Wednesday was Tax Day, which brought 100-plus Tea Party activists to the Capitol to celebrate their contribution to the political discourse over the past six years.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick extolled them for introducing a "third voice" as an alternative to the major political parties, while another influential conservative advocate, Michael Quinn Sullivan of Empower Texans, pointed to the current debate on taxes as illustrating the influence of the Tea Party.
"Today this chamber and this chamber are in a fight over what taxes to cut and who can do the biggest tax cut," Sullivan said. "You are winning."
The Texas Association of Business continues pushing Congress on reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank.
In a letter to the Texas congressional delegation and congressional leadership, the business advocacy group said the bank is crucial for the competitive standing of Texas businesses.
The letter was signed by 517 companies and business groups and reads in part:
“The economic prosperity of Texas will be significantly affected if the Ex-Im Bank is not reauthorized.
“We are confident that you and your colleagues in the Texas Congressional Delegation understand the importance of the Ex-Im Bank and recognize this opportunity to reform and strengthen this important resource for America’s exporters.”
If no action is taken, the bank ceases to exist at the end of June. TAB and its allies are up against a bloc of congressional conservatives who would like to see the plug pulled on the bank.
One of the bank's chief critics is House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas. His committee brought Ex-Im Bank President Fred Hochberg in for a hearing on Wednesday where, according to The Hill, he was grilled.
Hochberg was called out, for example, for his efforts to rally support for reauthorization of the bank.
“Perhaps, maybe a little bit more time managing the store and a little less time with the photo-ops lobbying for your reauthorization may lead to fewer indictments,” Hensarling said.
The Ethics Commission said Thursday that it is releasing new campaign finance filing software at the end of the month. After April 28, all candidates, officeholders and political committees will use the new software in filing reports with the commission.
The old system will go offline on Wednesday.
In a statement, the commission said the new system is intended to make the filing process “easier and more intuitive.” The agency also said it will host a series of seminars to provide training on the new system.
Lawmakers approved the $3.5 million software upgrade last session.
State Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, has tried for four sessions now to pass legislation that would allow same-sex partners to both be listed as adoptive parents on a child's birth certificate.
Because of the way the law is written now, just one parent can be listed.
To highlight the issue, Anchia made a personal privilege speech on the House floor.
“Year after year, these bills languish, because of outside pressure by groups that blind you, and tell you that the bill does something that it doesn’t do,” Anchia said. “If this Legislature is about families and keeping kin together, then we really should do better.”
Anchia has an ally as well — House State Affairs Chairman Byron Cook, R-Corsicana.
Cook told the House after Anchia's speech, “I just want everybody to know I support what we’re trying to do for these kids."