Senate leaders would grade Texas schools ‘A’ through ‘F’

Senate leaders unveiled a handful of proposals Tuesday to boost failing schools in Texas, including assigning letter grades to campuses and creating a statewide district to manage failing schools. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Senate Education Committee Chairman Larry Taylor also said they would push measures to expand online courses and create a new system for evaluating teachers.

Texas lawmakers debate unpopular business ‘margins tax’

Senate tax writers squabbled Tuesday over who foisted the unpopular “margins tax” on business, its lame revenue-generating performance and whether Texas’ recent fiscal history should matter as lawmakers scurry to reduce businesses’ and homeowners’ tax bills this year.

Texas Health responds to two claims in Ebola nurse Nina Pham’s suit

In an email to employees, CEO Barclay Berdan addressed two of Pham’s lawsuit claims — regarding whether Texas Health Resources invaded her privacy and the truthfulness of one of its doctors testifying before a congressional hearing. The email, sent to employees Monday night, did not address Pham’s allegations that the hospital failed to train its staff or provide proper protective gear for treating Ebola.

Texas legislator wants to treat pot like tomatoes

David Simpson's bill to "deregulate" marijuana in Texas became an overnight Internet sensation not so much for its legal intent but for his novel views on what for years has been viewed by many conservatives in the Lone Star State as a dangerous narcotic.

Union, management continue to clash on and off the picket lines

Tensions on both sides of the picket line boiled over Tuesday as the United Steelworkers lashed out at members who have returned to their jobs and one of the companies beset by the sprawling refinery and chemical plant strike countered with allegations of intimidation tactics and social media threats by the union.

Lawmaker seeks to force debate on unlicensed constitutional carry

State Rep. Jonathan Stickland wants every Texan to be able to openly carry handguns — licensed or not. Determined to force a vote on the issue, despite strong bipartisan opposition, the Beford Republican formally filed a request this week for a committee hearing on his constitutional carry bill, House Bill 195.

School counselor bill offers training, no caseload relief

A bill filed Monday in Austin became the latest proposed legislative response to the sharply increased workload that the state’s new high school graduation requirements have placed on school counselors. House Bill 18 would make training available to counselors — but it includes no funding for school districts to hire more of them or regulations to decrease their caseloads.

Cruz unveils ObamaCare alternative

  • suggested by David Pasztor

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Tuesday offered the latest in a series of Republican ObamaCare alternatives ahead of a Supreme Court ruling that could gut the law.

House leaders want to add 250 troopers to border

AUSTIN - The top budget writer in the Texas House said Tuesday the chamber intends to support funding for the state Department of Public Safety to hire 250 more troopers to permanently patrol the southern border, a move in the direction of the goal of 500 new recruits staked out by Gov. Greg Abbott last month.

Senate education agenda irks teacher groups

AUSTIN - Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick unveiled key portions of the upper chamber's education agenda on Tuesday, reviving proposals long unpopular with teacher groups that Patrick said would empower parents and help students leave poor-performing schools.

New leadership takes over Texas health watchdog office

AUSTIN -- The Texas health commission's new inspector general has brought with him a team of aides from the private sector, ushering in a new era of leadership at the embattled agency in charge of rooting out waste, fraud and abuse in health and human services in the state.