ECONOMY

After Early Momentum, Energy Legislation Stalls

A fueling station for vehicles powered by compressed natural gas sits in Austin. As of mid-March, Texas was home to 130 natural gas fueling stations, according to the Railroad Commission of Texas. Those 77 public stations and 63 private ones serve about 7,200 vehicles.
A fueling station for vehicles powered by compressed natural gas sits in Austin. As of mid-March, Texas was home to 130 natural gas fueling stations, according to the Railroad Commission of Texas. Those 77 public stations and 63 private ones serve about 7,200 vehicles.

Who killed the House and Senate's top energy bills? Their autopsy evokes the names of T. Boone Pickens and Koch Industries and involves plenty of squabbling between the chambers.  

Abbott Signs Higher Ed Bill Ending Fund Touted by Perry

Gov. Greg Abbott signs several higher education related bills into law on June 4, 2015. He also praised state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, left, for her work in the most recent legislative session on education issues.
Gov. Greg Abbott signs several higher education related bills into law on June 4, 2015. He also praised state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, left, for her work in the most recent legislative session on education issues.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill Thursday that eliminates a controversial startup investment fund long touted by his predecessor, Rick Perry. The legislation directs much of the fund's money to a new researcher recruitment effort.

After Fracking Ban, Denton Residents Ponder Next Steps

A grassroots effort to ban fracking in Denton succeeded last fall, but has now been trumped by state lawmakers.
A grassroots effort to ban fracking in Denton succeeded last fall, but has now been trumped by state lawmakers.

Frustrated Denton residents flooded a city council meeting Tuesday for a conversation about fracking that stretched late into the night. Now that state lawmakers have slapped down the city's fracking ban, residents wonder what else they can do. 

Though Fracked Again, Denton Says Fight Isn't Over

Vantage Energy on June 1, 2015 resumed hydraulic operations on a pad site on the western outskirts of Denton. It was the first company to frack within city limits after the Texas Legislature overturned the Denton’s ban on the process.
Vantage Energy on June 1, 2015 resumed hydraulic operations on a pad site on the western outskirts of Denton. It was the first company to frack within city limits after the Texas Legislature overturned the Denton’s ban on the process.

Seven months after a rag-tag group of local activists scored a surprising victory over the state’s powerful oil and gas industry when Denton voted to ban hydraulic fracturing, a natural gas company Monday resumed operations under a state law passed to overturn Denton's ban.

Effort to Tighten Spending Cap Dies

(L-R) State House Speaker Joe Straus, Governor Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick on May 21, 2015.
(L-R) State House Speaker Joe Straus, Governor Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick on May 21, 2015.

The state’s constitutional spending cap will remain untouched this session, and House and Senate leaders are blaming each other for the lack of action on the arcane but politically important measure.

House Sends Franchise Tax Cut to Abbott

(L-R) State House Speaker Joe Straus, Governor Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick on May 21, 2015.
(L-R) State House Speaker Joe Straus, Governor Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick on May 21, 2015.

Defusing Gov. Greg Abbott’s first public veto threat, lawmakers sent a bill cutting the business franchise tax to his desk Thursday. The House also sent Abbott a bill plugging holes in the 2014-15 budget.

Funding Cut as Film, Video Game Lobbies Squabble

Naveen Nattam (l) Sean Riley (r) play games during their lunch break at Twisted Pixel, a video game company in Austin. Texas is second in the nation for video game industry employment and promoting further growth with incentives and training.
Naveen Nattam (l) Sean Riley (r) play games during their lunch break at Twisted Pixel, a video game company in Austin. Texas is second in the nation for video game industry employment and promoting further growth with incentives and training.

The incentive fund for attracting film and video game companies to Texas is about to take a major budget hit. Advocates for both industries are licking their wounds, and blaming each other for failing to present a united front.