Across the state, private companies are able to slash their property-tax assessments, but homeowners aren’t as lucky with their county appraisal districts.
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
Jim BrickerZZ Top at The Woodlands, September 2010After 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 >>
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 >>
News Flash: Hank Williams still not a Texan nodepression.comBob "Willis" & His Texas PlayboysIt 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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
North-south cycling trails could be a go!
Readers rant about strict Texas food laws.
Matthew McConaughey possibly has experimentedThe 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 >>
Local movement fights for cottage food bill.
Study of Teach For America's worth says little.
Teach for America: Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't. Now pay usAnyone 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 >>
State reps, get ready for your close-upThe 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 >>
Judge Kevin Fine: RejectedThe 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 >>
Come for the budget-cutting, stay for the insanityWe 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 >>
TFA: It's about to be auditedThe 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 >>
Texas is a big winnerRepublicans 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 >>
Debbie Riddle's got a full plateMonday 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 >>
Mystery fans mourn the passing of a Houston bookseller
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 >>
Plus: Darkhorse Rides In
But hey, that's not stopping Noise.
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
All artwork courtesy of balineseroom.net “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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
The schools who could have been contenders
Debra Danburg swears she'll defend your right to open government. But when it comes to Internet campaign finance reports, ignorance is bliss.
Log Cabin Republicans want to be part of the GOP, which wants no part of them
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.
The drinking beats the dining at the new Village Brewery