Ross Ramsey Executive Editor

Ross Ramsey is executive editor and co-founder of The Texas Tribune. Before joining the Tribune, Ross was editor and co-owner of Texas Weekly for 15 years. He did a 28-month stint in government as associate deputy comptroller for policy and director of communications with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Before that, he reported for the Houston Chronicle from its Austin bureau and for the Dallas Times Herald, first on the business desk in Dallas and later as its Austin bureau chief, and worked as a Dallas-based freelance business writer, writing for regional and national magazines and newspapers. Ross got his start in journalism in broadcasting, covering news for radio stations in Denton and Dallas.

Recent Contributions

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of May 9, 2011

Aaronson on pork choppers, Aguilar on sanctuary cities legislation, Galbraith on Brownsville's ban on plastic bags, Grissom on Delma Banks and prosecutorial misconduct, Hamilton on a tough week for higher education in Texas, Philpott on wildfires and politics, Ramshaw on the state's pursuit of a federal Medicaid overhaul, M. Smith on what would happen if lawmakers don't rewrite school finance formulas, yours truly on the Lege as schoolyard and Stiles with interactive graphics on how the proposed Senate redistricting maps compare with current ones: The best of our best content from May 9 to 13, 2011.

Lawmaking That Looks Like a Schoolyard Fight

House Democrats, including Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, at microphone, call a point of order on a "sanctuary cities" bill on May 6, 2011.
House Democrats, including Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, at microphone, call a point of order on a "sanctuary cities" bill on May 6, 2011.

It turns out you can do a lot of damage with nothing more than a rule book, which is hazardous in a place that often runs like a schoolyard: Conduct trumps content.

Interactive: Texas Senate Redistricting Maps

State Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, unveiled his proposed Senate redistricting maps this week and opened hearings on them on Thursday with a vote possible Friday. Use our interactive maps to see the proposed changes and who would be affected.

Is David Dewhurst Goofy — or Goofy Like a Fox?

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst listens to members after the Texas Senate voted, 19-12, to pass the budget on May 4, 2011.
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst listens to members after the Texas Senate voted, 19-12, to pass the budget on May 4, 2011.

It’s funny that you can win four statewide elections and still have people think you’re a goofball, in over your head. But maybe Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s fumbles leading to the Texas Senate’s budget vote give the lie to that. Maybe he’s goofy like a fox.

Playing by the Rules

Texas Weekly

The real rule of the Texas Legislature is that there are no rules when the rules get in the way. If the Senate needs to pass a budget and can't get a two-thirds vote to do so, and if there's a way to squint at the rules and do it with a simple majority, then that's what they'll do.

House Sets Budget Negotiating Rules

House Appropriations Committee chairman, State Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie (r), listens to debate on HB1 conferee's instructions on May 6, 2011.
House Appropriations Committee chairman, State Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie (r), listens to debate on HB1 conferee's instructions on May 6, 2011.

The House is sending its five budget conferees — Reps. Jim Pitts, John Otto, Sylvester Turner, John Zerwas and Myra Crownover — off to negotiate with the Senate, but they want to tie their hands on certain issues, instructing them on what's acceptable to add, subtract or leave alone when they talk with the other side.

Puppies, and the Legislative Power of Distraction

Rep. Senfronia Thompson (r), D-Houston, talks to Rep. Mike Hamilton during the local and consent calendar on April 26, 2011.
Rep. Senfronia Thompson (r), D-Houston, talks to Rep. Mike Hamilton during the local and consent calendar on April 26, 2011.

It’s tense at the Texas Capitol. It’s May — the last month of the session. Deadlines are arriving daily. Bills are dying. Legislative wish lists are drying up and blowing away. Blame the puppies.

Why Texas House Won't Agree to Senate Budget

Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, attempts to get votes to suspend the rules on CSSB1580 a Senate spending bill on April 28, 2011.
Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, attempts to get votes to suspend the rules on CSSB1580 a Senate spending bill on April 28, 2011.

It might not matter, in the end, whether the Senate wants to use some of the Rainy Day Fund to balance the budget. The House isn’t likely to go along unless the proposition is delivered on a tea cart pushed by Gov. Rick Perry and third-party conservative groups who have been hounding lawmakers to hold the line.

Suddenly Serious

Texas Weekly

It's a misleading headline; they've been serious. But this was the week with redistricting on the floor of the House and no budget on the floor of the Senate. Redistricting is often a noisy and bloody affair, and this might be a case when the availability of information took the sting out of the fight. Not so long ago, redistricting maps and data were closely held until the big reveal on the House floor. Members got to see pieces of the maps — their own districts and some of their neighbors' — but it wasn't unusual to see politicians in near cardiac condition when the maps were put on the easels for the first time and they got a peek at the whole state.