Jul 14th - 3:03 pm
The move came as little surprise, following Gov. Rick Perry’s announcement earlier in the week that he would not seek reelection. Instead, the day was designed around Abbott’s experiences as a lifelong Texan, a narrative that included his childhood in Longview, his work as a lawyer and the accident that left him unable to walk.
“Some politicians talk about having a spine of steel. I actually have one. I will use my steel spine to fight for you and Texas families every single day,” Abbott said.
As for his political platform, the man known for suing the Obama administration more than 20 times promised to continue his conservative record.
“Together, we will help all Texans climb the ladder of success,” Abbott said. “Not with Obama-style mandates & handouts, but with a level playing field that gets government out of the business of picking winners & losers, and by reducing taxes on employers.”
Abbott enters the race as a strongly favored candidate, with nearly $22 million in campaign funds raised so far. His only well known Republican challenger is former Texas Workforce Commissioner Tom Pauken.
Jul 14th - 12:47 pm
In Sunday’s show, we check in from San Antonio ahead of Attorney General Greg Abbott’s announcement. Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Perry appeared on CNN to reflect on his 13 years in office.
Between Gov. Perry’s speech Monday and Friday’s passage of a controversial abortion bill, it’s been another memorable week in state politics. Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune and Scott Braddock with the Quorum Report joined us to look back.
There’s been a lot of talk about Senator Wendy Davis’ political future in light of the attention she gained from her abortion filibuster. Democrats are energized by the attention they’ve received, but can they carry that momentum through an election? Jim Henson from the Texas Politics Project joined us to share his analysis.
Jul 13th - 12:14 am
Following hours of debate Friday, the Texas Senate passed a controversial abortion bill just minutes before midnight.
The final vote was 19-11, with Democratic Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. voting in favor of the bill. Republican Sen. Tommy Williams was absent.
Gov. Rick Perry issued a statement shortly after the final vote, calling it part of a larger effort.
“This legislation builds on the strong and unwavering commitment we have made to defend life and protect women’s health,” Perry said. “I am proud of our lawmakers, and citizens who tirelessly defended our smallest and most vulnerable Texans and future Texans.”
The bill requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, allows abortions only at surgical centers and bans abortions after 20 weeks.
It now heads to Gov. Perry’s desk to be signed into law.
Jul 12th - 4:48 pm
The Texas Department of Public Safety has confirmed that officers have been confiscating items from Capitol visitors who intend to observe the abortion bill debate on the Senate floor.
DPS says it received information that demonstrators intended to use props to disrupt the debate. Officers increased security and took the extra step to search bags before people were allowed to enter the gallery.
Officers said in the course of their inspections, they discovered “one jar suspected to contain urine, 18 jars suspected to contain feces, and three bottles suspected to contain paint.” They also confiscated feminine hygiene products, glitter and confetti.
Outbursts during last month’s filibuster prompted the stricter security measures. DPS says it will continue inspections until the close of Senate business.
Jul 12th - 3:00 pm
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Jul 12th - 2:43 pm
The Texas Senate is poised to take up some of the nation’s strictest abortion laws. Lawmakers convened just after 2 p.m., as hundreds of demonstrators on both sides of the issue filled the Capitol rotunda and filed into the Senate gallery.
The omnibus bill bans abortions after 20 weeks and requires upgrades to existing abortion clinics. Opponents to the bill say the new regulations will force all but five clinics in the state to close.
Debate on the bill could last well into the night. Democrats have conceded there is little they can do to stop the bill’s passage. Nonetheless, they intend to speak against the legislature and to offer amendments.
Of course, this is the second time the abortion legislation has reached the full Senate floor. The bill died in the final moments of the first special session after a filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis and protests from abortion-rights activists in the gallery pushed the vote past the midnight deadline.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst opened up the proceedings by reminding observers of the rules of decorum. This time around, state police are lining the gallery to stop any disruptions. There are also reports that the Department of Public Safety is asking women to throw away any feminine products they might be carrying, before being allowed in the gallery.
Jul 11th - 5:17 pm
Strama announced earlier this year that he would not run for reelection. Speculation that he would run for Austin mayor died last month when he announced that he would head up Google Fiber’s new operation in Austin.
Strama has represented the Austin area in the Texas House for the last eight years.
According to Gov. Perry, candidates who want to fill his seat will have to file with the Secretary of State by September 4. The winner will serve out the rest of Strama’s term, which runs out in 2015.
Jul 11th - 1:23 pm
Sen. John Cornyn is turning to a Tea Party veteran to run his 2014 reelection campaign. Cornyn announced Thursday he hired Brendan Steinhauser to be his new campaign manager.
Steinhauser is a campaign strategist and grassroots organizer. Prior to this new gig, Steinhauser worked as the director of communications for the Right on Crime initiative for the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation. He has been credited with helping get conservatives elected to Congress in the 2010 and 2012 elections and organized several events for Sen. Ted Cruz during the last election.
In a statement regarding his decision, Sen. Cornyn said:
“The midterm elections in 2014 will be vital to the future of our country and our state, especially given the interest that liberal Democrats have shown in trying to turn Texas blue. I look forward to working with my team to ensure that Texas remains red. Brendan has been working hard for conservative policies and candidates in more than 40 states, and I am excited that he is joining our team in Texas.”
Jul 11th - 11:56 am
A Senate committee on Thursday approved stricter abortion restrictions, setting up a full Senate vote on Friday.
The legislation would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, require abortions to be performed in surgical centers and require doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Currently, only five of the state’s 42 existing abortion clinics meet those standards.
The bill already passed in the House and expected to easily pass in the Senate. The bill died during the first special session, after Sen. Wendy Davis filibustered for more than 10 hours and outbursts in the gallery pushed the vote past the midnight deadline.
Democrats have conceded this time around, they have run out of ways to block the bill. They are turning their focus now to the upcoming legal battle.
Jul 11th - 10:50 am
The Texas Senate took a pair of quick votes Thursday morning and approved transportation and criminal justice measures. Both are part of Gov. Rick Perry’s call during the 83rd Texas Legislature’s second special session, in addition to the highly-emotional issue of abortion regulation.
The transportation measure approved by the full Senate involves a proposed constitutional amendment that would pump $900 million annually into road building from oil and gas taxes. If approved by members of the House, the measure would go to voters in November because it involves tapping into the state’s savings account, often referred to as the Rainy Day Fund.
Many lawmakers point out that this is only a partial fix, since Texas transportation leaders say the state needs about $4 billion more for roads per year just to meet current traffic needs. Meantime, the House is working on a different transportation measure, so it’s uncertain if the Senate’s version will get that chamber’s approval.
The Senate Thursday also approved a bill that updates Texas law following a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling banning sentences of life in prison for 17-year-old capital murder defendants.