Posts Tagged ‘85th Texas Legislature’

Gov. Abbott Does Not Sound Pleased With Joe Straus

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

Gov. Gregg Abbott has a tendency to hold opinions close to his chest. But in this Chad Hasty Show interview, he sounds genuinely irritated when talking about the need for the special session he’s been forced to call because so many of his priorities died in the Joe Straus-led house:

Gov. Abbott: If you guys are not going to take care of business during the regular session, if you’re going to use this must-past bill about ensuring the Texas Medical Board is going to continue on as political fodder, then I’m going to make sure we have a special session that counts, that focuses on the issues that I know are very important to our fellow Texans. Such as reducing property taxes. Such as addressing something that has turned out to be a very substantial issue all the way from Dallas, Texas to the Rio Grande Valley, which is to crack down on fraud that has taken place in the mail ballot process.

Chad Hasty: Governor, you said that the Speaker of the House [prioritized] his priorities, you prioritized the issues for the state of Texas. Are you saying that maybe the House Speaker didn’t have the priorities of all Texans in mind?

Gov. Abbott: In my conversations, and also in my perceptions, it seems like his priorities differed from, for example, these priorities I have on the special session call. His priorities differed from the deals that we were trying to broker at the end of the session. Some easy examples: I called, in my state of the state address, that I gave at the very beginning of the session, for meaningful property tax reform. Several weeks before the end of the session, I said publicly, in the press, there were a couple of items that were must press items in order for this session to be concluded successfully, ine of those was property tax reform. I know that I articulated, both in my state-of-the-state address as well as during the course of the session, to have at least some form of ability, especially for parents of special needs children, to have the opportunity to pick the school that’s right for them. And none of these have an opportunity of being addressed in the Texas House of Representatives.

Chad Hasty: Now, I’m looking at 20 items here, one that is much-pass before we get to everything else, which is the sunset legislation. I’m going to be honest with you, Governor: I watched this past session. How do you expect all these lawmakers to get all 20 of these done in 30 days?

Gov. Abbott: It’s pretty easy, because for almost all of them, nothing new needs to be created. I am resurrecting bills that were already proposed, that were largely debated on, many of them already passed out of the senate. I know, in my conversations with the Lt. Governor, that these are all items that can be passed out of the Texas senate in short order. It’s just a matter of of getting them to the house floor, getting a vote on them. The issue is not one of timing, because these are not difficult issues to grapple with, because they’ve already grappled with most of them. It’s just a matter of are they going to stand for them and vote for them, or evade them and not vote for them?

Here’s the interview, which goes into more detail on the special needs education bill, which is a bigger issue than most people realize:

Governor Abbott is essentially saying what conservative activists have: These are popular bills, and the only reason they haven’t passed is the obstruction of Speaker Joe Straus and his lieutenants

TPPF Legislative Update Recap

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

Tuesday I attended the Texas Public Policy Foundation‘s Legislative Update following the close of the regular 85th Texas Legislative Session. I meant to live-blog it, but I neglected to get the WiFi password before it started, so I ended up live-tweeting it from my iPhone instead.

So here’s a recap in tweet form of what was discussed.

The panel was introduced by TPPF Executive Vice President Dr. Kevin Roberts.

Next was Dr. Vance Ginn, economist at the center for Public Policy.

Next was James Quintero, who you may remember from this interview on the Texas municipal debt crisis.

That was Gov. Abbott’s call for a special session, and one of the items on his agenda was indeed property tax reform.

Next was Stephanie Matthews, Senior Policy Advisor of the Center for Education Freedom.

ESA mentioned here stands for Education Savings Accounts.

Next was Dr. Derek Cohen, Deputy Director of the Center for Effective Justice.

The final panelist was Brandon Logan, Director of the Center for Families and Children.

In case it’s unclear from the tweet, Logan was not enthused at the prospect of CPS using predictive analytics.

I hope these tweets give you at least the gist of what was discussed.

If you want to attend yourself, the Legislative Update has other dates around the state open to the public, so sign up for free tickets in advance if you’re interested.

Gov. Abbott Calls Special Session

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

On Tuesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called a special session of the Texas Legislature starting July 18:

Abbott gave legislators an ambitious 19-item agenda to work on — including a so-called “bathroom bill” — after they approve must-pass legislation that they failed to advance during the regular session. An overtime round, Abbott said, was “entirely avoidable.”

“Because of their inability or refusal to pass a simple law that would prevent the medical profession from shutting down, I’m announcing a special session to complete that unfinished business,” Abbott told reporters. “But if I’m going to ask taxpayers to foot the bill for a special session, I intend to make it count.”

(Ignore the usual Texas Tribune hand-wringing about the “controversial” nature of the bathroom law; it’s just a restoration of the status quo, reversing what the Obama Administration imposed on the nation via executive fiat.)

Here are Governor Abbott’s 19 items:

  • Teacher pay increase of $1,000
  • Administrative flexibility in teacher hiring and retention practices
  • School finance reform commission
  • School choice for special needs students
  • Property tax reform
  • Caps on state and local spending
  • Preventing cities from regulating what property owners do with trees on private land
  • Preventing local governments from changing rules midway through construction projects
  • Speeding up local government permitting process
  • Municipal annexation reform
  • Texting while driving preemption
  • Privacy
  • Prohibition of taxpayer dollars to collect union dues
  • Prohibition of taxpayer funding for abortion providers
  • Pro-life insurance reform
  • Strengthening abortion reporting requirements when health complications arise
  • Strengthening patient protections relating to do-not-resuscitate orders
  • Cracking down on mail-in ballot fraud
  • Extending maternal mortality task force
  • That’s an ambitious agenda…if Texas Speaker Joe Straus, who did so much to thwart so many of those items, let’s any of them pass.

    In an effort to force the special session, [Lieutenant Governor] Patrick had held hostage legislation, known as a “sunset bill,” that would keep some state agencies from closing. That “will be the only legislation on the special session [agenda] until they pass out of the Senate in full,” Abbott said.

    That’s quite defensible from a governance perspective, but it is going to eliminate Lt. Gov. Patrick’s biggest piece of leverage against Straus.

    With fewer items on the agenda, maybe House Republicans will have a chance to concentrate and actually act like Republicans rather than let Straus’ liberal coalition run roughshod over them.

    Illegal Alien Pro-Tip

    Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

    If you’re in the country illegally, don’t draw attention to yourself. Especially by unrolling banner proclaiming you’re an illegal alien.

    Especially inside the Texas legislature.

    Or someone (in this case Republican state representative Matt Rinaldi) might call immigration enforcement on you. Which is what happened.

    Naturally, hilarity ensued.

    (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)

    Travis County is Number 1…in Refusing to Hold Illegal Aliens

    Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

    The list of local municipalities defying federal immigration law is out.

    One of President Trump’s first executive orders promised a weekly recounting of the crimes committed by undocumented immigrants and a list of the recalcitrant local law enforcement departments that failed to turn those people over to federal officials.

    The Department of Homeland Security on Monday delivered the first report. But rather than provide a complete tally, it contained misleading information that only prompted confusion and defiance from law enforcement officials from the jurisdictions in question.

    The report, which covers Jan. 28 to Feb. 3, shows that Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency charged with deportations, issued 3,083 detainers, which are requests to local police departments to hold undocumented immigrants and legal permanent residents who could be deported.

    The report showed, however, that only 206 of those detainers were declined by local law enforcement agencies. Nevertheless, ICE officials say the lack of cooperation endangers Americans.

    Guess which political locale has defied federal law the most?

    Travis County, Tex., which includes the city of Austin, declined the most detainers, 142, out of the 206 rejections nationwide listed in the ICE report.

    Officials in Travis County said the high number of declined requests was the result of a change in policy by Sally Hernandez, a Democrat who became sheriff in January. She announced that unless individuals in the Travis County jail had been charged with murder, aggravated sexual assault or human smuggling, they would be allowed to post bond and released despite requests from ICE.

    So thanks to a Democratic Party functionary, Travis County has almost 75% of the entire nation’s non-compliance with federal immigration law. Digging into the actual report, many of the illegal alien felons Travis County refused to hold for deporation have committed sexual assault, aggravated assault with a weapon, burglary and DUI.

    And these are the people Sally Hernandez prefers to see set free back into the community rather than lawfully deported to their home countries.

    The Travis County policy has been criticized by Gov. Greg Abbott, who has threatened to cut off Texas’ criminal justice grant funding for the county.

    After the release of Monday’s report, Mr. Abbott said the findings highlighted the need to get rid of sanctuary cities in the state.

    “The Travis County Sheriff’s decision to deny ICE detainer requests and release back into our communities criminals charged with heinous crimes – including sexual offenses against children, domestic violence and kidnapping – is dangerous and should be criminal in itself,” Mr. Abbott said in a statement.

    SB 5, the bill to abolish sanctuary cities in Texas, has passed the Texas senate and is currently pending in committee in the house.

    It’s time for Travis County to prioritize the safety of American citizens over that of illegal alien felons.

    LinkSwarm for February 10, 2017

    Friday, February 10th, 2017

    Welcome to another Friday LinkSwarm! Here in Texas it’s looking a lot like Spring.

    This LinkSwarm is heavy on border control and jihad issues.

  • The 9th Circuit’s dangerous and unprecedented use of campaign statements to block presidential policy.”

    By accepting the use of preelection statements to impeach and limit executive policy, the 9th Circuit is taking a dangerous step. The states’ argument is in essence that Trump is a bigot, and thus his winning presidential campaign in fact impeaches him from exercising key constitutional and statutory powers, such as administering the immigration laws.

    This would mean that Trump is automatically disbarred, from the moment of his inauguration, of exercising certain presidential powers, not because of his actions as president, but because of who he is — that is, how he won the presidency.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • When Judge James Robart stated that “no” terrorists had attacked America from the countries on President Trump’s travel ban, he was engaged in the rhetorical device known as lying his ass off. “At least 60 people born in the seven countries had been convicted — not just arrested, but convicted — of terror-related offenses in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Trump’s sanctuary city and terrorist-supporting state travel bans are his most popular executive orders. To quote Mark Steyn yet again, “‘divisive’ appears to be elite-speak for ‘remarkably popular.'” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Rotherham sex abuse gang shout ‘Allahu Akbar’ as they are jailed for total of 81 years for sexually abusing girls.”
  • Most Europeans oppose further Muslim immigration. Can’t imagine why…
  • Among them: this Swedish cop:

    Here we go; this is what I’ve handled from Monday-Friday this week: rape, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, rape-assault and rape, extortion, blackmail, assault, violence against police, threats to police, drug crime, drugs, crime, felony, attempted murder, rape again, extortion again and ill-treatment.

    Suspected perpetrators; Ali Mohammed, Mahmod, Mohammed, Mohammed Ali, again, again, again. Christopher… what, is it true? Yes, a Swedish name snuck in on the edges of a drug crime. Mohammed, Mahmod Ali, again and again.

    Countries representing all the crimes this week: Iraq, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Somalia, Syria again, Somalia, unknown, unknown country, Sweden. Half of the suspects, we can’t be sure because they don’t have any valid papers. Which in itself usually means that they’re lying about their nationality and identity.

  • Scott Adams abandons all support for UC Berkeley in the wake of the Milo riot:

    I’m ending my support of UC Berkeley, where I got my MBA years ago. I have been a big supporter lately, with both my time and money, but that ends today. I wish them well, but I wouldn’t feel safe or welcome on the campus. A Berkeley professor made that clear to me recently. He seems smart, so I’ll take his word for it.

    I’ve decided to side with the Jewish gay immigrant who has an African-American boyfriend, not the hypnotized zombie-boys in black masks who were clubbing people who hold different points of view. I feel that’s reasonable, but I know many will disagree, and possibly try to club me to death if I walk on campus.

    Yesterday I asked my most liberal, Trump-hating friend if he ever figured out why Republicans have most of the Governorships, a majority in Congress, the White House, and soon the Supreme Court. He said, “There are no easy answers.”

    I submit that there are easy answers. But for many Americans, cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias hide those easy answers behind Hitler hallucinations.

  • Just in case you were unclear: President Trump is not Hitler. (Hat tip: Scott Adams, IBID.)
  • #Winning.
  • House Democrats are going on a retreat in Baltimore where they’ll go over an autopsy of the election. Will they learn from their many mistakes? “The Baltimore retreat, which will take place at the scenic Inner Harbor, will focus on the party’s fight for all Americans and feature speeches from top Democrats and various celebrities, including Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Chelsea Handler, as the party looks to get back on track.” Signs point to “No”… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Both Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus want you to know that they are not bitter enemies fighting for influence in the Trump White House. The truth is that they are “rather chummy.” (Hat tip: Ann Althouse.)
  • President Trump’s chess game:

    In the end it would appear that Trump is playing the kind of game that I was taught to play by my coach. His opponents are never given time to mount an attack. Their queen – the MSM has been removed from the board and their favorite piece – the Celebrities are locked in a war of attrition while Trump gets the rest of his pieces on the board. Remember, these are all Tactics but Strategy flows from Tactics. Sooner or later the Left will find itself in some terrible position and the Strategy to drain the swamp will present itself.

    (Hat tip: Zero Hedge.)

  • “Leftists said if Trump won, that there’d be violent mobs of hate, and intolerant fascists would try to silence those with whom they disagree. And they were right. It just was by a group of people from which they didn’t expect it: themselves.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • NSA contractor allegedly stole over 500 million documents. The news came out October last year (I guess reporting yet another giant classified data breach was something the media wasn’t too wild about digging into in the election homestretch), but he was just indicted yesterday. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Concision. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Well, with Trump, Modi, Brexit, and now France, there are some similar problems in those countries. What you are hearing is people getting fed up with the ruling class. This is not fascism. It has nothing to do with fascism. It has to do with the faux-experts problem and a world with too many experts. If we had a different elite, we may not see the same problem.”
  • Nikki Haley’s first speech at the UN blasts Russia over their continued occupation of Ukraine. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Secretary of Defense Mattis was a big hit in both Japan and South Korea.
  • Quitaly seems increasingly likely.
  • Is Russia helping the Taliban?
  • “Meet Denmark’s new anti-Islam, anti-immigration, anti-tax party.”
  • Gun sales finally dip. Obviously gun owners don’t feel like NRA-endorsed President Trump is a threat to take their guns, unlike “World’s Greatest Gun Salesman Obama.” It also suggests that those of us in the Vast Right Wing aren’t even remotely worried about that mythical leftwing “resistance” launching an actual civil war. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)
  • Whistle-blower reveals that, yes, the NOAA lied about climate data.
  • Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) shares some of that vaunted liberal tolerance that’s been sent his way:

  • American feminists: Rich White Girl Problems. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Texas Senate passes sanctuary city bill.
  • Tennessee bill: Get off the road, you leftwing lunatic!
  • Can an average engineer earn more in a lifetime than an average NFL player? The study says yes, but I think the engineering pay average ($125,418) is probably a bit on the high side (I suspect California companies were oversampled).
  • Anonymous takes down a ton of child porn sites.
  • Pizza parties for abortion quotas.
  • Infosys sued for descriminating against Americans. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Twitter lost $457 million last year:

    Twitter had decided, in an election year, to surrender control of its platform to a crew of feminist social justice warriors (SJWs) designated the “Trust and Safety Council.” This secretive group of Soviet-style commissars included the notorious anti-male hatemonger Anita Sarkeesian, and soon Twitter began purging conservative accounts…. Jack Dorsey had made his company part of the Democrat Party’s campaign team and four months later, when Twitter banned popular commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, the partisan nature of “Trust and Safety” became transparent. Banning conservatives from Twitter was Dorsey’s contribution-in-kind to the Democrats.

  • And that’s the 10th consecutive quarter of declining revenue for Twitter.
  • Twitter suspends a cartoon, presumably for offending SJW types.

  • FYI: He He Silly Comics are still on Gab. I really should activate my account there…
  • Marvel to knock it off with the Social Justice Warrior bullshit that’s been costing them sales.
  • This lawsuit goes to 11.
  • So Blizzard is worried that the user experience on consoles isn’t shitty enough.
  • “I didn’t say I had mice in my cellar, I said I had moose.”
  • 85th Texas Legislative Session Begins Today

    Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

    Lock up your women and liquor, the legislature is back in town!

    The 85th Texas Legislative Session started today, and one of the biggest concerns is a smaller budget, as detailed by the comptroller:

    For 2018-19, the state can expect to have $104.9 billion in funds available for general-purpose spending, a 2.7 percent decrease from the corresponding amount of funds available for the 2016-17 biennium. If not for the new constitutional provision dedicating up to $5 billion in biennial sales tax revenue to the State Highway Fund (SHF) starting in fiscal 2018-19, projected funds available for general-purpose spending for 2018-19 would be $109.6 billion, 1.7 percent greater than in 2016-17.

    The $104.9 billion available for general-purpose spending represents 2018-19 total revenue collections of $106.5 billion in General Revenue-related (GR-R) funds, plus $1.5 billion in balances from 2016-17, less $3.1 billion reserved from oil and natural gas taxes for 2018-19 transfers to the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF) and the SHF.

    Tax revenues account for approximately 87 percent of the estimated $106.5 billion in total GR-R revenue in 2018-19. Sixty-two percent of GR-R tax revenue will come from net collections of sales taxes, after more than $4.7 billion is allocated to the SHF. Other significant sources of General Revenue include motor vehicle sales and rental taxes; oil and natural gas production taxes; franchise tax; insurance taxes; collections from licenses, fees, fines and penalties; interest and investment income; and net lottery proceeds.

    In addition to the GR-R funds, the state is expected to collect $74.9 billion in federal income as well as other revenues dedicated for specific purposes and therefore unavailable for general-purpose spending. Revenue collections from all sources and for all purposes should total $224.8 billion.

    Absent any appropriations by the Legislature, the ESF balance is expected to be $11.9 billion at the end of the 2018-19 biennium, below the ESF constitutional limit of an estimated $16.9 billion.

    Following a strong 5.9 percent increase in real gross state product in fiscal 2015, the Texas economy is estimated to have grown by only 0.2 percent in 2016, well below the average growth rate of 3.8 percent per year over the past 20 years. Contraction in activity related to oil and natural gas production has been a drag on state economic growth. Still, the diversity of the Texas economy has allowed for continued growth in employment over the past two years and we expect sustained growth over the coming biennium. Texas stands in contrast to other states with large energy industries, many of which have suffered through declines in employment and economic output.

    Here’s an eyechart visual summary. Click for a bigger version.

    The budget is the meat-and potatoes of the legislature, but we’ll get to some hot-button issues (like sanctuary cities and tranny bathrooms) at a later date.