The chairman of the House Committee on General Investigating and Ethics said Friday he plans to investigate allegations that witnesses were signed up improperly to speak at a transportation committee meeting from which state Rep. Jonathan Stickland was escorted out.
"There will be an investigation into allegations of broken rules," said state Rep. John Kuempel, R-Seguin, the committee's chairman.
Late Thursday night, state Rep. Joe Pickett, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, ordered Stickland out of the hearing. Pickett, D-El Paso, accused Stickland of listing witnesses who were not in Austin as supporters of the Bedford Republican's House Bill 142 to ban red light cameras.
"Please leave the committee room or be removed," Pickett told Stickland, according to a video taken by an audience member that had been viewed more than 4,000 times by midday Friday. A frustrated Stickland left the hearing room, with a house sergeant following behind him, the video shows.
Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2015/05/01/panel-investigate-after-lawmaker-ejected-hearing/
Texas hunters, a new holiday may be on the horizon for you.
A sales tax holiday, that is.
The Texas Senate on Thursday passed state Sen. Brandon Creightons Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday Act to let Texans have a tax-free weekend of shopping for guns, ammo and hunting supplies.
Providing this sales tax break prior to the start of hunting season will be an economic driver for small businesses and will provide our hunters much-deserved savings, said Creighton, R-Conroe. I am pleased to encourage and promote gunmanship and to improve opportunities for all Texans to enjoy their Second Amendment rights.
If approved by the House and signed off on by Gov. Greg Abbott, this sales tax holiday would join those already in place, such as one for back-to-school shopping, which is scheduled for Aug. 7-9.
Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/politics-government/article19962522.html#storylink=cpy
Gov. Bobby Jindal has "concerns" about a bill (HB 359) that would require Orleans Parish public schools to teach sex education programs that include information about contraception and preventing sexually transmitted diseases.
Currently, Louisiana public schools are only allowed to teach sex education courses that promote abstinence until marriage. The bill would allow for a broader sex education curriculum, but only in Orleans Parish.
The Louisiana House Education Committee recently approved the legislation, which will now head to the full House for a vote.
"We have concerns with the legislation and think these decisions are typically best left to parents," said Shannon Bates Dirmann, a spokeswoman for Jindal, about the bill.
Read more: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/04/bobby_jindal_has_concerns_abou.html
AUSTIN A late push by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to have the Texas Senate leap to the defense of clergy and religious institutions on same-sex marriage issues has given social conservatives new hope that Texas lawmakers will push back on federal court victories by gays and lesbians.
With just more than a month to go in the session, only three of 23 conservative bills on gay-related issues have taken the first step toward passage, getting out of committee in a chamber. Each advanced from a House panel.
On Tuesday, the same day the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments about whether same-sex marriage should be a constitutionally protected right in all 50 states, Patrick jumped into the fray.
Patrick asked Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, to introduce a bill saying clergy, churches and religious organizations dont have to be involved in gay weddings if they dont want to be. It is similar to a measure in the House.
Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/state-politics/20150430-patrick-churches-clergy-need-protection-if-court-upholds-gay-marriage.ece
Its not every day that someone gets a perfect score on the SAT. For the Hashe family in Plano, its happened twice: brothers Michael and David Hashe both earned a 2400.
The percentage of students in the class of 2014 who earned a perfect score that year, both nationally and statewide, is about 0.3 percent.
Sitting side-by-side, the brothers say theyre still amazed.
I was not expecting that, Michael, 18, said.
Me neither, David, 17, said.
Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/plano/headlines/20150430-plano-brothers-both-get-a-perfect-2400-score-on-sat.ece
A 16-year Republican veteran of the Legislature wrote Gov. Greg Abbott saying he is appalled that the governor has given credence to a fringe group that fears the U.S. military would stage a take-over of Texas.
Abbott has ordered the Texas state Guard to monitor a large-scale, eight-week military exercise this summer of special operation forces. Social media has pushed the conspiracy notion that the exercise, called Jade Helm 15, is a ruse to confiscate guns and declare martial law in hostile states.
After citizens raised concerns, Abbott said the state Guard will keep tabs on the operation to ensure Texans that their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed.
In his letter to the governor, Todd Smith of Euless, who retired from public office in 2013, said he is horrified that I have to choose between the possibility that my Governor actually believes this stuff and the possibility that my Governor doesnt have the backbone to stand up to those who do.
Read more: http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2015/04/former-gop-lawmaker-blisters-abbott-for-pandering-to-idiots-over-military-exercises.html/
[font color=green]I don't do this very often for a Republican, but .
Last week we told you how San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor called the city's LGBT protections which she voted against as a council member "a waste of time."
We also told you how Taylor, appointed mayor of the nation's seventh-largest city after Julian Castro stepped down to become HUD secretary, issued a so-called apology, only to have it rejected by the Human Rights Campaign.
Now, with election day approaching on May 9, Taylor has unveiled a plan to finally implement the 18-month-old LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance, which she will present to the council on May 13.
Last October, the mayor appointed an LGBT advisory committee to advise her on developing a process and structure for addressing complaints filed under the nondiscrimination ordinance. It was not until April 21 when Taylor finally met with them to discuss the proposal she is bringing to the City Council.
Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2015/04/as-election-approaches-san-antonio-mayor-finally-unveils-plan-to-implement-lgbt-protections.html
A same-sex couple was kicked out of a home they rented in Galveston, Texas, on Airbnb after the owner discovered they were gay, according to a report from KTRK-TV.
Airbnb has responded by removing the owner from the popular home-sharing site, saying it has a zero tolerance policy for discrimination.
Jonathan Wang and his partner, Brent, booked two nights in the home for a weekend getaway to Galveston for a friend's wedding. After returning from a reception on Friday night, they encountered the owner, identified only as Heather. From KTRK:
Wang said the hosts told them to get out. He said he began packing his things.
"She also commented while we were going upstairs that was their bedroom upstairs so they were even more uncomfortable with it," said Wang.
Wang and has partner had nowhere else to go but were eventually able to find a hotel room. As it turns out, there was a disclaimer on the bottom of the Airbnb listing that said the hosts are "straight friendly":
We asked if she rents to gay couples. Heather responded, "That's none of your business. That's my private home."
Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2015/04/airbnb-removes-user-who-evicted-gay-couple-from-home-in-galveston-texas-video.html
Not surprisingly, anti-LGBT groups say they plan to appeal a judge's recent decision upholding Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance.
Two weeks ago, Judge Robert Schaffer rejected a petition a repeal the ordinance, saying it didn't have enough valid signatures due to problems like rampant forgery.
Anti-LGBT groups, which call themselves the "No Unequal Rights Coalition," plan a press conference Thursday announcing their appeal. From a Texas Pastor Council email announcing the press conference:
Mayor Annise Parker has practiced deception, oppression, abuse of power and abject violation of Constitutional rights of the people to keep the people from voting we are as committed as ever to fighting against her tyranny. Come stand with us and say Yes! to our freedom and No! to Mayor Parkers unlawful acts against the laws of God, laws of nature the U.S. Constitution and the Texas Constitution!
More from plaintiff and former Houston GOP Chair Jared Woodfill:
We will appeal Judge Schaffer's decision.
This process has made it very clear that Mayor Parker and her liberal allies are willing to do whatever it takes to keep this important issue off the ballot. Clearly, Mayor Parker does not trust the voters.
Fortunately, the Court of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court traditionally are "strong" on voting rights.
Be encouraged knowing this is just one battle in a larger war we will win. We will not surrender, quit or compromise when it comes to religious liberty, voting rights, and the constitutional freedoms we the people enjoy. Please continue to pray as this case moves to the appellate courts.
Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2015/04/anti-lgbt-groups-to-appeal-ruling-upholding-houston-equal-rights-ordinance.html#.VUJL36JShsk.twitter
A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Thursday called for the repeal of a state program that requires drivers convicted of certain traffic offenses to pay annual surcharges to keep their driver's licenses.
Senate Bill 93 by state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, is the latest legislative attempt to abolish the Driver Responsibility Program. Standing beside Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, and Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, Ellis said at a news conference that the program has trapped many Texans in a cycle of poverty, requiring them to pay multiple times for a single traffic offense. But past attempts to end the program have been unsuccessful, with some lawmakers citing the revenue the program sends each year to state hospitals and trauma centers as a reason to continue it.
Supporters of the bill are trying to reframe the failings of the program, emphasizing the high human cost of a relatively small amount of revenue.
"This is not an issue of whether it's left or right; this is an issue of what's right and what's wrong," Hall said at the news conference. He said the program had not worked as the Legislature intended it to and that it was time to explore alternative sources of funding. "The trauma units need money, but I don't see using people's lives the way they are as the right thing to do."
Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2015/04/30/lawmakers-call-end-controversial-driver-responsibi/
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