Columns/Opinions

Wed
03
Apr
Edgar's picture

House, Senate continue to move closer to passing budget

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STATE CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

AUSTIN — Last week, with 60 days remaining until the end of the 140-day regular session of the 86th Texas Legislature, the House and Senate vaulted closer toward finalizing a state budget.

On March 27, the House of Representatives voted 149-0 in favor of HB 1, its version of the state budget for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. The lower chamber’s bill allocates some $251 billion to cover the two years and puts $9 billion more than the current budget into education reform, including a teacher pay increase and pension funding, and property tax reform.

SB 1, the Senate’s version of the state budget, is scheduled for more early-April hearings in the Senate Finance Committee before coming to a Senate floor vote.

 

 

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Wed
03
Apr
Edgar's picture

The Cuddling Kind

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LEE PITTS

Every once in awhile I’ll hear about an idea that makes me slap my forehead and say, “I wish I’d have thought of that.” Cow cuddling is one of those ideas.

According to writer Linnea Zielinski, people are paying big money to cuddle and play with cows. She says it’s all part of something called “animal centric holistic health.”

To which I say, “Huh?”

Linnea says that cow cuddling is for people who just can’t get into meditation and she insists that cuddling with a cow will slow down your heart rate. “They will pick up on what’s going inside and sense if you are happy, sad, feel lost, anxious or are excited and they will respond to that without judgement, ego or agenda.” She also says cows are sensitive and intuitive characters.

 

 

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Wed
03
Apr
Edgar's picture

Making a better Texas

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PETER FLORES

We have passed the halfway point of the 86th Texas Legislature; under 70 days remain to make a better Texas. Through my work as a Texas Senator, I try to embody Sam Houston’s definition of leadership: “A leader is someone who helps improve the lives of other people or improve the system they live under.”

That’s my goal this Legislative session: leave Texas better than I found it. In this effort, the Texas Senate has already passed almost 30 bills––most with unanimous approval. I was a coauthor on six of those bills (Senate Bills 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, and 12).

Senate Bill 500, the supplemental appropriations bill, was among the bills with unanimous support. This appropriation comes on top of the general appropriations bill we are crafting in Senate Finance Committee. Every session, this bill gives the legislature the opportunity to address specific issues the state is facing with onetime appropriations.

 

 

Wed
27
Mar
Edgar's picture

Air pollution from Deer Park tank fire sparks lawsuit

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STATE CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

AUSTIN — Images of a stream of billowing dark smoke drew the nation’s attention last week to a fire that engulfed 11 petrochemical storage tanks at the Intercontinental Terminals Company about 15 miles southeast of Houston in Deer Park.

On March 17, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered that all state resources be made available to local and industry officials and urged residents to heed the warnings of local officials. Governmental bodies in nearby affected areas ordered residents to shelter in place because of concerns about unhealthy air quality. Deer Park Independent School District and other districts canceled classes for several days.

Wed
27
Mar
Edgar's picture

Watermelon People

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IT’S THE PITTS

In today’s society where up is down, right is wrong, man is woman and woman is man, the biggest lie of all is that the folks who live in huge, crowded cities with polluted air and constant noise are the environmentalists and you who live under clear skies and the only noise is created by a cow, a cricket, or a coyote are somehow evil defilers of the environment. What has the world come to when all you have to do to be green is write a check once a year to the Sierra Club, fret about the ozone layer and have a bumper sticker on your car that says, “Bring back the bison, sing back the swan?”

Wed
27
Mar
Edgar's picture

Some of the secrets of Texas government aren’t supposed to be secrets

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STATE ANALYSIS

The desire to keep government open and transparent, so that the rest of us can look in there and see what’s going on, is often in tension with the preference for secrecy common to people in high places — or low ones.

That second urge is natural: Lots of people want to peek in the neighbor’s house, but most don’t like it when their neighbors peek.

The first urge is important. You ought to be able to see what elected and appointed officials see when they’re making decisions: who they’re talking to and about what, what they’re reading, what their aides are telling them, which lobbyists and contractors and other favor-seekers are lurking.

 

 

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Wed
27
Mar
Edgar's picture

Using e-commerce to support brick and mortar sales

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BUSINESS TIPS

If one thing is certain it is that the Internet has changed how the world conducts business. Gone are the days where all sales were done with a handshake and a smile.

Now someone can order a crock pot over the Internet and have it at their doorstep in less than 48 hours.

So where does that leave stores that have yet to establish a presence online?

Have no fear establishing an e-commerce website is easier now than ever before. Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding if you should sell products online.

 

 

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Wed
20
Mar
Edgar's picture

Supplemental funding legislation draws from ‘Rainy Day Fund’

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STATE CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

AUSTIN — A few of the funding priorities expressed by the executive, legislative and judicial branches are not covered in Senate Bill 2, the state’s tentatively approved appropriations bill for fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

So, on March 13, the Senate voted unanimously in favor of SB 500, $6 billion in supplemental funding to plug many holes. Some $4.3 billion of the total would be taken out of the Economic Stabilization (“Rainy Day”) Fund.

Authored by Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, the legislation proposes the following allocations:

• $3 billion for Hurricane Harvey recovery expenses;

• $2.1 billion to address the Medicaid shortfall;

 

 

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Wed
20
Mar
Edgar's picture

The High Cost of Being Cheap

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Okay, I admit it: I’m the cheapest SOB who ever made soup out of a complimentary cup of hot water from McDonalds and a free packet of ketchup. My wife and I have been married for 44 years and we’ve owned a total of two television sets and our current one is a chunky box-like structure that weighs 100 pounds and has a tube in it. We can’t stand the thought of buying a new TV just to see them get even cheaper next year. The last pickup we owned we drove for 25 years and we’ve started taking showers every other day to cut our water bill. If I ever owned a Rolex it would have to be a fake of a fake. I could go on like this but I don’t want to waste any more paper than is absolutely necessary to get my point across.

 

 

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Wed
20
Mar
Edgar's picture

Fight for Texas

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1 83 years ago this month, Texas declared independence from Mexico. The following six weeks was a flurry of victories and defeats. The men of the Alamo were avenged on the fields of San Jacinto; General Sam Houston won the long game against General Santa Anna. The free and independent Republic of Texas was established.

The same desire for liberty that drove the first Texians to revolution continues to drive us today¬¬, though our battles look much different. Friday, March 8, marked the last day to file bills for the 86th Texas Legislature. More than 2,400 bills were filed; some pursue that idea of liberty. Many don’t.

My goal this session is to fight for those good bills that address the core issues: property taxes, education reform, the state budget. Though voting on the Senate floor has just begun, two bills have already passed.

 

 

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