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March 25, 2019      5:18 PM

Update: After morning boycott by Democrats, Chair Leach presses ahead with Born Alive Protection Act hearing

Bitter partisan fight breaks out ahead of this week’s budget debate, Leach apologizes on behalf of the entire House for the delay

Four female Democrats clashed with a Republican committee chairman today when they boycotted a hearing on a bill they said hurts reproductive rights. The four members and the absence of a Republican denied a quorum in the Judiciary and Juvenile Justice Committee as Chairman Jeff Leach, R-Plano, tried to get to work this morning. After lunch, Leach was able to move ahead after suspending the 5 day posting rule in the House.

An additional member, General Investigating Chairman Morgan Meyer, R-Highland Park, was unable to make the meeting because of a delayed flight.

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By Andrew Turner and James Russell

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March 25, 2019      5:12 PM

Texas House General Investigating releases procedures for sexual harassment complaints

Subscribers can download the committee’s rules as handed out during a briefing today.

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March 25, 2019      4:29 PM

TEC approves rule on foreign lobby disclosure

Changes were requested by Reps. Sarah Davis and Gio Capriglione, but lawmakers still need to come up with money to pay for the changes; Rep. Capriglione says “I get that it costs money…I’m doing what I can.”

Lobbyists at the Texas Capitol could soon have to start disclosing with state regulators whether they are registered to peddle influence on behalf of a foreign government. That’s after the Texas Ethics Commission voted unanimously Friday to require state-level disclosure for lobbyists with ties to foreign interests.

But before lobbyists start identifying if they are registered foreign agents under federal law, the Legislature must give the commission more money.

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By David Saleh Rauf

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March 25, 2019      3:56 PM

Senate unanimously passes bill to shore up TRS, SB12

Pattern emerges: Big bill passes Senate unanimously, Patrick says it's "a principled conservative approach to pension reform" as TPPF and allied organizations say it's the wrong thing to do fiscally

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March 25, 2019      10:59 AM

Democrats on House Judiciary Committee say they are surprised a quorum could not be found for Born Alive Act

Noting the GOP has a majority on the panel the Dems say "While some members of the Texas Legislature insist on attacking as well as offending women directly and indirectly, we will not join this charade"

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March 25, 2019      9:24 AM

Chairman Leach stymied for now in moving forward with Born Alive Protection Act

JCJ Committee lacks a quorum, Dems are apparently boycotting the meeting while Rep. Meyer is delayed in Dallas. Leach apologizes on behalf of the "entire Texas House" for the delay

A frustrated Chairman Jeff Leach, R-Plano, on Monday morning “humbly” implored Democratic members of the Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee to show up and register their attendance so that he could move forward with laying out the Born Alive Protection Act. Leach said he knows members have busy schedules and even said he’d be fine with it if they showed up, registered their attendance, then left to do other things.

The committee, for now this morning, lacks a quorum and Rep. Morgan Meyer, R-Dallas, hasn’t flown in yet because his flight was delayed, Leach said. He also noted that “abortion survivors” had traveled to the Capitol this morning to testify on the bill.

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By Scott Braddock

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March 24, 2019      10:45 AM

307 amendments pre-filed on HB1, the House budget

Almost 100 fewer than 2017, which saw 402 amendments pre-filed for the budget

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March 22, 2019      4:00 PM

People on the Move

Appointments, key hires, and staffing up for 2020

Folks are working through the weekend on budget amendments, reading bills that are set for hearings, and Sen. Bob Hall’s being accused of carrying a RINO version of the red light camera ban.

This session just keeps getting better.

Meantime, folks are already gearing up for reelection efforts since there’s absolutely no separation between campaigns and governance anymore. There are also more appointments to tell you about as well as key hires at big firms.

Share your career news anytime at ksbraddock@gmail.com and put POTM in the subject line. Nothing is too big or too small and yes, you can share the news of others. That’s why it’s called a gossip rag. Thank you.

Here’s this week’s edition of People on the Move:

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By Scott Braddock

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March 22, 2019      3:44 PM

Some Texas House members getting antsy looking for numbers on how ISDs will fare under school finance plan

In school finance debates, impacts to individual districts often create winners and losers under major system shifts. Chairman Huberty has urged members to trust the process and principles behind the bill

Texas House leaders are decidedly tight-lipped on the actual impact their school finance plan will make on individual school budgets, a departure from past sessions. The House has a school finance bill with many moving parts, the most complicated school finance bill since the passage of then-Rep. Scott Hochberg’s HB 3646 in 2009.

At this point in the passage of a school finance bill, the first runs – a spreadsheet of the impact of the bill on school district budgets – would be circulating among House members. Both the Texas Education Agency and the Legislative Budget Board produce these runs, although it will be the work of the LBB that will ultimately guides final numbers.

To be clear, school finance runs currently do exist. The point of contention is over who has seen them.

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By Kimberly Reeves

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March 21, 2019      4:29 PM

Chair Hancock clashes with TMA as he rolls out his bill aimed at surprise billing

TMA argues the root of the problem is “the networks that the insurance companies have set up which are inadequate”

Doctors and patients squared off before the Texas Senate Business and Commerce Committee on Thursday over the issue of "surprise billing."

The Texas Association of Health Plans supports the bill by Chairman Kelly Hancock but the group stayed in the background during the hearing as Hancock confronted the Texas Medical Association in an often testy exchange.

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By Andrew Turner

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March 21, 2019      4:25 PM

Red light camera ban set for a hearing on Tuesday in House Transportation

As Hall's bill stalls out in the Senate after compromise language was offered, Rep. Stickland's bill with supermajority support starts moving

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March 20, 2019      4:22 PM

Freshman House members in both parties work to build relationships while encountering challenges they did not expect

“One thing that people say is ‘I’m not here to make friends I’m here to get stuff done.’ Well, if you want to get stuff done you better make friends”

There’s a whole new crop of freshmen members of the Texas House this session, including a number of younger leaders and an increase in the number of Democrats who made incursions into Republican territory last November.

Erin Zwiener D-Driftwood is one the roughly 30 new members of the House and one of the 12 Democrats that flipped formerly Republican seats. In an interview with Quorum Report, the freshman and new mother told us about the realities of the new job from her perspective.

“We, like any other freshman office, have to take this one day at a time,” she said. “There are a lot of unknowns for us freshmen.”

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By Andrew Turner

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March 20, 2019      4:20 PM

House General Investigating sets March 25 at 1pm for briefing on new sexual harassment procedures

Meeting will be "an overview of policies and procedures as they relate to inappropriate workplace conduct."

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March 20, 2019      4:18 PM

Support seems to drop for banning red light cameras as Sen. Hall rolls out compromise language

Per the fiscal note, if the bill was effective immediately, the state’s trauma center fund, which the cameras benefit, would lose $28 million. If implemented in September, the fund would lose $21 million

Edgewood Republican Senator Bob Hall’s ban on real light cameras hit a bump in the road in Senate Transportation Committee today after he rolled out substitute language allowing cities to honor current contracts.

That change drew opposition from some of those who had been the bill’s most ardent supporters.

Red light cameras, Hall said, deny due process and are not proven to improve public safety. One of his issues is what he says is an unconstitutional appeals process automatically painting the driver as guilty.

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By James Russell

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March 20, 2019      4:00 PM

Texas Senate passes disaster response bills

Lt. Gov. Patrick says SBs 6, 7, and 8, "are key to our rebuilding effort following Hurricane Harvey and mitigating future flood disasters across the state."

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March 20, 2019      9:18 AM

Beto campaign says the average contribution was $47 in his $6.1 million haul

128,000 donors contributed in the first 24 hours of O'Rourke's bid, his campaign announced this morning

Via Todd Gillman at the DMN:

Beto O'Rourke announced Wednesday that more than 128,000 donors contributed to his record breaking first day haul of $6.1 million, for an average of $47 per donation.

The former three term El Paso congressman jumped into the presidential race last Thursday and detractors had alleged that high dollar donors rather than a grassroots outpouring may have padded his tally.

Sen. Bernie Sanders' brought in $5.9 million during his first 24 hours last month, from 223,047 donors, with an average of $27.

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March 19, 2019      5:47 PM

In moving HB 3, Texas House Public Education Committee reframes school finance discussion

Veterans calling HB3 the most significant school finance legislation in nearly 40 years

The House view of the school finance system in House Bill 3 is a subtle, yet significant shift away from the current rationale that has pitted poor against rich school districts.

The House school finance bill passed the House Public Education Committee on a 13-0 vote today, with lawmakers of both parties lavishing praise on the bill. Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, lamented the absence of Houston ISD at the hearing last week, but called HB 3 the most significant school finance legislation passed in his 18 terms in the House.

That current Robin Hood rationale behind school finance has been challenged on a number of fronts: School districts with high-dollar property often have low-wealth schoolchildren. Quirks in the code would show preference to property-wealthy districts, such as reducing recapture during disasters but leaving property-poor districts waiting for the state to dedicate dollars.

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By Kimberly Reeves

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March 19, 2019      2:32 PM

School finance reform bill, HB3, advances in Texas House

Texas Aspires laments the fact merit pay provisions were removed by Texas AFT says it "sends an important signal that educator salaries should not be tied to standardized tests..."

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March 18, 2019      5:14 PM

House moves budget, substitutes supplemental budget, with a heavy reliance on the Rainy Day Fund

Chair Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, guided House Appropriations to approval of substitutes of a House budget bill and the Senate supplemental budget bill this morning.  

The approval process was fairly smooth, although multiple members of the Texas State Employees Union reminded the panel about low pay and insufficient pensions for state employees, pensions even smaller than those currently offered to retired teachers.

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By Kimberly Reeves

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March 18, 2019      4:18 PM

Teacher merit pay provisions apparently struck from Texas House school finance bill

Those close to the drafting process say most sections around teacher pay have been struck from HB 3, replaced with a simple pay raise tied to increases in the basic allotment offered in the bill

The most ambitious language around teacher pay appears to be scrubbed from the substitute of the Texas House’s school finance bill to be discussed in House Public Education on Tuesday.

The model for teacher pay in the original House Bill 3 was an ambitious, but somewhat problematic, model.

But it was, for all intents and purposes, the preferred model for both lawmakers and teacher groups in the early weeks of session because of two claims: the bill would not rely on test scores to reward teacher performance and would not be a “merit pay” bill.

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By Kimberly Reeves

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March 18, 2019      4:09 PM

Speaker Bonnen intends to have the budget on the House floor next Wednesday, the 27th

After Appropriations today voted out the budget and supplemental, pre-filing of amendments for HB1 will end at 10am this coming Sunday

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