is executive editor and co-founder of The Texas Tribune, where he writes regular columns on politics, government and public policy. Before joining the Tribune, Ross was editor and co-owner of Texas Weekly. He did a 28-month stint in government as associate deputy comptroller for policy and director of communications with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Before that, he reported for the Houston Chronicle from its Austin bureau and for the Dallas Times Herald, first on the business desk in Dallas and later as its Austin bureau chief, and worked as a Dallas-based freelance business writer, writing for regional and national magazines and newspapers. Ross got his start in journalism in broadcasting, covering news for radio stations in Denton and Dallas.
Things almost never come out of the Texas Legislature — if they come out at all — in the same shape they went in. Principles give way to exceptions and compromise, and the final product can differ greatly from the original idea.
If you got the states together to take power away from the federal government, as Greg Abbott hopes to do, and if you increased the state's powers over laws passed by cities and counties and local voters, the most powerful office in the state capital would really be something.
The denizens of the Texas Capitol are already talking about the possibility of a special session if lawmakers haven't finished the budget and other bills by Memorial Day. They might be worried, but you shouldn't be.
The Texas Senate is proposing a new accounting trick to balance its 2018-19 budget. The contrivance would work, mathematically speaking, but it raises constitutional questions and faces derision from the House.
Gov. Greg Abbott has hit tough sledding with his call for more spending on early education in Texas. Lawmakers aren't warm to the idea, to say the least, and the governor hasn't assembled an army of supporters to back up his position.
At about the same time this week, one set of Texas lawmakers was working on ways to limit the growth of property taxes that fund local governments while another was considering legislation that could cost local governments a lot of money.
The federal judges who said the state's congressional maps are invalid last week are in position to take another step — to require Texas to get federal permission whenever it wants to change election and voting laws.
The Texas Legislature is going to be busy this week with issues that ordinarily belong to other governments, as it considers the wisdom of local ordinances on restrooms, ride-hailing, short-term rentals, sanctuary cities and plastic bags.
The leadership battles in the Texas Legislature are often attributed to personalities — or to traditional House-Senate rivalries. But there's another factor: The Republicans in power are from different factions of their party.
Local governments and school districts battling the Texas Legislature over property taxes have a couple of things in common: They want local control over taxes and a more reliable partner in the state government.