News & Press: Legislative Update

Capitol News & Notes

Monday, November 17, 2014  
Posted by: Michael Hancock
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November 14, 2014




- Governor-Elect Greg Abbott stated that he would name Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos as Secretary of State when he takes office in November. At that Capitol news conference, Abbott was careful not to over-promise about cutting or repealing the margins tax. "We need to be able to do the math on that, based on what the budget projections will be," he said. He also refused to prioritize between a business tax cut and a property tax cut. You can read this as the first whiff of governing, as opposed to campaigning. Conservative promises to adequately fund transportation within existing revenues while cutting taxes will be a difficult feat to pull off.


- Scrambling has started in San Antonio as Rep. Mike Villareal announced plans to run for Mayor next year and Sen. Leticia Van de Putte said she is considering the same bid. Should Van de Putte run for Mayor, Reps. Trey Martinez-Fischer and Jose Menendez have said they would consider running for her Senate seat.


- Speaking of the Senate, Sen. Glen Hegar will soon resign his SD 18 seat after his successful campaign for Comptroller. Rep. Lois Kolkhorst is widely considered to be the front runner for the Senate seat. Another candidate, Gary Gates, is already running advertising.


- Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, a Tarrant County Tea Party favorite, caused waves of dismay in grassroots circles this week when he told a Tea Party gathering that Rep. Scott Turner (R-Frisco), a darling of the grassroots, has no chance of defeating Joe Straus for Speaker. Truth obviously hurts.

- Exiting Lt. Governor David Dewhurst said this week that he is planning on starting "a large public policy venture," but offered few details.


- Many House members are expecting a major shake-up of House committees and committee chairs next session, based on discussions with Speaker Straus.


- The dust-up over Capriglione, Turner, and Straus in Tarrant County is also interesting in that it led one area Tea Party to state that members will be held accountable to Tea Party goals next session. Want to know what those investments in the future of Texas are? - open carry, campus carry (the right to carry guns on campuses), no Medicaid expansion, hard spending caps, and background checks for state contractors to make sure they aren't employing illegal aliens. There you have it.


- The Texas Association of Business endorsed several transportation funding moves for next session, including ending diversions of the gas taxes to non-highway purposes and re-allocating half of the motor vehicle sales tax from the general revenue fund to the highway fund


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