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

Posts Tagged ‘texas politics

NPT Capitol: Straus on Voter ID, special session and being speaker again

House Speaker Joe Straus held an impromptu press conference this afternoon, the same day he filed the necessary paperwork in order to be Speaker next session.

So far no one else has filed for Speaker. Straus said he filed early out of “an abundance of caution” in light of the fact that it had become a conversation topic among House members. He said that he fully expected to be speaker next session.

Straus also spoke about the possibility of a special session. He said he didn’t mind one way or the other. (Gov. Perry warned the legislature last week that if bills on windstorm insurance didn’t pass, he would immediately call a special session.)

On Voter ID, Straus said it had fell victim to a “hard deadline” that needed to be respected by members. NPT asked him if there were other vehicles Voter ID could be tacked onto, to which he replied, “not to my knowledge.” (Speculation around the Capitol earlier today suggested that there were a few possibilities out there.)

Finally, Straus, reflecting on the last five days of parliamentary gridlock, maintained the session was about passing the budget first and foremost – something he was confident would happen.

“Everything else is gravy,” Straus said.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 27, 2009 at 3:20 pm

NPT Capitol: TxDoT sunset bill amended, passed out of committee

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.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

April 28, 2009 at 12:52 pm

NPT Capitol: Senators decry the “Toxic assets of Texas”

Senators Elliot Shapleigh, D El Paso, Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth and Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, spoke out this morning against so-called “predatory lenders” who make “obscene profits” at the expense of families just trying to make ends meet.

“The time is now to restore transparency and fairness to Texas lending. For too long predatory lenders have had their way with Texas. Until the basic transaction is reformed, toxic assets will continues to be created in Texas,” said Shapleigh.

The three senators were speaking in support of legislation that would regulate such lenders more tightly and cap the interest rates they could charge. Such restrictions, are currently bypassed due to loop-holes in state and federal law, said Davis, author of SB 2131 which would close such loop-holes. Last week, the Senate passed SB189, authored by Shapleigh which caps interest rates on loans to military personnel and their dependents to 36 per cent. Shapleigh has also filed legislation, SB 248 that would extend the 36 per cent cap to all Texans.

“If it is not OK for payday lenders to prey on the military, then why in the world would it be OK for them to target some of our most vulnerable citizens?” asked Davis who supports the legislation. During the press conference, Shapleigh alluded to the deregulation of financial services over the last twenty years in the United States and in Texas. NPT asked Shapleigh to elaborate:

“Phil Gramm,” replied the Senator. Check out the write-up here

But is the situation that simple? NPT took a walk around downtown El Paso, where neon signs and fluorescent stickers advertise quick loans on every street corner. Check back later for the write up.

Update: Write-up here

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 23, 2009 at 2:20 pm