Columns/Opinions

Tue
08
Aug
Edgar's picture

When leaks dry up, we turn to FOIA

By Lata nott

When we talk about the importance of a free press, what we're really talking about is how important it is for the press to serve as a watchdog on the government. The highest responsibility of journalism is to supply the people with information about what their government is doing, so that the people can hold the government accountable, and make the best possible decisions when they vote. But if you're not a journalist (full disclosure: I am not), you may not give a lot of thought to how journalists get that information in the first place.

Official government press releases and briefings aren't really the place to find information about government misconduct. Obviously, leaks are a much better source when it comes to getting the real dirt. But the recent emphasis on prosecuting leakers is likely to have a major chilling effect on that source of information.

 

Tue
01
Aug
Edgar's picture

Droning on and on

By LEE PITTS

You can't pick up an ag publication these days without finding a story on how drones will revolutionize the cow business. Supposedly, they'll do everything from checking on float valves to spotting a trespassing hunter. They'll even find cattle on a far flung ranch. I've got news for the experts, we already have such a device... it's called a dog. The initial cost of a good dog and a good drone are similar, two to five thousand dollars, but drones could be cheaper in the long run because you don't have to feed them every day or take themto a vet. Although drones could get pricey if your irate neighbor insists on shooting yours down repeatedly.

 

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Tue
01
Aug
Edgar's picture

For three Texas leaders, some losses could be victories

By ROSS RAMSEY

The special session of the Texas Legislature could come out like a soccer tournament for 5-year-olds: No matter what happens, everybody gets a trophy.

The layout of this legislative overtime is familiar: 20 issues, a maximum of 30 days, one must-pass issue and 19 that would make this or that political group happy. Failure to address that must-pass issue is really the only thing that could make lawmakers look incompetent. It’s about maintaining the operation of five agencies — including the one that licenses doctors to practice in Texas — for another two years.

 

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Tue
25
Jul
Edgar's picture

A day at the capitol

By MELISSA PERNER

Seeing government in action is an eyeopening experience, especially in Austin. Last week, I received a call from the Texas Press Association asking if I would come to our state capitol and testify against a bill in the current State Legislature Special Session.

I immediately felt this sense of donning my super hero cap and racing into action to save the day. Of course I would go testify, save public notices in newspapers and fight for truth, justice and the American way.

 

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Tue
25
Jul
Edgar's picture

Understanding state sales tax, how to report and pay

By ADRIANA B. HAVINS

You want to open a business.

You know almost exactly how much it will cost you to start, but what about sales tax? As a new business owner, this will be one of the first taxes you will encounter once you start selling your product or service. After setting up your company’s legal structure as either a sole proprietor, partnership, LLC, etc., you will need to visit the State Comptroller’s Office to find out about your sales tax responsibility.

 

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Tue
18
Jul
Edgar's picture

Texans deserve better than Obamacare

By JOHN CORNYN

When Republicans in Congress began working on our health care reform plan earlier this year, I asked folks from around the state to tell me about their experiences under Obamacare. The response was overwhelming.

I heard from one small business owner in Donna who was faced with an unthinkable decision: fire four employees just to comply with Obamacare’s mandates, or owe the government more than $100,000 in fines that could bankrupt his business. He didn’t have much of a choice.

 

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Tue
18
Jul
Edgar's picture

Opportunities for students to continue their education with military service

By ANDREW MURR

One of the great privileges of being a state representative is that, from time to time, I am afforded a unique opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of the next generation of Texas leaders. One such opportunity that I am excited to share with you today is the Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program (TSSSP), which offers scholarships to hard-working students who are dedicated to their education and to serving their state and nation through military service.

Tue
11
Jul
Edgar's picture

Mr. You-Know-Who

By: LEE PITTS

Pardon me but I'd like to use this column to take care of a little correspondence I'm behind on. My friend, who we'll call Mr. You-Know-Who, has a bevy of ranching brothers scattered from one end of the Great Basin through Utah and into Wyoming. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting a couple of You-Know-Who's brothers and I'd like to meet Tom in Wyoming because I've never met anyone from Wyoming I didn't like. They have such great people there and I don't know if it's the water they drink or because they're so spread out.

 

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Tue
11
Jul
Edgar's picture

Act immediately to prevent heat related deaths

By CARLOS I. URESTI

The temperature in a motor vehicle can rise quickly during the summer, reaching temperatures up to 130 degrees within an hour. Unfortunately, with our intense heat, Texas leads the nation in hot car deaths with 55 children tragically passing since 2010. This year there have been a number of high profile cases where children who were stuck in hot motor vehicles passed away from heat stroke. Parents and communities can prevent these deaths by reminding busy parents about the hazards of hot vehicles and taking quick action if you believe a child is in danger.

 

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Mon
03
Jul
Edgar's picture

Texas Legislature reforms child welfare system

By ANDREW MURR

In January, at the start of the 85th Legislative Session, Governor Greg Abbott made it clear to members of the House and Senate that improving Child Protective Services and Texas’ foster care program needed to be a top priority for this Legislature. I wholeheartedly concurred with the Governor’s assessment as the CPS system in Texas has been inadequate for far too many years.

Texas CPS has suffered from caseworker shortages, a lack of good placement options, and even the death of some children which were later determined to have been preventable. This system was put in place to protect our most vulnerable Texans, and we owe those children nothing less than a complete overhaul which puts their needs and safety above a bloated bureaucracy whose primary concern is preserving the status quo.

 

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