Archive for April 28th, 2009
A draft of the omnibus constitutional amendment proposal, promised several weeks ago by Licensing Chair Ed Kuempel, R-Seguin, has been doing the rounds at the capitol as of Tuesday evening.
The draft would put to voters the idea that any form of gambling could be authorized in Texas, providing that counties decide for themselves what kind, through a local election. The bill explicitly states, (in draft form as of press) that it “does not prohibit a federally recognized Indian tribe from conducting gaming on land in this State that was held in trust or recognized as tribal land of the tribe by the United States on January 1, 1998.”
In short, that means the Tiguas are in the bill. (That could change as NPT noted here several weeks ago.)
The bill, as drafted is very broad, meaning that the fights between different gaming interests, which have plagued the various efforts to legalize gambling this session, will have to move to the House floor. Time is simply running out for any further debate in committee. The bill would also require a lot of enabling legislation, which couldn’t be passed until the 2011 session – so don’t cancel that trip to Vegas just yet.
The bill would need 100 votes on the House floor and 21 in the Senate to make it onto the ballot in 2009.15
The Republican Party of Texas released a statement applauding a statement made by 52 Republican representatives committing to core principles they want included in voter ID legislation.
Those principles are: 1. Ensure a valid photo identification is needed to vote, 2. Take effect at the next possible uniform election date, 3 Be free of any registration requirements such as same day voter registration that dilutes the intent of the bill, which is ensuring fair and accurate elections, and 4. Increase criminal penalties for voter fraud and registration.
NPT had orginally interpreted the statement as a position of weakness – that only 52 Republicans were on board with the language and the Republican leadership was conspicious in its absence from the list of signatories. However the Texas GOP released a new list on Wednesday which took the number of signatories up to 71 – including Chairmans Branch, Kuempel and McCall (Calendars) and just 5 shy of the majority needed to get it passed.
Far from being a position of weakness, the revised list looks rather formidable. Voted ID now looks set to be the showndown issue of the session. But they will need to get 76 votes – meaning if Dems are universally opposed to he measure, they would only need to flip two Republicans (from either the 71 or the 4-plus-Speaker-Straus not signed up to the GOP list) OR flip one and put Speaker Straus in a position of breaking a tie vote.
Read NPT’s old analysis and the first GOP press release after the jump
–Ben Wright Read the rest of this entry »
The El Paso Times apparently has or is raising the cover price. NPT received a call from someone saying that the paper raised its price to 75 cents. But the paper sitting on our desk, today’s, was 50 cents. The caller said not all papers were properly marked, so there’s been some confusion on the rollout of the price increase. We could not confirm that (although we have a call in to the Times to get the info straight). NPT found some 75 cent papers — Monday’s and Tuesday’s — at the Downtown Walgreens on Mesa Street. And one of our friends said they saw a vending machine at Cici’s Pizza on N. Mesa with the 75 cent papers inside (although the machine said 50 cents — and it worked!). Is this new, or did we miss a previous announcement? NPT has called the El Paso Times several times but nobody’s talking yet.
In a brief hustle of a meeting this afternoon, the House Transportation Committee passed a HB 300 out of committee. The bill has morphed considerably from the original filed by state Rep. Carl Isett, R-Lubbock. [link]
Particularly, the original recommended TxDoT ditch its five member Texas Transportation Commission leadership structure in favor of a single commissioner. The committee substitute keeps the five member panel but instead of all members being governor appointments, now only three are, the other two being appointed by the House Speaker and the Lieutenant Governor respectively.
Isett said he expected the bill to make it onto the floor next week.
The press release, from state Rep. Joe Moody’s office was issued last Friday after he passed his first bill the day before. Moody’s bills concentrate on law and order. Read the press release after the jump.
–Ben Wright Read the rest of this entry »