El Paso-centric info and commentary from the Center of North America

Posts Tagged ‘shapleigh

NPT Capitol: Shapleigh to be on TxDoT conference committee

State Sen. Eliot Shapleigh will join fellow senators John Carona, Glenn Hegar, Robert Nichols and Kirk Watson on the TxDoT conference committee, according to a source in the Senate.

Shapleigh is an interesting pick. He knows his stuff being on the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee. But he is also not on best terms with House Transportation Chair Joe Pickett. (Let’s just say they’re not on each others’ Christmas card list.) They have clashed so far this session on Stormwater exemption fees and the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority.

Is Shapleigh there to keep Pickett in check so that the other Senators don’t have to?

The TxDoT sunset process has revealed differences in approach and philosophy between the Senate and House versions of the bill. There has been a fair bit of sniping from the sidelines in both chambers. [link] Shapleigh could provide a valuable counterweight to Pickett, who is committed to overhauling TxDoT, while Hegar, author of the Senate version of TxDoT sunset, seems content with making the agency more transparent. [link]

NPT were also told that Hegar was not pleased so many of the conferees were from urban areas. (His district is predominantly rural.) Hegar has also spoken against the local option tax proposal (Carona’s SB 855) which was rolled into the Senate sunset bill. That would give urban areas the ability to raise revenue for transportation projects.

Apparently there have been last minute maneuvers to swap out a couple of the conferees, which haven’t (yet) succeeded.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 27, 2009 at 3:54 pm

NPT Capitol: Ban trans-fat, stop the “silent epidemic” of obesity

“Across Texas, a silent epidemic of obesity is shortening lives, raising health costs and putting more and more Texans at risk,” said Sen. Eliot Shapleigh at a press conference yesterday joined by state Rep Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, regarding bills they have both filed seeking to ban trans-fat from Texas restaurants.

The bills, SB 204 and HB 1523, would amend the Health and Safety Code, prohibiting Texas restaurants from using trans-fats, which have been linked to health problems. According to Shapleigh’s office, a 2006 Paso Del Norte Health Foundation report found that more than 37 percent of El Pasoans were overweight and another 27.2 percent were obese. Shapleigh has also filed SB 352, banning trans-fat from school meals.

“Texans cannot afford to suffer from the lingering health effects of heart disease, diabetes, and the other ailments caused by bad cholesterol intake. Many restaurants in the country, including a number of prominent chains already take responsibility for the foods they serve by eliminating trans fat from their menu. I applaud these good corporate citizens and look forward to the day when all of Texas is trans-fat free,” Rep. Alvarado said.

SB 204 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. SB 352 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Education. HB 1523 has been referred to the House Committee on Public Health.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

April 7, 2009 at 9:56 am

NPT Capitol: Senate passes its version of the budget, Shapleigh votes no

The Texas Senate passed its version of the state budget, Wednesday. SB 1 passed 26 votes to 5, with El Paso state Senator Eliot Shapleigh voting against.

SB 1, authored by Senator Steve Ogden, R-Bryan uses over $10bn of federal stimulus aid while leaving the state’s rainy day fund untapped (at round $9bn).

Shapleigh, along with Senator Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, raised concerns at the very start of the debate Wednesday afternoon about the legality of using stimulus funds when Texas has the money to plug its own budgetary holes using the rainy day fund. (The Economic stimulus package, HR1, has provisions which prohibit the use of stimulus money if it simply substitutes for cash a state was going to dole out anyway, providing ways for the feds to recover the money.)

Ogden cautioned that Texas’ economic circumstances “could get worse before they get better.” Hence it was prudent to use stimulus money now and keep rainy days funds in the tank for an even rainier day. Otherwise Texas would “really be in the tank” if things continued to slide. (There are rumors circulating in Austin that state comptroller Susan Combs will lower her revenue estimate for the biennium. i.e. work out that Texas has less moolah than she first thought.)

The state budgetary process now awaits the House’s version of the bill. Then the two chambers will appoint a conference committee to hash out the differences before sending it back to their respective chambers and then on to the Governor.

Check out NPT for Shapleigh’s reasons for voting against the Senate version of the budget.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

April 1, 2009 at 5:47 pm

NPT Capitol: Shapleigh blasts CSAT’s blast

State Sen. Eliot Shapleigh responded to a Consumer Service Alliance of Texas press release earlier this week which accused him of using, “inflammatory, shameless and blatantly incorrect rhetoric to try to sway public opinion about short-term loan services in Texas.” [link]

Shapleigh said: “CSAT is a predatory lender lobby group. CSAT has one job: to guarantee 1,100 percent interest rates and obscene profits. All across Texas, CSAT and other predatory lobby friends have funded political campaigns to keep profits in their pockets. Predatory lenders have lost in Ohio, Georgia, Oregon and North Carolina, and will lose in Texas once people find out what they do.”

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 25, 2009 at 11:38 pm

NPT Capitol: Shapleigh: Dispute your property taxes online

shapleigh1State senator Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso wants Texans to be able to E-dispute how much property tax they pay by 2010. Shapleigh was speaking on behalf of Senate Bill 258 at a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee.

“So many El Pasoans have come to me to say appraisals are not accurate. Senate Bill 258 gives every El Pasoan the ability to appeal an appraisal from home or office. The bill will save time and money, and make the process work for homeowners,” said Shapleigh in a press release after the hearing. The El Paso Senator also claimed that an online system would save both the government some money and the public countless hours at the appraisal district HQ.

–Ben Wright

Read the press release after the Jump Read the rest of this entry »

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 2, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,