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.
In a legislative process where so many issues die quietly in committees and parliamentary actions, making politicians attach their names to their positions can be a powerful thing. The "sanctuary cities" bill tested that theory.
As the Legislature grinds its way through the final three weeks of the regular session, the state's top three leaders are pushing and shoving, figuratively speaking, to the finale and beyond — to the 2018 elections.
Texas legislators — along with everyone watching them — expected to lock horns over transgender Texans and the bathroom bill. But the raw debate over sanctuary cities legislation could be the hallmark of this 85th Legislature.
The Senate doesn't like the House's hit on the Rainy Day Fund. The House doesn't like the Senate's delay of a deposit into the state's highway fund. Neither wants to raise taxes. But all is not yet lost — unless they want to fight about it.
Some Texas lawmakers want to kill the franchise tax that so many businesses hate. So far, so good. But it might leave a hole in the state's pocket when it inevitably comes time to rebalance the state's financing for public schools.
The state of Texas has been on a losing streak when it comes to redistricting and voter ID laws, with federal judges repeatedly finding that the state intentionally discriminated against minorities. Whose legal advice were they following?
If you're in favor, Texas lawmakers will meet with you and put your legislation on the fast track. Others have to wait, sometimes for weeks, for a chance to talk for a few minutes in a committee hearing room in the middle of the night.