HB2 ruled unconstitutional

The Texas Tribune reports that HB2, the omnibus anti-abortion bill passed after Wendy Davis’ filibuster, has been ruled partially unconstitutional and had its enforcement fully enjoined.  Here is the full opinion of the case, Planned Parenthood v. Abbott, which was released today by Judge Lee Yeakel (a Federal District Judge appointed by George W. Bush). From what I understand, this is a final finding of fact and conclusion of law, meaning that proponents of the law must appeal on the merits rather than simply seek an injunction/writ of mandamus.

The astute will recall that of the four provisions of this law, only two were immediately challenged in Federal Court. Those were the provision requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and the provision requiring inducing drugs to be administered in person, respectively. The former provision was completely struck down as an undue burden on women’s reproductive rights, whereas the latter provision was only struck down in instances where the doctor could deem the “life or health” of the prospective mother would be in jeopardy.

Click here to read more about this decision!

Texpatriate on recommendations

It is no secret that we have been somewhat outward with our recommendations in this municipal election. The tab marked “2013 Election” shows all the recommendations made by both this board and the individual Editorial Board members.

Texpatriate made a conscious decision to write individual editorials for each municipal office, so as to discuss every race in depth. The astute will notice that many of these editorials follow the same template, a rough process of elimination that delineates the strengths and weaknesses of all the major candidates. Most interest groups that field endorsements simply offer up names. While the Houston Chronicle does ascribe their endorsements to a detailed editorial, the format follows a very different path. Very rarely does a Chronicle endorsement go into depth about a candidate other than the endorsee.

This board does things very differently for, what we humbly believe, is a unique reason. While many other organizations that endorse do so with the intention of convincing readers and members to support their picks, we try to stimulate critical reasoning about the election and encourage individuals to make their own decisions. Sometimes they align with our picks, but often times they do not.

Click here to read more about our thoughts!

Democratic candidates

At long last, the Democrats have candidates for both the United States Senate and Lieutenant Governor. Unfortunately, they are not the ideal selections (the “A” team, so to speak) the Democrats were hoping for. Simply put, absent a miracle, the Democrats have surrendered the capacity to run competitive races for 2014 offices. Not win, but run competitively.


If you find yourself asking ‘Why the tombstone,’ click here to read more!

From the mail…

For those readers of this blog who are not also Facebook friends with me, one may not know that I am in Houston this weekend. Among other reasons, I wanted to do a little bit of campaigning for my father (James Horwitz) as well as attend the Johnson-Richards-Rayburn dinner.

I have seen a variety of familiar faces at the early voting locations, including (but not limited to) Roland Chavez, Eric Dick, Michael Kubosh and Assata Richards. Also, as I was walking out of the polling place yesterday (after voting), I literally walked into Ted Cruz. But that is another story for another day.

When I got home today, I found some campaign literature by the front door (most of which, my dogs did not eat/destroy). Among these were fairly unexciting mailers from the “Save the Dome” people and the Ronald Green campaign. The “Texas Conservative Review” came in the mail as well. Again, somewhat unexciting. The only surprise was the endorsement of Ben Hall for Mayor, and that is simply because of the sheer ubiquity of Eric Dick advertisements throughout the booklet.

Click here to read about the vicious mailer attacking a Councilmember!

Judge Pratt accused of corruption

The Houston Chronicle reports that Denise Pratt, a family District Court judge, has been accused of falsifying records and issuing illegally retroactive rulings.

Pratt, a Republican first elected in 2010, is currently running for re-election in 2014 to the bench of the 311st District Court. Anthony Magdaleno is currently running against her in the Republican primary. I am unaware of any Democratic candidates, though I must admit I have not been keeping up with these elections recently.

The alleged impropriety is a serious offense that, if confirmed, could lead to her removal form office. The Chronicle article notes two individuals with pending cases in her court, where the Judge would issue opinions in May, for example, with the decision timestamped as the previous January. As they note:

“Marcia Zimmerman, a 30-year veteran family lawyer based in Clear Lake, said she resorted to filing a motion after waiting for months on a ruling from Pratt. When the ruling finally came in, she was surprised to see the date listed was months before she had filed her motion.

‘I don’t think any of us believed the ruling was actually made before the petition for writ of mandamus because, why would she rule and not tell anybody?’ Zimmerman said, noting that Pratt also missed two scheduled hearings.

Family lawyer Robert Clark said he had a similar experience, arguing a case in January and then waiting five months for a ruling from Pratt that the official court record now says was issued on Jan. 30, the day before the two-day trial actually ended.”

To read who is behind this complaint, click here!

Ben Hall strikes back

Throughout this campaign season, I have been asking for Ben Hall to bring up some concise issues, and explain how he is specifically different form the Mayor on those issues. Over the past two days, for the first time, I have seen Dr Hall’s campaign do this.

First, Hall’s campaign sent me a press release on the topic of animal control in the City. Writing for the campaign, Hall’s press secretary noted three important facts. First, Annise Parker was an unapologetic supporter of making BARC (the pound) a no-kill shelter when she first ran for Mayor. Second, “save-rates” (that is, how many animals are not euthanized by the pound) have actually declined during Parker’s tenure in office. Instead of moving towards being a no-kill city, the Parker administration has actually moved away from that goal. Third, Ben Hall announced his support for making Houston a no-kill city.

In fact, at Wednesday’s press conference, Hall announced the support of “No Kill Texas Advocates,” an organization dedicated to pursuing this goal. Hall’s proposed solution to the problem, however, is somewhat divergent from other traditional no-kill advocates. Hall wished to implement increased privatization of the animal shelters. While it is a novel idea, I fail to understand why or how this would really solve the problem.

To read more about how this issue affects the election, click here!