Dave Mann


Public Ed Happy Hour

The Senate Education Committee is about to meet to take another whack at passing a school finance bill. The committee crashed and burned on its first attempt to pass House Bill 2 last night. Palestine Republican Todd Staples and several other rural lawmakers want more money for rural school districts. That's proving problematic since there isn't much extra cash floating around.

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Hupp on SB6 conferees

We stopped by Rep. Suzanna Gratia Hupp's office late this afternoon to see what the Lampasas Republican had to say about the newly named conference committee for Senate Bill 6, the Child Protective Services reform bill. Earlier this afternoon, Speaker Tom Craddick named the five House conferees for the bill. They include Rep. Robert "Rainbow Coalition" Talton, the author of the controversial amendment that bans gays and lesbians from serving as foster parents.

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Senate's Legislative Logjam

It's not unusual for the House and the Senate to squabble over legislation like kids bickering over the last piece of meatloaf. This session, though, it's getting especially bad.

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Talton Goes After Gays in SB6

More enlightened legislating from the Texas House this evening. Republican Rep. Robert Talton, the Sage of Pasadena, slipped a little dose of discrimination into the House's debate over Senate Bill 6 that reforms the troubled Child Protective Services department. Talton's amendment requires the state agency managing foster children to ask prospective foster parents if they're homosexual or bisexual. If so, they can't serve as a foster family.

 

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Frosting on Appraisal Caps

Freshman David Leibowitz (D-San Antonio) got downright poetic during the appraisal cap debate on the House floor this afternoon. In urging his colleagues to vote for the appraisal cap constitutional amendment, Leibowitz bellowed from the front microphone that House members must cap home appraisal increases in order to "break the yoke of slavery that our constituents have around their necks." (We'll leave the slavery-appraisal cap comparison to speak for itself.)

 

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House Kills Appraisal Caps

We hadn't been following the squabbling over appraisal caps all that closely before today. Let's be honest, "appraisal caps" just sounds like a snoozer. But this afternoon's House floor fight over Houston Republican Dwayne Bohac's constitutional amendment was thrilling political theater. It was also the latest sign that the House is much less predictable this session. The constitutional amendment, HJR 35, would cap annual increases on home appraisals at 10 percent. Here's a Houston Chronicle story that explains the issue and the politics behind it. The short, short version: homeowners want it; local government folks hate it.

 

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