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

Situation Normal

Texas Weekly

The House has blown its stack and made up again a couple of times since our last conversation, all within the rules, and all — if you take a long view of things —right on schedule. Senators, who had a group conniption fit last week, have remained clear to partly cloudy and calm.

Instant Maps

Texas Weekly

Kel Seliger decided to run the redistricting marathon by saving up his energy until the end and then running a sprint. The Amarillo Republican's Senate Redistricting Committee met less than three weeks before end of the session to consider Senate district maps that had at that point been public for less than 24 hours. He told members — this was on Thursday — that they had until 5 p.m. to get their amendments to him and to make sure they were legally vetted and so on. And he said he planned to vote on the plan, along with a House plan already approved on the other side of the rotunda, on Friday. That sets up a full Senate vote for as early as next week.

Late Homework

Texas Weekly

The deadline for approving bills in the House came and went this week without a vote on Rep. Scott Hochberg's school finance legislation. Meanwhile, in the upper chamber, Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, is struggling to find one more Democrat to get her proposal heard.

Laughing in the Face of Death

Texas Weekly

In what may be the Democrats' first concrete victory of the session, the House at last sent HB 400 to its grave when it failed to take up the controversial legislation before its midnight deadline.

Watch for Stowaways

Texas Weekly

The sanctuary cities bill filed by Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, was a victory for conservative lawmakers who called for state enforcement of immigration laws. But the bill, which would prohibit cities, counties and other governmental entities or special districts from adopting a policy that prevents law enforcement from asking persons lawfully detained or arrested if they are in the country legally, could be the only victory in that category as time winds down in the current session.

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.