Jim Henson

Five First-Cut Takeaways from the February 2017 UT/Texas Tribune Poll

February 24, 2017
By: 
Jim Henson

The Texas Tribune published stories all week long on the February 2017 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, and we'll be mulling and writing about the results in the coming weeks.  Ross Ramsey wrote stories about it all week long, bless his heart.  But here are some first takes to end the week.  We've posted many graphics, including lots of crosstabs at the latest poll page at the Texas Politics Project website - we'll post data files soon.

If Only We Had a Meter: Texas Data Points from the Week in Politics, Feb 11, 2017

February 12, 2017
By: 
Jim Henson

In what should be expected to be a continuing trend, the last week saw national news not only dominate coverage, but also touch Texas directly, even as each chamber of the legislature got a little busier, albeit each at their own respective pace.  Though there were no other signs of the apocalypse, the Lt. Governor called a press conference promoting a Politifact column in the local paper, where he also again invoked polling that he says supports SB 6.  That claim is pretty complicated, but that’s another story. Read on for some data points that shed light on some of the week’s political developments.

House Committees of the 85th Legislature Compared to the 84th in a Handy Table

February 9, 2017
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

Speaker of the House Joe Straus announced today the House committees for the 85th Legislative session. Here's a look at what's changed and what's remained the same in one handy table. 

What Bathroom Bill? Texas Data Points from the Week in Politics, February 3, 2017

February 3, 2017
By: 
Jim Henson

Governor Greg Abbott’s state of the state speech to the Texas Legislature provided the big event of the week, and it yielded the emergency designations that enabled Senate committees to propel two of the four emergency items – sanctuary cities legislation and ethics reform – out of committee. This meant an early-session, late night meeting of the Senate State Affairs committee, punctuated by heated feelings from the gallery likely spurred on by the polarized national reactions to Donald Trump’s delivery on his campaign promise to halt the flow of Syrian refugees, and more broadly to stem the entry of Muslims into the country, which, in effect, he did last week with his executive orders. The week also saw Lt. Governor Dan Patrick preside over the unveiling of Senator Larry Taylor’s SB 4, the long awaited school choice bill providing for educational savings accounts and a scholarship program for private school students funded by redirected insurance premium tax funds. No sign of the v-word here! Read on for data related to the week in Texas politics.

Public Opinion and Gov. Abbott's State of the State Address

January 31, 2017
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

In his much-anticipated state of the state address before the legislature, Governor Abbott declared four emergency items. At the top of the list, as widely expected, he called the Legislature to work swiftly and comprehensively on addressing problems in child protective services and foster care. “Do it right!,” he exhorted them shortly before revealing it as his top emergency item. The Governor also declared banning Sanctuary cities, ethics reform, and a measure calling for a Convention of the states to consider constitutional amendments – one of his pet projects.

A Table With a First-Cut Comparison of House and Senate Budget Proposals for 2018-2019

January 20, 2017
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

The House and Senate released their initial budget proposals this week, and with the help of the Legislative Budget Board, we've compiled a quick comparison of the starting point of negotiations.

Let the Games Begin: Texas Data Points from the Week in Politics, January 20, 2017

January 20, 2017
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

As the week ends with a historically unique presidential succession, politics in Texas have a more familiar ring as set pieces of the legislative session play out safely removed from that nasty Washington, D.C. swamp. Kind of. The week saw attempted mobilization of interest groups in the continuing efforts to shape the agenda, budgetary politics between the two chambers of the Legislature, fuel for the never-ending speculation on the next election cycle in Texas, the unveiling of committee assignments in the Senate, and a ruling in the running court battle over Planned Parenthood’s participation in Medicaid in Texas.

Senate Committees of the 85th Session in a Handy Table

January 18, 2017
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick announced today the Senate committees for the 85th Legislative session. Here's a look at what's changed and what's remained the same in one handy table. 

Following Up on Public Support for Lt. Governor Patrick's Priorities

January 11, 2017
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

We're with the Lt. Governor on using UT/TT polling data in political and policy coverage in which public opinion data contributes to informing the public. In the wake of his claim that "I think all of the bills we've released as priorities are supported by Republicans and Democrats" in an interview with Evan Smith, we've gone through our data archive and found polling results relevant to fifteen of the Lt. Governor's declared priorities, including extensive crosstabs.

The Legislative Success of the Anti-Straus Voters in 2015 and Their Gambit on the Speaker Vote in 2017

January 10, 2017
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

The only somewhat interesting question amidst the opening ceremonies of the of the 85th Legislature is whether the House of Representatives will re-elect San Antonio Republican Joe Straus Speaker of the House by acclaim or by a record vote. The latter would require House dissidents who have endeared themselves to conservative activists in the interest group universe and in their districts by criticizing Straus to make a tough choice. Voting for Straus as Speaker on the public record creates a potential liability among the anti-Straus interest groups who are active participants in GOP primary elections. A recorded vote against Straus provides a public sign of opposition and invites being marginalized by the leadership in things like committee assignments and the treatment of their bills – which also potentially affects a member’s reelection prospects.

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