Columns/Opinions

Thu
11
May

House joins Senate in passing constitutional convention measure

By Ed Starling

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.

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Thu
04
May

Publisher urges Texans never to surrender

By Bartee Haile

In the May 9, 1865 edition of his newspaper the Houston Telegram, publisher Edward Hopkins Cushing encouraged his readers to keep on fighting and never to knuckle under to the Yankees.

Throughout Lone Star history, the most zealous residents have often been those who were Texan by choice rather than birth. A prime example was Vermont-born and Dartmouth- educated Cushing, who became a naturalized citizen of Texas in 1850 at the age of 21.

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Thu
04
May

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

By Ed Starling

AUSTIN — 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 socalled sanctuary cities.

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Thu
27
Apr

House passes legislation to reform school finance law

By Ed Starling

 

AUSTIN — 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.

 

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Thu
27
Apr

Rookie pitches “perhaps most perfect game ever”

By Bartee Haile

 

A rookie from the Lone Star State pitched his way into the majorleague record book on Apr. 30, 1922 by retiring 27 batters in a row.

 

The rarest achievement in baseball is a perfect game. To accomplish this incredible feat, a pitcher cannot allow a single batter to reach first base. Only 21 have done it since 1900, and one of those was a nobody from North Texas.

 

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Thu
20
Apr

The charmed life of a frontier lawman

By Bartee Haile

 

A Texan for three years and a Ranger for less than one, Jeff Milton survived his baptism of gunfire on Apr. 25, 1881 just as he would many other brushes with death in the years to come. When the wife of Florida governor John Milton gave birth soon after secession, the pleased papa named the baby Jeff Davis in honor of the Confederate president. The elder Milton died in the closing days of the war, proud of the fact that his beloved Tallahassee along with Austin,

 

Thu
20
Apr

Federal judge says again, Texas voter ID law is discriminatory

By Ed Sterling

 

AUSTIN — U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi on April 10 ruled the State of Texas has failed to prove that the voter identification law was not written with discriminatory intent and purpose. The ruling came in response to a charge by the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that Judge Ramos re-examine the evidence and her 2015 findings in Veasey et al., plaintiffs, v. Greg Abbott et al., defendants. Plaintiffs alleged racial discrimination in violation of the U.S. Voting Rights Act of 1965 in response to the passage of Senate Bill 14 by the Texas Legislature in 2011. The law changed the list of acceptable forms of identification voters may use at polls and enacted other restrictions.

 

The State of Texas argued that the law was passed not with a discriminatory purpose, but to combat voter fraud at the polls.

 

Thu
13
Apr

Renowned Ranger routs Rio Grande rustlers

By Bartee Haile

The sheriff of a South Texas county overrun by Mexican bandits sent the following telegram to Ranger headquarters in Austin on Apr. 18, 1875: “Is Capt. McNelly coming? We are in trouble. Five ranches burned by disguised men last week. Answer.”

Although the sprawling spreads south of San Antonio had been plagued for years by hit-and-run rustlers, previous losses paled in comparison to the current crime wave. Led by Juan Cortinas, part-time revolutionary and full-time thief, well-organized bands were driving hundreds of cattle every week across the Rio Grande for shipment to Cuba.

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Thu
13
Apr

Next step: House, Senate must work toward agreement on state budget

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — After more than 15 hours of floor debate, the Texas House of Representatives on April 7 approved a balanced, $218 billion, state budget for fiscal years 2018-2019.

During the debate, state representatives proposed some 378 amendments to the House version of Senate Bill 1, although many were tabled or withdrawn.

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Thu
06
Apr

Bloody triple murder in the Big Thicket

By Bartee Haile

 

Ten years into a 99- year prison sentence for murder, a trusty told the guards he was going fishing on Apr. 11, 1930 and vanished into thin air. In February 1915, a farmer and his son hunting in the Big Thicket, the impenetrable natural wonder that once covered portions of 11 southeast Texas counties, came upon a partially decomposed corpse in a shallow grave.

The coroner’s educated guess was that the man had been dead two weeks, but the bullet holes in the victim’s chest left no doubt as to the cause of death. The deceased was identified from his clothes and dental work as an oilfield worker named Richard Watts.

 

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