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August 20, 2018      8:39 AM

Rep. Clardy files to run for speaker

“Now is the time for a new vision that requires bold leadership. The best days of our great state are ahead, and I look forward to continuing to build an even better Texas for the next generation.” - Rep. Travis Clardy

The full announcement from Rep. Clardy’s office is here.

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August 17, 2018      2:56 PM

People on the Move

Big promotions, some legislative veterans moving on, staffers moving office to office, top aides moving to the lobby, and more

Well, you already know there’s a job opening at Texas Tech. Too soon? More on all the drama in the days to come.

Meantime, there were all kinds of moves under the pink dome this week. A few days ago, someone asked exactly how certain names end up in this column each week. Most of the time it is simply a case of folks reaching out at ksbraddock@gmail.com and bragging on themselves or a colleague.

Other times, folks pass on juicy gossip and I do my best to follow up. This is, after all, the first draft of history, not the last – and it is part of an ongoing conversation with the most knowledgeable and engaged audience in Texas. Just trying to be helpful. Reach out anytime at that email address and put “POTM” or “People on the Move” in the subject line. Please and thank you.

Here’s Texas’ weekly roundup of People on the Move:

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By Scott Braddock

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August 16, 2018      6:53 PM

TEC Says It Still Cannot Trust Paxton To Defend Agency, Makes Big Budget Request For Outside Lawyers

With Paxton’s office refusing to get involved in Empower Texans cases, lawmakers could essentially hobble the regulator in its ongoing beef with the nonprofit by cutting off funding for outside lawyers

The Texas Ethics Commission is asking budget writers for a new round of cash to pay for outside lawyers because Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office has declined to defend the state agency in a seemingly endless series of lawsuits involving Empower Texans.

Paxton’s roster of lawyers in the attorney general’s office has withdrawn as counsel from every lawsuit in which it once represented the state’s campaign finance regulator against the state’s most prominent conservative nonprofit. Those cases all stem from two high-profile investigations into Empower Texans and its president, Michael Quinn Sullivan — and now include attempts by the group to gut the commission’s legal authority.

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By David Saleh Rauf

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August 15, 2018      5:05 PM

As Texas schools receive first official A-F grades, some potential themes take shape

Urban districts maybe end up looking closer to each other than expected, charters aren’t always as consistent as you might expect, and Parents fleeing their public schools due to dissatisfaction or economic trouble don’t always end up in better-rated schools

Texas’ new accountability system – one that diminishes the role of state standardized tests in high school ratings – has yielded a healthy number of “A”-rated school districts.

Yesterday, conservative-leaning education reform groups – the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Texas Aspires and the Texas Business Leadership Council – hosted a briefing for legislative staffers with Deputy TEA Commissioner Penny Schwinn.

Schwinn, a former educator and the mother of a young child, said every accountability system must start with high expectations.

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By Kimberly Reeves

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August 15, 2018      5:00 PM

Press Releases: A-F reactions, VA Health Care, voter registration, and more

Click the Press Releases button above for the latest

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August 15, 2018      1:26 PM

Patrick says TRS Board should hold the line on retired teacher health insurance premiums

The senate’s presiding officer promises more spending to shore up TRS Care: “let me be clear, I believe additional funding should be the responsibility of the Legislature and not fall on the shoulders of our retired teachers.”

Saying his office was “notified yesterday” that the Teacher Retirement System of Texas is considering an increase in health insurance premiums of $50 per month, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Tuesday told the TRS Board “I urge you not to take that step.”

Patrick also said he hopes the next Speaker of the Texas House will agree this is a spending priority.

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By Scott Braddock

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August 15, 2018      9:20 AM

GOP House Chairman expresses deep concerns about what has been described as a power grab by Gov. Abbott

“Questions have been raised about which statute or court decision grants the Office of the Governor powers that are presumed to exist” in directive on rulemakings; Chair Cook says Abbott needs to ask the Legislature for the authority to consolidate that power in his office

Frustration among some legislators about what many see as a potential power grab by Gov. Greg Abbott when it comes to rulemaking may be about to boil over.

“If you’re going to start moving authority without legal or constitutional precedent that’s a big issue that needs to be well thought out,” said Texas House State Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, on Tuesday morning. He was reacting to a directive from Abbott’s office to state agencies earlier this year about the way rulemaking is handled.

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By Scott Braddock

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August 15, 2018      9:18 AM

School ratings released

Only a handful of "F" rated districts

Search your district here. Full coverage on the way

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August 14, 2018      7:37 PM

Sources tell the Lubbock Avalanche Journal TTU regents pushed for Duncan ouster

Per the paper’s sources, the regents who pushed the retirement were Rick Francis, Ronnie Hammonds, Christopher Huckabee, Mickey Long and John Steinmetz

Lubbock newsman Matt Dotray has the details:

The Texas Tech Board of Regents had an informal vote of no confidence in Chancellor Robert Duncan late last week in a closed meeting, sources close to the situation have told A-J Media.

The nine members of the Board of Regents supposedly took turns expressing their views on the chancellor’s future at Tech, and a 5-4 majority wanted new leadership. The closed meeting on Thursday, Aug. 9, lasted five hours.

...The five members of the board to push for Duncan’s leave, according to sources, were Regents Rick Francis, Ronnie Hammonds, Christopher Huckabee, Mickey Long and John Steinmetz.

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August 14, 2018      4:05 PM

Coordinating Board approves Sam Houston med school on 5-4 vote

Vote clears the way for national regulatory board to give its blessing this month

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August 14, 2018      11:01 AM

Babe Schwartz funeral to be at Texas State Cemetery, 10:30 on September 5 with possible reception afterwards

Family decided to wait to allow all of Babe's friends time to make proper arrangements

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August 13, 2018      6:53 PM

Chancellor Robert Duncan announces retirement from Texas Tech

Radio host Jay Leeson reported it first; KAMC-TV confirms it as well

The website Everything Lubbock has the letter Chancellor Bob Duncan sent to TTU Regents today.

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August 13, 2018      5:25 PM

Updated: Judge rejects TRO request from Texas GOP to block Gallego from ballot in SD19

Gallego and Flores on track for special election runoff; Abbott today set the date for Sept 18

Represented by longtime Empower Texans attorney Joe Nixon, the Republican Party of Texas on Monday failed to convince a state district court judge in Travis County to quickly prevent the Secretary of State’s office from certifying the names in the special election runoff for Senate District 19.

The RPT contends that Democratic candidate Pete Gallego does not live in the district. But during a hearing this afternoon, the party’s attorney Nixon seemed to concede there was not sufficient evidence for the judge to make an emergency ruling about it today.

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August 13, 2018      5:21 PM

Grusendorf: Education Reform?

Well ahead of the next legislative session, former Texas House Public Education Chairman Kent Grusendorf lays out some history of what previous governors have sought to do about the issue and whether they really accomplished anything

If you talk to moms around Texas, you’ll quickly learn that a major issue for them is education. Education reform has been a top priority for Texas parents, business leaders, and politicians for decades. So, what have our state leaders said and done in recent decades?

With the 85th Legislature due to start in a few months, a review what governors have said over the past 40 years regarding their education agendas in their State of the State addresses to the legislature might be enlightening. Each of the last six governors, who have led Texas over the past four decades, has proposed reforms designed to fix the problems of public education. 

The complete guest column by former Texas House Public Education Committee Chairman Kent Grusendorf is in the R&D Department.

By Kent Grusendorf

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August 13, 2018      4:54 PM

Fox TV in Houston invites Patrick and Collier to debate

Collier says he is in; no word from Patrick's camp - they've said previously the Lt. Gov. has no interest in debating his Democratic challenger

Fox 26, KRIV TV in Houston has now invited the candidates for Lt. Gov. to debate live on their air – an invitation that was immediately accepted by the Democrat Mike Collier. But Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s campaign has said nothing about it so far.

The offer was apparently made over the weekend.

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By Scott Braddock

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August 13, 2018      4:38 PM

Press Releases: Endorsements, debate proposals, defending America, and more

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August 13, 2018      2:52 PM

As Gallego residency hearing unfolds, Abbott sets special election runoff for Sept. 18 in SD19

More coverage from hearing to follow

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