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April 19, 2018      10:10 AM

Alleged Securities Fraud by Texas GOP Chairman Jim Dickey emerges as issue in his bid for reelection

Challenger Cindy Crocker Asche says this “disqualifies him to represent RPT to donors and investors”; Dickey expects to comment later in the day

Editor’s note: This is a developing story and will be updated throughout the day. The legal documentation is available to subscribers at the bottom of this story – SB

The GOP woman running against Republican Party of Texas Chairman Jim Dickey on Thursday morning said the incumbent cannot be trusted with the party’s finances because of his history of alleged securities fraud in a case brought against him back in 2004 by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Cindy Crocker Asche of Frisco is challenging Dickey for his chairmanship at the upcoming RPT convention. Dickey was installed by the State Republican Executive Committee last year after a brief race against a Brenham businessman following the resignation of former Chair Tom Mechler.  

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By Scott Braddock

April 19, 2018      9:04 AM

Alvarado camp releases poll showing she leads Hernandez in Senate race 38% to 22%

41% of voters are undecided, per the poll by Public Policy Polling

April 18, 2018      5:30 PM

Quinnipiac Poll: Texas US Senate race too close to call

Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke with 47 to 44, respectively

Of course, one should never read too much into one set of numbers, but a new poll from Quinnipiac shows Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Beto O'Rourke in essentially a dead heat.

Cruz is at 47 and his Democratic challenger is at 45, per the Quinnipiac poll.

"There are wide party, gender, age and racial gaps, the independent Quinnipiac University Poll finds," per the pollsters.

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By Scott Braddock

April 18, 2018      3:29 PM

Updated: Powerful Texas Association of Realtors and the NRA both back Rep. Gooden for Congress

This comes a day after Ken Paxton announced he's with Bunni Pounds. “Lance Gooden has a thorough understanding of complex policy issues as a result of his work representing East Texas in the statehouse and we have full confidence he will continue to stand up for Realtors, homeowners and private-property rights while serving in Congress," said TREPAC Chairman David Alan Cox.

The full endorsement of Rep. Lance Gooden for Congress by the National Rifle Association is here. The Texas Association of Realtors announcement is here.

April 18, 2018      11:42 AM

HHSC Chief Operating Officer Heather Griffith Peterson resigned today

April 18, 2018      10:20 AM

TxDOT scraps vendor contract to overhaul project management system

Rep. Simmons asks the agency “If you’re going to be doing it internally, how will we know whether or not you’re going to have a system that does some evaluation…How can we be assured that you’re going to implement something that is rigorous and puts a critical eye to the process?”

The Texas Department of Transportation has ditched a contract with a key vendor tasked with merging the agency’s disparate legacy project management systems.

The goal of Modernize Portfolio and Project Management, or MPPM, is to take the data of 12,000 road and bridge projects and make it accessible to both internal and external stakeholders.

That’s harder than it might seem because TxDOT has 40 different legacy systems, many of them launched on mainframes back in the 1980s.

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By Kimberly Reeves

April 16, 2018      5:30 PM

House District 8 GOP runoff is the third go around for McNutt, who still carries the negatives from his campaign against Chairman Cook

Cook and McNutt worked overtime in ‘16 to drive up each other’s negatives, and impressions among many voters are frozen in time. Only McNutt carries that baggage in this election against Cody Harris

In the Republican run-off for the open House District 8 seat, currently represented by retiring State Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, the third time may not be the charm for one candidate.

That candidate is Thomas McNutt, who’s making his second run for the seat after losing to Cook by a mere 222 votes in the 2016 primary.

Despite constantly campaigning for the seat ever since, the vice president of Collin Street Bakery only garnered 39 percent to Palestine’s Cody Harris’ 44 percent in March. A third candidate, Navarro College Dean Linda Timmerman came in third with 15 percent. Timmerman has now endorsed Harris.

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By James Russell

April 16, 2018      12:35 PM

Abbott appoints former Houston Judge Pat Mizell to Ethics Commission

A former state district court judge in Harris County, Mizell is now at V&E

April 16, 2018      12:33 PM

EMILY's List endorses Rep. Alvarado for Texas Senate

"As a State Senator, she will help lead the fight for women's reproductive rights, public education funding, LGBTQ equality, and health care for everyone," said Geri Prado, senior director of state and local campaigns at EMILY's List.

April 13, 2018      5:45 PM

Pension funds on track to add substantial weight to Texas debt next session

With up to $13 billion in debt possible in two funds, lawmakers may be more receptive to Comptroller Hegar’s proposal to aggressively invest ESF dollars to generate revenue to cover unfunded liabilities

Texas lawmakers appear likely to face an increase in long-term shortfalls to the state’s two major pension funds – up to $13 billion – if boards at the Employee Retirement System and Teacher Retirement System complete votes to decrease rates of return on investments.

Such decreases would be a huge blow and a tremendous increase in cost to current Texas pension fund models.

At the same time, they might be actuarially sound choices, as required by the state constitution. ERS has voted to roll back its investment decision. TRS is expected to take a more conservative course of action at its meeting in April.

Such choices make revenue-generating proposals, like Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s Texas Legacy Fund, even more critical to the numbers in next session’s budget.

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By Kimberly Reeves

April 13, 2018      5:36 PM

People on the move

From agencies to lobby shops, folks are on the move this week while the lite guv’s former COS made a soft landing and a former Texas agency chief may end up leading a similar agency in another state

It was another long week on the road across Texas for your editor but it was more than worth it to see so many of your smiling faces at both the Texas Association of Community Schools conference in Abilene on Tuesday as well as the many members and lobbyists to showed up for Rep. Travis Clardy’s Lone Star Legislative Summit in beautiful and distant Nacogdoches.

Meantime back in the capital city, some folks were getting new business cards printed up to hand out and we love hearing about it. Reach out anytime at ksbraddock@gmail.com

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

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By Scott Braddock

April 13, 2018      5:31 PM

Cruz to report raising $3.2 million in the first quarter

That, of course, is less than half the amount raised by Democrat Beto O'Rourke in the same reporting period

April 12, 2018      5:20 PM

TDI now pegs the cost of Harvey at $19.4B to private insurance companies

Harvey claims now top claims filed 60 days after Hurricane Ike, but only in terms of dollars and not in terms of number of claims. Harvey has 717,000 claims filed at the 60-day mark, which have cost insurers $7.7 billion

The ultimate cost of last year’s Hurricane Harvey to the private insurance industry has been bumped to $19.4 billion, adding another $3.7 billion in payouts on top of the earliest project storm costs presented to lawmakers last year by the Texas Department of Insurance.

Actuary Brian Ryder presented the numbers of TDI’s second Harvey data call -- claims and anticipated claims -- as of two months after the two-pronged storm hit the Texas Gulf Coast. The initial data call had pegged the storm’s cost at $15.7 billion, with the caveat that the numbers were likely to rise due to some early technical glitches with data.

Today’s hearing of the House Insurance Committee, where the numbers were presented, will be one of Chair Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, last. Phillips is not returning for another term.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Kimberly Reeves

April 12, 2018      12:40 PM

In federal fraud trial, jury finds former Rep. Steve Stockman guilty on 23 counts

Only "not guilty" from the Houston jury was for a count of wire fraud