Politics

TribBlog: A Redistricting Compromise?

Republican and Democratic members of the Texas congressional delegation are discussing a possible compromise designed to cool off the overheated politics of congressional redistricting by dividing the expected spoils once U.S. Census figures are in and the reapportionment process begins in 2011, two members of the delegation say.

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A Taxing Session?

Lawmakers will find themselves in a multibillion-dollar ditch when they return to Austin in January 2011. Constitutionally, they can't write a deficit budget, so they're expected to use not just cuts but revenue raisers to keep the books in balance. Ben Philpott, who covers politics and public policy for KUT News and the Tribune, filed this report.

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 Matt Stiles

Redistricting Reality

In 2011, political mapmakers will take the latest census numbers (Texas is expected to have a population of more than 25 million) and use them to draw new congressional and legislative districts. The last time this was done, in 2003, Republican mappers took control of the U.S. House by peeling away seats from the Democrats. This time, Texas is poised to add up to four seats to its congressional delegation — and early numbers indicate bad news ahead for West Texas and other areas that haven't kept up with the state's phenomenal growth.

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 Jacob Villanueva

The Price of Reform

Behind the fiery health care rhetoric is a measure expected to dramatically expand Texas’ Medicaid program, adding up to 1 million adults to the state’s insurance roll — but at a steep cost. Texas will have to come up with hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue to foot its share of the bill.

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The First Corporate Ad

The first political ads bought by a corporation in Texas appeared in East Texas newspapers just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively ended the state's ban on that kind of spending. They challenged the Republican bona fides of state Rep. Chuck Hopson of Jacksonville, a Democrat who switched parties in November and ran in a three-way GOP primary.

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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Grissom on the 1.2 million Texans who've lost their licenses under the Driver Responsibility Act and the impenetrable black box that is the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Ramshaw and Kraft on nurses with substance abuse problems and rehabilitation that can get them back to work, M. Smith finds it's not easy being Rick Green, Stiles on counting Texans (and everybody else), Rapoport on the State Board of Education's war with itself and the runoff in SBOE District 10, Thevenot's revealing interview with a big-city superintendent on closing bad schools, Aguilar on the tensions over water on the Texas-Mexico border, Hamilton on the new Coffee Party, Hu on Kesha Rogers and why her party doesn't want her, Philpott on the runoff in HD-47, Ramsey on Bill White and the politics of taxes, and E. Smith's conversation with Game Change authors Mark Halperin and John Heleimann: The best of our best from March 15 to 19.

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The Elefante in the Room

Railroad Commission Chairman Victor Carrillo, a seven-year incumbent with a background in the industry he regulates, got trounced in the GOP primary on Tuesday by an unknown, David Porter, who spent little money on the race. He's not the only one who thinks his Hispanic surname cost him his job.

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Carrillo: Hispanic Surname Caused Election Loss

"Early polling showed that the typical GOP primary voter has very little info about the position of Railroad Commissioner, what we do, or who my opponent or I were. Given the choice between “Porter” and “Carrillo” — unfortunately, the Hispanic-surname was a serious setback from which I could never recover."

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 Marjorie Cotera

The Polling Center: Voter Empathy

Whether he crosses the 50% threshold or is forced into a run-off when the polls close next Tuesday, the results of the last UT/Texas Tribune Poll suggest that Rick Perry's synchronous orbit over a big chunk of the Republican primary electorate has helped him prove many observers — not to mention KBH boosters and donors — very wrong.

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