Texas Senate

Railroad Commissioner Reluctantly Resigns

Feb 14, 2012 By Jason Cohen

Elizabeth Ames Jones is running for a San Antonio senate seat, but must live in the "capital of the State" to stay Railroad Commissioner. People laughed when she questioned the phrase, but does she have a point about its modern definition?

Can Watson win?

Jun 25, 2009 By Paul Burka

Kirk Watson’s trial balloon is in the air, as he weighs whether to run for governor in 2010. Here are the questions he should be considering. Q. Can any Democrat win the governorship in 2010, or will the D’s repeat the mistake they made in 2002, when they put fielded…

The Lowly Senate

May 12, 2009 By Paul Burka

As I go about interviewing members of the Capitol community for the Best and Worst Legislators story, I have been surprised by the low regard for the Senate. I know no one is going to feel sorry for lobbyists, but … a recurring theme among this cursed crowd is that…

Sharp: If at first you don’t secede…

Apr 21, 2009 By Paul Burka

John Sharp has a spot on YouTube criticizing his former, or perhaps current, and possibly even future friend Rick Perry for his remarks about secession. Here is the text of "The Greatest Country on Earth," in which Sharp does not mention Perry by name: During World War II my father was shot in defense of the greatest country on Earth, and I proudly wore the uniform of a United States Army reserve officer. So I'm offended when it becomes acceptable for anybody to talk about Texas leaving the Union. I'm running for the United States Senate because we need mainstream, common-sense leadership to clean up the mess in Washington, D.C., not a bunch of radical, anti-American rhetoric. I'm John Sharp and you bet I approve this message. The words "mainstream," "common-sense," and "leadership" appear on screen as Sharp utters them. Sharp looks, well, sharp in the spot, but it struck me as weird that, as a candidate for the Senate, he attacked the governor. Sharp has a problem with some Democrats who are less than thrilled that he bailed Perry out of a tight spot by agreeing to lead the campaign for a reformed business tax in 2006, giving Perry cover for passing a tax that was identified more with Sharp than with Perry. I hear reports that Perry and Sharp remain close and talk frequently; this makes me think more of both of them, but I doubt that Democrats would have the same reaction. The YouTube video allows Sharp to try to distance himself from Perry.

Senate gives final passage to unemployment bill

Apr 20, 2009 By Patricia Kilday Hart

Seeking final passage of his bill drawing down federal money for the unemployment compensation fund, Sen. Kevin Eltife argued that taking federal money — despite the strings attached —  is a good deal for Texas employers and will actually save them money. By October, the unemployment insurance fund will be nearly…

Needle exchange passes Senate

Mar 18, 2009 By Patricia Kilday Hart

Republican Senator Bob Deuell passed his needle exchange bill from the Senate today, despite opposition from his own party and Texas Eagle Forum president Cathie Adams. Voting no were Republicans Craig Estes, Troy Fraser, Joan Hoffman, Steve Ogden, Dan Patrick, Florence Shapiro and Tommy Williams. “I know this is a…

Let the (shell) games begin

Jan 23, 2009 By Patricia Kilday Hart

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…

One Senate rule clearly in effect

Jan 14, 2009 By Patricia Kilday Hart

That would be the “Pottery Barn” rule as invoked by Secretary of State Colin Powell to warn against the then-proposed invasion of Iraq. “You break it, you own it,” he reasoned. This morning, Dewhurst told reporters that he mentioned the Powell axiom to senators who wanted to change the two-thirds…

Williams claims precedent for rules change

Jan 14, 2009 By Patricia Kilday Hart

Sen. Tommy Williams assures the Senate that he believes the two-thirds rule “is a good thing. I have been a House member who lost his entire package in Calendars Committee. It would be a travesty if we went to that method.” Then he recounted the “ugly scene” that occurred last…

Van de Putte on a matter of personal privilege

Jan 14, 2009 By Patricia Kilday Hart

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte:  “I am often asked why doesn’t the Senate fight like the House. I usually reply we don’t often fight or argue because we genuinely like each other. We believe in… diplomacy and compromise. This is what is best for Texas and its citizens.” “We don’t…

The Senate’s conundrum

Jan 14, 2009 By Patricia Kilday Hart

What rules govern when the Senate is debating what rules govern? That’s Sen. Eliot Shapleigh’s question to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. This debate has slowed down Sen. Tommy William’s resolution, which would change Senate rules to suspend the two-thirds rule for the Voter ID bill. Dewhurst’s answer was a little…

“Bloodletting” in the Texas Senate

Jan 14, 2009 By Patricia Kilday Hart

At least that’s what Sen. Royce West predicted when grim-faced senators emerged from their 1 hour caucus behind the closed door of the Betty King room. He was followed by John Whitmire, who was shaking his head angrily.  Paul and I think we saw steam coming out of his ears.

Here Comes Trouble

Jan 1, 2007 By Mimi Swartz

Dan Patrick is causing nervous breakdowns of various size and duration—and he’s not even in the Texas Senate yet.

Out of Control

Mar 1, 1997 By Paul Burka

Democratic lieutenant governor Bob Bullock’s immense power over the Texas Senate has vanished almost overnight. The Republican majority, which everyone said wouldn’t make any difference in how the Senate functions, made a difference after all. When Florence Shapiro of Plano successfully challenged Buster Brown of Lake Jackson, a Bullock ally,…