Keyword: Dan Patrick

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

| By: Jim Henson and 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.

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The polling told you so: The sales tax trial balloon plummets to earth

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

The Texas Senate’s rejection of the much-hyped proposal by the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the House to ask voters to approve a 1-cent increase in the state sales tax has produced what passes for high drama in the Capitol. The Senate’s outright rejection of an approach promoted by its presiding officer, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, only worsened the already obvious problems in the House, where Democrats are publicly unified in their opposition amidst lower-key but palpable skepticism among House members who have to run in GOP primaries next year. (Shortly after the original version of this post appeared in TribTalk on May 7, the House sponsor of the bills pulled them from consideration, all but guaranteeing the death of the sales tax increase.)

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

| By: Jim Henson and 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.

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Mandate or machinations? Unpacking efforts to set the legislative agenda

| By: Jim Henson and 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.

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Those Yard Signs Don’t Have a Year on Them: Why Beto O’Rourke Shouldn’t Run for President in 2020

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

A sober assessment points to the best move for Beto O’Rourke, for Texas, and maybe for the Democratic party writ large: The most likely path for most successful statewide Texas Democrat of the 21st century to win his next election is to rejoin the fray as soon as possible by running for the other U.S. Senate seat in 2020. This would hasten the emergence of a competitive party system in the state.

The rampant speculation about a Beto for President campaign in 2020 is a fantasy borne of various combinations of Texas-centric thinking, viral Betomania, and media group think.

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October 2018 UT/Texas Tribune Poll Election Takeaways

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

The trial ballot in the contest between Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke, which found the incumbent senator leading the El Paso congressman 51 to 46 percent, provided the marquee result from the October University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. Ross Ramsey did his usual, able job rolling out the results from the trial ballots; below, find a few related observations. 

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2018 Election Polling in Texas - October 2018 UT/Texas Tribune Poll Version

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

This post will be updated regularly to reflect the release of new public polls.

Most recent update: 11/2/18

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2018 Election Polling in Texas

| By: Joshua Blank and Jim Henson

This post will be updated regularly to reflect the release of new public polls.

Most recent update: 10/24/18

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Governor Abbott (Still) Tops Texans' Evaluations of Elected Officials*

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

In addition to its focus on Texans’ views of the issues facing the state a, the University of Texas / Texas Politics Project Poll regularly gages Texans' assessments of the state’s exclusively Republican leadership. As the political class in the state readies itself for the 2018 Elections and the 2019 legislative session, there have been small but notable shifts in voters’ estimations of their elected leaders’ job performance over the last few years.

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Takeaways from Texas: Expect Republican candidates nationwide to snuggle up to Trump

| By: Jim Henson

Texas, however unique in its own eyes, remains on the American political map, and its nation’s-first primary election expressed some national dynamics — and may provide some lessons, as national attention shifts to primaries elsewhere in the country.

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