The proposed state budget would increase state judge's base salaries by 12 percent — and would do the same thing to state legislators' pensions. Check out the added benefit by member.Full Story
Ross Ramsey is executive editor and co-founder of The Texas Tribune and continues as editor of Texas Weekly, the premier newsletter on government and politics in the Lone Star State, a role he's had since September 1998. Before joining Texas Weekly, Ramsey was associate deputy comptroller for policy with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, also working as the agency's director of communications. Prior to that 28-month stint in government, Ramsey spent 17 years in journalism, reporting for the Houston Chronicle from its Austin bureau and for the Dallas Times Herald, first on the business desk in Dallas and later as the paper's Austin bureau chief. Prior to that, as a Dallas-based freelance business writer, he wrote for regional and national magazines and newspapers. Ramsey got his start in journalism in broadcasting, working for almost seven years covering news for radio stations in Denton and Dallas.
Texas lawmakers have 10 days left in the regular session. They haven't embarrassed themselves, spent much time in bitter fights or generated the sorts of headlines that have made voters think so little of Washington.Full Story
Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman is unlikely to win confirmation before the end of the session, a key senator said Thursday. That would end her nearly two-year tenure as head of that agency.Full Story
Greg Abbott’s letter doesn’t have any new information in it, but the timing takes away what some — probably those further from the budget conversations than closer — saw as a possible solution for the Legislature’s financial logjam.Full Story
Lawmakers are talking seriously about a 21.5 percent pay raise for state district judges, which would increase the pensions of those same lawmakers by that same amount.Full Story
Another major House deadline has gone by, ending that chamber's consideration of major legislation filed by its own members. We've updated our House Bill tracker, showing which bills stalled in committee and which ones stalled in the full House.Full Story
Spending from the state's Rainy Day Fund does, in fact, count against a constitutional limit on growth in the state budget, Attorney General Greg Abbott advised on Thursday.Full Story
The betting here is that state finance is the closing drama of the session and that in spite of the sharper debates here at the end, that everybody goes home singing Kumbaya.Full Story
Most of the legislation filed this session by members of the Texas House never made it out of committee. This new app tells you the number of bills filed, referred to committee and left, forever, in committee after the deadline passed.Full Story
The legislative session is in its last month and most bills will die. But setbacks for the big stuff — water, transportation and the like — are usually temporary.Full Story
M. Smith on a shock awaiting the state’s fifth- and eighth-graders, E. Smith’s interview with two of Washington’s Gang of Eight, Dehn and Rocha on legislative inquiries into the explosion and fire in West, Ramshaw on state leaders’ apparent disinterest in transparency, KUT’s Philpott explains points of order, Murphy and Ramshaw on the current status of ethics bills, Hamilton finds that not all college degrees are equal, Galbraith on the budget and the shale boom, Batheja on the Legislature’s do-over votes, Aguilar on a Texas application for more border drones: The best of our best for the week of April 29-May 3, 2012.
Budget decisions revolve around numbers, but talking about money is just a way to talk about policy. Consider the case of volunteer fire departments.Full Story
Texas politicians can easily represent the people who elect them without necessarily representing the people of Texas. To get re-elected, they have to please their voters, not the general population.Full Story
Two years ago, lawmakers couldn't find the money they needed to run the government they had promised their voters. Now they have the money — and a completely different set of political problems.Full Story
Voters asked lawmakers to cut down on the high-stakes standardized tests in schools and to replace some of the budget cuts made in 2011. Will they soon be asking why lawmakers made it easier to get a high school diploma?Full Story