Joshua Blank

Why is the Lieutenant Governor Killing the House’s Buzz on Marijuana Decriminalization and Medical Cannabis?

May 9, 2019
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

Talk of the Texas Legislature passing some legislation to lighten the state’s traditionally harsh marijuana laws have been in the air since long before the 86th legislature got underway in January. The expectations, cultivated by a combination of optimistic advocates and click-seeking news outlets, were fleetingly validated with the House of Representatives’ passage of Rep. Joe Moody’s bill (ultimately watered down) containing reduced misdemeanor penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana and lowering the threshold for having those convictions expunged from one’s record. 

The euphoria among supporters, however, was short lived.

A Look at the New District Runs Reflecting HJR 3 and HB 4621, with Links to Spreadsheets

May 2, 2019
By: 
Joshua Blank
Jim Henson

We've made the new runs released by the House committee available in a spreadsheets for 2020 and 2021 via Google Drive, should you want to interact with the data yourself. 

In Texas, Partisanship Trumps Immigration in Latino Republicans’ Support for President

April 17, 2019
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

Given the widely recognized demographic trajectory of the state, the political attitudes of Latino voters in Texas remains one of the topics most likely come up in any and all discussions of the state’s electoral future. The approach of a recent article in The Conversation by Stella Rouse and Shibley Telhami with the highly clickable title “How Latinos Really Feel About Trump” got us thinking about the Texas-specific answers to some of the questions raised by the authors about Latinos nationally. 

A Look at the New School Finance Runs as HB3 Gets Debated on the House Floor

April 2, 2019
By: 
Joshua Blank
Jim Henson

The Texas House will take up HB3, the omnibus school finance bill years in the making, on Wednesday. As with any attempt to tweak the school finance system in Texas, the attention of legislators in the House has shifted to the "runs", the document produced by the Legislative Budget Board outlining how funding will change for each member's school districts. Old timers in the process will remember how, in the past, when new runs were released, members walked around with sheafs of paper, looking for the small handful (or less) of members who could walk them through the implications. 

Ah, technology! For those who enjoy looking at the data themselves and maybe even playing with it, we have converted the .pdf's released by the LBB into spreadsheets and shared them for easy access.

Texans' Views on Investigation, Collusion, and Donald Trump as Mueller Report Drops

March 22, 2019
By: 
Joshua Blank
Jim Henson

Amidst all the unknowns about this phase of the Mueller investigation, now that the "report" has been submitted, one thing we know from University of Texas/Texas Tribune Polling: reactions will be heavily determined by partisanship. Looking back over the time series of UT/TT Polls, attitudes towards Mueller, the Russia Investigation, and even the FBI as an organization split along partisan lines a considerable time ago.

Emergency powers and Texas senators — a vote for Trump, or principle? (Trump, it turns out.)

March 14, 2019
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

Following principle rather than politics would require crossing Texas GOP voters who are overwhelmingly and uncompromisingly supportive of the wall, comfortable with Trump’s reliance on executive power to deliver it and still intensely supportive of his presidency. 

[This post originally appeared in Tribtalk on March 13, 2019.  When the Senate voted on March 14, Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn both voted against the resolution.  Twelve Republicans joined Democrats in voting in favor of the motion, which passed 59-41.]

 

Public Opinion and the Lt. Governor’s Priority Bills for the 86th Legislature

March 11, 2019
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick released 30 priority bills for the current legislative session Friday, conveniently mapped onto the numbering of Senate Bills 1-30. We published a similar list when Governor Abbott used the power of the governorship to shape the legislative agenda with his declaration of emergency items in February, prior to the most recent University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll. The overlap between the Lt. Governor’s priorities and those previously announced by the governor means that several of the items below provide a useful update for that post, too.

Some #Txlege Takeaways from This Week’s Release of the February 2019 UT/TT Poll

March 8, 2019
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

The latest University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll, which Ross Ramsey wrote about in a batch of stories released through the week, covered a range of subjects and issues with an emphasis on the current legislative session. As always, we’ll continue to mine the data and connect it with happenings at the legislature as the session kicks into a higher gear, but below are a first set of observations, hopefully more than hot takes but certainly less than the in-depth treatment we’ll give them in coming weeks.

Mandate or machinations? Unpacking efforts to set the legislative agenda

February 12, 2019
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

Set aside the hand-waving and vague muttering that “elections have consequences,” and the evidence for a public mandate on school finance and propert taxes is pretty thin. It likely has more to do with the new governing dynamic among Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, and Dennis Bonnen.

Texas Public Opinion on Abortion and the U.S. Supreme Court

February 8, 2019
By: 
Joshua Blank
Jim Henson

Texas public opinion has remained fairly static on the perrenial issue of abortion, but has shifted towards the Supreme Court (in notable partisan paterns) over time as the justices have weighed in on the issues of gay marriage, Obamacare, and, likely, abortion – and as offices have changed hands between Republican and Democratic control. Below is a set of results from numerous University of Texas/Texas Tribune Polls.

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