Politics

Politics
12:19 pm
Tue April 19, 2011

National Day of Prayer is Constitutional

National Day of Prayer is the first Thursday in May
Photo by Kenn Zuniga

The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit dismissed a lawsuit last week claiming that the President’s National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. The lawsuit, filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, claims that the day violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The Establishment Clause provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. ”

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Politics
12:18 pm
Tue April 19, 2011

State Employees Warned of Phone Scam Linked to Data Snafu

Attorney General Greg Abbott announces an organized scam against people whose information was released online.
Photo courtesy The Texas Tribune for KUT News

Texans affected by an internet security breach by the Comptroller's office are now being targeted by a new telephone scam. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott released a statement today saying a state employee reported to the AG that they received a phone call from someone claiming to be with the Employees Retirement System of Texas.

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Politics
3:25 pm
Fri April 8, 2011

President Obama to Return to Austin

President Obama spoke at UT in August 2010.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

President Barack Obama is heading to Austin for a fundraiser. The visit is planned for May 10. 

President Obama announced this week that he would run for re-election in 2012. It wasn't a huge surprise, but he is the first to announce his plans.

Politics
2:04 pm
Wed April 6, 2011

Dueling Sides of the Texas Budget Debate Make Noise at the Capitol

American's for Prosperity-Texas leader Peggy Venable warns lawmakers to cut state spending.
Photo by KUT News

Political battles are often fought on the right or left of a topic.  But today ideology was divided by the North and South sides of the Capitol.  

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Politics
4:55 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

Senate to Pass Bill Regulating Homeonwners' Associations

The Texas Senate has passed a bill to restrict HOA's potential abuse of foreclosing on homeowners.
Photo by KUT News

Homeowners’ associations might not be able to turn the heat anymore on homeowners.

The Texas Senate passed SB 142, which restricts associations from exercising their rights to foreclose homeowners who didn’t pay dues and fees.

The bill, filed by State Senator Royce West (D-Dallas), aims to protect homeowners from potential abuse of foreclosure, especially on the families of soldiers serving overseas.

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Politics
3:28 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

School Finance Pops Up in House Committee

Lawmakers will have to change the school funding system to mach the billions cut in public ed.
Photo by KUT News

So what does cutting the state's public education budget by about $7.8 billion dollars look like?

Based on a bill by Rep. Scott Hochberg (D-Houston), it looks pretty ugly. But he says with the amount of money lawmakers in the House just voted to give to schools during the state budget debate, there's not a pretty way to get money to schools.

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Politics
12:35 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

Football Helmet Bill Working Its Way Through the Texas House

The helmet bill hopes to keep unsafe equipment off the field.
Photo by KUT News

A bill in the Texas House that hopes to reduce head injuries in middle and high school athletics received initial approval today. The bill by Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D-San Benito) would prohibit the use of all football helmets in use 16 years.  It would also require any 10-year-old helmets to be reconditioned at least once every 10 years.

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Politics
1:41 pm
Mon April 4, 2011

Texas Lawmaker Tackle Feral Hog Legislation

A bill up in the House could allow Texans to hunt feral hogs from helecopters.
Photo by flickr.com/pierceplace532/

O.K...Maybe "tackle" was NOT the right word to use on this bill, because the bill passed without ANY debate. Rep. Sid Miller's bill passed 137 - 9.

The proposal wasn't exactly a new idea. The bill passed the House in 2009, but never got a hearing in the Senate, according to Rep. Miller (R-Stephenville).

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Politics
5:31 pm
Sun April 3, 2011

Texas House Budget Debate - Part II

Debate today is going much faster than Friday/Saturday.
Photo by Ryland Barton for KUT News

If you're watching the Texas House budget debate today - don't blink.  

While it took about 16 hours to get through the first three articles of the budget Friday, lawmakers are zooming through their debate on the remaining parts of the budget.  

Many amendments are simply being withdrawn - or moved to Article XI in the budget.  That's the place were projects without funding go to hang out just in case money can be found to fund them.  

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Politics
12:39 am
Sat April 2, 2011

Texas House Closes Budget Debate for the Night

Lawmakers will break until Sunday.
Photo by KUT News

The Texas House has ended debate for the night on the state budget.  Lawmakers were able to get through the first 3 articles of the $164 billion bill - that includes general government (I), health and human services (II) and education (III).

Politics
8:48 pm
Fri April 1, 2011

Budget Protesters Fill Hall Outside Texas House

ADAPT protestors mourning the "death" of several state programs.
Photo by KUT News

House Democrats aren't the only ones not happy about the spending cuts made in that chamber's version of the state budget.  ADAPT of Texas, a grassroots disability rights group, has a full protest on the 2nd floor landing right outside the House chamber.  Their chants have been heard over the last couple of hours anytime the debate in chambers hits a lull.  The ADAPT website lists several reasons for their opposition to the things the group says the bill does:

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Politics
6:48 pm
Fri April 1, 2011

House Moves to Education Section of State Budget

The education debate begins in the House.
Photo courtesy the Texas Tribune for KUT News

Family planning was the target in in Article II of the budget. The Windham School District (an education system run in state prisons) appears to be the piggy bank for Article III. The first three amendments take about $1.1 million from Windham to pay for other educational programs. The fourth takes sweeps the entire Windham budget, $84 million, for other programs.

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Politics
5:07 pm
Fri April 1, 2011

Picking On Family Planning

Republicans had several amendments to move money out of family planning.
Photo by Ryland Barton for KUT News

The House is taking up the 371 pre-filed state budget amendments article by article.  There are 11 articles in the budget, although Article 11 is mostly a repository for projects that are not going to get funding. 

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Politics
9:59 am
Fri April 1, 2011

Budget Debate Begins in the Texas House

Debate on HB 1 could last throughout the night.
Photo by KUT News

The Texas House is off and running this morning on HB 1, the state budget bill. The $164 billion dollar budget is about $23 billion less than the budget passed in the 2009 legislative session. It also does not take into account population and enrollment growth in many state agencies and programs, like K-12 public education.

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Politics
6:35 pm
Thu March 31, 2011

Cracking open the 'Rainy Day Fund'

A long weekend of debates on the state budget began Thursday morning.
Photo by Ryland Barton for KUT News

Because Texas doesn’t have enough money to run the state for the rest of the fiscal year, legislators gave initial approval to HB 275 today, authorizing a $3.1 billion withdrawal from the so-called rainy day fund to help  pay for a more than $4 billion supplemental appropriation. That bill is also set for final passage on Friday.

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