Politics

Political news

KUT News

Michael “Max” Nofziger, who was a former council member from 1987 to 1996 and a well-known flower salesman, will run for the 2011 City Council election. He will have to unseat incumbent Randi Shade, who is running for re-election.  Shade is also facing challenges from Kris Bailey and Chris Nielsen.

picture by KUT

The Texas House easily passed a controversial sonogram/abortion bill on 3rd reading today.  The bill now goes back to the Senate.  Senators there can either agree with the House changes to the bill or ask for a House/Senate conference committee to hammer out the differences.  The committee is the most likely route.  The bill would require all women to view a sonogram and hear the fetus heartbeat before having

Photo by KUT

Last night the Texas House gave initial approval to the abortion sonogram bill by a 103-42 vote. House Bill 15 requires a woman seeking an abortion to receive a sonogram within 24-hours before the procedure. The bill would also require to show the image of the fetus while explaining to the patient what's on the screen and playing the audio of the heartbeat.  

Photo by Ryland Barton/ KUT.

The debate over HB 15—which would require physicians to provide a detailed description of a fetus to its would-be mother—continues to drag through the House this afternoon as Democrats put up a gaggle of amendments and arguments against the bill.

The bill is expected to be approved by the House sometime this evening.

Photo by Ryland Barton/KUT.

Today the so-called "Sonogram Bill" returns to the Texas House, after being sent back to committee yesterday by Democrats. House Democrats took issue with a technicality in how the bill moved from the State Affairs committee to the full House. Barring additional delays, the House is expected to vote on the Bill today.

The bill is one of five pieces of emergency legislation that are being fast-tracked through the Capitol. Pro-choice advocates probably don’t have the votes to stall the bill any longer; though it’s possible more procedural stalling could ensue.

Picture by KUT News

Here's a story that's been around the world and back again in just a couple of days.  

Picture courtesy The Texas Tribune

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that Governor Rick Perry didn't fair very well in a Presidential straw poll taken over the weekend at a Tea Party event in Arizona. 

KUT News

City officials released thousands of documents Friday under an Open Records Request, including unflattering email exchanges between Mayor Lee Leffingwell and city council members.

The emails expose what goes on behind the scenes and what city council members say and think about city staff members and residents.

Photo courtesy Texas Attorney General

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has weighed in on President Obama's decision to no longer have the U.S. Justice Department defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act banning recognition of same-sex marriage. 

Image by KUT News/Mose Buchele

It was a packed house at Austin City Hall this morning, as Mayor Lee Leffingwell gave his state of the city address.  KUT’s Mose Buchele reports a lot of what the mayor talked about could be labeled, "Coming Attractions."

picture courtesy Sen. Van de Putte

Man...I had a GREAT idea for a story on Texas Lawmakers giving advice to lawmakers in Wisconsin and Indiana who are dealing with legislative walkouts.  BUT - Sam Stein over at the Huffington Post beat me to it (by a week...darn it!).  You may remember in 2003 Democrats in the Texas House fled to Okl

Image courtesy Daquella Manera at flickr.com

The Texas Senate passed a bill this Thursday that would require doctors to perform a sonogram at least two hours before an abortion takes place.

Picture Courtesy The Texas Tribune

A state lawmaker tasked with investigating an election challenge in a Travis County House District says Donna Howard (D-Austin) is the winner by 4 votes over her GOP challenger Dan Neil.  Howard won re-election to the Texas House on Election Day by 16 votes.  A recount lowered the margin to 12.

Image by Liang Shi for KUT News

The Texas Senate has unanimously approved a bill that would give property owners more rights, when the government wants to exercise eminent domain.  The bill was one of a handful of issues that Governor Rick Perry designated "emergency legislation," to bring it to the senate floor within the first two months of the legislative session.

Picture courtesy of The Texas Tribune

House Speaker Joe Straus has released his list of committees for the 82nd Texas Legislative Session.  The list has dozens of changes from the last session.  Which was expected after Republicans gained 25 seats since 2009 and now have a supermajority in the House.  Democrats lost chairmanships on high profile committees like Ways and Means (where tax bills originate) and Transportation (which is were road bills originate).

Here's the list and demographic breakdown:

Image by KUT News.

Governor Rick Perry delivers his sixth State of the State address at 11:00 am today, before a joint session of the Texas Legislature.

Our political reporting partner, the Texas Tribune, is live-blogging the event.  You can also watch the speech online here.

KUT

An Austin lawmaker has introduced a bill in the Texas Senate that would modify the laws governing “sexting” by minors.

State Senator Kirk Watson worked with Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott to craft the bill. It would create a series of graduated punishments for kids under 18 who transmit sexually-explicit material via cell phones.

    

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart made a stop in Texas a few weeks back to tape a story on the Texas House Speaker's race.  The reason for the trip was the inclusion of some anti-semitic messages in the campaign to oust current Speaker Joe Straus, who is Jewish.  The segment aired Thursday night.  

Austin's state Representative Elliott Naishtat, who's also Jewish, was interviewed for the story but sadly didn't make the final cut.

Image by KUT

Gov. Rick Perry's office sent us this statement:

"Because of winter weather conditions that have created an unprecedented demand on the state's energy grid, many Texans across our state are experiencing power outages today," Gov. Perry said. "Texas power and emergency management experts are working very closely with ERCOT and various utility providers to ensure power is restored as quickly as possible. Until that happens, I urge businesses and residents to conserve electricity to minimize the impact of this event."

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