Columns/Opinions

Tue
25
Apr

House passes legislation to reform school finance law

By Ed Sterling | Texas Press Association

AUSTIN — The Texas House of Representatives on April 19 approved school finance legislation that would reduce the amount of local tax dollars that property-rich school districts are required to share with other school districts under the so-called “Robin Hood” process. House Bill 21 by House Public Education Committee Chair Dan Huberty, R-Houston, passed on a vote of 134-16. It would increase per-student state funding for most school districts and charter schools and would adjust formulas used to calculate how much funding the state sends to school districts.

House Speaker Joe Straus, who designated school finance reform a top priority for lawmakers to address in the 85th session of the Texas Legislature, lauded the passage of HB 21. “Texas public schools are doing a good job and House Bill 21 will make them even better,” Straus said. “

 

Tue
25
Apr

Big data abound in protecting Texas children

By CARLOS L. URESTI

When it comes to making policy decisions around the Capitol, Big Data, defined as large data sets that can be analyzed for a host of patterns and trends, is driving many of the narratives. As a longtime advocate for our abused and neglected children, I pay special attention to data collected on child abuse allegations,

Tue
18
Apr

Bad stuff in Austin...House bills would stifle press coverage, free speech

By FRED HARTMAN

The House State Affairs Committee heard testimony on two bills last week that would dismantle the reporter’s shield law and make it more difficult for news organizations to defend defamation lawsuits.

Media outlets are up in arms about the bills sponsored by state Rep. Ken King, R-Canadian, and legal experts testified during the hearing that both measures are unconstitutional.

 

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Tue
18
Apr

Federal judge says again, Texas voter ID law is discriminatory

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi on April 10 ruled the State of Texas has failed to prove that the voter identification law was not written with discriminatory intent and purpose.

The ruling came in response to a charge by the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that Judge Ramos re-examine the evidence and her 2015 findings in Veasey et al., plaintiffs, v. Greg Abbott et al., defendants.

 

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Tue
11
Apr

Let's Think About This

By LEE PITTS

If you thought living next to Ted Turner's buffalo was bad just wait until you hear this. According to a report on CNN and a story written in Newser by Arden Dier, scientists are trying to revive what was once the largest land mammal in Europe for over 250,000 years. It's called an Auroch but there's only one problem: it was last seen grazing in a Polish forest in 1627.

Supposedly, the reason the mad scientists want to bring back the extinct Auroch is because many areas in Europe are becoming barren, probably because they kicked the cattle and sheep off.

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Tue
11
Apr

Next generation of computer scientists

By WILL HURD

Coding is the language of the 21st Century economy, and if our kids can’t speak it, they’re going to be left behind.

I am not just referring to jobs at tech companies. Employers from HEB to Toyota are actively hiring tech professionals, at salaries significantly higher than the statewide average, to deal with everything from inventory and logistics to anti-hacking and privacy protection. I just heard about a cattle rancher from the San Antonio-area who has created an online marketplace, proving that even agriculture is following the digital trend.

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Tue
11
Apr

Next step: House, Senate must work toward agreement on state budget

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — After more than 15 hours of floor debate, the Texas House of Representatives on April 7 approved a balanced, $218 billion, state budget for fiscal years 2018-2019.

During the debate, state representatives proposed some 378 amendments to the House version of Senate Bill 1, although many were tabled or withdrawn.

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Tue
04
Apr

Vouchers alive in Texas Senate, less so in Texas House

By CARLOS I. URESTI

In the past decade of the Texas Legislature, very few issues are as contentious as Vouchers. While they go by many names, such as tax credit scholarships and education savings accounts, to the average person a voucher is any route to use public dollars for a private school education.

In the Senate, the voucher bill is assigned the number Senate Bill 3. If a Senate Bill is numbered one through twenty, it means the Lieutenant Governor believes the issue is a priority.

 

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Tue
04
Apr

Saving tax dollars while increasing public safety

By ANDREW MURR

With all of the hot-button issues being debated in the legislature this year, I doubt that reforming our outdated pretrial detention and bail systems will get much attention in the press. But it should, and I’ll tell you why. If passed, my new legislation (House Bill 3011 and House Joint Resolution 98) will save Texas taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, while at the same time improving public safety.

 

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Tue
28
Mar

Don’t end NAFTA, fix it

BY JOHN CORNYN

When looking for a model economy, Washington would be wise to look no further than Texas. The “great American jobs machine,” as we’re affectionately known, has been the economic engine that pulled our country out of the recent recession, adding more than one million jobs to the American economy. In fact, if Texas were its own country, we would be the 10th largest economy in the world.

Now, with pro-growth Republicans in control of Congress and the White House, leaders are beginning to consider proposals to lift our economy out of a sluggish recovery. But as we work together to jump start our factories and farms across the country, let’s keep in mind what my state has gotten right.

 

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