Columns

Thu
20
Jul

Abbott gives lawmakers initial marching orders for special session

By ED STERLING

Gov. Greg Abbott on July 10 issued a formal proclamation for the special session that begins July 18, directing the Texas Legislature to extend expiration dates for the Texas Medical Board and other state boards that regulate psychologists, marriage and family therapists, professional counselors and social workers.

Abbott said he plans to issue a supplemental proclamation further directing lawmakers to pass another list of items he previously announced.

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Thu
13
Jul

Special session to begin July 18

By ED STERLING

A special session of the Texas Legislature, called by Gov. Greg Abbott, is set to begin on July 18. The agenda is big.

Before adjourning in late May, our 150 state representatives and 31 state senators did the only thing the Texas constitution requires them to do each time they meet for 140 days every two years: they passed a state budget to cover the next two years.

But Abbott decided he wanted them back in Austin to extend the functions of the Texas Medical Board, and to do it with all possible speed. Abbott added a while-you’re-at-it list of 19 other topics for lawmakers to resolve to his satisfaction after they breathe new life into the Texas Medical Board.

 

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Thu
13
Jul

Top 13 percent

By CHARLES “TINK” JACKSON

We recently mailed out to all citizens a copy of the city of Pearsall Annual Drinking Water Quality Report (Consumer Confidence Report) from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

The city is required by law to provide this report to all users of our water system. As always, there is a lot of misinformation out there about what our report says. Through this article, I will try to clear much of that misinformation up.

The city of Pearsall drinking water system has been rated as “Superior” by TCEQ. TCEQ recognizes overall excellence in the operation of a public water system by designating a system as Superior if the system meets the stringent criteria set forth by the TCEQ. To earn this designation, a system must meet and maintain a higher set of standards than are required of all public water systems.

 

Thu
06
Jul

Governor applauds lawmakers’ intentions for special session

By ED STERLING

Gov. Greg Abbott, in the last 10 days of June, posted news releases pointing out specific lawmakers and their plans to file bills that fulfill his expectations for the 30-day special session, which he called to begin July 18.

Abbott said lawmakers first must pass a “sunset bill” to extend the life of the Texas Medical Board and then tackle a 19-item list of other issues in the month-long session. Abbott’s list is a pretty close match to a list of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s priorities. Here are a few of those items:

- Legislation to reform property taxes, by Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, and Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton. “Skyrocketing property taxes in this state are unacceptable, and Texans need reform right now,” Abbott said.

 

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Thu
29
Jun

First Gulf storm of season elbows Texas

By ED STERLING

State emergency responders geared up for the first time this hurricane season in response to Tropical Storm Cindy, which came ashore just east of the Texas- Louisiana border on June 22.

Two deaths were attributed to the storm — one of them an elderly man found in a sand-mired pickup truck on Texas’ Bolivar Peninsula.

 

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Thu
29
Jun

Weather Whys

How often does lightning hit planes?

I see where the plane carrying the new president of France was hit by lightning. How often does lightning hit airplanes?

It does often, says Brent McRoberts of Texas A&M University.

“The best government estimates are that lightning strikes commercial airplanes several times a year,” McRoberts explains. “Most pilots are told to avoid thunderstorms and to try and fly around them, but lightning still hits planes often.

 

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Thu
22
Jun

Governor signs 2018-19, two-year state budget into law

By ED STERLING

Gov. Greg Abbott on June 12 signed Senate Bill 1, legislation that appropriates some $217 billion to pay for the state’s next two-year fiscal period. “I am once again signing a budget that addresses the most pressing challenges faced by our state. This budget funds a life-saving overhaul of Child Protective Services, ensuring children in Texas’ foster care receive the protection they deserve,” Abbott stated in his proclamation.

 

“Even in a tight budget climate,” he added, “this budget prioritizes the safety and well-being of all Texans. It continues to fund our state’s role in securing the border, adding an additional 250 troopers to keep our communities safe. It funds the state’s natural disaster response costs to provide state resources when disaster strikes. And it better protects our law enforcement officers across the state by funding grants for bulletproof vests.

 

Thu
22
Jun

Make a choice to serve

By CHARLES “TINK” JACKSON 

 

We recently held a Director’s Training Retreat for all of the City Director’s and support staff. The training served many purposes. It allowed appropriate personnel to provide advanced training on understanding how the budget works, how to properly administer a department budget during the year, how to accurately forecast a budget for the next year, and how to be responsible for your departments expenditures all year long.

These were principles that had never been shared with the directors previously. This was information they should have learned a long time ago. The training will prove invaluable as we move forward in the coming fiscal year.

 

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Thu
15
Jun

Governor demands action, calls lawmakers back to Austin

By ED STERLING

Gov. Greg Abbott on June 6 announced a special session of the Texas Legislature to begin on July 18 to address issues that went unresolved during the contentious 140-day regular session that ended May 29.

Abbott explained why he thinks it necessary to order lawmakers back to Austin. “Considering all the successes of the 85th legislative session, we should not be where we are today,” he said. “A special session was entirely avoidable and there was plenty of time for the legislature to forge compromises to avoid the time and taxpayer expense of aspecial session. As governor, if I am going to call a special session, I intend to make it count,” he added.

 

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Thu
15
Jun

Restoring our national treasures

By WILL HURD

With 29 counties, two time zones and more than 800 miles of U.S.-Mexico border, the 23rd Congressional District of Texas is certainly one of the most unique congressional districts in the nation. Throughout my two and a half years serving as your Representative, I’ve crisscrossed TX-23 numerous times, meeting with constituents and exploring the variety of sites these 29 counties have to offer, including the seven incredible National Parks I have the distinct honor of advocating for in Congress.

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