Tribpedia: Richard Peña Raymond

Gov. Rick Perry delivering his State of the State address on Feb. 8, 2011
Gov. Rick Perry delivering his State of the State address on Feb. 8, 2011

Where Are Perry's Emergency Items?

With fewer than five weeks left in the regular session, none of Gov. Rick Perry's emergency items — voter ID, sanctuary cities, sonograms for women getting abortions, a federal balanced budget amendment, and eminent domain protection — have made it to his desk. 

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Galbraith on why the Lege meets only every two years, Hu picks the year's best political moments on video, Ramsey on the personalities who mattered in 2010, Stiles on lobbyists with conflicts of interest and what the census means for redistricting, yours truly on the new Cameron Todd Willingham documentary, Grissom on cockfighting and Trillin on Sissy Farenthold: The best of our best from Dec. 23 to 27, 2010.

Sell It Like It Is

Republican leaders in the Texas Legislature are insisting that it will be a no-new-taxes session. In response, one Democratic lawmaker is pushing to expand the definition of the word "taxes" to include fees. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports.
SLAPP:  "strategic lawsuit against public participation."
SLAPP: "strategic lawsuit against public participation."

Sued Into Silence

Plaintiffs in so-called strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPPs, use the court system to bury opponents in a crush of legal fees and paperwork of Bleak House proportions. They're not concerned about winning damages. They usually don’t expect to be successful, and the targets often don’t have the money to adequately defend themselves. Yet in otherwise tort-reform-happy Texas, there is no prohibition on filing this particular form of meritless suit — yet.

Odor in the Court

Even if 84 percent of Americans believe judges should not hear cases from major campaign contributors, the big Texas law firms that have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to them over the last ten years see nothing wrong with business as usual.