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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
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Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 78,357

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Arkansas House passes highway fund measure, rejects another

LITTLE ROCK—The Arkansas House of Representatives has passed the more modest of two measures that propose to raise money for highway maintenance.

Both of the bills initially failed in the chamber Monday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Republican Rep. Johnny Rye of Trumann offered to amend his bill to cap the money that would go to highways at $140 million after his measure to earmark revenue from applying the state sales tax to Internet sales fell short by two votes. The bill passed with 56 members voting in favor of it.

A bill by Republican Rep. Dan Douglas of Bentonville to raise $200 million annually for road maintenance fell four votes shy of the 67 votes it needed for the House to consider the bill again. The measure had failed on the House floor March 14.

Read more: http://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/arkansas/story/2017/mar/29/arkansas-house-passes-highway-fund-measure-rejects-another/667418/

Bid to keep Arkansas Medicaid plan falls short in Senate

LITTLE ROCK—An effort to continue the hybrid Arkansas Medicaid expansion another year failed Monday in the state Senate, days after Republican efforts to repeal and replace the federal health law that enabled the expanded coverage faltered in Congress.

The budget bill for the state's Medicaid program and the expansion failed on two votes—by a 19-1 and a 20-1 margin—falling short of the 27 needed to approve the budget measure. Legislative leaders said they planned to try again with the proposal on Tuesday, and were confident they had the votes needed.

The top Republican in the Senate said he didn't believe the program would be blocked while the future of the federal health law remains in limbo.

"I don't think there's sufficient will right now to start blocking budgets when we don't even know what's going to happen or how long it's going to take," Senate Majority Jim Hendren said after the votes. "We owe the state of Arkansas a budget and I think most people understand that."

Read more: http://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/arkansas/story/2017/mar/28/bid-keep-arkansas-medicaid-plan-falls-short-senate/667273/

Arkansas Senate OKs bill keeping hybrid Medicaid expansion

LITTLE ROCK—The Arkansas Senate on Tuesday approved keeping the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion another year after Republican efforts to repeal and replace the federal health law that created the program failed in Congress.

The state Senate voted 27-1 for the budget for the state's Medicaid program that includes the hybrid expansion. The bill that now heads to the state House had failed to get the three-fourths majority vote needed on two separate votes Monday.

The top Republican in the Senate said that after the repeal effort failed in Washington, Tuesday's vote showed the focus in Arkansas is on how to reform the expansion program and not ending it.

"I think the fight about the continuation or the existence of it is something that's really in the rear view mirror now," Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren said after the vote.

Read more: http://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/arkansas/story/2017/mar/29/arkansas-senate-oks-bill-keeping-hybrid-medicaid-expansion/667463/

Arkansas lawmaker: Online taxes measure dead for the session

LITTLE ROCK— A proposal to force online retailers to collect Arkansas sales taxes failed for the third time before a House committee Tuesday, prompting a lawmaker sponsoring the measure to declare it dead for the session.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee voted 9-6 for the measure, two votes shy of the 11 needed to send the Senate-backed bill to the full House. Republican Rep. Dan Douglas afterward told reporters he doesn't plan to present the measure again before the Legislature wraps up its session next week.

"It's really disgusting to me that the members of the General Assembly do not care about fairness in our taxes in the state of Arkansas," Douglas told reporters after the vote. "We have submitted every one of our in-state, brick-and-mortar retailers to an unfair disadvantage by allowing these online retailers not to collect and remit sales tax."

The bill requires companies without a physical presence in Arkansas to collect and remit state sales taxes if their gross revenue is more than $100,000 or they have at least 200 transactions. If they don't collect and remit taxes, the companies would be required to send information about purchases made by Arkansas residents to the state.

Read more: http://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/arkansas/story/2017/mar/29/arkansas-lawmaker-online-taxes-measure-dead-session/667458/

Texas Senate votes to ban red light cameras statewide

AUSTIN—The Texas Senate has voted to ban the use of red light cameras in traffic enforcement—nixing tools that had been used to try and stop wrecks at busy intersections.

Supporters of red light cameras, including police and trauma experts, say they help uphold the law and reduce crashes. But critics say they invade privacy, put the burden on drivers to prove their innocence and are used to raise cash for local governments.

The Senate has twice voted in recent years to ban red light cameras but the measures have failed to pass the Texas House.

Another bill approved by the Senate on Wednesday would bar state and local governments from blocking vehicle registrations based on outstanding tickets issued by red light cameras.


Former Texas Rep. Stockman indicted on 28 counts of fraud

WASHINGTON—Former Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman was formally indicted Tuesday evening on fraud, conspiracy and money laundering charges, the Justice Department announced.

Stockman, who retired after losing a 2014 primary challenge to Sen. John Cornyn, and aide Jason Posey were charged in a 28-count superseding indictment.

Among the charges were wire and mail fraud, conspiracy, making face statements to the Federal Election Commission, making excessive campaign contributions and money laundering. Stockman was also charged separately for filing a false tax return.

The indictment comes after former campaign worker Thomas Dodd reached a plea deal last week and said that he and Stockman colluded to use $775,000 to pay credit card bills and campaign expenses.

Read more: http://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/texas/story/2017/mar/30/former-texas-rep-stockman-indicted-28-counts-fraud/667598/

Gov. Brown abruptly fires most members of Environmental Quality Commission

SALEM – In a highly unusual move, Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday fired three of the five members of the Environmental Quality Commission, the governor-appointed board that oversees the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Brown ousted commissioners Colleen Johnson, Morgan Rider and Melinda Eden.

The move came without warning via a phone call at 8:45 a.m. Wednesday, according to Johnson.

Johnson was nominated for a second four-year term by Brown and re-confirmed by the Senate just three and half months ago. Rider had another 15 months left in her term; Eden had three months remaining in her term.

Read more: http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/35429990-75/gov.-brown-abruptly-fires-most-members-of-environmental-quality-commission.csp

Oregon Democrats say abortion bill still on table

Democratic lawmakers in Salem say last week's failure of the GOP health care overhaul hasn't changed their plans to protect women's access to abortions under their insurance plans.

House Bill 3391 was largely the Oregon Legislature's response to the now-defunct American Health Care Act, which compromised roughly $10 billion in federal funds to the Pacific Northwest state through proposed abortion restrictions and overturning minimum coverage requirements for birth control and other reproductive services that were carved into the existing Affordable Care Act.

Democratic House Speaker Tina Kotek told the Associated Press during a media briefing Monday the so-called Reproductive Health Equity Act is still on the table despite the federal overhaul's failure on Friday and earlier threats by Providence Health Plans to pull out of the Oregon insurance market should it pass.

"Other things could change at the national level ... they could have stand-alone bills, they could do other things so yeah, our plan is to still move it forward," Kotek said. "I think the bill speaks for itself and it's really important to a lot of people on this particular area of health care."

Read more: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/28/oregon-democrats-say-abortion-bill-still-table/99736430/

Oregon bill would penalize left-lane hogs

Drivers who are “left-lane hogs” could be ticketed under legislation passed by the Oregon Senate Tuesday.

Senate Bill 532 would require drivers on highways with at least two lanes going in the same direction to use the left lane only for passing other vehicles.

Violators could be fined $110.

“It really puts into our law just common courtesy,” said Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, who carried the bill. “When you’re in the left lane you should be passing. If you’re not passing you should move to the right. That’s just polite.”

The bill provides exceptions for situations such as road hazards or complying with Oregon’s “move over” law, which requires drivers to change lanes or slow down when passing emergency and roadside assistance vehicles.

Read more: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/28/oregon-bill-would-penalize-left-lane-hogs/99738118/

Judge allows Oregon resident to be genderless

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- An Oregon judge who last year ruled that a transgender person can legally change their sex to "non-binary" has given the OK for a Portland resident to be genderless.

Multnomah County Judge Amy Holmes Hehn on March 10 granted a petition allowing Patrick Abbatiello to go from male to "agender" and switch to the single name Patch.

People who are agender see themselves as neither a man nor a woman and have no gender identity.

The 27-year-old Patch writes and designs video games and had been using the name Patch since well before the decision to legally change. An acquaintance applied it more than a decade ago and it stuck.

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/O/OR_LEGALLY_AGENDER_OROL-?SITE=ORBEN&SECTION=STATE&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT
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