Tommy Williams

Tommy Williams Resigns

Oct 3, 2013 By Paul Burka

The resignation of Tommy Williams from his Senate seat and chairman of the Senate Finance committee is shocking. Williams was at the top of the pyramid. He will certainly enjoy a soft landing in his government relations position with Texas A&M University. Williams was a superb chair of Senate…

Williams v. Patrick

Jun 24, 2013 By brian sweany and Paul Burka

In the ongoing sniper fire that is taking place between Senate Finance chair Tommy Williams and Education chair Dan Patrick, I am in total agreement with Williams. If you are appointed to the Finance committee, you are obligated to support the committee’s work. This has been the practice…

About Last Night

May 22, 2013 By brian sweany and Paul Burka

Haven’t we seen this picture before? Speaker Straus performs well for most of the session, but when crunch time comes, he can’t close the deal. His team has no cohesion (except for Geren), and there doesn’t appear to be a strategy. So Straus falls back into his old persona of…

Williams, Perry, and the Budget

May 16, 2013 By brian sweany and Paul Burka

This morning I wrote about the prospects for a budget deal, the topic du jour that is uppermost in everyone’s mind. The post contained, among other comments, this line: “House Democrats complained that Senate budget chief Tommy Williams had ‘misled’ them.” That is what I was told by…

Things Fall Apart

May 16, 2013 By brian sweany and Paul Burka

As we tweeted last night as events were rapidly developing, the hopes for a budget deal that would send everyone home happy appeared to evaporate yesterday. House Democrats complained that Senate budget chief Tommy Williams had “misled” them. Dewhurst showed up in the House chamber and disappeared into the back…

Dew or Die

Sep 9, 2009 By Paul Burka

Dewhurst’s decision to announce for lieutenant governor has touched off intense speculation about whether this is a final decision or a keep-my-options-open decision. Dewhurst has always wanted to be governor, and so I think his plan is to succeed Perry upon his retirement in January 2019. But seriously, folks ……

Threat of Senate filibuster postponed; TxDOT rumored to be DOA

May 31, 2009 By Patricia Kilday Hart

HB 3827 almost touched off a Senate filibuster, but Sen. Bob Duell pulled down consideration until tomorrow. The issue is over immunity for underground storage tank leakage; Democrats feared it would give manufacturers of MTBE immunity for contamination of ground water and the cost of clean-ups would be borne by…

The Indiana redistricting case: Is it in point?

Mar 10, 2009 By Paul Burka

This was an interesting discussion. The same lawyer who was grilled by Wentworth and Tommy Williams (see “Liars and Stolen Maps,” below) was asked by Democrats about the applicability of the Supreme Court opinion upholding the constitutionality of Indiana’s Voter I.D. law. The lawyer’s answer was that the Indiana case…

Liars and stolen maps

Mar 10, 2009 By Paul Burka

The discussion in the Senate has gotten hot and heavy as the midnight hour approached. I missed the name of the witness, an attorney who had represented Texas Democrats in various redistricting cases. He attacked the Tom DeLay midcensus redistricting in 2003. Wentworth jumped in to point out that the…

The future of the 2/3 rule

Jan 17, 2009 By Paul Burka

Ever since Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst wired around the 2/3 rule to pass congressional redistricting in 2003, I have believed that the rule cannot survive in the partisan era. It may still have some life in issues that don’t have partisan overtones, but the maneuvering on the Voter I.D. bill indicates…

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.