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May 22, 2019      9:26 PM

With an amendment, Texas Senate passes Sunset safety net bill

An amendment was added deleting agencies which have had their bills signed already by the governor

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May 22, 2019      9:13 PM

Adding beer to go and loosening liquor store ownership rules, Texas Senate passes TABC Sunset bill

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May 22, 2019      6:18 PM

In unanimous vote, Texas Senate moves forward an expansion of medical cannabis law

Keeping veterans out of House Bill 3703 appeared to be the concession Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, needed to pull unanimous support for this session’s medical cannabis oil legislation.

Veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder have been some of the most compelling testimony during the hearings on the use of medical cannabis. But Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, made it clear to the Senate this afternoon that veterans would not be pawns.

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By Kimberly Reeves

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May 22, 2019      2:55 PM

SB: Watch the Sunset

After the House acted quickly to save an Abbott priority, this should be on your radar; it seemed to catch folks by surprise as Patrick’s legislative weapon of choice two years ago

As the Texas Senate goes through hundreds of bills this afternoon and presumably into the late evening, one of the questions being asked by staffers, lobbyists, and others revolves around whether the upper chamber today will put a bow on the Sunset process regardless of whether any agencies see their individual legislation fail.

The Sunset “safety net” language, Quorum Report readers will recall, was what Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick used to force the special session in 2017.

Voters may not remember that much about it, especially after the arrival of Hurricane Harvey took precedent over the petty.

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By Scott Braddock

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May 21, 2019      11:20 PM

Special session avoidance policy: Texas House tacks SB10 as an amendment onto SB11

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May 21, 2019      9:29 PM

Death of Abbott priority bill sparks more substantive talk of special session

When Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, called a point of order on SB 10 early today it was not considered out of the ordinary.

What did set members talking, however, was that the point of order sustained by Speaker Dennis Bonnen was on a priority bill of Gov. Greg Abbott, his emergency item on mental health.

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By Andrew Turner

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May 21, 2019      9:18 PM

Lawmakers to consider historic change to liquor store ownership rules in Texas

The changes would raise the current cap from 5 to 250, end the family ownership rules

In a change to rules that haven’t been touched in decades, Texas lawmakers before this session is over appear likely to boost the number of liquor stores a person or company can own and do away with rules about family ownership.

The last time ownership rules for liquor stores in Texas were changed was in the 1940s.

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By Scott Braddock

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May 21, 2019      3:54 PM

Failure of anti-lobby bill exposes rifts, prompts celebrations

Lt. Gov. Patrick’s anger boils over, Gov. Abbott’s top staff avoid the House floor during debate, professional advocates stung from “being used as political props”

Freshman Rep. Mayes Middleton’s effort to ban local officials from hiring lobbyists on tax issues – and provide a red-meat win for Republicans – went down to defeat despite efforts to massage, narrow and compromise on the bill.

After it failed on the floor, over in the other chamber Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick threatened to kick lobbyists out of the gallery. He said some of them had celebrated in the gallery which he would not allow.

Senate Bill 29 appeared to morph considerably – and possibly fatally – by the time it got to the House floor.

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May 20, 2019      8:50 PM

Former Rep. Rodney Anderson elected Dallas County GOP Chairman

DCRP Executive Committee vote was Anderson 77, Lozano 54, Metzger 34

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May 20, 2019      5:49 PM

With 85 no votes, the Texas House rejects SB29

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May 20, 2019      9:27 AM

SB: Final deals come into focus

Plenty of moving parts, with HB1, SB2, and HB3 still in negotiations, but if SB 29 passes as now proposed the governor’s team and TPPF will have swept local governments out of the mix at the Capitol if a sales tax increase takes center stage in the 2021 session

Celebrations broke out Sunday evening as various bills offensive to various groups seemed to die their end-of-session deaths after the Texas House Calendars Committee set the final floor debates ahead of Tuesday’s critical deadline for passing Senate bills.

Earlier in the session when SB2, the rollback rates bill, was about to be debated in the House it was clear leadership had baited Democrats by placing many of their priorities behind it on the calendar in order to speed them through that legislation so that their bills could make it through the process.

Those were carrots. They had to know the sticks would be broken out at some point.

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By Scott Braddock

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May 19, 2019      7:44 PM

Updated: SB29 to be narrowed in the Texas House to bar only cities and counties from hiring lobbyists

Just after 7pm, an amendment was pre-filed by Rep. Middleton to bar those governments from hiring lobbyists, the amendment also includes increased reporting requirements

Here is the amendment pre-filed by Rep. Mayes Middleton, R-“Chambers County”, who’s sponsoring the bill.

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May 19, 2019      7:34 PM

SB 9, voter restrictions, not set for House debate this week

Controversial bill assailed by critics as "voter suppression" not set for debate even after Abbott said it "should be supported"

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May 19, 2019      5:53 PM

Gossip on Senate floor: GOP leadership will try to confirm embattled Secretary of State Whitley this evening

So far, all Dems have been present and holding the line against Abbott priority while the governor leans on Patrick to get it done

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May 17, 2019      3:32 PM

Lt. Gov Patrick says the Senate will stand at ease allowing House bills to die if the House is going to delay

Patrick said from the dais that his new policy will be for the Senate to stand at ease. Says he understands the House is going to chub for the next 4 or 5 hours. Sen. Whitmire thanks Patrick for his "leadership." Developing...

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May 17, 2019      3:31 PM

Former Rep. Rodney Anderson to run for Dallas County GOP Chair

"I believe my service in the Texas Legislature makes me uniquely qualified to lead the Republican Party of Dallas County into the 2020 elections," he said on Facebook today

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May 17, 2019      3:00 PM

Texas Senate passes ban on red light cameras, 23 to 8

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May 17, 2019      10:24 AM

Texas House leadership anticipates convening at 10am Saturday for 3rd readings

The speaker's office says "We hope to move as quickly as possible"

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May 17, 2019      9:45 AM

People on the Move

Agency news, appointments, staffer moves, juicy chicken tenders and more puppies coming to the building

Good morning, y’all.

POTM is coming out a little early because, well, it’s a busy day at the Texas Capitol with folks freaked out, on guard, and working diligently to pass, kill, or “fix” proposals that seem to have new life with final deadlines looming. Not sure about you, but I love working until 1am or so every day.

Even though the Chik-fil-A franchises across the state are under constant threat of closure, there is hope. Though, honestly, the tenders at Lucy’s and Gus’s are crispier, juicer, and the sauces are more creative. Don’t’ take my word for it. Go try ‘em so you know what some of your options are just in case Chik-fil-A goes out of business.

Saw Jim Arnold in the hallways yesterday and he promises there will be more puppies on hand for the second puppy day next week. Those dogs are in demand, Jim.

As we stare down the end of the legislative session, be sure to let us know if you’re leaving your gig and where you’re headed. It’s just not possible to keep track of it all without your help. Send career news anytime to ksbraddock@gmail.com and be sure to use POTM in the subject line. Thanks so much.

Here’s this week’s edition of People on the Move:

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By Scott Braddock

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May 17, 2019      9:13 AM

SB29, the narrowed ban on government lobbyists, recommitted to committee this morning

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May 16, 2019      12:28 PM

Updated: House Elections Committee postpones vote on upping penalties for alleged ballot fraud

A meeting had been called for 9:45 this morning, a quorum was not present. Now we are told Rep. Swanson is out sick and Democrats are also on guard to deny permission for the committee to meet while the House is in session. If there's objection to that it takes 2/3rds support

In one of the more heated debates of the closing weeks of the legislative session, a new version of SB 9 brought out hundreds of witnesses to the House Elections Committee Wednesday as the chair cut short registration for testimony and delayed a vote.

The vast majority of those who registered before 8:30am, when registration ended at Chair Stephanie Klick’s direction, were in opposition to the bill which has been labeled by Democrats as an attack on access to the polls and an attempt to suppress voter turnout.

Conservative supporters like Sen. Bryan Hughes R-Mineola, say it’s aimed at stopping those who cheat in elections by making it a state jail felony to forge a ballot. Critics say that amounts to “criminalizing mistakes.”

The hearing started off confrontational as Chair Klick laid out the bill while seeming to anticipate several lines of criticism.

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By Andrew Turner

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May 15, 2019      6:57 PM

Ban on local governments hiring lobbyists set for Texas House floor debate on Friday

Vote to set SB 29 was 6-2, 3 were absent

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May 15, 2019      5:57 PM

Chair Leach backs down in fight over transferring more authority to AG in human trafficking cases

It appears Speaker Bonnen may have talked Leach out of a record vote on Moody amendment that Leach had argued would “gut” his legislation

After an extended debate, Texas House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jeff Leach, R-Allen, retreated in a battle over a key change to legislation dealing with how human trafficking cases are prosecuted in this state.

Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, called the bill as proposed by Chair Leach as a “sea change” in the way human trafficking cases are dealt with, shifting more power to the Office of the Attorney General, who under the bill would have been able to prosecute those cases even when local district attorneys decline to do so.

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By Scott Braddock

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May 15, 2019      5:04 PM

Texas Senate votes to end Driver Responsibility Program

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May 15, 2019      10:28 AM

Prop B in Houston ruled unconstitutional

The breaking news here via KTRK television:

Houston's Proposition B, the voter-approved pay parity plan for Houston firefighters, has been ruled unconstitutional by a state district court judge. The decision came down Wednesday morning. It's unclear what this means right now for firefighter raises or layoffs, but the firefighters' union has vowed to appeal.

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