Columns

Thu
25
May

State budget bill moves forward as conference committee agrees

by ED STERLING 

Texas Senate and House budget conferees met frequently last week and on May 20 managed to reach compromise on a $218 billion state budget for fiscal years 2018-2019.

However, Senate Bill 1 must gain final approval from both the House and Senate in order for the budget to continue on to the governor’s desk. But as pressing a matter as the budget may seem, the bulk of time in weekend floor debates was used on a variety of other measures, such as property tax reform, municipal annexation, school bathroom accommodations for transgender students and religious conscience considerations for government employees.

Thu
25
May

Letters to Editor

200 like her 

 

Dear Editor,

Goal 3 of the Pearsall ISO district goals states that the district will “develop and implement a districtwide plan to maximize two-way communication among school, family, and community.”

However, lately they seem to be aiming for anything but. ..Recently communication resulted in labels of troublemaker and complaints of leaking information to the public and talking to parents who didn’t need to be involved. The district presented a calendar in March that was not created or voted on through the proper local chains of command. Administrators, teachers and committee members were caught off guard by the proposal.

As a result, school and community members were asked to get involved and speak to board members about the situation. In doing so, they were ridiculed, mocked, and outright lied to. They were quickly shown that years of support, dedication, and communication meant nothing unless you were on the right side.

Thu
18
May

Legislature grinds toward May 29 close with much still to accomplish

By ED STERLING

With a mere two weeks remaining until the end of the 85th regular session of the Texas Legislature, lawmakers have not yet finalized a state budget for fiscal years 2018 and 2019.

The Legislature’s 150 House members and 31 Senate members can work around the clock, if need be. Their only absolutely required accomplishment in the 140-daylong session is to produce that budget and put it on the governor’s desk. If they don’t, the governor will call them back for a special session.

 

To read more please log in or subscribe to the digital edition. http://etypeservices.com/Frio-Nueces%20CurrentID236/

 

Thu
18
May

Federal information technology an area in need of reform

By WILL HURD

As a conservative, I am always looking for ways to reform government spending and use tax dollars more efficiently. With a background in computer science and through my time as Chair of the House IT Subcommittee, I’ve been able to identify federal information technology (IT) as an area in desperate need of reform.

While IT isn’t the most exciting topic for everyone, this issue has more of an impact on your lives than you might realize. Billions of your hard-earned taxpayer dollars are wasted maintaining outdated and obsolete government IT systems that are not just costly, but also vulnerable to cyberattacks. Last year, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was hacked, compromising the personal information of over twenty million current and former government employees, myself included.

 

Thu
11
May

House joins Senate in passing constitutional convention measure

By ED STERLING

The Texas House of Representatives on May 4 approved Senate Joint Resolution 2, a measure calling for a convention of the states, as contemplated and enabled by Article V of the U.S. Constitution. The state Senate on Feb. 28 originally passed SJR 2, authored by Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury. Every member of the House and Senate who signed as a co-author or co-sponsor of SJR 2 is Republican, and no Democrat voted in favor of the resolution.

Thu
11
May

Weather Whys

Full moon names

What do the terms “harvest moon” and “hunter’s moon” mean? Naming full moons goes back to early American days when the Indians — mainly the Algonquin tribes of New England — tried to describe the full moons of their day, says Brent McRoberts of Texas A&M University.

“Many of these names were either weather-related or tied in with seasonal conditions of the time,” he explains. “For example, a ‘harvest moon’ is the full moon that usually occurs in September, when the moon is so bright that that farmers could work late into the night. A ‘hunter’s moon’ was usually in October, when the deer were at their fattest, leaves were turning color and the temperatures were getting quite chilly.”

There are more names for the moon at other times of the year, he says. When the snows were deep in January, wolf packs would often howl near Indian villages, prompting the “full wolf moon,” the first full moon in January, McRoberts adds.

 

Thu
04
May

Start asking questions

Dear Editor,

I am writing this letter to encourage Pearsall ISD employees and parents of students to please, please start asking questions. There are two major things taking place at PISD right now that need your immediate attention. They are PISD becoming a District of Innovation (DOI) and the school calendar (which supposedly doesn’t exist yet).

You can look on the school website to see the plan. It is stated in the District of Innovation plan that it can be amended anytime during the five years.

 

To read more please log in or subscribe to the digital edition. http://etypeservices.com/Frio-Nueces%20CurrentID236/

 

Thu
04
May

GOP majority pushes ‘sanctuary city’ bill to passage in Texas House

By ED STERLING

During his “State of the State” address on Jan. 31, Governor Greg Abbott declared legislation banning so-called “sanctuary cities” to be one of his top priorities and an emergency item, saying: “Elected officials don’t get to pick and choose which laws they obey.”

In 2011, when Rick Perry was governor, he made the original call for such a ban. Last week, after more than a dozen hours of spirited floor debate and parliamentary maneuvers, the Texas House approved legislation banning so-called sanctuary cities.

Senate Bill 4 passed the House on a party-line vote, with Republican members casting 93 votes in favor and Democratic members casting 54 votes in opposition. Democrats collectively made numerous and largely unsuccessful attempts to amend the bill in ways to protect Texas’ immigrant communities.

Thu
27
Apr

House passes legislation to reform school finance law

by ED STERLING 

The Texas House of Representatives on April 19 approved school finance legislation that would reduce the amount of local tax dollars that property-rich school districts are required to share with other school districts under the so-called “Robin Hood” process.

House Bill 21 by House Public Education Committee Chair Dan Huberty, R-Houston, passed on a vote of 134-16. It would increase per-student state funding for most school districts and charter schools and would adjust formulas used to calculate how much funding the state sends to school districts.

Thu
27
Apr

Weather Whys

Different thunderstorms 

 

You hear about thunderstorms, severe storms and supercells. What’s the difference? A thunderstorm by definition is a storm accompanied by lightning and thunder, while severe storms and supercells are the most intense types of thunderstorms, says Brent McRoberts of Texas A&M University.

“All can be responsible for rough weather such as tornadoes, hail, strong winds and flash floods, which are the biggest weather-related killer in the US,” he says. “Thunderstorms must have unstable air to form, and then need a push to give that air an upward shove, which is why most form in the spring and summer. A severe thunderstorm is one that has or is suspected of having winds of 58 miles per hour or faster and/or hail of at least one inch in diameter.

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