Wed April 1, 2015 1:08 pm By R.G. Ratcliffe

Over the past week, two newspapers produced stories on how the border surge has resulted in fewer tickets and fewer criminal investigations in the rest of the state by the Texas Department of Public Safety. And at least one legislator has questioned the agency’s border security statistics because DPS lumps its work in with that of other state and federal law enforcement agencies. Now DPS has a clear victory on its home front:

WESLACO, TEXAS – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) seized more than two tons of marijuana – with an estimated value of more than $24 million – after a Texas Highway Patrol trooper pulled over a tractor trailer in Starr County on Monday morning.


Wed April 1, 2015 9:28 am By R.G. Ratcliffe

Dr. Stuart Spitzer, a state representative, wants Texans to abstain from sex out of wedlock, but statistics show teens in his district have their cars a-rockin’ on Saturday nights—and probably some other nights, too.

“My goal is for everyone to be abstinent until they are married,” Spitzer told the House during a state budget debate last night.

If that’s Spitzer’s goal, in his district, he’s a long way from it.

Read More
Wed April 1, 2015 8:44 am By Erica Grieder

At roughly six am this morning, after about 18 hours of debate on more than 300 amendments, the House voted on HB1, which the general appropriations bill for the 2016-17 biennium. Official passage, on third reading, will have to wait until this afternoon, but the preliminary vote makes a dispositive statement: 141 in favor versus 5 against.

Read More
Tue March 31, 2015 1:02 pm By R.G. Ratcliffe

Some of the oddest personality and political dynamics that have filled the Capitol’s melting pot in years are creating simmering frustrations and anxieties that started moving toward an angry boil as the House debated a $209.8 state budget proposal today.

Budget debates always are contentious because they involve bringing home the bacon, stealing someone else’s bacon or a flat-out refusal to slaughter the hog. Budget fights also are heated because the majority of the amendments – and there are more than 350 this year – have less to do with good governance than they do with creating record votes that the opposition can use in the next election.

This debate, however, also is setting the tone for a coming blow-up, not only in the House but also in the Senate, where a near meltdown was narrowly averted last week. There are three main factions this year: frustrated tea party Republicans, conservative Republicans and frustrated Democrats.

Read More
Tue March 31, 2015 7:57 am By R.G. Ratcliffe

Evidence just keeps building that Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw is engaging in resume padding in hopes the Legislature will approve his request for 500 additional personnel to secure the Texas border with Mexico – well, that portion of the border in Hidalgo and Starr counties.

Read More