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jim dunnam

Dunnam: Texas will get the $600 million–but not yet

Apr 11, 2009 By Paul Burka

Concerning my post of Friday (Stimulus Funds: more to come?), in which I wrote that Texas will qualify for $600 million in additional stimulus funding if the unemployment rate reached 6/8% for three consecutive months, the chairman of the House select committee on the stimulus sent me an e-mail with…

The Voter I.D. Hearing: Dunnam makes a point

Apr 7, 2009 By Paul Burka

You can love Dunnam or you can hate him, and I’ve done both, at times, but I’ll say this about him: He doesn’t miss much. He had some Voter I.D. proposals to present to the Elections committee today, and when the hearing started, Todd Smith spoke generally to the audience…

Perry to Unemployed: Drop Dead

Mar 16, 2009 By Paul Burka

Aside from responding to hurricanes, I cannot remember the last time Rick Perry did something that resembled leadership. It's just not in him. The rejection of the stimulus package for unemployment compensation was all about political posturing: "I am here today...to stand with Texas employers and the millions of Texans they employ in resisting further government intrusion into their business by opposing the federal government’s push to expand our state’s unemployment insurance program." The math in favor of accepting the money was so overwhelming, and the need is so obvious, that Perry could not make a rational case for rejecting it, except to resort to attacking the federal government. Well, why should anyone be surprised? So many years, so little to show for them. The rules do require an expansion of the unemployment insurance program in order for the state to receive the entire $555 million that is available. The Legislature must change state law to do three things: (1) Calculate the base period for unemployment by including the latest completed quarter. The estimated cost is around $212 million over five years (as determined by the Workforce commission). (2) Allow persons to qualify for unemployment benefits if they voluntarily left their jobs due to spousal violence, disability in their immediate family, or spousal relocation. The estimated cost is $23 million over five years. (3) Make part-time workers eligible for unemployment benefits. This would cost $146 million over five years. (Alternatively, the state could change its job training provisions.)

Dunnam bill would abolish Texas Transportation Commission

Mar 9, 2009 By Paul Burka

This will not come as news to anyone who has kept up with transportation issues in the stimulus package: Dunnam loveth not TxDOT. On Friday he filed H.B. 2701, which would abolish the Transportation Commission and replace it with an elected commissioner. The legislation provides that in the event the…

TxDOT under fire

Mar 5, 2009 By Paul Burka

Yesterday (Wednesday) was a tough day for TxDOT. After the usual routine of resolutions congratulating this and that, and welcoming these and those, the House session ended with a resolution aimed squarely at the transportation agency. Dunnam, Coleman, and other lawmakers are unhappy that TxDOT rushed to decide how to…

Shopaholic, the sequel

Feb 18, 2009 By Patricia Kilday Hart

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 remarks…

The rules debate: The way it’s supposed to be

Jan 30, 2009 By Paul Burka

It was an amazing thing to be in the House for Wednesday’s rules debate. It was as if someone had taken a giant vaccuum cleaner and sucked all the tension out of the air. The House went about the business of adopting its rules without dramatics. Speakers come and speakers…

Dunnam: The Democrats’ view

Jan 15, 2009 By Paul Burka

I received the following e-mail from Democratic operative Glenn Smith as a response to my post about Jim Dunnam’s statement yesterday. I will comment at the conclusion of Glenn’s remarks. Paul, as much respect as I have for you, as much as I value your respect (I think I have…

Dunnam’s empty threat

Jan 15, 2009 By Paul Burka

Sometimes the Democratic leader can be really smart, as when he pinned down Tom Craddick with parliamentary inquiries over the past three sessions, and sometimes he can be way off base. Yesterday he was way off base when he intervened in the Senate dispute over the voter I.D. bill. He…

Did the Democrats make a mistake? UPDATE

Jan 8, 2009 By Paul Burka

Note to readers: This original post (scroll down below the asterisks) noting the ironies for both parties surrounding the presumed election of Straus as speaker, has kicked up a bit of a furor. I unwittingly blundered into a fierce debate among Democrats. Party people such as Matt Angle think that…