Texas State Legislature

  • Blogs

    October 2, 2014

    Fifth Circuit Ruling Shutters Most of Texas' Abortion Clinics

    More than a dozen abortion clinics in Texas won't reopen tomorrow. The federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling Thursday afternoon allowing state officials to immediately begin enforcing the second part of House Bill 2 (the one that state Sen. Wendy Davis famously filibustered agains ... More >>

  • News

    May 1, 2014

    Texas Is Losing Out on Millions of Dollars Thanks to Its Defective Property-Tax System

    Across the state, private companies are able to slash their property-tax assessments, but homeowners aren’t as lucky with their county appraisal districts.

  • Blogs

    April 30, 2014

    Cover Story: Private Companies Score Huge Property-Tax Breaks, Homeowners Don't

    The old AstroWorld site, the Dallas Country Club, Valero refineries in the San Antonio and Port Arthur areas, and Western Refinery out in El Paso are a handful of high-end properties that have ditched millions of dollars in property taxes to the detriment of school districts, firefighters and emerge ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 31, 2013

    Perry Calls Third Special Session After Transportation Bill Flops Again

    About an hour after the close of the second special session of the 83rd Texas Legislature Gov. Rick Perry did what he said he would and called a third special session roughly an hour if the second special session -- the one where the state lege pushed through the anti-abortion bill but choked again ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 1, 2013

    Filibuster Superwoman: Musicians, DJs and Artists Who #standwithwendy

    There are times when snarky blogs about the state of the music industry seem wildly out of touch. This would be one of those times. Another special session convenes today in Austin, with the Texas Legislature's agenda scheduled to address Senate Bill 5, which would virtually eliminate access to abo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 17, 2013

    Cover Story: HCAD Allegedly Running an "Enron Style" Scheme by Shifting the Property Tax Burden from the Rich to the Poor

    In 2012, the Harris County Appraisal District valued Robert Mandala's modest Spring home at $59,500. The property-tax agent who represented Mandala said HCAD, while establishing a value, purposely ignored the lower priced homes in the neighborhood and grabbed sales numbers from the most expensive pr ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 26, 2013

    Ouch: Rep. Jessica Farrar Again Seeks To Put Teeth In Breastfeeding Law

    As new mothers know, infants are not the most patient people when it comes to getting fed. If they get hungry, and you're a breastfeeding mom who hasn't brought along a bottle of your best, then it's time to whip out a breast. In Texas, if you happen to do that in the establishment of someone who ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 4, 2013

    Judge Tosses Out Texas' Method Of Funding Schools, Saying It's Unfair

    A state district judge ruled today the method Texas uses to fund its schools is unconstitutional and unfair and must be overhauled. Ruling in a suit brought by the Houston school district and other districts, Judge John Dietz said the state has not met the basic requirements of fairness in funding ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 16, 2013

    George Prescott Bush, Yes, ANOTHER One, Considering Run for State Office

    Honestly, I thought George Foreman had a lot of Georges in his family, but now I'm beginning to wonder if the Bush clan doesn't have him beat. First there was George H.W. Bush, then George W. Bush. Now, there's George P. Bush (maybe even P.G. if you count his second middle name), son to Jeb and gran ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 16, 2012

    State Senator Mario Gallegos Hospitalized In "Grave Condition" (UPDATED: He's Died)

    State Senator Mario Gallegos, a member of the legislature for two decades and a thorn in the side of the Houston school district for much of that time, is gravely ill, a spokesperson says. Gallegos, 62, is hospitalized in Houston. "Senator Gallegos' family is at his side during this difficult time ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 28, 2012

    Feds Toss Out Texas's Redistricting Maps: Biased Against Minorities, Panel Says

    The Texas GOP's lengthy effort to create redistricting maps that federal judges say don't discriminate against minorities hit another snag today when a three-judge panel in D.C. threw out the latest plan. The judges said the proposed maps failed to meet fairness standards using various tests and an ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 31, 2012

    Mary Gonzalez: The Lege Gets Its First Out Lesbian

    Texas voters, even in the midst of a so-called "conservative uprising," managed to elect the first openly gay woman to the Texas House on Tuesday night. Mary Gonzalez, to be more specific, will be both the first woman to win House District 75 in El Paso and the second openly gay candidate to secure ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 24, 2011

    HISD Trustees Pass Budget, Listen as Larry Says He's Not a Mooch, Anna Says She's Not a Basher and Paula Says I'm No Judas

    Truth or Dare at HISD.​Trustee Larry Marshall denied any conflicts of interest in his trip to Costa Rica no matter what the Houston Chronicle says. Anna Eastman said she isn't a "teacher basher" even though she knows some people think she is. And Board President Paula Harris saluted her friend ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 20, 2011

    ZZ Top Will Release New Album By Year's End, Gibbons Says

    Jim BrickerZZ Top at The Woodlands, September 2010​After years of hemming and haw-haw-haw-hawing about how far along it is, who they are working with, and whether or not it even actually exists, ZZ Top singer/guitarist (Rev.) Billy F. Gibbons said the trio plans to release its first studio alb ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 25, 2011

    Five Texans Who Will Never Be Official State Musician

    ​Before the Texas Legislature did something completely predictable and sold out the state's public schools declared Western Swing the state's official music, it did something slightly less predictable and appointed two people not from Austin or the Hill Country as the next two official state m ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 23, 2011

    Legislature Makes Western Swing Official Texas Music

    News Flash: Hank Williams still not a Texan nodepression.comBob "Willis" & His Texas Playboys​It appears Rocks Off's efforts of a few weeks ago were all for naught. Despite presenting what we thought was a fairly persuasive San Jacinto Day argument to the contrary, earlier today the Texas L ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 11, 2011

    Space Tourists Can't Sue: And Take a Look at Their Insurance Policy

    Using any of these will void the policy.​With NASA getting out of the shuttle business, the next big thing is expected to be space tourism. It can be a dangerous thing, but luckily there is the Texas Legislature to make sure, as they always do, that no one can sue a company for pretty much an ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 21, 2011

    The Five Most Texan Types Of Music

    ​Happy San Jacinto Day, fellow Texans and people who wish they were; i.e. everyone else. If you don't know why today is special, shame on you. But since us Texans are a friendly sort, allow Rocks Off to fill you in. On April 21, 1836, Texian forces under Gen. Sam Houston (aka "Big Drunk") lau ... More >>

  • News

    April 14, 2011

    Bikes on Easements

    North-south cycling trails could be a go!

  • News

    March 3, 2011

    Let Them Eat Cake

    Readers rant about strict Texas food laws.

  • Blogs

    February 24, 2011

    Weed: The Top Ten Texas Stoners of All Time

    Matthew McConaughey possibly has experimented​The 82nd session of the august Texas Legislature will no doubt end as all the others have, without decriminalizing marijuana even for medical use. (We're just going out on a limb here with this prediction.) More and more states seem to be getting ... More >>

  • Dining

    February 17, 2011

    Come and Bake It

    Local movement fights for cottage food bill.

  • News

    February 10, 2011

    Useless Report

    Study of Teach For America's worth says little.

  • Blogs

    February 1, 2011

    Are Teach For America Teachers Better? $39K Later, We Still Don't Know

    Teach for America: Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't. Now pay us​Anyone who's been holding his breath waiting for the Texas Education Agency to release its evaluation of the Teach For America program in the state can let it out now -- along with a sigh of disappointment. Tasked by the Texas Le ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 20, 2011

    DVR Warning: Daily Show to Take On Legislature's Right-Wing Christians Tonight

    State reps, get ready for your close-up​The Daily Show is getting ready to show America just how progressive, intelligent and open-minded the Texas Legislature is -- check that, we are now informed they are going to show the Lege for what it is. The Austin American-Statesman's capitol blog re ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 12, 2011

    Death Penalty Hearing: Judge Kevin Fine Gets Slapped Down By Appeals Court

    Judge Kevin Fine: Rejected​The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has permanently shut down district judge Kevin Fine's quixotic and headline-grabbing effort to examine the constitutionality of how Texas applies the death penalty. In an order issued this morning, the CCA says Fine had no busines ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 30, 2010

    The Texas Lege: Five Crazy Things It Will Debate In 2010

    Come for the budget-cutting, stay for the insanity​We regret to inform you that 2011 is one of those godforsaken years when the Texas Legislature will be in session. We further regret to inform you that Republicans have a supermajority in the House, and almost half of those GOPers are proud m ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 27, 2010

    Teach For America: TEA Undertakes Audit

    TFA: It's about to be audited​The Texas Education Agency has until January 31 to submit a report to the Texas Legislature that asks whether the much lauded Teach for America is doing much good for the low-income students in Texas. The Lege allocated TFA $8 million over last year and this year ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 21, 2010

    Just What America Needs: Four More Texas Votes In The U.S. House Of Representatives

    Texas is a big winner​Republicans in the Texas Legislature have already been salivating over the opportunity to redraw Congressional districts with little to no interference from those annoying Democrats. The U.S. Census just handed them another gift: Four more seats to mess with. A 20 perce ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 10, 2010

    State Rep. Debbie Riddle's Pre-Filed Bills: A Sampling

    Debbie Riddle's got a full plate​Monday was the first day to pre-file bills for the upcoming session of the Texas Legislature, and Tomball State Rep. Debbie Riddle famously camped out to get first crack at things. She filed nine bills. Not all of them deal with the Brown Menace attacking the ... More >>

  • News

    September 30, 2010

    Goodbye, David Thompson

    Mystery fans mourn the passing of a Houston bookseller

  • Blogs

    August 13, 2010

    Horse Racing in Texas, On Its Way to the Last Round-up?

    And they're off....​Is the Texas horse race industry in a death spiral? That seems to be the concern in a report filed today by Steven Long of Horseback Magazine who spent today with the Texas Racing Commission at Sam Houston Race Park.According to Long, Andrea Young of Sam Houston said the park's ... More >>

  • News

    March 11, 2010

    Incoming: Fairness for Victims

    Plus: Darkhorse Rides In

  • Music

    January 28, 2010

    Houston 2020: The Future Is Unwritten

    But hey, that's not stopping Noise.

  • Blogs

    April 20, 2009

    UH Grapples With The Guns-On-Campus Issue

    The Texas Legislature is moving forward with a bill allowing concealed handguns on college campuses. Not a fan of the move: The University of Houston faculty senate. They've passed a resolution opposing the legislation.Not a fan of the faculty resolution: Some UH students.Seth Chandler, the law prof ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 15, 2009

    Fighting For The Right To Live When The Hospital Wants To Let You Die

    This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Texas Advanced Directive Act, which allows a hospital to discontinue life-sustaining treatment against the wishes of the patient or patient's family. And to celebrate, the Texas Legislature held hearings this week on an amendment to change the controve ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 8, 2009

    Texas Legislature Needs to Do Better By Its College Students, Or Let's Just Keep Exporting Them to Other States

    As we close in on rodeo time at the 2009 version of the Texas Legislature, education funding, as usual, will be one of the main topics. And in a dour economy, it's no secret that the degree-of-difficulty factor has just been ramped up a couple extra notches.We caught up with Scott Hochberg (D-Housto ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 18, 2008

    The Secret World Of Dan Patrick, Via Twitter

    Dan Patrick -- hyperbolic talk-show host, slightly unhinged state senator -- has joined the Twitter world.Normally, that wouldn't be too exciting, as his Twitter page proves ("Getting ready for the 81st Texas Legislature session").But the decision gave his compadres at Lone Star Times the chance to ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 1, 2008

    Texas Pols, Make Sure Those Checks Have Cleared -- It's Bankruptcy Time For Bo Pilgrim

    Ah, Bo Pilgrim -- it takes a tough man to go from passing out checks on the floor of the Texas Legislature to filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but you've done it.Pilgrim's Pride, the toast of Pittsburg, Texas, announced today that it's seeking bankrputcy protection "in an effort to address certain ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 17, 2008

    Requiem for the Balinese Room

    All artwork courtesy of “Deep in the South of Texas not so long ago, there on a crowded island in the Gulf of Mexico It didn't take too much money, man, but it sure was nice. You could dance all night if you felt all right, drinking whiskey and throwing dice. And everybody know ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 2, 2008

    College Tuition In Texas Just Keeps Going Up

    Going to college this year? Sending your kid? Here’s something to keep in mind: In the five years since the Texas Legislature approved tuition deregulation, the cost of attending a state college has gone up more than 125% at some schools. Ouch. Rates for tuition and fees at University of Houston ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 14, 2008
  • Blogs

    November 14, 2007

    The Trial of the Galveston Cat Killer

    If history is any indicator, there will be no justice for Mama Cat. Opening arguments started yesterday in the trial of 54-year-old bird-watching enthusiast James Stevenson, who last fall climbed below the toll bridge that links Galveston to the mainland and used a .22-caliber rifle to destroy the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 25, 2007

    Thanks to a Slick Move, Houston-based Weatherford Keeps Drilling in Sudan

    Oil is slick stuff. The oil business can be even slicker. And within the industry, Houston-based Weatherford International may be the slipperiest of all. Yep, that Sudan. According to Fortune Magazine, the oil giant is drilling in Sudan, despite the fact that the US Congress has prohibited Ame ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 2, 2007

    Off and Running

    For ten years, Martha Claussen has been the public relations director at Sam Houston Race Park. She is that rarest of pr people: Gets information to journalists quickly, is very knowledgeable about the industry she represents, steps aside after setting up interviews and doesn’t fudge on her facts. ... More >>

  • News

    March 11, 1999

    Contributing Factors

    Debra Danburg swears she'll defend your right to open government. But when it comes to Internet campaign finance reports, ignorance is bliss.

  • News

    September 3, 1998

    Rogue Elephant

    Log Cabin Republicans want to be part of the GOP, which wants no part of them

  • News

    January 19, 1995

    The Curriculum Question

    Businessman John Privett thought he had a solution to the problems of some of Houston's troubled schools. The parents wanted to try it. The teachers wanted to try it. But HISD administrators said no.

  • Music

    December 22, 1994
  • Dining

    June 9, 1994

    Pub Flubs Grub

    The drinking beats the dining at the new Village Brewery

  • More >>