I have been involved in nineteen of the twenty previous articles, and I cannot recall a more difficult year when it came to selecting the members on both lists.
Senate Finance Chairman Steve Ogden stands like Casey at the Bat, fully wanting to score. And nothing but a base hit, or a walk, perhaps, will get him to the floor. As this week ended with the scoreboard showing naught, Ogden admitted he lacked the stroke to bring his budget
If you think of the two-year budget passed by the Texas House as a bankruptcy filing for the State of Texas, then the budget approved by the Senate Finance Committee yesterday is a reorganization plan that requires a substantial liquidation of assets. Finance Chairman Steve Ogden (R-Bryan) and other senators
From Bloomberg: Texas’s reserve fund may climb to 28 percent more than officially forecast by 2013 as energy prices rally, a gain that might help the second-most populous state avoid some spending cuts, a key senator said. The fund, fed by energy taxes and forecast by the state comptroller
I wonder if this is going to be a repeat of the 1980 race, when Brazos County had a powerful state senator who was defeated by an upstart. Bill Moore, known as “The Bull of the Brazos,” was up for reelection that year. Moore was one of the most powerful
A couple of questions: 1. Did Ogden get pressure from Brazos County leaders to run? There were indications that the folks in Bryan were none too happy at the prospect that the district would be represented by someone from Williamson County. Brazos County would be unlikely to get the seat
An amazing development. Gattis has spoken openly of his desire to be president of the United States some day. Now he is out of politics, not even running for reelection to the House. It's a double whammy, a talented member gone and the dreadful Milton Rister as a possible successor.
So, what’s he really running for and how can we tell? The best clue may be Steve Ogden’s decision not to seek reelection. Ogden has been chair of Senate Finance. The likelihood is that under a different lieutenant governor, he would not be chairman again. And there’s not much reason
Senate Republicans continue to have conversations about what to do in the event that (a) Dewhurst resigns his office to run for the Senate, or (b) opts to run for lieutenant governor again. The GOP caucus has three factions. The lines are not set in stone, and, depending on the
At today’s post-Senate session press avail, Sen. Steve Ogden says the final budget document approved by conferees shapes public policy in several big ways, including: 1. “A dramatic shift in policy in how we serve mentally retarded Texans” represented by a $500 million increase in total funds for community services
I declared on a recent Friday podcast that Don McLeroy’s confirmation as chairman of the State Board of Education was officially dead this session, but this afternoon Senate Nominations sent the controversial Bryan dentist’s confirmation to the Senate floor for a vote. So, to quote Billy Crystal’s character in “The
Sen. Steve Ogden just announced that his rider banning use of state funds for embryonic stem cell research will not appear in the new state budget. “We really couldn’t come to a consensus” so the bill will be silent on the stem cell issue, Ogden announced in this morning’s conference
This could be the issue that ends the peace and tranquility that has characterized the first three months of the Straus speakership. The Ogden rider is not in the House bill, but it is likely that the conservatives will offer the identical language as a floor amendment to the House
Sen. John Carona tells us he believes he’s resolved constitutional questions about his local option highway funding bill and will win final Senate passage on Tuesday — though he acknowledges he expects Gov. Rick Perry to “do everything he can to derail the bill” as it moves through the House.
Opening the floor debate on the budget bill, Finance chair Steve Ogden defended his use of federal stimulus funds and not dipping into the state’s Rainy Day Fund, noting that the $182.25 billion spending plan is seven percent higher than last biennium. “That is attributable to the federal stimulus funding,”
Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson today told the Senate Finance Committee that the management of the state’s Permanent School Fund is “dysfunctional” because responsibility is fractured among three entities: his office, the Texas Education Agency and the State Board of Education. “It’s not anyone’s fault. It’s just evolved that way,” Patterson
My colleague Patricia Kilday Hart posted an item yesterday about Democratic reaction to the Ogden rider prohibiting state funds from being used to support embryonic stem cell research. Hart quoted Judith Zaffirini as saying, “[T]here are some members so upset there has been discussion of blocking the appropriations bill if
Steve Ogden may have lost support of Senate Democrats for SB 1 with his surprise rider prohibiting state funds to be used in stem cell research, or as the rider states: "in conjunction with or to support research that involves the destruction of a human embryo." The rider was added
As the Texas Senate began its debate this afternoon on Florence Shapiro’s bill to limit the Top Ten percent rule for university admissions, Royce West threw out some interesting numbers that call into question UT’s argument that it faces a “crisis” regarding its freshman class. UT has argued that its
That’s where Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst now finds himself regarding tuition de-regulation bills, most of which have not been referred to any committee. The two main proposals are SB 1443 by Sen. Judith Zaffirini and SB 105 by Sen. Juan Hinojosa. Although Zaffirini was quoted in a newspaper story promising
For the no-good-deed-goes-unpunished file: Chairman Steve Ogden at this morning’s Senate Finance meeting stirred up a hornet’s nest when he offered a rider of $2 million contingent upon passage of the Voter ID bill. Democrats were quick to point out that the bill carried a fiscal note of zero– in
The state’s Republican leadership appears to be warming up to the $17 billion in federal stimulus money, Gov. Rick Perry’s voluble aversion notwithstanding. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who breakfasted today with Perry and House Speaker Joe Straus, gave some insight about the leadership’s thinking to reporters in
Sen. John Carona’s SJR 8, which allows the gas tax to be indexed to the rate of inflation, is traveling in the fast lane (is there such a thing as too many traffic metaphors?) since Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst referred it to Carona’s own Transportation Committee, instead of the not-so-friendly
A renowned medical facilities consultant has recommended to the UT Board of Regents that UTMB’s inpatient hospital in Galveston—which was hit hard by Hurricane Ike— be mostly relocated to League City where it would be both easier to rebuild and more financially viable. Under this proposal, one of three options
For many years after I first started working in the Capitol, the major pension funds and endowments were limited to conservative investments such as stocks and bonds and government instruments. Then Wall Street began going crazy and the investment managers asked the Legislature for the authority to play in real
Dallas billionaire Robert Rowling, chairman of the UTIMCO board, today abruptly resigned while under heavy fire from members of the Senate Finance Committee about $2.3 million in bonuses paid to fund managers for the University of Texas System and Texas A&M System’s endowment, which has declined 27 percent this year.
David Dewhurst’s committee assignments late Friday spotlighted the challenge this session presents for Florence Shapiro, whose interest in running for the U.S. Senate places her in perilous territory vis-a-vis the Texas Senate’s presiding officer, who likewise is considering a relocation to Washington. While Dewhurst’s committee assignments shifted authority from Shapiro
In an interview with the Dallas Morning News this week, Gov. Rick Perry advocated an end to all diversions of gas tax money from the Highway Fund, which is used primarily to finance road construction. But two key senators believe the current budget estimates make that highly unlikely
Burka and Eileen preview the legislative sunset: How does an agency “misplace” $1 billion? Or lose one-third of its criminal files? Or let the governor’s mansion get torched? Or screw Texas homeowners? Don’t get mad, get even. Honorably mentioned: Steve Ogden, Lois Kolkhorst, John Carona, and Wayne Smith. Not so