Politics

Politics
1:02 pm
Tue May 24, 2011

Perry Signs Sonogram Bill Into Law

Texas Governor Rick Perry signs legislation requiring women to get sonograms before they get an abortion.
Photo courtesy the Texas Tribune

Governor Rick Perry signed held a formal signing ceremony today for the state’s so-called “sonogram bill. ” It requires women seeking an abortion to undergo a sonogram before terminating their pregnancy. Doctors will have to make an image of the fetus and the sound of its heartbeat available.

Houston Republican, Senator Dan Patrick, says if this new procedure changes the mind of 20% of women who go in for an abortion, it would mean 10,000 - 15,000 additional births in Texas each year.

The law goes into effect September 1st.

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Politics
5:05 pm
Mon May 23, 2011

Palestinian PM Recovering from Heart Attack in Austin

Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad.
Photo courtesy of US Senator Christopher Coon's on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/senatorchriscoons/5556694778/

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad reportedly suffered a heart attack while attending his son's graduation from the University of Texas on Sunday.

Fayyad's future as prime minister has been up in the air following a reconciliation deal struck this month between the Fatah Palestinian faction that governs the West Bank and the Hamas Islamist faction that holds sway in the Gaza Strip.

Politics
9:00 pm
Sat May 21, 2011

The Budget: Where Everything Stands

Lawmakers are poised to get all their budget work done in the next few days.
Photo Courtesy The Texas Tribune

Where did the time go? Texas legislators are a mere nine days away from the end of the session and still have to finish work on several bills to finish up their budget for the two-year period that starts September 1.

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Politics
12:23 pm
Sat May 21, 2011

Texas Redistricting Maps Pass

The House and Senate have passed each chamber's maps.
Photo Courtesy The Texas Tribune

Follow the Tweets on this morning's passage of Texas House and Senate redistricting maps after the jump.

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Politics
12:07 pm
Sat May 21, 2011

Education Advocates Rally as Budget is Finalized

a small but loud group came to the Capitol Saturday.
Photo by KUT News

Back in March, several thousand school kids, educators and activists rallied at the Texas Capitol to protest what at the time was $8 billion in cuts to the public education budget. Friday that number dropped to about $4 billion (maybe even less based on new property value numbers says my friend Kate Alexander at the Statesman) when the House and Senate announced a budget agreement.

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Politics
10:17 am
Sat May 21, 2011

Texas House Gives Smoking Ban Early OK

A final attempt to get a smoking ban passed in Texas had initial success Friday night.
Photo by KUT News

The Texas House tentatively approved a statewide ban on smoking in public places Friday night, adding the measure onto another bill that must pass in order to make the two-year state budget balance.

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Politics
8:54 pm
Fri May 20, 2011

Sanctuary Cities Bill Back on Track in Texas Senate

Sen. Williams made the change Friday afternoon.
Photo courtesy The Texas Tribune

Sanctuary cities legislation was revived today and will be sent to the Texas Senate for consideration.

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Politics
6:29 pm
Fri May 20, 2011

Texas Budget Agreement Reached

After several days of negotiations, Sen. Ogden (R-Bryan) and the rest have agreed to a budget.
Photo courtesy The Texas Tribune

UPDATE at 6:42

The Texas Democratic party has released its statement on the budget agreement. The minority party is not happy with the finished product.

“The fact is, thousands of teachers will still be laid off, schools will still close and jobs will still be lost. Republicans did not save the day - they were playing political games with this budget process from the beginning."

EARLIER:

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Politics
5:07 pm
Fri May 20, 2011

Texas House To EPA: Don’t Regulate Our Greenhouse Gas

Photo by Karen Sheetshttp://www.flickr.com/photos/karensheets/

The Texas House approved a measure 107-34 today urging US Congress to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions in the Lonestar State.

House Concurrent Resolution 66 (HCR 66) claims that EPA regulations constitute “an abuse of power” and “are projected to cost Texas more than 300,000 jobs” because of higher energy prices and the costs associated with regulatory compliance.

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Politics
12:35 pm
Fri May 20, 2011

Budget Delays Affecting UT Health Insurance Program

With no agreement on the budget - those waiting to find out how much money they'll get are delaying some programs.
KUT News

The University of Texas system has informed employees that several health insurance decisions are being put on hold while the Texas legislature tries to figure out how much money its willing to spend on higher education in the next budget.

The letter was followed by an e-mail to those in the UT System highlighting the immediate delays.

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2012 Presidential Election
10:14 am
Fri May 20, 2011

Why Doesn't Anyone Believe Rick Perry When He Says He's Not Running?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry visits with House members to discuss the state budget issues at the back railing on May 19, 2011.
Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

It’s Rick Perry versus the nincompoops. That’s not a slap at the rest of the Republican field, but at the political chatterers who just can’t or won’t believe the Texas governor when he says he doesn’t want to run for president.

Nobody believes him, which makes it easier for some to contend that he is making a grab at the highest political office in the land.

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2012 Presidential Election
4:30 pm
Thu May 19, 2011

Perry Says White House Talk Won't Distract Him

Gov. Rick Perry makes a playful salute to the son of State Rep. Craig Eiland, D-Galveston, as he walked through the House chamber on his way to a meeting with House Speaker Joe Straus at noon on May 19, 2011.
Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Most people around the Texas Capitol are taking bets on whether there will be a special session this summer to dig out from the wreckage of a budgetary train wreck. But the chattering class — the political pundits who make a living talking rather than passing (or killing) bills — are eager to make bets on something else: whether Gov. Rick Perry is going to run for president.

Never mind that Perry has said repeatedly, and pretty darn emphatically, that he won’t mount a White House bid next year. He's enjoying another little boomlet lately, what with fomer U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s troubles and the somewhat surprising exit from the race by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who might have courted some of the same folks Perry could rally.

Talk show host Rush Limbaugh is the latest to jump on the Perry-should-run bandwagon, dedicating 20 minutes of his mega-ditto air time to extol the virtues of the longest serving governor in the United States.

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Politics
1:20 pm
Thu May 19, 2011

Gov. Perry: Legislative Budget Leaders Close to Deal

Governor Rick Perry has been meeting with House and Senate leaders today to try and get a budget deal.
photo courtesy The Texas Tribune

Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday he has been "kind of pushing people" to come together on a Texas state budget that would make significant cuts to public education.

The governor, speaking to reporters outside a ballroom at the Four Seasons Hotel, said legislative leaders were moving toward a deal that would avoid a special session. "I don't want to finalize the budget in here with you all — the House and the Senate are going to be who makes the final decision but we're very, very close," he said. "There always is a lot of emotions and what have you, and I've yet to see the perfect budget written," he said. "I'm optimistic at the end of the day, the 30th of May, the 31st of May, that we'll have a budget.

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Politics
12:17 pm
Thu May 19, 2011

TribLive: "We're Not a Crazy State," Turner Says

At this morning's TribLive conversation, state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, warned his House Republican colleagues about overreaching in exercising their supermajority power.

Politics
3:37 pm
Wed May 18, 2011

Ogden, Straus Differ On Texas State Budget Progress

Senate budget writer Steve Ogden isn't sure an agreement can be reached.
Photo courtesy The Texas Tribune

GOP members of the House left a caucus meeting this afternoon without divulging details of what they discussed or whether they might take up crucial fiscal bills on the floor. Meanwhile, Senate Finance Chair Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, says there is still no consensus on education funding or SB 1811, a revenue bill that would balance the state budget. "So, we're stuck," he said. 

Ogden says he heard the House will not take up SB 1811 today as previously scheduled. 

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