Vol 32, Issue 15 Print Issue

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

The Texas Senate on Tuesday approved its $211 billion, two-year budget. The next step is the appointment of conferees to referee the differences with the House's version of the budget. One potential hang-up is on the related issue of how to handle promised tax cuts.

House Democrats derailed on procedural grounds pending legislation on open carry, municipal regulation of oil and gas activity as well as moving the home of the public integrity unit. Legislation on the first two topics will be back on the House floor today.

GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz raised more than $4.3 million in the first nine days of his campaign, according to federal campaign filings. While the donor list featured many longtime GOP patrons such as Red McCombs, Robert Rowling and Bob McNair44 percent of Cruz's haul came from contributors giving $200 or less.

With little debate, the Texas Senate approved a "parent trigger" bill, which would allow parents of students at underperforming public schools to demand fixes from the state commissioner of education including hiring new staff, contracting with a charter school operator to take over management or closing the school altogether.

Disclosure: Red McCombs and Robert Rowling are major donors to The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Political People and their Moves

Larry Laine will step down from his post as chief clerk for the Texas General Land Office this month. He's served in the position for more than 12 years. General Counsel Anne Idsal will fulfill chief clerk duties on an interim basis.

Early voting concludes today ahead of Tuesday's special election runoff between former Bexar County prosecutor Ina Minjarez and former San Antonio City Councilwoman Delicia Herrera to represent House District 124. The election will fill a vacancy created when José Menéndez resigned to join the Texas Senate.

Alfred Bennett was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a spot on the bench for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Bennett's nomination was made in September and he's been awaiting a confirmation vote ever since. Two other nominations to the Texas federal courts made at the same time as Bennett — George Hanks Jr. and Jose Olvera Jr. — are still waiting for a vote.

Deaths: Arthur "Buddy" Temple III, 73, four-term state representative (1973-81) from Diboll and railroad commissioner (1981-86). He also ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1982, and as a legislator co-sponsored the creation of the state's ethics code in 1973.

Disclosure: The Texas General Land Office was a corporate sponsor in 2011 of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.