Vol 32, Issue 12 Print Issue

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

The Texas Senate on Wednesday approved Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s multibillion-dollar tax relief package to cut property and business margins taxes, tossing the ball into the House's court. Leaders in the other chamber, though, appear more inclined to lower state sales taxes and avoid a collision with the spending cap.

The Texas House on Wednesday tentatively approved a statewide ban on texting while driving, a measure that made it all the way to Gov. Rick Perry's desk in 2011 before getting vetoed.

Long hearings were the order of the day in a couple of committees this week. House State Affairs went deep into the night on Wednesday as it delved into legislation on same-sex marriage and "dark money" disclosure. And Senate Education on Thursday discussed school voucher legislation for nine hours.

Gov. Greg Abbott this week instructed the Department of Family and Protective Services to step up enforcement, screen potential foster parents and educate caregivers about gun safety. The move comes after three child deaths under the state’s ward this year.

Political People and their Moves

Charles M. Barnard of Wichita Falls was appointed 89th District Court judge by Gov. Greg Abbott. He succeeds Mark Price, who passed away in February. Barnard's term expires at the next general election in November 2016.

Communications firm R&R Partners has hired Jill Warren as counsel in its Washington, D.C., office. Warren is a former policy director and special assistant attorney general for U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. She also was a founding principal of the public affairs firm The Patriot Group.

Annie's List — which focuses on electing Democratic women to the Legislature — has endorsed Ina Minjarez in the special election to fill the empty Bexar County-based House District 124 seat. The election is set for Tuesday, March 31.

Deaths: Mary Edwards, former State Democratic Executive Committeewoman, SD-10, and former Tarrant County Central Labor Council board member. She also staffed for state Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, for 18 years.