jim keffer

Times v. Sullivan

Apr 4, 2012 By Paul Burka

Maybe the times are a-changin’ in the Texas House if legislators are willing to challenge Michael Quinn Sullivan. Win or lose, the ethics complaints lodged against Sullivan by two committee chairs, Vicki Truitt and Jim Keffer, are a shot across the bow and an indication that Sullivan’s detractors are not…

The Best & Worst Legislators explained

Jun 16, 2011 By Paul Burka

The 20th edition of the “Best & Worst Legislators” story is complete. Yesterday we posted, on Twitter and on this blog, the names of the ten Best, the ten Worst, the Bull of the Brazos, and the Rookie of the Year. Today the write-ups for all of these 22 members are available online. The full story, including honorable and dishonorable mentions, furniture, and the very special features that mark the 20th edition of the story will be available in the magazine, which will begin reaching subscribers this weekend, and on our website next week. 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. This was a session without heroes. All the usual jokes about naming 5 Bests and 15 Worsts were on point, for a change. The budget dominated everything, with the result that there were few major bills. I count three: Truitt’s effort to regulate payday loans; Ritter’s attempt to get funding for the state water plan (one of several occasions on which Perry could have exercised leadership for the state’s future but did not); and Keffer’s bill regulating hydraulic fracturing in shale formations. The rest was noise. Particularly cacophonous was the governor’s “emergency” agenda, which consisted of nothing but red meat for Republicans. Republicans got to vote on abortion, immigration, voter fraud, tort reform, and, shades of the fifties, state’s rights. Democrats got to vote no a lot. Even the major Sunset bills didn’t seem to generate any interest. You could look out across the House floor during any debate and see few members engaged. The House Republican caucus was a curious organism. Its members preferred to vote as a block, as if they lived in fear that their age-old enemies, the Democrats, might perhaps be resuscitated to offer a scintilla of opposition. The group-think voting was reminiscent of the refrain sung by the “Monarch of the Sea” in Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore: “I grew so rich that I was sent/by a pocket borough into Parliament/I always voted at my party’s call/and never thought of thinking for myself at all.” The anemic Democratic caucus, meanwhile, mustered up occasional resistance, mostly with parliamentary maneuvers, but the D’s were so outnumbered, and so demoralized by their election rout, that they never seemed to have a leader or a plan. Not that it would have made any difference.

MVP: Most vulnerable player (in redistricting)

Feb 11, 2011 By Paul Burka

[I have recovered some material I lost from the original post] It’s Jim Landtroop. 1. He’s a freshman. 2. He supported Paxton for speaker. 3. He cast one of the fifteen votes against Straus for speaker 4. He represents a part of the state that is hemorrhaging population. 5. He…

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…

The proposed House reforms: Good ideas or not?

Dec 13, 2008 By Paul Burka

As most readers know, Jim Keffer has proposed several reforms for the House of Representatives, and Dan Gattis has proposed a constitutional amendment to provide a means of removing the speaker. Let’s see whether they have merit. First, the constitutional amendment: Gattis would add this language to the boilerplate about…

The Speaker’s Race: Shock and Awful

Dec 1, 2008 By Paul Burka

Things are about to get ugly in the speaker’s race. The Craddick forces, led by several longtime loyalists (I want to run another check on the names), are trying to stir up a coordinated campaign to put pressure on wavering colleagues to vote for Craddick. According to credible reports I…

Smaller Talk

Nov 19, 2008 By Eileen Smith

Honorably Mentioned: Burt Solomons, Jim Keffer, Craig Eiland, Brian McCall, Rafael Anchia, Charlie Geren, Warren Chisum, Phil King, and Rob Junell (naturally). If you do not see your name on the list, you have given us no reason to talk about you. (Go watch it on our homepage so I…

Everyone’s a Speaker!

Nov 13, 2008 By Eileen Smith

11/14 Update: Peer Pressure works again! Now we have eight of the nine. (Delwin Jones, please report to me.) So who’s your favorite? Naturally, in the interest of bipartisanship and journalistic ethics, I will not be revealing my choice. 11/14 Update #2: Delwin Jones’s statement was lost in Evan Smith’s…

Bringing Down the House

Nov 7, 2008 By Eileen Smith

Eileen talks with Burka about the cantankerous Speaker’s race, a House divided, Craddick D’s, ABC’s, and 2010 with KBH. Honorable video mentions include: Reps. Tommy Merritt; Jim Keffer; Pete Gallego; Craig Eiland; Dan Gattis; Alan Ritter; and Sylvester Turner.