Columns

Thu
28
Feb

Mass chaos

RANDOM RAMBLINGS

Last week was a rough one. Kynlee was diagnosed with flu A, Hayden started getting sick, and as if that wasn’t enough, my stove caught fire. That’s right, on fire. I don’t know how it even happened. One minute I am putting on a pot of water to boil for some eggs and the next a fire. “Mom, can you cut my meat into tiny pieces and give me some ketchup?” “Sure.” As I’m standing at the dining room table carefully cutting dinner into tiny pieces for the girls to eat, I look up and saw flames.

 

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Thu
21
Feb

Senate panel focuses on funding of public education

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

When Texas legislatures meet every two years, lawmakers’ singular, must-do assignment is to produce a state budget.

Toward that goal, the Senate Finance Committee held meetings on Feb. 11, 12 and 13 to work on Article III of Senate Bill

1. That article focuses on the public and higher education parts of the state budget for fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

The meetings, replete with acronymspattered expert testimony from the Texas Education Agency, the Teacher Retirement System and others, dealt with funding areas within public education. Lumped together, public education funding almost certainly will require more than half of the state’s general revenue. The ballpark estimate of total general revenue is $112 billion.

 

 

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Thu
21
Feb

Fighting to secure our border

HURD ON THE HILL

Here in South and West Texas, border security is not an abstract issue. Every week meeting with folks across 29 counties of the 23rd District of Texas, securing our border and fixing our broken immigration system are frequent topics of conversation. That’s because the border is our backyard, and what happens on the border impacts the daily lives of families across TX-23 communities.

Thu
14
Feb

Governor gives lawmakers list of emergency items to tackle

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

Gov. Greg Abbott named as his emergency priorities education reform, teacher pay, school safety, property tax reform, mental health services and disaster response in his Feb. 5 “State of the State” address to a joint session of the Texas Legislature.

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Thu
14
Feb

Gearing our students up for success

HURD ON THE HILL

As your Representative, one of my top priorities is making sure Congress enacts policies that create economic opportunity and give every family a chance at the American dream.

 

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Thu
07
Feb

Senate committee starts work on property tax reform

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

Voters would have the power to prevent their local governmental bodies from increasing property taxes by more than 2.5 percent per year under legislation introduced in the Texas Senate and House on Jan. 31.

Senate Bill 2 and identical House Bill 2, both 116 pages in length, propose to amend the current law, in which local taxing authorities may increase taxes up to 8 percent each year before a rollback election would be required. Cries for relief are widespread, given the leeway current law affords and the fact that county appraisal districts may increase the value of property at the same time.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, said, “People desperately need property tax reform, our businesses need property tax reform, and we have set out, on this date, early in session, with a major piece of legislation. We are setting the tone for the rest of the session on this issue,” Patrick added.

 

 

Thu
07
Feb

Develop partnerships

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Dear Editor,

Pearsall and Dilley ISD trends stated in the Texas Education Agency 2019 report suggest that 50% of students should graduate with a vocational certificate by 2030 and 10% should be ready to go to college (TEA recommends 60%).

Our schools average low on all college exams and most will not complete college. Our local ISD’s should develop partnerships with local non-profits to be more inclusive and progressive.

 

 

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Thu
31
Jan

Senate Finance panel starts work on state budget

By: ED STERL

Jane Nelson, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, on Jan. 22 said she would follow an aggressive agenda to deliver a budget ready for floor debate by the end of February.

“There are a lot of things this committee and the full Senate will decide to add, subtract, change, before we actually recommend out of this committee a budget,” she said. At the top of the list are school finance and property tax relief.

Nelson, R-Flower Mound, has chaired the powerful committee for three consecutive sessions. On Jan. 15, Nelson filed Senate Bill 1, a base budget for the 2020-2021 biennium, and scheduled daily meetings for the panel to consider the particulars that go into a document that typically exceeds 1,000 pages in length.

Thu
31
Jan

Weather Whys

Yes it is, says Brent McRoberts of Texas A&M University. “An ice storm is a storm with large amounts of freezing rain that quickly coats trees, roadways, power lines, and other objects with ice,” he confirms. “They result from the accumulation of freezing rain, which is rain that becomes supercooled and freezes upon impact with cold surfaces.

“Supercooled means that the rain must be in a liquid state at temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Water must have something to freeze onto when temperatures are below freezing. Once this rain - which is colder than 32 degrees - falls on an object that is below freezing, it will instantly freeze on that object and form a sheet of ice.

“As ice forms, it helps to freeze other raindrops that fall onto the sheet, and this process helps freezing rain accumulate quickly.”

What causes an ice storm or freezing rain?

 

Thu
24
Jan

State’s top elected officials take oaths of office at inauguration

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

Public officials and private citizens gathered at the south steps of the state Capitol on Jan. 15 to for a day’s worth of inaugural events, most notably the administering of oaths of office to Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who were reelected to four-year terms in November.

In his inaugural address, Gov. Abbott predicted the 86th regular session of the Texas Legislature, which convened on Jan. 8, would be “transformative.” He said that with the help of Lt. Gov. Patrick and newly elected House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, leadership would “usher in a new era for children, teachers and taxpayers.”

“We must finally rein in skyrocketing property taxes in Texas,” Abbott said. “To fix this, Texas must limit the ability of taxing authorities to raise your property taxes. At the same time, Texas must end unfunded mandates on cities and counties. And taxpayers should be given the power to fire their property tax appraiser.”

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