Columns/Opinions

Wed
19
Nov

Spigot’s open: Flow of legislative bills, resolutions begins

By Ed Sterling

On Nov. 10, dozens among Texas’ 31 state senators and 150 state representatives, including a few members-elect who won’t be sworn for nearly two months, jumped right in and filed legislative bills in advance of the 84th regular session of the Texas Legislature, which convenes on Tuesday, Jan. 13. In all last week, 316 House and 170 Senate bills, proposed constitutional amendments and commemorative resolutions were filed. These are samples of the subject matter in those early-filed bills: acceptable forms of voter identification, use of a portable wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle, repeal of the franchise tax, property tax reform, minimum wage increase, changes regardingthe offense of student hazing, and free pre-kindergarten in public schools. The bill-filing deadline is the 60th day of the session, March 13. By then, lawmakers likely will have filed more than 10,000 bills and resolutions.

Wed
12
Nov

Know before providing your social security number

by Greg Abbott

According to the federal trade Commission, Texas ranks eighth in the nation for identity theft complaints. In 2013, more than 23,000 Texans were identity theft victims and as a result, lost thousands of dollars and hours of time attempting to correct their credit ratings and personal financial history. Identity theft occurs when a criminal illegally uses someone else’s personal information – a name, address, driver’s license number, credit or debit card account number or Social Security number – to commit fraud or other crimes.
 
Wed
12
Nov

Abbott, Patrick win top posts as Republicans dominate

By Ed Sterling

Winners in the Nov. 4 general election on the whole proved that incumbency and/ or running as a Republicancontinue to be assets when Texas voters hit the polls. Democrats Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte lost by wide margins to Republicans Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor, respectively. In the Abbott-Davis race, the spread was 20 points: 59 to 39 percent. Similarly, the spread in the Patrick-Van de Putte race was 19 points: 58 to 39 percent.
 
Wed
05
Nov

Life in pajamas

I’ll admit never thought I’d be so happy living in the country. I was wrong – so, so wrong. I assumed and accepted that living in the country, I’d go dashing into any nearby city within a 150-mile radius at least once or twice a week for things I couldn’t live without. Wrong again. Is it that I’ve been there and done that? Well, no, not entirely.
 
Wed
05
Nov

Secretary of State posts early voting turnout numbers

By Ed Sterling
 
The Secretary of State’s Elections Division on Oct. 31 posted early voting turnouts for each of the state’s 15 highest-population counties: Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar, Travis, Collin, Denton, El Paso, Fort Bend, Hidalgo, Montgomery, Williamson, Galveston, Nueces and Cameron. Of the 8,978,313 registered voters in those counties, 1,715,731 voted early in person or by mail. That’s a 19.11 percent cumulative early voting percentage. To compare with the last midterm election, in 2010, the cumulative early voting total for those 15 counties was 1,731,589 ballots cast out of 8,339,034 registered voters, or 20.76 percent of the total.
 
Wed
29
Oct

Campaign final push, election day nears

by Ed Sterling
 
Polls continued to show Republican candidates ahead in top-of-ballot races as Texas moved closer to the Oct. 31 early voting deadline before Election Day, Nov. 4. Political campaigns continued to work feverishly across Texas, knocking on doors, holding rallies, robocalling, planting signs, flooding mailboxes and barraging email accounts.
 
Wed
29
Oct

Tribe paid high price for befriending Texans

By Bartee Haile

A surprise attack by four hostile tribes on Oct. 25, 1862, cut the number of Tonkawas in half leaving less than 150 still alive and kicking. Half a dozen small groups of native peoples based in Central Texas banded together in the early seventeenth century. Even though this new tribe called themselves Tickanwatick, a tongue-twister meaning “the most human of men,” in time they came to be known as the Tonkawa, Waco for “they all live together.”
 
Wed
22
Oct

Gismos & whatchamacallits

Anyone who has ever dealt with an officious bean-counter will appreciate a story D.B. Wright used to tell. It happened in Venezuela in the mid-1950s, but it just as easily could have played out in Houston, Port Arthur, Midland or some warehouse in the Eagle Ford production in South Texas. And even though this story took place in South America, Texas-based oil workers filled the key roles.
 
Wed
22
Oct

High court allows voter ID law for upcoming election

By Ed Sterling

With early voting in Texas only days away, the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 18 let stand a U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals order, thereby allowing Texas’ 2011 voter identification law to remain in force for the time being. Civil rights plaintiffs in Veasey et al. v. Perry et al. sought to have portions of the law declared unenforceable on constitutional grounds. In a Corpus Christi federal courtroom, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos struck down the law and ordered the state to return to election law practices in place before the Legislature passed the law in 2011.
Wed
15
Oct

Supreme sacrifice

At first glance, the old high school annual looks like any vintage yearbook. In the traditional style of secondary school publications, it has a puffed, embossed cover. The rope-like typeface, once gilt-covered, says “Round Up.” The Western motive continues with an artful image of a saddled horse bowing its head as if nosing a high-crowned cowboy hat. Nearby is a campfire with red flames.
 

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