August 23, 2019      4:14 PM

31 Texas House Republicans request caucus meeting to elect vice chair

List includes a broad cross section of GOP members

The letter including the names of those asking for a caucus meeting can be downloaded here.

August 23, 2019      12:09 PM

People on the Move

Big promotions, agency news, business award winners and more

That’s enough of this week isn’t it?

More stories about who said what about who said what about members of the Texas House. It’ll all wear you out if you let it. My phone was broken but it’s fixed now if you need to text all weekend about it. I might not text back until Monday, though.

Meantime, kick back and enjoy the latest career moves in the Texas Capitol community. Your news is always welcome at and be sure to use POTM in the subject line so I can keep it all organized. Thank you.

Here’s the latest edition of People on the Move

By Scott Braddock

August 23, 2019      9:17 AM

Abbott begins talks to form state response in the wake of El Paso mass shooting

Unlike his initial response group formed after the attack, the Safety Commission includes quite a few members of the minority party who saw hate and violence visit their community

Gov. Greg Abbott’s first Texas Safety Commission Roundtable opened with vague promises of progress and closed with no substantive recommendations on gun control.

That’s despite the fact that prior to the initial meeting of the Commission – a closed door session including a wide variety of stakeholders and state agencies – Abbott implied the task force might be ready to consider some aspects of gun control.

"In roundtables we had in the aftermath of Santa Fe, we took what we thought were big steps to address the challenges of violence in the state of Texas," Abbott said. "Obviously in the aftermath of that, there was a different type of gun violence. There are unique issues about what happened in El Paso that need to be addressed in addition to the type of violence we saw in the aftermath of Santa Fe."

By Kimberly Reeves

August 22, 2019      8:04 PM

Chair Murphy clashes with Empower Texans attorney, says any misconceptions could be erased by releasing audio of Bonnen Sullivan meeting

“You and I (and a few others) know that Mr. Sullivan was not given a list, but he created a list. That fact is missing from most accounts,” said Murphy, who heard the audio

After he was accused by Empower Texans’ attorney of misrepresenting the audio recording of the controversial June 12 meeting between Speaker Dennis Bonnen and the group’s spokesman Michael Quinn Sullivan, Chairman Jim Murphy, R-Houston, on Thursday night said the whole thing could be cleared up if the audio was released publicly.

That is something Empower Texans has so far refused to do.

August 22, 2019      5:06 PM

Texas House Democratic Caucus sets Fall Fundraiser for one day before House GOP Caucus retreat

Per Save the Date that just went out, the House Democrats will hold there fundraiser Wednesday, October 16th

August 22, 2019      12:31 PM

Burrows breaks his silence: On West Texas radio, Chair Burrows talks about the MQ Sullivan meeting and more

Burrows told KFYO radio host Chad hasty that was no physical "hit list," but that the names came from an off the cuff discussion of opposition to the taxpayer lobbying bill. Listen below

August 21, 2019      7:38 PM

Amid scandal and after resigning from leadership post, Rep. Burrows will seek reelection to the Texas House

August 21, 2019      1:58 PM

Gary Gates announces run for Zerwas seat

Former state senate and Railroad Commission candidate running to replace Zerwas in special election

August 20, 2019      4:36 PM

Updated: Empower Texans is denied in request to include information about Bonnen meeting in lawsuit over House media credentials

Attorneys for Empower argued the June 12 meeting with the speaker should be considered in their case, the Fifth Circuit disagreed

Editor’s note: The story has been updated throughout – SB

Attorneys for Empower Texans were denied after asking the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to allow the courts to hear arguments about the alleged quid pro quo offer by Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen of media credentials in exchange for targeting specific GOP members in their primaries next year.

By Scott Braddock

August 20, 2019      4:33 PM

Chair Coleman and Rep. James Talarico announce reelection bids

For Talarico, it ends speculation he might seek a seat in Congress

August 20, 2019      4:23 PM

Plumbers ask board to reverse course on rule changes

“What this will create is a path to prison…now how come I have to have a high school diploma or GED when I can drop out and become a plumber’s apprentice. I think it’s something that the board should reconsider and put back into the rules.”

A state agency decision to strike a high school diploma from the requirements to be a plumber has not been well received by the industry, as the board of the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners learned at their meeting earlier this month.

By Kimberly Reeves

August 19, 2019      4:31 PM

Lt. Gov. Patrick declines to take sides in Bonnen vs Sullivan controversy, asks for release of audio recording of meeting

Patrick suggests the infighting could be a drag on the GOP in a tough election year: “I really think that everyone needs to hear the tape,” Patrick said

In what appeared to be his first public comments on the controversy, Lt .Gov. Dan Patrick on Monday declined to take sides in the dustup between Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Empower Texans spokesman Michael Quinn Sullivan.

But he said an audio recording of their meeting should be released as soon as possible.

Appearing on the conservative Mark Davis radio show in Dallas-Fort Worth, Patrick said he was uncertain where the controversy would go after Texas Rangers were asked last week to investigate the June 12 meeting of Bonnen, Sullivan, and former Texas House GOP Caucus Chairman Dustin Burrows.

By Scott Braddock

August 19, 2019      4:09 PM

Texas Water Development Board urged to support funding local flood projects

Stakeholders support an even mix between the loans and grants and the use of state funds to offer buyouts; about half said the need for rehabilitation of existing infrastructure was as important as new mitigation measures

Texas forges ahead into flood planning, putting together initial regional stakeholder groups and taking feedback as to how $973 million appropriated last session should be spent.

Flood planning is fairly new to the Texas Water Development Board, which was formed in the 1950s to combat long-term drought in the state. Most of TWDB’s work has focused on long-term availability and, more recently, on the revolving SWIFT fund.

Prior to 2015, TWDB’s involvement in flooding was primarily centered on distributing federal grants and coordinating the National Flood Insurance Program. But as the rounds of Texas flooding have become more intensive, lawmakers have additional duties: expanding flood gauges and hardening stream gauges against major weather events; taking a state flood assessment; and calibrating river models to avoid a recurrence of the Wimberley flood.

By Kimberly Reeves

August 19, 2019      4:06 PM

Braddock on radio: The Bonnen scandal takes a key argument for Texas GOP leadership off the table

Editor Scott Braddock and KFYO radio host Chad Hasty discuss the news of the day

August 19, 2019      3:45 PM

Gov. Abbott sets special election for Nov 5 to choose successor to retiring Rep. Farrar, filing deadline Sept 4

Possible Democratic candidates include HISD Trustee Elizabeth Santos and John Chapa Gorczynski, a longtime aide to Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston

August 19, 2019      1:34 PM

In wake of El Paso shooting, Abbott announces Texas Safety Commission

Meetings coming up August 22nd In Austin, August 29th In El Paso

You can see the full list of commission members by downloading it here.

August 19, 2019      11:38 AM

Abbott appoints Ruth Ruggero Hughs as the Texas Secretary of State

Here's the announcement from the Office of the Governor.

August 19, 2019      9:04 AM

Despite inclusion on alleged speaker hit list, Rep. Steve Allison announces for reelection

"Serving the citizens of Texas House District 121 is a genuine honor and responsibility, which I take seriously and hold in the highest regard. It is with this dedication and humility that I announce I will seek re-election," Allison said.

August 16, 2019      5:42 PM

People on the Move

A subdued ALEC, agency news, lobby moves, and appointments

So great to see all your smiling faces at ALEC and the associated events this week. Even ran into a Democrat or two – and not just the protesters outside. Someone joked that any officeholders or candidates protesting ALEC better not have taken any contributions from various companies’ PACs. Would not be a good look.

Some of the folks on “the list” looked to be in good spirits at the Four Seasons bar, which I still just don’t like. And apparently one of the wives of an “B lister” (“Bonnen lister”) didn’t mind heckling Speaker Dennis Bonnen as he was speaking at the Texas dinner.


Meantime, there’s some agency news, lobby moves, and appointments to pass along this week. If you have career news to share with the Texas Capitol community, you can send it anytime at and please use POTM in the subject line. Many thanks.

Here’s the latest edition of People on the Move.

By Scott Braddock

August 16, 2019      5:36 PM

In general, school district ratings rise throughout Texas this year

The “C” and “D” categories did shrink. On campus grades, about a quarter of all campuses were “C,” another 37 percent were “B” and almost one in five campuses in Texas were rated with an “A” this year.

Commissioner Mike Morath spent part of this week celebrating the success of districts like Aldine ISD, while news outlets were focused on the future of nearby Houston ISD.

Both Morath and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick both emphasized a theme that “poverty is not destiny” during an appearance at Stephens Elementary in Aldine. Stephens moved from a “D” to an “A” in the course of one year, with a

“The educators at Stephens Elementary start the day with the belief that all children can learn, they can achieve at high levels, they can learn reading, writing and math,” Morath said. “And when they say all, they mean all. They don’t mean unless you’re a foster child. They don’t mean unless you’re homeless. They don’t mean unless you’re poor, or you don’t speak English or unless you’re in special education.”

By Kimberly Reeves

August 16, 2019      5:03 PM

New York Times: A Texas-Size Political Scandal Threatens Powerful House Speaker

After rumblings earlier this week that the RNC is unhappy about the situation and awkward moments at ALEC in Austin, the story goes national: "Except there was a tape..."

The story plays dramatically in the pages of the Times:

AUSTIN — In Texas, they’re calling it the case of “The Speaker and the Creeper.”

The political imbroglio started last month, when Michael Quinn Sullivan, a conservative pit-bull who routinely antagonizes establishment politicians, accused the Republican House Speaker, Dennis Bonnen, of offering his organization coveted House media credentials if it would work to defeat 10 incumbent House members from Mr. Bonnen’s own party.

Mr. Bonnen denied it, and the bombshell was initially greeted with some skepticism. Why would one of the state’s top politicians court a back-room deal — to undermine his own bench — with a man Texas Monthly recently described as “one of the biggest snakes in Texas politics?”

Except there was a tape….

August 16, 2019      3:32 PM

Rep. Farrar retiring Sept. 30, asks Gov. Abbott to call special election for Nov. 5th

August 16, 2019      12:09 PM

Rep. Dustin Burrows resigns as Chairman of the Texas House GOP Caucus, sources tell Chad Hasty in Lubbock

KFYO radio in Lubbock cites sources close to Burrows.

August 16, 2019      11:05 AM

Denton County GOP executive committee calls on Speaker Bonnen and Burrows to resign over Sullivan meeting, alleged quid pro quo

Not an insignificant county GOP; the executive committee also asked the Republican Party of Texas to condemn the alleged actions "and assure the public that the organization will not tolerate anything that compromises the conservative principles and standards we hold ourselves to." The adopted resolution also asks the House GOP Caucus to select a replacement speaker