 AM

Senate tries to save tree bill, makes changes to fix problems cited by Speaker Straus

Straus had returned HB 7 to the Senate saying amendments related to regulations in ETJs and dealing with certain sized trees were not germane. Senators stripped out those provisions and sent it back to the House

August 14, 2017      10:56 PM

Senate pushes hard on school finance deal, advances $351 million for school districts, $212 million for TRS-Care

Vote was 25 to 6 on HB21 and 26 to 5 on HB 30 on second reading

The special session’s school finance bills made it to the floor of the Texas Senate on Monday night and the ragged edges of continuing negotiations were evident.

Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, admitted some aspects of negotiations were ongoing, but that the House had agreed to consider using a deferral of a managed care payment to finance what may end up being a short-term finance fix and funds to shore up TRS-Care.

Privately, House members said Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, was reticent to put the funding mechanism on the table, for fear it would put more stress on a state health care system already strained by funding cuts. No doubt the Senate’s refusal to restore cuts to critical therapy services during the regular session would be on the minds of the House leadership.

By Kimberly Reeves

August 14, 2017      5:54 PM

House moves today signal logjam is ending over school finance for now

The Senate has yet to act on HB 21 and HB 30

Earlier in the day, Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, shook off Tea Party objections that the House wasn’t being tough enough in Senate Bill 1, the property tax bill, sticking to the 6 percent rollback rate and adding appraisal district reform, House Bill 32, to the bill.

That property tax bill was a must-get for both Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott. It was followed by Sen. Larry Taylor’s ask: an interim school finance commission. The commission’s chief opponent, Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Kingwood, made sure an exchange that linked SB 1 and HB 21 was reduced to writing and added to the journal. 

By Kimberly Reeves

August 14, 2017      4:56 PM

Texas House passes SB16 to third reading on a vote of 142 to 2

August 14, 2017      3:30 PM

Texas House gives final passage to SB 1

Over objections of Freedom Caucus, leadership muscles through the bill on third reading with 6% rollback rate intact

August 14, 2017      3:29 PM

Texas House condemns hate in Charlottesville, denounces white nationalist rally planned for A&M

“We call upon the Texas A&M system and university administrators, and all of our state leadership, students, alumni, to unequivocally denounce and fight against these violent groups and their venom…”

Texas House members gathered around Representative Helen Giddings, D-DeSoto, on Monday afternoon to condemn the white supremacist group violently protesting in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend.

Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old woman protesting the white supremacist group, died when a car plowed through a crowd of counter-protesters, killing her and injuring at least 19 other people. Two Virginia state troopers who were monitoring the riots, H. Jay Cullen and Berke Bates, also died when their helicopter crashed on Saturday evening.

Rep. Giddings also called on Texas A&M University to denounce an upcoming white supremacist rally scheduled to take place in College Station on September 11. Rep. Paul Workman, R-Austin, said he and other TAMU alums plan to send TAMU a letter urging them to ban the white supremacist rally.

By Lyanne A. Guarecuco

August 14, 2017      2:28 PM

Texas House adopts fiscally conservative calendar rule on amendments to SB 19, TRS-Care

Under the rule, the Senate's proposed teacher pay raises would be out of order; only amendments allowed will be those that reduce the cost of the plan. Vote on the calendar rule was 86 to 45