Tribpedia: Rodney Ellis

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Momentum for Four-Year Degrees at Community Colleges

Freshman Samantha Salas (center) hangs out with friends before going to class on the first day of school on Aug. 25, 2014, at South Texas College's Pecan Campus in McAllen.
Freshman Samantha Salas (center) hangs out with friends before going to class on the first day of school on Aug. 25, 2014, at South Texas College's Pecan Campus in McAllen.

Ahead of the 2015 legislative session, momentum seems to be building for more chances to earn four-year degrees at community colleges in Texas. Certain bachelor's degrees are already offered at South Texas CollegeMidland College and Brazosport College.

Sen. John Carona.
Sen. John Carona.

For John Carona, Conflicts and Interests

The constitutional provision of a part-time Legislature whose members have full-time jobs back home limits the power of state government but blurs the line between public responsibilities and personal ambition — as the story of a rich and powerful state senator from Dallas illustrates.

State Rep. John Carona holds up his right hand during his first swearing-in ceremony for the 72nd Legislature on January 8, 1991.
State Rep. John Carona holds up his right hand during his first swearing-in ceremony for the 72nd Legislature on January 8, 1991.

Slideshow: John Carona Through the Years

Take a photographic trip through Sen. John Carona's career in the Texas Legislature, from his swearing in as a freshman House member in 1991 to his chairmanship of the powerful Senate Committee on Business & Commerce. 

Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, speaks against the motion to adopt the Senate version of the state budget on May 4, 2011.
Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, speaks against the motion to adopt the Senate version of the state budget on May 4, 2011.

Senator Says Innocence Commission Bill is in Trouble

Two days after an advocate for a bill establishing a commission to review wrongful convictions lashed out at a state senator who voiced opposition to the bill, the measure's Senate sponsor says he doesn't have the votes to move the legislation forward.

Sen. Joan Huffman joins moderator James Henson in a discussion of law and order issues in the upcoming 83rd legislative session during the Texas Tribune Festival, 2012.
Sen. Joan Huffman joins moderator James Henson in a discussion of law and order issues in the upcoming 83rd legislative session during the Texas Tribune Festival, 2012.

Hearing on Innocence Commission Bill Draws Heated Testimony

A Senate committee hearing turned explosive on Tuesday when the brother of a wrongfully convicted man who died in prison railed against a senator who opposes the creation of an innocence commission. The brother of Tim Cole told Sen. Joan Huffman she should get another job and stormed out of a committee hearing while muttering expletives.

Victim Advocate for the City of Houston Andy Kahan, with crime scene photos printed off websites showing dead bodies, many unclothed, in his office at the Houston Police Department in Houston, Monday May 6, 2013.
Victim Advocate for the City of Houston Andy Kahan, with crime scene photos printed off websites showing dead bodies, many unclothed, in his office at the Houston Police Department in Houston, Monday May 6, 2013.

Bill Would Curb Access to Photos of Murder Victims

UPDATED: The legislation authored by Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, that would require court approval for most requests to view or copy crime scene photos that show murder victims passed the Senate Monday without debate. Proponents say the measure gives peace of mind to victims' families. But some say the bill is a solution in search of a problem.

Senators John Whitmire, D-Houston, l, and Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, congratulate Michael Morton, r, at the court hearing in Georgetown on April 19, 2013.
Senators John Whitmire, D-Houston, l, and Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, congratulate Michael Morton, r, at the court hearing in Georgetown on April 19, 2013.

House Shows Support for Innocence Commission Bill

UPDATED: The House on Tuesday endrosed a bill that would create a state panel to investigate wrongful convictions. Similar legislation has been defeated in the past, but this time it has drawn supporters many consider unlikely, including Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson.

Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, c, discusses SB 1292 on pre-trial DNA testing March 19, 2013 with Sen. Robert Duncan, l, and Attorney Gen. Greg Abbott.
Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, c, discusses SB 1292 on pre-trial DNA testing March 19, 2013 with Sen. Robert Duncan, l, and Attorney Gen. Greg Abbott.

Senate Committee Passes DNA Testing Bill

Attorney General Greg Abbott is supporting a bill by state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, that would require DNA testing of "all biological evidence" in cases where prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.