Columns/Opinions

Tue
25
Apr

House passes legislation to reform school finance law

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — The Texas House of Representatives on April 19 approved school finance legislation that would reduce the amount of local tax dollars that property-rich school districts are required to share with other school districts under the so-called “Robin Hood” process.

House Bill 21 by House Public Education Committee Chair Dan Huberty, R-Houston, passed on a vote of 134-16. It would increase per-student state funding for most school districts and charter schools and would adjust formulas used to calculate how much funding the state sends to school districts.

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Tue
25
Apr

The charmed life of a frontier lawman

By Bartee Haile

A Texan for three years and a Ranger for less than one, Jeff Milton survived his baptism of gunfire on Apr. 25, 1881 just as he would many other brushes with death in the years to come.

When the wife of Florida governor John Milton gave birth soon after secession, the pleased papa named the baby Jeff Davis in honor of the Confederate president. The elder Milton died in the closing days of the war, proud of the fact that his beloved Tallahassee along with Austin, Texas were the only southern capitals not to fall to the Yankees

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Tue
18
Apr

Renowned ranger routs Rio Grande rustlers

By Bartee Haile

The sheriff of a South Texas county overrun by Mexican bandits sent the following telegram to Ranger headquarters in Austin on Apr. 18, 1875: “Is Capt. McNelly coming? We are in trouble. Five ranches burned by disguised men last week. Answer.”

Although the sprawling spreads south of San Antonio had been plagued for years by hit-and-run rustlers, previous losses paled in comparison to the current crime wave. Led by Juan Cortinas, part-time revolutionary and full-time thief, well-organized bands were driving hundreds of cattle every week across the Rio Grande for shipment to Cuba.

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Tue
18
Apr

Federal judge says again, Texas voter ID discriminates

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi on April 10 ruled the State of Texas has failed to prove that the voter identification law was not written with discriminatory intent and purpose.

The ruling came in response to a charge by the New Orleans- based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that Judge Ramos re-examine the evidence and her 2015 findings in Veasey et al., plaintiffs, v. Greg Abbott et al., defendants.

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Tue
11
Apr

Texas lost battalion 75 years ago

By John Cornyn

But among all our servicemembers and veterans, Texas’ most decorated unit remains the group of 532 brave men we now call the “Texas Lost Battalion,” who were captured by the Japanese 75 years ago, in March 1942.

The story starts earlier, in the fall of 1940, when the 36th Division of the Texas National Guard arrived just outside of Brownswood at one of Texas’ largest training centers, Camp Bowie. World War II had engulfed both Europe and Asia, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt had issued orders in late August to mobilize the National Guard.

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Tue
11
Apr

House, Senate must work to agree on state budget

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — After more than 15 hours of floor debate, the Texas House of Representatives on April 7 approved a balanced, $218 billion, state budget for fiscal years 2018-2019.

During the debate, state representatives proposed some 378 amendments to the House version of Senate Bill 1, although many were tabled or withdrawn.

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Tue
04
Apr

Gov. welcomes Justice Dept. sanctuary cities memo

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on March 27 praised an announcement by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the Department of Justice will withhold and take back federal funds from cities that do not comply with federal immigration laws and enforcement directives.

“Texas joins the Trump administration in its commitment to end sanctuary cities and I look forward to signing legislation that bans these dangerous policies in Texas once and for all,” Abbott said. Senate Bill 4, legislation to prohibit sanctuary city policies in Texas, was passed by the Senate on Feb. 8. It was heard in the House State Affairs Committee on March 15, but has not been scheduled for a committee vote.

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Tue
04
Apr

Dallas battles Houston over federal bank

By Bartee Haile

Civic leaders in Dallas and Houston waited nervously on Apr. 2, 1914 for the decision on which of Texas’ two largest cities had been awarded the new federal bank.

The rash of bank failures caused by the Panic of 1907 underscored the urgent need for effective monitoring and management of the national money supply. To avert future crises, the country required a bank for the banks.

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Tue
28
Mar

Ex-Texas congressman negotiates release

By Bartee Haile

Waddy Thompson did not let the fact that he had been a private citizen for two weeks keep him from asking one more life-saving favor of Santa Anna on Mar. 23, 1844.

Texans naively presumed their neighbors in New Mexico would jump at the chance to join the Lone Star Republic. So, in the summer of 1841, President Mirabeau Lamar sent more than 300 soldiers, merchants and a grab bag of adventurers to deliver an engraved invitation and to stake Texas’ claim to the lucrative trade of the Santa Fe Trail.

 

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Tue
28
Mar

Senate panel OKs budget for next two-year period

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — A state budget for fiscal years 2018-2019 cleared the first in a series of hurdles when the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved committee substitute Senate Bill 1 on March 22. 

The legislation next moves to the full Senate for consideration.

“This budget remains a work in progress, but we will continue our work to make the most of every dollar, meet our priority needs and keep Texas moving in the right direction,” said Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound. “This committee left no stone unturned looking for savings, examining our budget drivers and looking for ways to make smarter use of our limited resources.”

 

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