Apr 22nd - 3:59 pm
The list of 10 lawmakers who will likely decide the final shape of the next two-year budget is complete.
Monday, House Speaker Joe Straus named his appointees to the conference committee on Senate Bill 1. They are:
- Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie)
- Rep. Myra Crownover (R-Denton)
- Rep. John Otto (R-Dayton)
- Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston)
- Rep. John Zerwas (R-Richmond)
Last week, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst announced the Senate appointees. The group will be responsible for merging the different budget bills passed out of the two chambers. The Senate bill allows for $1.7 billion more in spending.
Apr 19th - 11:12 pm
Lawmakers visit Accident Site
U.S. senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz visited West today to see the devastation.
Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples joined Karina Kling to discuss the scene he witnessed passing through West shortly after the explosion. Staples also discussed the setback to agriculture the explosion is likely to have on food production.
Senate District 22
(R) Sen. Brian Birdwell joined Karina Kling from West, Texas. Birdwell discussed the damage he witnessed in West and how the local leadership is handling the situation.
Scott Braddock with the Quorum Report, Christy Hoppe from the Dallas Morning News and Jay Root with The Texas Tribune joined Karina Kling to discuss the events in politics this week.
Apr 19th - 11:34 am
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst announced his appointees to the Conference Committee on the state budget, Thursday. These are the members who will help bridge the differences between the Senate and House versions of the budget bill.
The Senate will be represented by:
- Senator Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands)
- Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen)
- Senator Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock)
- Senator Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound)
- Senator John Whitmire (D-Houston)
“I am confident that our Senate conferees will fulfill our Constitutional duty to balance our state budget, meet our obligations under current state and federal law, and fund our priorities in a fiscally responsible manner that does not raise taxes on hardworking Texans.” – Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst
Apr 18th - 9:45 pm
Posted by Aaron Franco in [...]
Search and rescue efforts are still underway after Wednesday night’s deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant. As of Thursday afternoon, officials have confirmed more than one person has died, but say more work needs to be done before they can know the exact number for certain.
Click the logo below to hear comments from Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson, along with an update on the environmental conditions and information from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Apr 17th - 10:53 pm
Posted by Sarah Grady in [...]
Emergency crews from across the state are en-route to the scene of a fertilizer plant
explosion in West, Texas. Two explosions occurred at the plant, located about 20 miles north of Waco, just before 8 p.m. The entire town has been evacuated.
YNN has confirmed that a nursing home near the plant has collapsed and people may be trapped inside. There is no official word on casualties, but there are reports that more than 100 people were hurt. At least six helicopters have been dispatched to airlift the injured to area hospitals and the Red Cross is sending resources from across the state.
Gov. Rick Perry issued this statement, tonight:
“We are monitoring developments and gathering information as details continue to emerge about this incident. We have also mobilized state resources to help local authorities. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of West, and the first responders on the scene.”
Apr 17th - 8:44 pm
Posted by Aaron Franco in [...]
Things have been exceedingly cordial in the Senate this session, but an unexpected move created some tension Wednesday afternoon.
The spark? A motion brought forward by Sen. Dan Patrick to repeal a bill by Sen. Kel Seliger that had passed the day before. Senate Bill 346 would require certain, politically active nonprofits to disclose the names of donors. Sen. Patrick cited First Amendment concerns and the Citizens United decision for his reversal, while Sen. Seliger described the bill as a simple transparency issue.
Click the logo below to see the exchange leading up to the vote, along with analysis from the Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg.
Apr 17th - 4:19 pm
Sweeping gun control overhaul efforts hit a major roadblock on Capitol Hill today. The Senate rejected a bipartisan plan to expand federal background checks to include gun shows and online purchases. The amendment was part of a package of Obama-backed bills prompted by the Newtown, CT, school shooting.
The legislation was the result of a bipartisan compromise by Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Manchin. The defeat, while anticipated, was a crushing blow to supporters of stricter gun control laws. Vice President Joe Biden said just before the vote that tighter gun control measures will eventually pass, suggesting the White House wouldn’t abandon its push even though the vote appeared headed toward failure.
The Senate will consider nearly a dozen more amendments in the coming days, including a ban on certain assault rifles.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Apr 17th - 2:21 pm
The Texas Senate unanimously passed a bill to ensure that all evidence in death penalty cases is DNA tested before they go to trial. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) garnered support from both parties, including Attorney General Greg Abbot. Ellis and Abbot touted the legislation as a collaborative effort to create a “more fair, reliable and just Texas criminal justice system.”
In an interview with Capital Tonight last month, Abbott said, “We need to get all that [DNA testing] done upfront, to make sure that we convict the right person, or if the DNA evidence shows the person was innocent, they are released.”
Sen. Ellis released this statement following today’s vote:
“This modest but vitally important reform will help reduce the possibility that the ultimate mistake is made with someone receiving the ultimate penalty. The fact of the matter is that we have already dodged just such a bullet thanks to advocates for the wrongfully convicted. We know that, sometimes, we get the wrong person. The Michael Morton case and dozens of examples are painful reminders of that fact. SB 1292 will ensure we avoid both the possibility of the wrong person serving years on Death Row and the far worse specter of putting to death an innocent person.”
Apr 17th - 12:40 pm
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn isn’t impressed with Gov. Rick Perry’s boasting over Texas’ economy. He responded to Perry’s plans for a business recruiting trip, telling a Chicago radio station “We’ve seen this rodeo before.” The democrat called Perry a “big talker” and touted his own state’s manufacturing success.
“If previous, similar efforts by other Republican governors are any indication – these publicity stunts don’t work and they don’t change the fact that businesses are choosing Illinois all the time,” his office told 89 WLS reporter Bill Cameron. “In fact, today we announced a global corporation is choosing Illinois for its North American headquarters, in part due to Governor Quinn’s Clean Water Initiative and work to make our state a global hub for water technology.”
Quinn pointed to Texas’ drought woes, calling the state “water challenged.” Recently, he has played up his home state’s water technologies including a groundbreaking this week at water pump maker Grundfos’ North American headquarters in suburban Chicago.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Apr 17th - 11:48 am
Gov. Rick Perry is ramping up his efforts to tempt Illinois businesses to relocate to Texas. Just days after launching a new online campaign touting Texas as a business friendly state, Perry announced today that he’s making a recruiting trip to Chicago. The governor will leave Monday and return Tuesday. He will address the 2013 Bio International Convention and plans to meet with business leaders.
Perry’s announcement coincides with a new $42,000 radio ad buy on four Chicago radio stations. The ad was paid for by Texas One, the same group that bank rolled a similar blitz in California in February.