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November 22, 2017      4:28 PM

Some GOP House members mull asking AG Paxton to weigh in on RPT demands for speaker form info

Republicans and Democrats alike wonder if guidance from the attorney general would be helpful in determining how to respond when the RPT inserts itself into the internal workings of the House of Representatives

Some GOP members of the Texas House are now considering whether to ask Attorney General Ken Paxton for an official opinion on whether information must be turned over to the Republican Party of Texas about those controversial speaker commitment forms, Quorum Report has learned.

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By Scott Braddock

November 22, 2017      4:26 PM

Press Releases: Texas is thankful, travel ban case, campaign announcements, and more

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November 22, 2017      4:24 PM

Rep. Ron Simmons draws primary challenge from Plano business developer Kevin Simmons

November 22, 2017      4:01 PM

TWIA on track with budget for Hurricane Harvey claims

More than 73,000 claims have been filed with the state’s windstorm insurer of last resort

The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association claims to continue to be on course for the anticipated $1.13 billion it has set aside for claims driven by Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane season ends Nov. 30, and this season has been as active as most years on record, with 17 storms, 10 hurricanes and 6 major hurricanes, including Irma and Harvey. In October, TWIA authorized just over $1 billion for the storm that slammed the Texas coast and has, to date, paid out $823 million.

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By Kimberly Reeves

November 22, 2017      3:51 PM

Dropping talk of Congressional bid, Rep. Walle will run for re-election to Texas House

"After much consultation and consideration with my family, friends, and community, I have decided to run for re-election to the Texas House to represent House District 140 for my sixth term," Walle said

November 22, 2017      12:59 PM

Rep. Joe Barton apologizes for lewd photo shared on social media

“I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down."

From the Dallas Morning News:

WASHINGTON -- Ennis Rep. Joe Barton is apologizing Wednesday for a sexually explicit photo now circulating online.

In a statement released to The Dallas Morning News, the longtime Republican said the image -- which first surfaced on social media earlier this week -- was taken while separated from his former wife in recent years.

"While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women," Barton, who is twice-divorced, said in the statement. "Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended. I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down."

Full story here.

November 21, 2017      5:31 PM

Texas House Administration public hearing set for sexual harassment policy

10:00 AM, Friday, December 01

November 21, 2017      5:30 PM

Press Releases: Border Patrol reactions, endorsements, FEMA deadline, and more

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November 21, 2017      5:29 PM

Updated: Republican Party of Texas blasts House with open records requests, seeking to find out who submitted TEC inquiry

The RPT is asking all House members for documents related to who asked the Texas Ethics Commission whether speaker commitment forms are “legislative bribery”

The Republican Party of Texas on Tuesday said it has submitted open records requests with the offices of every member of the Texas House as party officials try to figure out who complained to the state’s campaign finance regulator about the party’s speaker commitment form.

“According to a press report last week (in the Quorum Report) an inquiry was filed with the Texas Ethics Commission on the Republican Party of Texas’ Republican Caucus Speaker Selection Commitment Form asking whether the existence of the form was a method of ‘legislative bribery,’” the party said in a statement.

“That report claimed to include the text of a letter sent by an anonymous member of the Legislature asking the question,” the RPT said.

The letter, which was shown to Quorum Report, asks the Ethics Commission whether the state GOP is engaging in felony bribery by promising to provide an economic benefit – or conversely threatening to withhold an economic benefit – based on whether a candidate will pledge to support a speaker candidate chosen by the House GOP Caucus.

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By Scott Braddock

November 21, 2017      4:29 PM

Rep. Leach scores an Abbott endorsement for reelection

“Representative Leach has been a steadfast supporter of my conservative agenda, and I am proud to endorse him for re-election,”

The full announcement from Leach’s campaign is right here.

November 21, 2017      4:28 PM

RPT blasts Texas House with open records requests, seeking to find out who submitted TEC inquiry

The RPT is asking all House members for documents related to who asked the Ethics Commission whether speaker commitment forms are “legislative bribery”

November 21, 2017      12:48 PM

Abbott endorses Rep. Greg Bonnen for reelection

“I am proud to endorse Greg for re-election and know that his commitment to conservative principles will further elevate and strengthen the Texas model of freedom," Abbott said

November 21, 2017      12:43 PM

Video: Phillip Huffines up on TV in Senate bid

In Collin County, touts his Dallas County GOP Chairmanship: "Phillip Huffines works. He rescued the Dallas area GOP..."

November 20, 2017      5:37 PM

Texas Business leaders tell Congress NAFTA should be strengthened, not scrapped

“Texas will be a loser if the United States elects to pull out of NAFTA” TAB CEO Moseley said; TXOGA, auto manufacturers, local chambers and others line up with Cornyn in push to “modernize” the pact while Trump talks about canceling it

SAN ANTONIO – Facing uncertainty brought on by President Donald Trump’s talk of scrapping the North American Free Trade Agreement, Texas business leaders on Monday asked Sen. John Cornyn to do everything in his power as the number two member of the Senate to keep the three-nation pact strong while making updates to the 24-year-old deal.

Cornyn said his message to the White House has been consistent: “First, do no harm.” It’s a difficult balance to strike, though, given the fact that President Trump has repeatedly called NAFTA the “worst trade deal ever made” in his appeals to Rust Belt voters who put him over the top in the Electoral College. As recently as August, Trump said it may be time to “terminate” it.

The world is now in a digital economy and the energy sector has changed dynamically over the last couple decades, leading Cornyn and others to argue NAFTA needs “modernization,” not cancellation.

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By Kimberly Reeves and Scott Braddock

November 20, 2017      5:23 PM

Press Releases: Reactions to deaths of border agents, North Korea, re-election announcements, toll roads, and more

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November 20, 2017      12:54 PM

Amid fresh controversy over tolls, new conservative group will tackle traffic

The 501(c)(4) is not pro-toll road, but plans to counter those that say toll roads are never an option

A new group called Texans for Traffic Relief launched today amid growing controversy over toll roads to advocate “for solutions that mitigate the growing transportation challenge facing Texas,” per the group’s announcement.

In light of the recent Unified Transportation Program discussions at TxDOT, it’s important to have a dialogue about how we are going to fund transportation infrastructure moving forward,” Texans for Traffic Relief spokesman David White said.

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November 20, 2017      9:45 AM

Rep. Jason Villalba draws a GOP challenger

Lisa Luby Ryan will oppose the Dallas Republican in the March primary. Ryan, who operates an interior design firm and the antique home furnishings store Vintage Living in Dallas, announced her campaign Monday.

The Dallas Morning News had the story first.

November 17, 2017      5:45 PM

HHSC asks CMS for temporary reprieve to maintain CHIP program

Technically, the request HHSC has sent to CMS is to retain $90 million of a $190 million balance on the state’s account. That would carry the state through the end of February

The Health and Human Services Commission has under a month to clear an application to pick up $90 million the state needs to cover the lapsing Children’s Health Insurance Program.

CHIP provides health care coverage for about 400,000 low-income children in Texas.

The requested redistribution of about $90 million in federal funds, through the Center of Medicaid and Medicare Services, would push the end of CHIP to the end of February; thus, giving Congress a chance to pass legislation that would renew the insurance program.

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November 17, 2017      5:41 PM

Chairman Brady optimistic House and Senate can find common ground on tax cuts

“We have had the worst tax code, one that costly, complex and unfair, with special interest provisions and lobbyist loopholes that favor some over the rest…Those special breaks are gone”

The US House’s $1.5 trillion “Tax Cut and Jobs Act,” which passed the chamber on a party-line vote on Thursday, provides substantial incentives for export-heavy Texas, Congressman Kevin Brady said on a conference call with local reporters this morning.

Eighteen corporations that once called Texas home have moved overseas due to the favorable tax rates for foreign dollars. Those jobs need to be back in Texas, Brady said. To that end, the House version of the tax cut bill zeroes out corporate taxes on money moved back into the country and lowers the business tax rate from 35 to 20 percent.

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By Kimberly Reeves

November 17, 2017      5:05 PM

Audio: Hotze Supports Roy Moore, slams Communist Democrats And The Alt-Left Press

Plus, Abbott’s meddling in GOP primaries and more

Each week, Quorum Report Editor Scott Braddock and Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau Chief Mike Ward break down the week’s political news in the Texas Take Podcast. It’s a project of Quorum Report and the Chronicle in collaboration with Texas Public Radio in San Antonio.

You can listen to the latest show via Texas Public Radio by clicking here.

For information on how your group or company can sponsor the show, contact Scott at ksbraddock@gmail.com

November 17, 2017      4:50 PM

Press Releases: Disaster relief, announcements, filings, border health, celebrating the Astros, and more

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November 17, 2017      4:48 PM

Smith: Abuse and Harassment in the Political World

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith says it’s time to fight sexual abuse and harassment, minute by minute in our daily lives. Politics alone won’t solve it.

Donald Trump bragged on tape about his sexual abuse of women, and still some sixty-two million Americans ignored his confession and voted for him anyway. His election devastated many in ways that go far beyond politics.

Among the alarmed, the saddened and the disgusted were American women tragically familiar with abuse. Far more have suffered harassment and abuse than we collectively admit. For them, this wasn’t just a political loss, though it was that. It was another form of abuse. Millions of Americans had ignored reports of sexual harassment and abuse, and in so doing aided and abetted that abuse.

It’s a struggle to come up with an analogy to help men understand.

The full column by Glenn W. Smith is in the R&D Department.

By Glenn W. Smith

November 17, 2017      4:36 PM

Cook Political Report now rates CD7, Culberson, as a tossup Republican seat

It had been rated “Leans Republican”

Worth noting Charlie Cook’s latest House ratings. Like other Harris County Republicans, it’s important to remember Rep. John Culberson outperformed Trump in the county won by Clinton. Culberson, for whatever reason, has always underestimated by the chattering class.

November 17, 2017      4:16 PM

Five-time Rick Perry appointee Shannon McClendon will challenge Sen. Campbell in primary

Served on Texas Board of Professional Engineers, Texas Appraisers Licensing Board, and the Texas Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Board

Her website is here.

November 17, 2017      8:21 AM

Straus asks HHSC to explain how CHIP can continue uninterrupted given congressional inaction

“Ensuring the program's continuity is a priority of the Texas House,” Straus said

As nearly a half million kids across the state are set to lose health insurance after Congress missed a deadline to extend the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus is asking the Health and Human Service Commission to explain how the agency ensure uninterrupted coverage.

“As you know, without federal reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) next month, the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is expected to exhaust all available federal funding to operate its state program beyond the end of January 2028,” Straus wrote in a letter to HHSC Executive Commissioner Charles Smith.

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November 17, 2017      8:12 AM

Texas Transportation Commission Promises To Nix Toll Roads in 10-year Plan

Change comes as dynamic managed lanes are critical to projects like 635 E in Dallas

The Texas Transportation Commission has backpedaled on the idea of incorporating toll roads into its long-range Unified Transportation Plan, possibly putting some of the state’s biggest road projects at risk, including the final phase of the Interstate 635 expansion.

Discussion of the UTP has been in the works for months, but it was only last night that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott announced strong opposition to the incorporation of toll roads.

Patrick said Proposition 7 was passed by Texas voters specifically to nix future tolls.

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By Kimberly Reeves

November 16, 2017      5:00 PM

Hotze leads defense of embattled Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore amid accusations

The most vocal supporter of the failed bathroom bill, touted by supporters as a way to stop sexual assaults, travels to Alabama to support alleged sex predator

Houston’s Dr. Steve Hotze on Thursday led a press conference in Birmingham, Alabama to support embattled Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore. The news conference held by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s former business partner and political supporter quickly turned into an indictment of the media for reporting about allegations brought by multiple women that the former state supreme court justice is a pedophile.

As first reported by The Washington Post, multiple women have accused Moore of pursuing them as teenagers when he was in his 30s. One woman said he groped her. Moore defeated incumbent Sen. Luther Strange in the Republican primary earlier this year. He faces Democrat Doug Jones in December in a special election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The hastily organized gathering of a dozen staunch social conservative activists and pastors, most from outside of Alabama, rallied to Moore’s defense. Among the other Texans were one-time congressional candidate Rev. Stephen Broden of Dallas.

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By James Russell

November 16, 2017      4:57 PM

Democratic megadonor Steve Mostyn passed away

"Our family is heartbroken to confirm that after a sudden onset and battle with a mental health issue, Steve passed away Wednesday"

Here is a statement from Amber Mostyn:

"Our family is heartbroken to confirm that after a sudden onset and battle with a mental health issue, Steve passed away Wednesday, November 15, 2017. Steve was a beloved husband and devoted father who adored his children and never missed any of their sporting activities. He was a true friend, and a faithful fighter for those who did not have a voice.

"Steve touched countless lives. Many friends and colleagues in Texas and throughout the country have reached out during this painful time. Our family is requesting privacy, and we will not be responding to media inquires. The details of a celebration of Steve's life will be announced at a later date.

"In honor of Steve's life and legacy, please consider supporting the important work of the Mostyn Moreno Foundation or the Special Olympics of Texas. If you or a loved one are thinking about suicide, or experiencing a health crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline right now at 1-800-273-8255."

November 16, 2017      4:56 PM

Updated: As Pickett makes a trio of requests to AG on toll roads, Lt. Gov. Patrick comes out swinging against them

“We don’t need all these different entities and RMAs and toll authorities. And the problem in Central Texas, obviously, is that they don’t talk to each other.”

Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, has filed a series of requests for AG opinions on tolls and toll roads, hoping to tee up the conversation on the issue for next session. As AG Ken Paxton mulls the requests, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Thursday said no “additional toll lanes” should be added to state’s plans.

Lawmakers appeared to have little appetite for the topic this year, but Pickett has dogged in his efforts to raise the discussion of the use of state dollars on the creation of toll lanes. His most recent request, three paragraphs filed on Nov. 9, asks whether Proposition 1 and Proposition 7 bond funds can be comingled with other funding to construct toll projects.

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By Kimberly Reeves

November 16, 2017      11:32 AM

Bo French once again will challenge Chairman Geren

Ran last time: "We ran a campaign focused on our vision for conservative leadership and Charlie Geren's liberal record in Austin. We gave the voters a conservative alternative, and the Austin establishment did everything they could to stop us."

November 16, 2017      10:58 AM

Texas Democrats mourn the loss of Steve Mostyn

“Millions of Texans live better lives because of the advocacy, philanthropy, and sheer willpower of Steve Mostyn."

Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said:

“Millions of Texans live better lives because of the advocacy, philanthropy, and sheer willpower of Steve Mostyn. Our state and our world are better because he fought so hard for us all.

“Steve was a giant. He was the epitome of a Texas Democrat - big, bold, fearless, and caring. He dedicated his professional and personal life to fighting for the little guy.

“I am so deeply saddened to have lost our dear friend. Our prayers are with Amber, his children, and their entire family.”

November 15, 2017      5:01 PM

Select Texas House economic panel gets down to work with big names, expedited schedule

Despite objections from Freedom Caucus members who argue committee is solely about bathrooms and a social agenda, the vast majority of testimony is focused on education, innovation, workforce challenges, and more

With Gov. Greg Abbott’s stated support and amid objection from members of the Freedom Caucus, the Texas House Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness got down to work Wednesday by hearing from heavy hitters in the business community including Tom Luce, Mark Cuban and Ross Perot, Jr.

Also on hand for the day’s testimony: Representatives from Microsoft, the Dallas Stars professional hockey team, Legacy Community Health, and the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association.

“Although Texas has succeeded and flourished with a thriving economy for many years, this state is slipping in a direction that should be cause for concern,” said Chairman Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, after gaveling the committee to order for its first meeting. “In July of this year, the America’s Top States for Business study found that Texas had dropped to number four in the nation,” Cook said, adding it’s the “first time in 11 years that the Lone Star State finished outside of the top two spots in the country for business ranking.”

“That should be alarming to all Texans,” Cook said and vowed his committee would “explore why this happened.”

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By Scott Braddock

November 15, 2017      4:57 PM

Press Releases: Appointments, filings, people on the move, and more

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