Columns

Thu
18
Apr

Top officeholders join together in push for funding solution

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen on April 10 released a joint statement promoting a twofold method for the 86th Texas Legislature to curb property tax increases across the state.

“Texans are fed up with skyrocketing property taxes. At the beginning of the legislative session, the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker laid out an agenda for property tax relief through the passage of Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 2 to limit property tax growth,” the state’s top officeholders said.

 

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Thu
18
Apr

When is enough, enough?

EDITORIAL

From failed jail inspections to blatant, self-admitted lies, we must ask ourselves how much more will be tolerated from Frio County Sheriff Albert DeLeon.

He constantly cites the mess he inherited from his predecessor when it comes to the jail. Let’s be realistic, it’s been three years and when five out of eight deficiencies noted by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards are due to administrative issues, you cannot hide behind that excuse anymore.

 

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Thu
11
Apr

House passes legislation to reform school finance, property taxes

 

The Texas House of Representatives on April 3 approved much-anticipated legislation written to revise the state’s public school finance system. The vote was 148-1, and the bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

House Bill 3 would increase pay for public school classroom teachers, librarians and other full-time personnel and also would enable property tax relief. Primarily authored by House Education Committee Chair Dan Huberty, R-Houston, joint authors include Reps. Diego Bernal, D-San Antonio; John Zerwas, R-Richmond; Ken King, R-Canadian; and Alma Allen, D-Houston.

Thu
11
Apr

Russia is a threat

 

Here’s something you won’t hear on cable news: Special Counsel Robert Mueller, our intelligence community and Republicans and Democrats in Congress all agree that Russia is a threat. For over two years in Congress, I’ve fought for my friends in the intelligence community as a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Russia has been a primary focus of the Committee’s work because of repeated and persistent attempts by Vladimir Putin to challenge international norms and undermine the United States and our allies. There’s no question that the Russians have meddled in our elections and will only continue to do so. Russia has one goal: to erode trust in our democratic institutions – between the American people and our intelligence services, between our intelligence services and our legislative branch, between our legislative branch and our executive branch.

Thu
04
Apr

House, Senate continue to move closer to passing budget

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

Last week, with 60 days remaining until the end of the 140-day regular session of the 86th Texas Legislature, the House and Senate vaulted closer toward finalizing a state budget.

On March 27, the House of Representatives voted 149-0 in favor of HB 1, its version of the state budget for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. The lower chamber’s bill allocates some $251 billion to cover the two years and puts $9 billion more than the current budget into education reform, including a teacher pay increase and pension funding, and property tax reform.

 

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Thu
04
Apr

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

We need a progressive school board

Dear Editor,

Our public schools are in trouble. Unfortunately, they have been in trouble since 2011 when Texas slashed school budgets by $5.3 billion. The current legislature is considering increasing the school budget by $9 billion using the rainyday fund, you know the fund that grew due to the Eagle Ford taxes.

 

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Thu
28
Mar

Air pollution from tank fire sparks lawsuit

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

Images of a stream of billowing dark smoke drew the nation’s attention last week to a fire that engulfed 11 petrochemical storage tanks at the Intercontinental Terminals Company about 15 miles southeast of Houston in Deer Park.

On March 17, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered that all state resources be made available to local and industry officials and urged residents to heed the warnings of local officials. Governmental bodies in nearby affected areas ordered residents to shelter in place because of concerns about unhealthy air quality. Deer Park Independent School District and other districts canceled classes for several days.

 

 

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Thu
28
Mar

Our thanks to you

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Dear Editor,

The 2019 Pink Ladies Pearsall Pee Wee Basketball team had a great season and would like to thank all the people that make this possible for our children.

Team members include Coach Jake Maldonado, Adlyn Lucio, Dakota Rios, Jisella Maldonado, Addison Garcia, Zionna Garza, Jazzlyn Sanchez, Amariss Menchaca and Coach Jorge Sanchez.

We would like to extend a special thank you to Frio County Commissioner Ruben Maldonado for the donation of trophies.

Sincerely,

The Pink Ladies basketball team

 

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Thu
21
Mar

Supplemental funding legislation draws from ‘Rainy Day Fund’

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

Afew of the funding priorities expressed by the executive, legislative and judicial branches are not covered in Senate Bill 2, the state’s tentatively approved appropriations bill for fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

So, on March 13, the Senate voted unanimously in favor of SB 500, $6 billion in supplemental funding to plug many holes. Some $4.3 billion of the total would be taken out of the Economic Stabilization (“Rainy Day”) Fund. Authored by Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, the legislation proposes the following allocations:

 

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Thu
21
Mar

Preserving our veterans’ stories

HURD ON THE HILL

From the shores of Tripoli, to the beaches of Normandy, to the mountains of Afghanistan, the brave men and women of our Armed Forces have made countless sacrifices to ensure our freedom. Our Constitution, our democracy, all that we honor and hold sacred has been made possible through their tireless service.

The stories of their service are written with friendship, hardship, fear, bravery, failure and triumph. Most are not showered in glory or immortalized in movies, but the experiences of our veterans compose the story of America. Some of their stories risk being lost to time. I wanted to do something about it.

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