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January 20, 2021      1:58 PM

Judge orders MQ Sullivan of Empower Texans to pay $10,000 fine in case of illegal lobbying

The fine, originally levied after a 2014 Ethics Commission formal hearing, has been tied up in the courts for years

A state district court judge in Austin has ordered Empower Texans spokesman Michael Quinn Sullivan to pay $10,000 in fines after dismissing a suit he filed against the Texas Ethics Commission.

This is the case dealing with Sullivan's illegal lobbying at the Texas Capitol, without registering as required by law, back in 2010 and 2011.

As Quorum Report readers who have followed this will recall, this case led to a rare public formal hearing of the TEC in which Sullivan refused to testify, citing his First Amendment right not to speak. After that hearing in 2014, the commission fined the maximum $10,000 for the violations.

Sullivan sued and it has been tied up in the courts ever since.

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By Scott Braddock

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January 20, 2021      12:33 PM

Paxton was not on the pardon list

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January 19, 2021      3:42 PM

Success in scramble to succeed Sen. Springer in the Texas House could rely on shifting population

Cooke County dominates House District 68 in population, but Jack County turnout could be key factor

In the lightning-fast race for the open seat in the Texas House recently vacated by Sen. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, the five Republicans and one Democrat running have likely put as many miles on their cars as dollars they have raised. Election day is this coming Saturday, January 23.

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By James Russell

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January 15, 2021      7:19 PM

Speaker Phelan has $4.8 million cash on hand after raising $4.5 million, per his campaign

“I am honored that so many Texans support our vision of responsible government and getting Texas back to work,” Phelan said. “At this critical moment in our state’s history, I appreciate the backing of Texans in my district and across the state.”

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January 15, 2021      5:12 PM

DPS says threats of potential violence have prompted closure of Texas Capitol from Saturday to Wednesday

“The Texas Department of Public Safety is aware of armed protests planned at the Texas State Capitol this week and violent extremists who may seek to exploit constitutionally protected events to conduct criminal acts,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “As a result, DPS has deployed additional personnel and resources to the Capitol and are working closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Austin Police Department to monitor events and enforce the rule of law.”

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January 15, 2021      4:52 PM

People on the Move

Staffer moves, new lobby shops, trade association hires, and more

The session has begun with little fanfare, masks, COVID tests, and a first-day-of-school feeling despite the beefed up security and pandemic restrictions. Lobbyists and others who avoided the Texas Capitol on day one probably made the right call since some members were cramming special guests into their offices and, at some point, the issue became whether too many folks were in some of those rooms. It’s awkward if you’re adding to that problem with your presence.

Add to that the fact that we already have our first case of a member who has tested positive during session and the questions how all this is really supposed to work keep piling up. It will be an evolving process, it seems.

Meantime, most offices have staffed up and some new lobby shops are coming on the scene. If you have career news to share as we kickstart session don’t hesitate to send it along to ksbraddock@gmail.com and use POTM in the subject line.

Here’s the latest edition of People on the Move.

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By Scott Braddock

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January 15, 2021      2:24 PM

Texas Senate Committee Assignments are unveiled

The full list of committee assignments is here.

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January 15, 2021      9:32 AM

Rep. Deshotel tests positive for COVID-19

Deshotel told the Texas Tribune he tested positive on Thursday. Meantime, Rep. Beckley tweeted "I was informed, last night, a member in my 3 foot radius on the TX house floor tested positive for #COVID19. They did not test on Tuesday prior to the swearing in ceremony. I was on the floor weds & thurs & exposed -10 day self quarantine"

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January 14, 2021      3:38 PM

Throwing out the most contentious provisions among members, the Texas House approves rules during pandemic

A subtext of the rules discussion: The court record for the 2021 redistricting process is already taking shape

After much internal debate over limitations on amendments, a so-called “Consensus Calendar,” and a few other things, the Texas House on Thursday afternoon adopted its rules for doing legislative business during a pandemic. “It was a member driven process,” said Speaker Dade Phelan after the final vote of 141 to 0.

Saying he and a working group had listened to all sides, Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, declared “the Consensus Calendar is gone” as he laid out the rules. However, Rep. Hunter said that when it came to any tweaks intended to change the redistricting process, he would simply ask members to vote no. On partisan lines, they did.

By mid-afternoon, most of the talking on the microphones in the House was either Democrats already working to establish the court record for the 2021 redistricting process or Republicans who did not participate in the pre-discussion to eliminate contentious provisions like that defunct “Consensus Calendar.”

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By Scott Braddock

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January 14, 2021      3:17 PM

Lt. Gov. Patrick has $19.4 million in the bank after raising $4.9 million

Patrick has raised more in campaign funds than any previous Lt. Governor in Texas history, per his campaign

Here’s the full news release from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s campaign

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January 14, 2021      2:08 PM

Committee preference cards from Texas House members are due to the speaker Jan 22

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January 13, 2021      7:01 PM

SB: Anything but consensus about proposed Texas House Consensus Calendar

At first blush, it’s a proposal to streamline the legislative process for the sake of limiting personal interactions on the floor during COVID. But while the other pandemic-related additions to the rules may not be agreeable to all the players, they do not systematically change how easily a bill is passed like this would

On the eve of the rules debate in the Texas House, both Republican and Democratic caucuses apparently spent considerable time this afternoon discussing a proposal to create a new calendar aimed at speeding legislation along when COVID-19 has created concern about members spending long periods of time on the floor.

Democrats and some Republicans tell QR that there isn’t any accusation of a power grab. But there is some concern that certain bills might be sped through the process when there should be more time spent actually debating them – pandemic or not.

So, what’s this actually about?

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By Scott Braddock

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January 13, 2021      6:01 PM

On party line vote, Texas Senate lowers threshold for consideration of a bill to 18 votes

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January 13, 2021      4:48 PM

Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins departs AG Paxton office, replaced by Judd Stone

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January 13, 2021      11:28 AM

Gov. Abbott has $37.9 million cash on hand, his campaign says

Campaign raised $11.5M over last six months

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