Commentary

Wed
16
Aug

Abbott signs 3 bills with few likely to reach his desk in final week

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Three bills reached Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk last week, with the 30-day special session of the Texas Legislature set to expire Aug. 16.

Abbott signed all three into law on Aug. 11:

— Senate Bill 5, increasing criminal penalties for voter fraud, by Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, and sponsored in the House by Dan Huberty, RKingwood;

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Sat
12
Aug

A Cup of Joe...

By Joe Gonzales

 

Well, it’s done. All three kids are registered and ready for a new year of school. This past Wednesday, I took on the task of getting the kids ready for school. In the past,

Jessica has always done this, but I decided to stepup and help her this year. “How hard could it be?” Yeah, she can have it back next year! Jessica tried to get the day off Wednesday to register the kids, but was unsuccessful.

That’s when SUPER DAD stepped in and said he’d do it!

 

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Sat
12
Aug

State Capital HIGHLIGHTS

By Ed Sterling

 

House passes bills to give retired teachers relief from rising costs AUSTIN – The Texas House on Aug. 1 approved House Bill 20, legislation appropriating $212.7 million from the “rainy day” reserve fund to help defray rising healthcare costs for retired school employees.

Primary authors of HB 20 include: Trent Ashby, R-Lufkin; Drew Darby, R-San Angelo; Gary VanDeaver, R-New Boston; John Zerwas, R-Katy; and Donna Howard, D-Austin.

The House also approved HB 80, legislation that through the Teacher Retirement System of Texas would make a one-time cost-of-living adjustment to the retirement benefits paid to certain retirees, disability retirees and survivors. To be eligible for the increase, the annuitant must have retired between Aug. 31, 2004 and Aug. 31, 2015.

 

Wed
09
Aug

A Cup of Joe...

By Joe Gonzales

Well folks, I survived kickball this past weekend.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.

We played a couple of games, but lost both.

Still, I had a lot of fun taking  part in the tournament.

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Sat
05
Aug

Dump the Ump?…

By Dr. Don Newbury

I take no joy in alleging the shortcomings of others. On land or sea, I typically choose “fluffy” topics devoid of controversy. My intent is to provide gentle humor for all readers, despite their station, religion and/or political leaning.

On land, I wouldn’t join troops risking entanglements “through the briars and the brambles where a rabbit wouldn’t go.” On the sea, while others joust with the bad guys and/or creatures of the deep, I’m “scrunched down,” trying to strap on two life jackets.

In short—like most folks—I identify with Sam Rayburn’s political philosophy: “If you want to get along, go along.”…

 

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Wed
02
Aug

A Cup of Joe...

By Joe Gonzales

I was reminded last week, again, that I’m not as strong and young as I think I am.

As some of you know, I’m still hitting the gym five or six times a week, and still trying to lose more weight.

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Sat
29
Jul

Can I Get an Amen?…

By Dr. Don Newbury

With so much surveillance going on in this country, it won’t be long before we’re able to spell the word, even if it is contrary to the old rule of “i” before “e” except after “c.”

Videos of protestors and other “assorted angsts” dominate the news these days, so one might reasonably ask if there is any good news.

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Wed
26
Jul

State Capital HIGHLIGHTS

By Ed Sterling

 

Senate races through agenda to get to other-than-Sunset bills AUSTIN — The 85th Texas Legislature convened at the Capitol on July 18 for its first called session, the main purpose being for lawmakers to extend the life of certain state agencies scheduled for termination, and then to proceed to other matters. At the urging of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the Senate moved quickly to pass legislation continuing the function of the Texas Medical Board and several other healthcare related state oversight boards through 2019.

 

Sat
22
Jul

A Stop at the Wrong House…

It is a story from decades ago that I’ve retold countless times. Its punchline—wadded up into a few words—sums up the conundrums that hit us daily with tornadic force.

Allow me, please, to set it up: At a country shack—one that could easily be a “poster house” for poverty—a government guy knocks on the door.

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Wed
19
Jul

Abbott gives lawmakers initial marching orders for special session

AUSTIN — 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. The areas of legislation would:

— Reform laws governing ad valorem property taxes; —

Increase average salary and benefits of Texas teachers;

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