Keyword: Texas Legislature
On the Texas side of politics, this week felt like a flashback to last Spring, as the anti-sanctuary city law, the bathroom bill, and the general tone of the 85th Legislature all got rehearings. It’s hard not to feel yet again that there are much bigger goings-on nationally, as students not on spring break staged a national walk-out to protest inaction on gun policy, the Democrats won a squeaker in a Pennsylvania special election, and we discovered what many presupposed, that Special Counsel Mueller has some questions about the Trump business empire and its connections to Russians. Read on for Texas public opinion data linked to some of the big stories from the week in politics.
The increasing efforts to use state government to pre-empt the power of local governments emerges from a confluence of state and national politics that is much bigger than Austin, even though the Legislature has a history of treating Austin as a liberal burr under an ever more conservative saddle.
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.
We've now posted the entire conversation from Glenn Hegar's appearance in the Texas Politics Speaker Series on October 12. Topics include: the biennial revenue estimate' the breakfasts he attended last session with the Governor, Lt. Governor, and the Speaker of the House; state and local government; taxes and revenue; room in the budget for tax cutting; Medicaid; the 2016 presidential race; and more. Also included are his responses in the Q & A portion of the event,
The Texas Politics Project hosted Comptroller Glenn Hegar as part of the Texas Politics Speaker Series at the University of Texas at Austin yesterday. We'll publish the whole interview soon, but in the meantime here are two brief excerpts. The first clip, about the 2016 election, came in response to a question from the Austin American Statesman's Sean Walsh, who wrote about Hegar's response. The second clip finds the Comptroller channeling his legislative experience in response a question about the ongoing discussions about the balance of power between state and local governments. Not to put words in his mouth, but it seems fair to paraphrase his response as "same ole, same ole."
When Comptroller Glenn Hegar assured the Senate Finance Committee that he would “much rather be in this state than the other 49 states in this nation,” Dallas Senator Royce West captured the underlying tension in the Senate’s engagement with the economy, budget prospects, and taxes when he cracked back, “I just don’t want to be in a state of denial.” The finance committee’s worry about what the budget might look like was little in evidence the next day when the Select Committee on Property Tax Reform and Relief convened in San Antonio to wave a red flag on local taxation. The Senate State Affairs Committee explored how the state is muddling through implementation of the state’s new gun laws, while over on the House side, Republicans flipped a seat in the HD118 special election, triggering Democratic dismay and some public self-loathing. A Houston grand jury propelled Texas into the national headlines after reviewing the case of the surreptitiously filmed attempt to buy fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood and indicting the fraudulent would-be tissue peddlers rather than anyone at Planned Parenthood. Way back at the beginning of the week, Rick Perry also got back in the national news for about half a news cycle after leaking to Politico (take that, state press corps) that he would be endorsing Ted Cruz. Perry revealed that he apparently doesn’t know Cruz real well, but he former governor reported that the endorsement comes after they “spent some very appropriate time together."
Lt. Governor Patrick's interim charges represent a potpourri of issues ranging from the unsung operational stuff of government to the more provocative issues that rouse the GOP's voting base. University of Texas/Texas Tribune Polling suggests that the GOP primary electorate is much less interested in the details of issues like water and electricity than they are in issues like immigration, border security, and the vociferous protection and expansion of gun rights.
Much of the week was filled with continuing storylines that are illuminated below with polling data and other graphics – attacks on Planned Parenthood, Ted Cruz's campaign for the Republican Presidential Nomination, more of Hillary Clinton's vexed run for the Democratic Presidential nomination, and another entry into the race for the House seat currently held by Speaker Joe Straus. The end of the week turned much more sadly serious with another mass shooting at a community college.
Critics have called some Republicans' swift turn against local control an opportunistic reaction to the Denton fracking ban. But the pushback has a foundation in public opinion.