Monday, April 08, 2019

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance congratulates the Baylor Lady Bears ...

... and gets its guns up for the Texas Tech Red Raiders in tonight's NCAA men's basketball final.

Here comes the round-up of the best blog posts and lefty news from across the Lone Star State from last week!

With seven weeks remaining in the regular legislative session, Texas lawmakers got down to business, with the House passing major public school finance reform including a raise for teachers.  The Senate decided that a few bigotry bills were more important.

In election-related news ...

The state Senate this week is expected take up Senate Bill 9, an omnibus election integrity bill by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), who chaired an interim committee on election security. Broadly, the bill is the results of that committee’s work and would:

  • Require counties to use “auditable voting systems” that produce a paper record enabling a voter to verify their vote was cast as intended
  • Establish a “risk-limiting audit” pilot program to ensure electronic voting machines are counting votes accurately
  • Strengthen criminal and civil penalties for Election Code violations; and
  • Increase the certification requirements for people providing transportation and curb-side assistance to voters.

The bill passed the State Affairs committee on a 7-2 party-line vote on April 1. Individuals representing Tea Party and conservative interest groups such as Concerned Women for America, Direct Action Texas, True Texas Elections spoke in favor of the bill at a public hearing last month. Opponents included individuals representing the Texas Civil Rights Project, Disability Rights Texas, MALDEF, and the League of Women Voters.

CD17: Pflugerville IT manager Rick Kennedy reauthorized his campaign committee for a potential rematch against U.S. Rep. Bill Flores (R-Bryan), who defeated Kennedy, 56%-42%, last year.

CD21: Former Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth), the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor, said she will not challenge U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R) and may instead challenge U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin). Davis said on a recent podcast that she would support U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) if he chose to run for U.S. Senate.

CCA: Houston attorney William Demond established a campaign committee for an unspecified seat on the Court of Criminal Appeals, likely as a Democrat. Judges Bert Richardson (CCA3), Kevin Yeary (CCA4) and David Newell (CCA9) -- all Republicans-- are on the ballot in 2020.

Down With Tyranny reports on a rumored primary challenge in TX-33, where state Rep. Ramón Romero may run against Cong. Marc Veasey.  Off the Kuff cheered the impending settlement of the lawsuit over that bogus SOS advisory about non-citizen voters.  Texas Standard found over a quarter-million Texans who experienced difficulties voting in the 2018 midterms.

Based on data (the Texas Civil Rights Project) collected, it identified five main barriers to casting a ballot in the state. They include voting machine malfunctions, non-compliance with voter registration law and inconvenient polling locations.

Law and Crime blogged about a federal judge in Austin who seems inclined to strike down the state's anti-BDS law.  Grits for Breakfast has a load of data about arrests for Class C misdemeanors.  The Texas Observer's Michael Barajas writes about improvements to the Sandra Bland Act.  And since hemp is no longer classified as a dangerous drug by the state of Texas, and as the Lege debates decriminalization, what exactly is legal and what isn't?  This piece in the Dallas News offers some answers and some clues to the future.

Even as another chemical plant in the Houston area exploded ...

... several climate activists went to Austin to testify about the #ITCDisaster.

KUT reports that a battle over renewable energy is brewing under the pink dome.

Before speaking at Rice University last Friday, Vice President Pence stopped by ICE offices in north Houston and tried to find a silver lining in Trump's about-face on shutting the border down.

“The president’s made it clear that if over the course of the next year, if Mexico fails to act we’ll begin by considering tariffs that we impose on cars that come into our country and our president will consider closing portions of southern border,” said Pence. 

Pence also praised ICE officers who arrested 284 employees at a technology repair company in the Dallas suburb of Allen on charges of working in the United States illegally.  No charges were announced for the employer.

PDiddie at Brains and Eggs posted his regular weekly 2020 update, and SocraticGadfly showed why, as he sees it, that Pete Buttigieg is so bad a presidential candidate he could be called Beto LiteProgrexas blogs that Beto O'Rourke's charter schools problem isn't going away any time soon.

Dan Solomon at TM has the Croatian who finds art in James Harden's beard.

And Beyond Bones tells the tale of when beer saved the world.

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