Tribpedia: Harold Dutton Jr

State Rep. Dutton renews uphill fight to abolish the death penalty in Texas

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State Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, is shown in the Speaker's Committee Room on May 17, 2013.
State Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, is shown in the Speaker's Committee Room on May 17, 2013.

Every legislative session since 2003, state Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, has filed at least one bill to end capital punishment in Texas. It’s often been a lonely quest.

Read the full story at Texas Standard.

Read Texas Tribune coverage of the death penalty in Texas:

  • The U.S. Supreme Court said it would review the legal complexities in a Texas death penalty case, where a man killed a 5-year-old and her grandmother.
  • Bobby Moore: The U.S. Supreme Court appeared fairly split along party lines in a Texas death penalty case that focuses on how to define intellectual disability among death row inmates.
Jean Gearhart gives a tearful statement with her husband Troy Gearhart to the panel about her special needs child. U.S. Department of Education officials held a meeting in Edinburg on their tour of Texas to hear community members' experiences with special education.
Jean Gearhart gives a tearful statement with her husband Troy Gearhart to the panel about her special needs child. U.S. Department of Education officials held a meeting in Edinburg on their tour of Texas to hear community members' experiences with special education.

Expecting spike in special ed students, advocates push for better services

Texas is expected to increase the number of public school students receiving special education services, and disability rights advocates are aiming to improve the overall quality of those services.

Empty Texas House seat with paperwork, May 1, 2015.
Empty Texas House seat with paperwork, May 1, 2015.

The Brief: May 26, 2015

The House faces a major deadline today; it's the last day to take up contested Senate bills and, as such, the session promises to last until the clock strikes midnight. It doesn't help that a major backlog of controversial legislation awaits House members.

Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, speaks his concerns about law enforcement agencies working together on the border surge during a discussion at the Legislative Budget Board meeting on Dec. 1, 2014.
Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, speaks his concerns about law enforcement agencies working together on the border surge during a discussion at the Legislative Budget Board meeting on Dec. 1, 2014.

The Brief: April 29, 2015

Gone are accusations of gamesmanship as lawmakers get to work finding common ground on the session's border security bill.

State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, carries literature laying out House Bill 1 as he prepares to discuss the appropriations bill on the House floor March 31, 2015.
State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, carries literature laying out House Bill 1 as he prepares to discuss the appropriations bill on the House floor March 31, 2015.

The Brief: April 1, 2015

It took more than 17 hours, but the House gave preliminary OK to a budget. Anticipated fights over vouchers and in-state tuition for undocumented students failed to materialize.

A patient at Sagebrook Health Center, a nursing facility in Cedar Park, kneads putty to build fine-motor coordination and dexterity. Officials from Sagebrook and other facilities have raised concerns about a proposed rule that would have the state close nursing homes found to have the highest-level violations of federal quality standards on three separate days over 24 months.
A patient at Sagebrook Health Center, a nursing facility in Cedar Park, kneads putty to build fine-motor coordination and dexterity. Officials from Sagebrook and other facilities have raised concerns about a proposed rule that would have the state close nursing homes found to have the highest-level violations of federal quality standards on three separate days over 24 months.

"Three-Strikes" Proposal Spurring Debate over Nursing Home Regulation

Legislators in 2015 are poised to take up a proposal that would have the state close nursing homes that rack up high-level federal violations on three separate days over a two-year period. 

Former Rep. Bill Siebert, R-San Antonio, had been in office for six years when news reports revealed that he had lobbied the San Antonio City Council for a private firm without having registered as a lobbyist. Siebert blamed the oversight on a miscommunication between his office and City Hall. But the issue dominated his 2000 re-election bid, which he lost.
Former Rep. Bill Siebert, R-San Antonio, had been in office for six years when news reports revealed that he had lobbied the San Antonio City Council for a private firm without having registered as a lobbyist. Siebert blamed the oversight on a miscommunication between his office and City Hall. But the issue dominated his 2000 re-election bid, which he lost.

Despite Reforms, Elected Officials Can Still Lobby

While members of the Texas Legislature can no longer act as lobbyists before state agencies, plenty of lawmakers still manage to lobby local governments. Others find work that critics would classify as lobbying by another name.

Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott answers questions at TASA midwinter conference in Austin, Texas February 1st, 2011
Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott answers questions at TASA midwinter conference in Austin, Texas February 1st, 2011

A Battered Texas Education Agency Faces Competing Demands

Even as it is coping with deep reductions to its own budget, the Texas Education Agency faces criticism from school districts and lawmakers, although not necessarily for the same reasons — vivid evidence of the pressure on the TEA.