Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Updates from Wendy Davis, Jerry Patterson and more

-- I agree with Pall Burka that Wendy Davis' "problems" -- or "resume' issues", as Chris Cilliza at the Washington Post put it -- can be easily fixed.  But she's going to have to fire Matt Angle and a few other people and hire some DC professionals to fix it.  Meanwhile, there is at least one conservative who questions the value of the smearing that is going on.

I signed Davis' letter and gave her more money today.

-- Jerry Patterson is the only Republican LG candidate not running on a "Kill the Ill Eagles" plank.  Strangely enough, in his TV commercial with an appeal to Latino tolerance, he calls them Tejanos.  It should be interesting to see how both this strategy and this particular tactic work out for him. 

-- Better Texas Blog has the day one play-by-play from the school finance lawsuit.

Last year the Texas school finance system was ruled unconstitutional on the grounds that it is inadequate, inequitable, and inefficient. This week, State District Judge John Dietz has reopened evidence in the case to determine if actions made by the 2013 Texas Legislature resulted in any substantial changes to the school finance system.

The primary plaintiffs in the case argued that though the Texas Legislature took a step in the right direction, with a partial restoration of funding, it was too small a step and huge funding disparities still exist between property poor and property wealthy districts. As the Equity Center’s lawyer Rick Gray, who Texas Tribune reporter Morgan Smith quotes in her story, said, “Any and all funding changes are temporary at best. There is absolutely no requirement they be in existence beyond the year 2015…It was an exceedingly small step in the right direction.”

The plaintiffs were also quick to point out that the legislature made a conscious to not study the costs of its education requirements. The House version of the 2014-15 budget contained a rider (provision) that required a re-examination of the cost-of-education index and the weights and allotments within the current school finance formulas. This rider was stripped from the budget before finale passage.

As our post-legislative session analysis of public education funding in the 2014-15 budget explains, the Legislature failed to undo the harm caused by the unprecedented 2011 cuts, which disproportionately affect economically disadvantaged public school students. These cuts, among other inequities, led Judge Dietz to originally rule Texas’ school finance system unconstitutional early last year. (Reread our statement on Judge Dietz’s original ruling here).

The State is sticking by its original argument that the school finance system is and has been constitutional.

As Charles posted this morning, the case will eventually return to the Supremes, and nothing is likely to get resolved before the next legislative session convening in January, 2015.  With a new governor, and perhaps a new lieutenant governor, and more known about how funding public education might occur than we know today.

Update: David Alameel is finally out of the closet on women's reproductive freedom.  From my inbox this afternoon...

As your senator, I’ll wake up every day fighting to restore economic fairness and reform our government by:

Withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan and redirecting the hundreds of billions we are spending there to rebuild America by investing in good jobs, good schools and protecting Social Security and Medicare.

Investing in a quality education for all Texas’ children, not just the privileged few.

Growing our economy by creating good paying jobs in Texas, raising the minimum wage, ensuring equal pay for equal work and protecting the rights of union workers;

Standing up to Wall Street corporations and millionaires by making them pay their fair share, closing unfair tax loopholes and ending offshore tax shelters.

Stopping any attempts to privatize or cut Social Security and Medicare.

Protecting Roe v. Wade from right wing extremists who want government to interfere in women’s health care decisions.

Passing comprehensive immigration reform that is humane, respectful of our laws and provides a responsible roadmap to citizenship.

Fighting for marriage equality.

These policy positions are all good enough for me, but I will still be supporting either Maxey Scherr or Michael Fjetland in the primary.

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

Alameel: Finally, but what the hell took so long? I was just headed to his website again before I saw your post.

School finance: Until the franchise tax is reformed, among other things, schools will remain underfunded from the state and thus, given district property value inequities, unequal. That's even if some of the other temporary adjustments are kept in place by the next Lege.

(Really, it's too bad we don't have a Prez who would use federal education funding as a big stick on various states.)