Columns

Thu
09
May

Property tax reform bill goes to conference committee

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

The Texas House of Representatives on May 1 passed Senate Bill 2, legislation proposing to bring property tax relief to homeowners, but the lower house slowed the bill’s momentum by tacking on 25 floor amendments.

If finally passed in the coming days, the legislation would lower the rollback rate for most local taxing authorities from 8 percent to 3.5 percent and 2 percent for school districts. The bill also allows local option elections on proposals to exceed rollback rates.

SB 2, like House Bill 1, the state budget bill, is now in the hands of a conference committee of five House members and five Senate members tasked with producing a final, agreed-to version. Meanwhile, all eyes are on the calendar and the clock as constitutional deadlines set in and the May 27 end of the session grows near.

 

Thu
09
May

Creating awareness

FROM THE DESK OF THE PLANNING DIRECTOR

My good people of Pearsall, I bring you warm greetings from the Planning and Community Development Department. This column is primarily to create awareness and bring to your notice, the wonderful plans we hope to actualize together as a community.

Similarly, the column would present updates from the Planning and Community Development department. Emphasis would be on current planning especially with respect to the permitting process; code compliance; fee schedule and many more.

 

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Thu
02
May

Weather Whys

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 weatherrelated 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.

 

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Thu
02
May

Top issues remain in play as Legislature enters final month

By ED STERLING

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

Only a month is left for lawmakers to get the state’s business done in the 86th regular session of the Texas Legislature.

Still unfinished are the issues at the top of a list shared by Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen: the passage of a state budget for fiscal years 2020-2021, property tax reform and school finance reform.

 

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Thu
25
Apr

Conference committee to work out differences in state budget

 

After Easter weekend, conferees for the Texas House and Senate must work out differences in the two chambers’ versions of a fiscal 2020-2021 state budget to send to Gov. Greg Abbott.

Concurrence is required on how to spend an estimated $250 billion in revenue available to fund the state’s fiscal years 2020-2021. Once an agreement has been reached, the budget bill will be subject to an up or down vote in each chamber before it is forwarded to the governor’s office for final approval.

Speaker Dennis Bonnen on April 15 named five House members to a conference committee tasked with negotiating an agreement. He chose House Appropriations Committee Chair John Zerwas, R-Richmond; and Reps. Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood; Sarah Davis, R-West University Place; Oscar Longoria, D-Mission; and Armando Walle, D-Houston.

Thu
25
Apr

Fighting for our parks

 

There’s no better time to go outside than Springtime. Here in the 23rd District of Texas, there’s also no better time to find your park, and you have eight incredible options to choose from across South and West Texas. As we celebrate the National Parks Conservation Association’s 100th anniversary and National Park Week from April 20-28, it’s a reminder to each of us to join in the fight to preserve and maintain our natural treasures for future generations of park-goers to enjoy.

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.

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