POLITICS: Lobbying

Analysis: Taking Lobbyists' Money, Ignoring Their Calls

New Texas Sen. Konni Burton, c, stands with other incoming Senators during the swearing-in ceremony at the Texas Capitol Jan. 13, 2015.
New Texas Sen. Konni Burton, c, stands with other incoming Senators during the swearing-in ceremony at the Texas Capitol Jan. 13, 2015.

A new senator doesn't think taxpayer-supported governments should hire lobbyists to talk to other government officials and won't let those lobbyists come to her office. But she took their contributions during her 2014 campaign. 

Analysis: Getting Legislative Permission to Do Business

A Tesla Model S. The California-based electric automaker had considered Texas for its $5 billion lithium-ion battery factory. The company is also hoping to sell cars in Texas but does not have required franchise dealerships, as state law requires.
A Tesla Model S. The California-based electric automaker had considered Texas for its $5 billion lithium-ion battery factory. The company is also hoping to sell cars in Texas but does not have required franchise dealerships, as state law requires.

When lawmakers are not working on all of the things you hear about — budgets, education, immigration and so on — they are often refereeing fights between businesses. And some of next year's battles are already shaping up.

Critics Charge Local Bond Elections Lack Transparency

Keller ISD Superintendent Randy Reid spoke during an Aug. 11, 2014, town hall meeting, where attendees debated whether to put a $175 million bond up to Keller ISD voters in the general election.
Keller ISD Superintendent Randy Reid spoke during an Aug. 11, 2014, town hall meeting, where attendees debated whether to put a $175 million bond up to Keller ISD voters in the general election.

Texas voters approve billions of dollars in new local debt each year. A growing group of critics argues that voters wouldn't be so agreeable if they were more clearly informed of the debt that's already owed in their name.

GMO Labeling Movement Stagnant in Texas

Gerald Cole, owner of Organicare Farms in Taylor, checks his kale plants. The vegetables are grown using aquaponics, a system in which waste matter from fish in tanks is broken down and used as nutrients for the plants.
Gerald Cole, owner of Organicare Farms in Taylor, checks his kale plants. The vegetables are grown using aquaponics, a system in which waste matter from fish in tanks is broken down and used as nutrients for the plants.

A small group of Texas farmers and environmental advocates is pushing for the labeling of genetically modified foods. But the effort has received little interest from Texas' Republican-dominated Legislature or from major agribusinesses.