Brian D. Sweany's Profile Photo

Brian D. Sweany has been the editor in chief of Texas Monthly since July 2014. A native Texan who was born on Texas Independence Day, he began his career in journalism as an intern at the magazine in 1996, and in the intervening years, he held nearly every possible job in the editorial department. Before being promoted to his current post, he was a senior executive editor in charge of Texas Monthly's political coverage. Sweany has also worked as an assistant professor in the journalism department at Ithaca College, in New York, and as a senior editor at D Magazine, in Dallas. He is active in a number of civic and volunteer organizations, serving on the boards of the Texas Book Festival, the Texas Cultural Trust, and the Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas, in Denton. He lives in Austin with his wife, two children, and an ever-growing manuscript for The Kingdom of the Saddle, a biography of Charles Goodnight to be published by Penguin.

Politics & Policy |
May 5, 2013

What Is Going on With Calendars?

How could Chairman Todd Hunter allow HB 1076, by Steve Toth — the “nullification” bill — to get on the general state calendar? Calendars is not a charity booth for clueless tea party members. It’s serious business. This is the worst breach of the way Calendars is supposed

Politics & Policy |
April 30, 2013

Abbott and Domestic Partner Benefits

Senator Dan Patrick and Attorney General Greg Abbott have teamed up to try to prohibit Texas employers from providing domestic partnership benefits to their workers. Patrick got the ball rolling when he discovered that Pflugerville ISD offered domestic partnership benefits to employees. Abbott made his ruling through an

Politics & Policy |
April 30, 2013

How the Water Bill Dried Up

It was a wild night in the House yesterday as Democrats and Republicans battled over their respective priorities: water, for Republicans and education, for Democrats. The leadership could not get the votes for taking money out of the Rainy Day Fund for water—even though Perry came out for doing

Politics & Policy |
April 29, 2013

Water, Water, Everywhere?

Today is the pivotal moment of the session—a vote on HB 11, the funding bill for the water plan. The vote was preceded this afternoon by a meeting of the House Republican caucus, at which Rick Perry was in attendance. Afterward, he told reporters that the prudent

Politics & Policy |
April 26, 2013

The Opening of the Bush Center

The opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center went smoothly, complete with blue skies and warm feelings. There were a few protestors with signs on the SMU campus, but they were stationed a long distance from the area occupied by the presidents–and out of their sight. The best description

Politics & Policy |
April 24, 2013

Perry’s Response to West

Gov. Rick Perry said Monday that spending more state money on inspections would not have prevented the deadly explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. plant that was last investigated by Texas environmental regulators in 2006. Excuse me for asking, but … how would Perry know? You

Politics & Policy |
April 22, 2013

The House Calendars

Has anyone else noticed how innocuous the daily House calendars have been? General State is short and filled with bills of little consequence; debate proceeds at a snail’s pace, maybe six bills covered in a day. Major State is primarily for Sunset bills.I do not believe this is happening by

Politics & Policy |
April 19, 2013

Perry’s Tax Cut

At a press conference on Monday, Governor Perry called for $1.6 billion in business tax cuts–including 5 percent off the margins tax–in an attempt to make good on his promise for “tax relief” this session. What does this prove? That Perry never seems to run out of bad ideas.In fact,

Politics & Policy |
April 15, 2013

An Easy Ethics Fix

I have to admire the Tribune‘s Ross Ramsey. If you have to adopt a cause, you might as well make it a hopeless one. In Ramsey’s case, it’s ethics reform. I’m going to make a small suggestion that might spur the Ethics Commission to action. Two high-profile cases

Politics & Policy |
April 12, 2013

Road to Somewhere?

At last, Rick Perry has decided to back more spending on transportation. His plan, which  was developed by a group of trade associations (Realtors, Texas Association of Business, Texas Oil and Gas Association, and Texas Motor Transport Association) and announced today at a meeting of the Texas Lyceum, calls for

Politics & Policy |
April 12, 2013

Perry: Due for a Comeback?

Wayne Slater has a piece in the Morning News today that touts Rick Perry’s viability for a political comeback. His thesis is that Americans love a good comeback story, and he cites the examples of former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford and former New York congressman Anthony Weiner.

Politics & Policy |
April 11, 2013

Return of Super-PAC

The Hill reported on April 9 that the anti-incumbent super-PAC Campaign for Primary Accountability is back, and it will once again target long-serving lawmakers. Why should this concern us in Texas? It so happens that one of the targets of is Lamar Smith, of San Antonio.I trust that

Politics & Policy |
April 10, 2013

The Difficult Question on Vouchers

The main bill up for discussion was Dan Patrick’s SB 23, which would establish the Texas Equal Opportunity Scholarship Program. It would allow certain organizations to award scholarships to pay educational expenses for eligible students in public elementary or secondary schools to attend private or parochial schools. To

Politics & Policy |
April 10, 2013

Being Tested on Testing

UPDATE: This post has been corrected to accurately reflect the graduation requirements under HB 5.Yesterday I wrote about the Washington Post’s editorial on the changing graduation requirements that are working their way through the Legislature. I received a call yesterday from Tom Luce, who had read my post

Politics & Policy |
March 29, 2013

Abbott’s Redistricting Play

Attorney general Greg Abbott’s push to reopen the redistricting battle that was waged in 2011 and wound up in the federal courts threatens to blow up the session. The District Court of the District of Columbia has already ruled that Republican lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minority voters while

Burka Blog |
March 28, 2013

The House That Straus Built

AP Photo | Eric GayJoe Straus said at the beginning of the session that he was going to put the House to work on the state’s biggest problems, and he is making good on his vow. On Tuesday the House passed HB 5, a major public education bill that

Politics & Policy |
March 25, 2013

Perry 2016

We’ve been through this before, so permit me to ask the question: Can anyone make the case that Rick Perry has a realistic shot at the Republican nomination for president? Okay, the National Journal did (sort of), but I can’t. The race for the 2016 nomination will take

Politics & Policy |
March 22, 2013

Am I Blue? (Part Two)

In the current issue of Texas Monthly, I wrote about the prospects of Battleground Texas in a column titled “Am I Blue?” Writing in the National Journal, Ronald Brownstein speculates that one politician has the power to turn Texas Blue. That politician is … Rick Perry.Brownstein

Politics & Policy |
March 19, 2013

Sauce for the Gander

Today was the long-awaited meeting of the Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance. This was strictly an organizational meeting, and no members of the UT Board of Regents were present. But it was another front in the increasingly tense battle between the UT System Board of Regents and UT

Politics & Policy |
March 6, 2013

How Should History Be Taught at A&M and UT?

In a story with the headline “Legislators Seek to Tweak College History Requirement,” Ralph K.M. Haurwitz writes in today’s Austin American-Statesman: Some history courses offered at the University of Texas, Texas A&M University and other public institutions of higher learning in the state would no longer count toward core

The Culture |
February 6, 2013

What Is a Boy Scout?

The board of the Boy Scouts of America was supposed to decide today whether to change its policy of excluding gay members. I hoped they would do the right thing. Instead they kicked the can down the road. (UPDATED)

Austin |
January 23, 2013

A Capital Time

Midland's Tom Craddick shares a few memories from his forty-plus years in the Legislature.

Politics & Policy |
January 21, 2013

The Paul Sadler Interview

As the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate prepares for his final debate against Ted Cruz, he discusses why he thinks he can win, the state of the Democratic party, and what the word "troll" really means.

Politics & Policy |
January 21, 2013

The Kay Place

Kay Bailey Hutchison, the state’s senior senator and the first woman from Texas to hold that office, opens up about the changes in her party, why she decided to retire, and the governor’s race that got away. 

Travel & Outdoors |
January 21, 2013

The Cattle Trail Drive

ROUTE: Fort Belknap to Red Bluff 
ReservoirDISTANCE: 505 milesNUMBER OF COUNTIES: 15WHAT TO READ: J. Evetts Haley’s Charles Goodnight: Cowman and PlainsmanIn the rolling country northwest of the Palo Pinto Mountains, nestled along FM 61, stand the barracks of Fort Belknap. It was from this outpost, in 1860, that a

News & Politics |
January 21, 2013

Hall of Fame

Hugo Berlanga D–Corpus ChristiTenure: Representative from 1977 to 1999Number of times on the Best list: 3I was the first Hispanic speaker pro tempore in the history of the House. I served under Gib Lewis, and he later told me that the reason he selected me is that he needed someone who