Commentary

Wed
14
Jun

Governor demands action, calls lawmakers back to Austin

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — 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 a special session. As governor, if I am going to call a special session, I intend to make it count,” he added.

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Sat
10
Jun

When Life Gets Serious…

By Dr. Don Newbury

Commencement exercises, like holiday movies watched countless times, usually are fairly predictable. After all, printed programs get us back on track in case of the wandering of minds.

Some of the best “mindwanderers” are faculty members who know the subplots— some of them winding and tangled—that are unique to certain graduates.

One such recent program was at First Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, where 22 candidates received graduate degrees from B. H. Carroll Theological Institute. Towering over them was the commencement speaker, Dr. Darin Wood, pastor of First Baptist Church in Midland…..

 

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Wed
07
Jun

State Capital HIGHLIGHTS

By Ed Sterling

State budget awaits final approval from governor

AUSTIN — Governor Greg Abbott as of June 4 had not signed Senate Bill 1, the 2018-2019 state budget finally approved by both houses of the 85th Texas Legislature on May 27. SB 1 appropriates $216.8 billion in total spending for the state’s budget during the 2018-19 biennium.

A long wait for Abbott’s signature may fit a pattern. The governor did not sign the 2016-2017 budget until June 20, 2015, the final day for him to approve or veto legislation. The governor has the power to veto line items in the bill, instead of rejecting it wholesale.

 

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Sat
03
Jun

Leg-Pulling Long Gone…

By Dr. Don Newbury

Back in the 20th century, kids— as well as adults who sometimes acted like them—seemed destined to “make their own fun.” Not too much in the way of “time-passing” was in play if it cost anything, thus fertile minds were often in “creative mode,” if only in the sharing of jokes and stories.

Many times conversations began with, “Did you hear the one about…?” Sadly, these words rarely are heard anymore.

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Sat
27
May

A Cup of Joe...

By Joe Gonzales

I can’t believe it, but another year of school came to an end.

It seems like just yesterday we were dropping off Diego, Emma and Clarissa for their first day of classes.

Diego was nervous entering the last year of elementary.

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Wed
24
May

State budget bill moves forward as conference committee agrees

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — 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.

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Wed
17
May

Legislature grinds toward May 29 close with much still to accomplish

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — 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-day-long 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.

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Sat
13
May

Countdown to Greatness…

By Dr. Don Newbury

Folks given to dreaming some 500 years ago could never have imagined the many dozens of major historical occurrences linked to Galveston Island from then until now. Keep in mind that many historians believe the island was discovered in 1519, so it’s time to begin planning celebrations for the coastal playground with the 500th anniversary at hand.

A major milestone in September, 2018, will be a welcome prelude to the celebration. That’s when Carnival Cruise Lines assigns its newest and largest vessel, Carnival Vista, to Galveston.

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Wed
10
May

State Capital HIGHLIGHTS

By Ed Sterling

House joins Senate in passing constitutional convention measure AUSTIN — 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. Last week, after the House approved an amended version of the joint resolution, Governor Greg Abbott said: “Today marks an important step toward restraining a runaway federal government and returning power back to the states and their respective citizens as our Founders intended.” In his Jan. 31 State of the State address, Abbott listed passage of such a measure as one of his emergency legislative priorities.

 

Sat
06
May

A Cup of Joe...

By Joe Gonzales

Can you believe that school is almost over?

Didn’t it just begin? Well, it sure seems like it did.

The past couple of weeks I think Diego, Emma and Clarissa have already caught the summer bug.

Well, to be fair, Diego is still looking forward to school, but his sisters, that’s another story.

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