Dallas Morning News, March 30 - A Senate committee heard testimony this morning on an omnibus ethics bill aimed at curbing corruption in Texas politics.
Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, filed the bill that would prohibit all Texas elected officials from lobbying for at least one legislative session after leaving office, would prohibit those convicted of misdoing stemming from their office to collect state retirement benefits and expand disclosure requirements.
“If you’re going to work for the people, then you should work for the people and be beyond reproach as to whether or not you are working for the people,” Taylor said.
Taylor said too often legislators have left office often only to immediately turn around and lobby their former colleagues, to significant financial gains. Requiring a “cooling off” period of one legislative session would ease concerns as why and how someone voted on an issue.
Austin American-Statesman, March 26 - In a sign of fights to come, Democratic and some Republican Texas senators chided a trio of divisive education proposals Thursday designed to award taxpayer — or donated — money to public school students to help pay tuition at private or religious learning institutions.
The concept, commonly referred to as “vouchers,” is one of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s top education priorities for the legislative session — one that he unsuccessfully championed as a state senator and has vowed to push again now that he presides over the upper chamber.
The Republican, in a surprise move, appeared before the Senate Education Committee Thursday to debunk arguments made against three such bills — made by school officials, teacher groups and a couple of Baptist pastors during hours of previous public testimony.
The committee’s Republican chairman, Larry Taylor of Galveston, filed the leading measure, Senate Bill 4, which he described Thursday as a “shell bill” that may be modified to include elements of the other two.
Dayton News, March 27 - The Senate approved a series of bills Wednesday that would reduce taxes by $4.6 billion, delivering on Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s early session promise to cut property and franchise taxes. Because Texas doesn’t have a statewide property tax, legislators can’t reduce the rates directly, but Senator Jane Nelson of Flower Mound authored two measures that would raise the homestead exemption.
The value that homeowners can deduct from their yearly property tax bill hasn’t been changed since it was set at $15,000 in 1997, and Nelson said now is the perfect time to fix that.
Harris County Republican Party's 2015 Lincoln-Reagan Dinner
The Harris County Republican Party's Lincoln-Reagan Dinner is fast approaching. We look forward to seeing you Saturday, March 28th at the Bayou City Event Center and celebrating 50 years of Republican growth in Harris County.
There are no physical tickets. There will be a guest list at check-in.
Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for check-in.
Free parking on site. No valet.
Dress is semi-formal.
- Seating will be unassigned for individual tickets (other than auxiliary clubs with tables).
If you purchased tickets for yourself and guests, please email your guests' names to Ben Stinsman, email@example.com, by noon on Thursday, March 26 to allow enough time to prepare name tags.
ACTUAL TOOLS FOR ACTUAL RESULTS
Saturday, April 11, 2015
We will start promptly at 9:30 am and end by 11:30am
Lone Star College - North Harris at the Greenspoint Center
250 North Sam Houston, Houston, Texas 77060
We will offer a Power Point Presentation for Precinct Chairs with a Precinct Chair Training Handout Booklet Volume I to take as a reference.
Breitbart, March 19 - A bill filed by Texas State Senator Joan Huffman (R-Houston) could prove to be the financial death penalty for many public-sector labor unions across the state. The bill, SB 1968, was filed at the very end of the bill filing period for this Legislative Session last Friday, and would end the practice of automatic payroll deductions for labor union dues for the majority of public-sector unions.
SB 1968 amends Chapter 617, Texas Government Code, to add a new Section 617.006, titled “Prohibition on Collection of Labor Organization Dues,” as follows:
Except as provided by Sections 141.008 and 155.001, Local Government Code, and Sections 403.0165 and 659.1031, Government Code, the state or a political subdivision of the state may not deduct or withhold, or contract to deduct or withhold, from an employee’s salary or wages payment of dues or membership fees to a labor organization or other similar entity, including a trade union, labor union, employees’ association, or professional organization.
Community Impact News, March 18 - Law enforcement officials in Harris County could have additional tools to address noise pollution if a new law is passed by the Legislature this session.
State Rep. Patricia Harless, R-Spring, filed House Bill 153 in November after hearing numerous complaints from constituents about music and noise in her district. In particular, noise from the Something Wicked Festival at Sam Houston Race Park in late October generated multiple concerns from nearby residents.
“The bass and the music was very loud,” Harless said. “It was on a Saturday night and Sunday night until 2 in the morning. I was getting literally hundreds of calls [from] as far as Huntwick [Forest].”
Unlike the city of Houston and other municipalities, Harris County does not have the power to pass ordinances. Instead, county governments in Texas can only pass regulations that have first been approved by the state Legislature. Therefore, the county can only rely on the state’s noise ordinance to police noisy disruptions.
Breitbart, March 17 - The Texas House has passed HB 10, an omnibus anti-human trafficking bill. The bill passed on second reading on Monday and then third reading Tuesday morning. Both votes were unanimous and bipartisan.
HB 10, was brought forward by a large bipartisan coalition of House Members, authored by Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi), Rep. Oscar Longoria (D-Mission), Rep. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound), and Rep. Patricia Harless (R-Spring), and co-authored by Rep. Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston), Rep. Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood), Rep. Angie Chen Button (R-Richardson), Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), Rep. Tony Dale (R-Cedar Park), Rep. Sarah Davis (R-West University Place), Rep. Marsha Farney (R-Georgetown), Rep. Allen Fletcher (R-Cypress), Rep. Mark Keough (R-The Woodlands), Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford), Rep. Will Metcalf (R-Conroe), Rep. Rick Miller (R-Sugar Land), Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr. (D-Palmview), Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), Rep. Debbie Riddle (R-Tomball), Rep. Phil Stephenson (R-Wharton), Rep. Hubert Vo (D-Houston), and Rep. James White (R-Woodville).
HCRP's Ballot Security Committee took a trip to Austin this week where Committee Chairman Alan Vera, Ed Johnson, Carol Kitson and Colleen Vera were able to voice the Party's view on legislation dealing with elections and election law. Alan testified in support of Jim Murphy's voter registration residency bill (HB 1096), and argued against a bill to do away with straight party voting, as well as a few Democrat initiatives including one that would force the registrar to include a note with reasons for the rejection to the rejected voter. The committee also showed support for a bill on interstate sharing of voter registration data to prevent voters from voting in more than one state.
Photo from Texas Legislature Online
Rep. Bohac Authors Legislation to Beef Up Border Security and Crackdown on Drug Trafficking and Human Smuggling
Texas House of Representatives - State Representative Dwayne Bohac announces authorship of two bills that significantly strengthen border security and help law enforcement crackdown on border-related crime. HB 11, the “Stronger Border, Safer Texas Act,” is an omnibus bill that will dramatically increase the number of Department of Public Safety (DPS) Troopers in the border region, impose tougher penalties on smugglers, and provide more resources for police statewide. HB 1450 will establish the Texas Border Security Division which will focus on busting up criminal cartels throughout the southern border region.