News For April, 2010

Bob Daemmrich

The $27 Billion Question

The debate over how much federal health care reform will cost Texas put the state’s health and human services chief on the defensive on Wednesday, as he presented a budget estimate that is 20 times higher than federal projections.

Full Story 
U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison finally ended the will-she-or-won't-she drama, saying she's staying put through the end of her term in 2012. But ever since she first announced she'd resign, she's been shifting positions. We take a look back.

Kay in 2012?!?

She said she would limit her time in the U.S. Senate to two terms and is currently serving a third. She said she would resign her federal office to run for governor and didn't. She said she would quit after the primary and hasn't. So who's to say she won't reconsider in two years and run for a fourth term? And what of all those would-be successors?

Full Story 
U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison finally ended the will-she-or-won't-she drama, saying she's staying put through the end of her term in 2012. But ever since she first announced she'd resign, she's been shifting positions. We take a look back.

The Brief: April 1, 2010

Kay stays, census or bust, "no" to the AG and another battle in the badlands.

Full Story 

Admission Impossible

The wait to get into one of Texas' 10 state mental hospitals — already long — may be about to get longer. Last month, as part of its attempt to comply with Gov. Rick Perry’s request that each state agency reduce its budget by 5 percent, the Department of State Health Services proposed eliminating 50 beds from four of the state's 10 mental hospitals: San Antonio, Rusk, Terrell and North Texas Wichita. The state's mental hospitals are already almost at full capacity, with nearly 2,500 self-admitted patients and allegedly criminal patients awaiting treatment so they can stand trial.

Full Story 

Sun on the Horizon

A small but growing number of state officials are warming to the idea of greater transparency and open access to raw government data, following a budding trend across the country. In the latest example, state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, wrote to numerous Texas agencies, urging them to post "high-value" databases online in open-standard formats.

Full Story 
Morgan Smith

The Runoffs: CD-23

Cut through the routine Republican primary rhetoric about government spending and job creation and a narrative about the new and old guard emerges in the April 13 runoff in Texas' 23rd congressional district.

Full Story 

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Hamilton on Tarleton State's fuss over a play featuring a gay Jesus and how it never got to the stage, E. Smith and a gang of political types with unsolicited advice for Bill White, Stiles on Texans' slothful approach to the census, Aguilar on immigrant detention policy and mentally ill inmates, Grissom on federal immigration reform, Rapoport on an effort to protect the state's prepaid college tuition program, Stiles and E. Smith interview Houston Mayor Annise Parker on NASA and the economy and staying out of state politics, Hu on the final move in U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's long and very public fretting over whether to stay in office, Ramsey on Hutchison's ripple through the political pond, Ramshaw on how federal health care legislation looks to Texas budget-writers, Garcia-Ditta on shrinking capacity at Texas mental hospitals, E. Smith has a conversation with former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, and Hamilton, Ramshaw and M. Smith on primary runoffs in Plano, San Antonio, and Central Texas. The best of our best from March 29 to April 2, 2010.

Full Story 

The Decider

It's like finding out the last season of your favorite TV show was a dream sequence: Kay Bailey Hutchison was never really leaving the U.S. Senate after all.

Full Story 

The Runoffs: HD-14

"The 2011 session is no time to test the learning curve a freshman member," says state Rep. Fred Brown, R-College Station. But former Brazos County Tax Assessor-Collector Gerald "Buddy" Winn thinks new leadership is precisely what this Central Texas House district needs — even if he's "not the shiniest penny in the pile."

Full Story 
Ross Ramsey

The Runoffs: HD-84

The runoff between John Frullo and Mark Griffin shares one important characteristic with the adjacent race in HD-83: It pits inside-the-tent Lubbock Republicans against a coalition of social and libertarian conservatives who are distinctly unhappy with government in Washington and Texas. In that frame, Frullo's the insurgent and Griffin represents the establishment.

Full Story 

The Runoffs: HD-76

Naomi Gonzalez calls state Rep. Norma Chavez, D-El Paso, a GOP darling, a drinker and a public embarrassment. Chavez calls Gonzalez homosexual, naive and a Republican. The bashing and brawling in this heavily Democratic district is truly something to behold — and there's still more than a week until runoff day.

Full Story 
Ross Ramsey

The Runoffs: HD-83

Delwin Jones, who was first elected to the Texas House in 1964 after two unsuccessful attempts, says he has handed out 765,000 promotional emery boards since his start in politics. His tenure and those files weren't enough to win a bruising primary outright last month, though, and the veteran legislator now finds himself in a runoff against Tea Party organizer Charles Perry, who's capitalizing on voter anger at incumbents.

Full Story 

The Brief: April 5, 2010

The April runoff is the plain, forgotten cousin of the March primary. Even so, today — the start of early voting — marks the beginning of the end for the April election cycle. That means it’s time to recap.

Full Story 

2010: Chavez: No to Gay Marriage. Yes to Civil Unions?

State Rep. Norma Chavez, D-El Paso, says the reason her opponent Naomi Gonzalez's sexual orientation is important as a political issue is because it could affect her vote on legislation involving gay marriage. Texas legislators and voters statewide already prohibited gay marriage in this state with a constitutional amendment in 2005. So, the story got me wondering whether Chavez voted against that measure.

Full Story