Promoters say tax subsidies are needed to lure events that otherwise wouldn't be held in Texas. Critics say the practice is corporate welfare. The Texas Senate on Thursday backed legislation that keeps the subsidies going but with new restrictions and oversight.Full Story
Jay Root is a native of Liberty. He never knew any reporters growing up, and he has never taken a journalism class in his life. But somehow he got hooked on the news business. It all started when Root walked into the offices of The Daily Texan, his college newspaper, during his last year at the University of Texas in 1987. He couldn't resist the draw: it was the biggest collection of misfits ever assembled. After graduating, he took a job at a Houston chemical company and soon realized it wasn't for him. Root applied for an unpaid internship at the Houston Post in 1990, and it turned into a full-time job that same year. He has been a reporter ever since. Root has covered natural disasters, live music and Texas politics — not necessarily in that order. He was Austin bureau chief of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for a dozen years, most of them good. He also covered politics and the Legislature for The Associated Press before joining the staff of the Tribune.Root is the author of “Oops! A Diary From The 2012 Campaign Trail,” an insider’s account of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s dramatic collapse in the 2012 presidential race. The book was released in September, 2012.
One Texan's transparency is another’s right to privacy, and people in politics generally find it easier to demand openness than to provide it.Full Story
The oil industry vigorously opposed efforts to list the threatened dunes sagebrush lizard as an endangered species. But three oil company lobbyists were given day-to-day oversight of the effort to save the reptile.Full Story
Politically active nonprofits, which are playing an increasingly important role in state elections, would no longer be able to hide the identity of their major donors under a bill making its way through the Texas Legislature.
The obscure law that allows Gov. Rick Perry to collect both his pension and salary was the subject of a hearing Monday. A proposed bill would prevent future state officeholders from using the provision.Full Story
The day after an explosion at a fertilizer plant leveled parts of the Central Texas town of West, officials are still searching for answers about the tragedy that has left at least five people dead.Full Story
UPDATED: The Texas House is moving ahead with a bill requiring disclosure of certain political donors despite an effort by the Senate to pull the legislation back. Meanwhile, the bill's author, Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, said senators had been heavily lobbied to change their vote.
A troubled cancer-fighting charity paid a tobacco lobbyist to represent its interests in the Legislature, even as it was winding down its operations and facing the wrath of lawmakers.
UPDATED: State Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt, R-Lexington, said Friday that he has suspended his chief of staff, John Higgins, who was indicted this week on 12 felony charges stemming from allegedly improper travel reimbursements.
A bill by state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio, would make homeowners associations more financially accountable. But HOA interest groups say the bill is unworkable and punitive to volunteer board members.Full Story
University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall didn't disclose a long history of courtroom battles before his Senate confirmation two years ago, a lapse that prompted some lawmakers to say they feel misled.Full Story
Political insiders rarely take things at face value, so it’s not surprising that they are scratching their collective heads over Ann Bishop’s sudden hiring and equally sudden departure from the office of Gov. Rick Perry.
Days before she became Gov. Rick Perry's chief of staff, Ann Bishop — already the highest-paid executive officer at a state agency — received a $162,500 bonus from the Employees Retirement System, records show.Full Story
Whether it’s lobbyists’ spending on legislators or lawmakers who don't disclose their spouses' interests on personal financial statements, Texas ethics laws are full of holes.Full Story
Lobbyists Andrea and Dean McWilliams are big entertainers, and they don't mind sharing details of their big soirees with society magazines. But they haven't disclosed much of it to the Texas Ethics Commission.Full Story