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January 17, 2020      1:32 PM

People on the Move

Lobby moves, new hires, new projects, and more

The first unmarked envelope of 2020 from a campaign – or at least, tangentially connected to a campaign – has arrived at the Quorum Report offices. Primary season must be really be starting now.Stressed out, getting fat, it’s campaign season,” said one veteran staffer. Relatable.

With a little more than 6 weeks between now and election day, it’s time to put miles on the truck heading to Houston, Dallas, South Texas, and elsewhere. Feels good to be on the road again.

Meantime, the career news is coming faster and furiouser (if that’s a word) as movers and shakers settle into new roles in the Texas Capitol community. Let us know what’s happening anytime by emailing career news to ksbraddock@gmail.com. If you could use POTM in the subject line, that would be great. And to move swiftly to the front of the line, put the text of your announcement right in the email rather than attaching a file. Thanks so much.

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

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By Scott Braddock

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January 17, 2020      9:39 AM

Bonnen appoints Rep. Capriglione as new Texas House Appropriations Chairman

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January 16, 2020      5:21 PM

Campaign finance reports reveal disjointed efforts in battle for Texas House majority

Both Republicans and Democrats have several different efforts underway; Dems see significant resources pouring in while Republicans post Bonnen collapse lack a centralized structure for allocation of resources

The fallout from the audio recording of Speaker Dennis Bonnen disparaging local officials, Democrats and targeting members of his own party in a discussion with Empower Texans spokesman Michael Quinn Sullivan seems to have meant mutually assured destruction. Bonnen is retiring and Empower seems to be off the battlefield in GOP primaries.

Republicans and Democrats, for the most part in Texas House races, seem intent on having most of the fights play out in November rather than March. And there are somewhat disjointed efforts aimed at either flipping the lower chamber to the Democrats or preserving the Republican majority.

Let’s dig into the numbers.

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By James Russell

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January 16, 2020      5:11 PM

Texas AFT endorses Ruben Cortez over Sen. Lucio

“Texas also needs a new senator who will stand up to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and his divisive, partisan agenda that bogs down our Legislature."

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January 16, 2020      8:27 AM

PAC aimed at preserving Texas House GOP majority reports $480,000 cash on hand

$505K was rasied for Leading Texas Forward, being run with the help of Karl Rove. Perhaps a slow start but these efforts are aimed at November not the primaries

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January 15, 2020      6:32 PM

Lt. Gov. Patrick raises $5.5 million in 2019, $2 million for the reporting period, and has $13.5 million cash on hand

“More than any Lt. Governor in Texas history.”

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

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January 15, 2020      5:46 PM

Getting nasty: TV networks reject bid by Democrats to pull down GOP ads in Fort Bend special election runoff

Meantime, Gates’ campaign insists the Republican is up by at least 12 points in an internal poll; Markowitz camp says prove it: “release the poll”

FORT BEND COUNTY – In perhaps the most-watched race in Texas at the moment, Democrats on Wednesday demanded that cable stations in the Houston area stop running ads for Republican Gary Gates in which his campaign slams Democrat Eliz Markowitz for “false attacks” about alleged child abuse.

A third-party group called Forward Majority aired this TV ad centered on the allegations that were first leveled against Gates two decades ago. As Quorum Report readers who have followed Gates’ political career are aware, these same allegations have come up in conversations and attack ads every time every time he’s run for office over the years including unsuccessful bids for the Texas House, the Texas Senate, and the Railroad Commission. Those were all in GOP primaries or special elections against fellow Republicans.

Gates’ campaign responded with a TV ad of their own, featuring one of Gates’ children saying “shame on you Eliz Markowitz. You know your negative attacks are false.”

So yes, here we are: Only 15 days into January and we are covering “false attacks” about “false attacks.” It must be an even-numbered year in this state.

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By Scott Braddock

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January 15, 2020      4:28 PM

House Democratic Caucus Chair Turner raised $321,000

$340,000 cash-on-hand, contributed $55,000 to other campaigns & groups

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January 15, 2020      12:13 PM

Representative Middleton elected new chairman of Texas House Freedom Caucus

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January 15, 2020      11:01 AM

Federal judge blocks administration from enforcing order allowing state, local officials to reject resettling refugees.

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January 15, 2020      10:20 AM

Chairman Martinez Fischer invests $350,000 in his PAC aimed at flipping Texas House seats

He’s also issuing another $100,000 challenge: “Every single dollar will be leveraged and directly invested in campaigns,” he said

Texas House Business and Industry Committee Chairman Trey Martinez Fischer on Wednesday told Quorum Report he’s transferring $350,000 to his PAC, called One Texas, surpassing his initial pledge of $100,000 with the goal of supporting Democratic candidates in swing districts.

“One Texas is off to a great start and this groundswell of support sends a clear message ahead of the 2020 elections: the stakes have never been higher, and Democrats are rising to meet the challenge. I am so encouraged by this momentum that I have decided to double-down with another $100,000 challenge,” Martinez Fischer said in a written statement.

“In 2021, the Texas House will face tremendous challenges, among them redistricting, health care, and maintaining our financial commitments to public education. Only a strong Democratic majority will ensure that the interests of Texas families remain our top legislative priority,” Martinez Fischer said. “I look forward to working alongside my Democratic partners to safeguard our incumbents and flip the nine seats needed to restore proven Democratic leadership to the Texas House.”

By Scott Braddock

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January 15, 2020      9:31 AM

Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, named one of the impeachment managers to prosecute the case against President Trump

The others are Chairs Schiff and Nadler along with Zoe Lofgren, Hakeem Jeffries, Val Demings, and Jason Crow

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January 14, 2020      6:18 PM

TxOGA reports record numbers on oil and gas taxes to state and local coffers

President Staples said “Despite challenges in the global marketplace, state and local taxes and state royalties paid by the Texas oil and natural gas industry shattered records last year”

The Texas oil and gas economy pumped $44 million a day – or $16.2 billion overall – into state and local budgets in 2019, making it the largest number ever for tax and royalty payments.

That’s good news for Texas lawmakers, who carved $6 billion out of the Economic Stabilization Fund last session for multiple state priorities. Those numbers also put Texas on track to meet, or even exceed, the $9.4 billion projection for the state’s so-called Rainy Day Fund next session.

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By Kimberly Reeves

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January 14, 2020      6:14 PM

Adan Munoz passed away

Munoz was a former Director of Jail Standards and Criminal Justice Director for Governor Richards. He worked as Security Director for AG Morales, Vice Chairman of Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education, and Sheriff of Kleberg County. Munoz passed away after a long fight with Parkinson’s.

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January 14, 2020      4:58 PM

Behavioral Council finds its footing as four boards merge licensing, enforcement activities

The state’s new Behavioral Health Executive Council – created during the Sunset process last session – is still finding its footing as it moves toward its September 1 creation.

Today’s day-long meeting was the continuation of work begun last October, as interim director Darrell Spinks led the nine-member panel through discussions of a possible organization chart, a draft record retention policy and a transition plan for the council.

The council, created with the passage of House Bill 1501 last session, pulls four behavioral health boards under one umbrella licensing agency. During open comments today, Jan Friese of the Texas Counseling Association urged the council to post information on the ongoing individual boards and their activities, making it easily accessible to the public.

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By Kimberly Reeves

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January 14, 2020      4:55 PM

Texas Parent PAC endorses Democratic primary opponent of Sen. Lucio, Ruben Cortez

Dinah Miller, Parent PAC co-chair: "Families deserve to be represented in Austin by a leader with the courage to consistently stand up for neighborhood public schools. Incumbent Eddie Lucio, Jr. has a track record of following the lead of Lt. Governor Dan Patrick when he pushes legislation that harms public education."

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January 13, 2020      11:15 AM

Update on services for Susie Buda

Services will be held this Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at 4:30 PM in the Capitol Auditorium.

Susan “Susie” Buda, wife of Dan Buda, passed away on Saturday, January 11, 2020. Susie was a staple of the Texas Senate for the last 13 years where she worked diligently for Senators Shapiro, West, and Nelson, Senate Education and Senate Finance before leaving in August for her employment with the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association . Susie brought with her a wealth of knowledge, joy, and fierce wit with her everywhere she went and her fighting spirit will be greatly missed in the halls of the Texas Capitol.

Services will be held this Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at 4:30 PM in the Capitol Auditorium.

Her family invites her friends and Senate family to attend the services. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the Missy Project or the Susie Buda fund at the University of Wisconsin Law School, which you can find here. Depending on your browser, you may have to right click and open a new tab for both of those links.

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January 13, 2020      10:25 AM

In a first, Texas' Tejano Democrats endorse Royce West for US Senate

First time the group has endorsed an African-American for US Senate: “I’m gratified to have earned the endorsement of the Tejano Democrats,” West said. “As a State Senator, I have always tried to work for all people, and I’ve advocated for years on many issues important to this organization and its members.”

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January 13, 2020      4:40 AM

Video: Republican Gary Gates responds to child abuse accusations, says Democrats are acting disgracefully

TV ad features Gates' daughter, who says "Shame on you Eliz Markowitz. You know your negative attacks are false."

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January 12, 2020      1:32 PM

TxDOT aims for 30-year plan approval this spring

With the Texas population expected to grow 60 percent before 2050, transportation challenges include autonomous vehicles, drone deliveries, shared vehicles and increased teleworking

The Texas Department of Transportation has set its March meeting, or possibly the one in April, to approve its 30-year long-term transportation plan known as TTP 2050.

It wasn’t that long ago – last summer – that the Texas Transportation Commission made its last major transportation decision: ceding construction of the final segments of the Grand Parkway. That’s because transportation planning is a like a Russian nesting doll: a 5-year strategic plan within a 10-year Unified Transportation Program within a 30-year Texas Transportation Plan.

They do it that way because TxDOT’s long-term horizon is a combination of simple and complex multi-year projects, Director Peter Smith told the Texas Transportation Commission at a recent meeting.

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By Kimberly Reeves

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January 12, 2020      1:31 PM

Longtime Texas Capitol staffer Susie Buda passed away

Her sister wrote on Facebook "injuries from her second aneurysm were just too severe to survive. The doctors tell us that she never had a chance this time...Today she was taken off life support and became a hero for the people whose lives she will save with her ultimate gift." She most recently worked at TTARA. Thoughts and prayers with her family tonight.

Susie Buda’s former boss, Texas Senate Finance Chair Jane Nelson said:

“Susie was a loyal, dedicated staffer who loved the Senate, where she served admirably for years and provided invaluable expertise on education and tax policies. Beloved throughout the Capitol, Susie made a positive impact in the lives of all Texans. She was smart, had a dynamic personality and a big heart. There are many hearts breaking over this devastating news, including ours at Team Nelson. We are praying for Susie's family, loved ones and everyone in our Capitol family who is mourning.”

Her current employer, the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association issued this statement on Sunday:

“We are devastated by the passing of Susie Buda yesterday. Susie was an incredible joy and talent, and the world is less today without her. She developed into one of the best staffers in the Senate, and we were thrilled with the time we had with her. We loved her energy, her wit, her enthusiasm, and her intellectual curiosity. If Susie considered you a friend, you were blessed. Our hearts go out to Dan and all the Strzelec and Buda Families. We share your pain, but please know that we share our love with you, and with all those that Susie touched.”

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January 10, 2020      11:46 AM

People on the Move

New opportunities in 2020: Staffer moves, lobby moves, new shops, big promotions, and celebrating an anniversary

Be safe out there. Nasty weather is moving through central Texas and later today it could get nasty in Dallas, Houston, and parts of East Texas as well. Some of you may be seeing it already. Gov. Abbott has put emergency response teams in place ahead of a fast-moving system that may bring high winds and damaging hail. So, be alert.

It was nice to get a holiday break but now it’s back to the grind with campaigns ramping up, the natives getting restless over the Texas House’s presiding officer’s retribution, and so much more. Can’t wait to see how it all unfolds now that it’s 2020 – you know, the year we’ve all heard so much about.

Many of you know the drill for People on the Move but as we start the new year it’s appropriate to reset. Many staffers, lobbyists, and others would almost never ever want their names to be in the news. Unless, of course, it was to promote their new gigs to the Texas Capitol community here in the pages of QR. We’re happy to help. You can send career news about yourself, a friend, or even an adversary to ksbraddock@gmail.com anytime and please use “POTM” in the subject line so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

Thanks very much and here we go again with the latest edition of People on the Move.

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By Scott Braddock

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