Abbott opposes texting ban

The Associated Press reports (the Corpus Christi Caller-Times had it first, but it is paywalled) that Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican nominee for Governor, would veto a proposed ban on texting-while-driving. As many will recall, Governor Rick Perry vetoed such a bill in 2011, and in 2013 the bill languished in the Legislature and never made it to his desk. Perry claimed that educational campaigns were preferable to changing the law and that it amounted to governmental micromanaging of one’s life. Indeed, Abbott has taken up the same point of view.

In 2011, both Houses of the Legislature passed the bill –which would have made it a moving violation citation (Class C misdemeanor) to send ANY type of communication from your cell phone while it is in motion, including not only texting, but email, messaging and any type of general internet usage– by supermajorities, veto-proof margins. However, because the Legislature adjourned before Perry could offer a final adjudication on the matter, his veto could not be overridden. The bill was heralded in the Legislature, of all people, by State Representative Tom Craddick (R-Midland County), a firebrand Republican who once served as Speaker of the House. He introduced the bill in 2013, where it was passed by a supermajority, though no vote was ever taken in the Senate.

Click here to read more about future prospects!

Texpatriate’s Questions for Rita Lucido

Editorial note: This is the first in a series of interviews we will attempt to have with both every Statewide candidate in a Democratic or Republican primary, as well as every candidate in a Harris County Democratic or Republican primary. Unlike our municipal questionnaire, these questions will differ substantially from one candidate to another, given the diverse nature of the offices up for grabs.

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Rita Lucido, Democratic Candidate for the Texas Senate District 17

Click here to read Sophia’s interview and analysis!

Texpatriate on Educational mediocrity

This past legislative session, this board intently watched the radical educational reforms proposed, debated and passed by the members of the State Legislature. Just before the end of the regular session, both Democrats and Republicans came together to unanimously pass HB5, which revamped both testing and graduation requirements for High School this State. While this bill accomplished many good things, such as reducing the number of onerous and unnecessary standardized tests administered throughout the year and placing a higher emphasis on specialized and vocational training, this board has been disappointed by other provisions. Specifically, those that water down a strong core curriculum and unintentionally place too many students on a road to mediocrity.

Last week, the State Board of Education voted nearly unanimously to eliminate Algebra II as a requirement for a diploma. Nevermind that four years of mathematics are still required, meaning that, in today’s age of accelerated track students taking Algebra II in the 9th or 10th grades, advanced Calculus may sometimes be required for graduation even as Algebra I or introductory Geometry could be the terminal subject required for many other students.

Click here to read the rest of this editorial!

TPA Roundup (November 25, 2013)

Note: The Texas Progressive Alliance or other blogs do not necessarily represent the views of Texpatriate or its contributors.

The Texas Progressive Alliance is thankful for many things, this week and every week, as we bring you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff calls on Wendy Davis to make an issue out of Rick Perry’s refusal to follow the Defense Department’s directive on same sex benefits for National Guard members.

Texpatriate has special news this week, as Sophia announced in her Week in Reviewvideo that founder and Editorial Board member Noah M. Horwitz will be moving to Austin this January to continue his collegiate studies at the University of Texas and lead a new and exciting chapter for Texpatriate in the State Capital.

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Horwitz on moving to Austin

At the risk of appearing excessively cold to a significant transition in my life, I will delve into greater detail about what Sophia mentioned in passing in her video last night: I am moving to Austin in January and will transfer colleges to the University of Texas at Austin. The two of us penned a press release on this matter as well, which I have attached below.

Moving to the State Capital, I plan on taking full advantage of my repatriating into the middle of the political landscape. We are working on some big projects that I think will help to expand our visibility and broaden our readership. Additionally, we are looking at hiring more Staff Writers–though nothing is for certain at this point. Like I have said before, more details will be figured out and announced in the coming days and weeks.

Additionally, a serendipitous consequence of my relocation to Austin will be a much closer proximity to Houston. Rest assured, I will continue covering City Hall politics and local primaries with great alacrity. I will have my car with me, which means I can take my infamous “capricious trips” back home whenever the need arises without additionally financial penalty, unlike now when I must purchase airline tickets months in advance. I doubt I will actually return home more than I historically have been recently (roughly once a month), but I believe I will be able to more strategically choose when I come home, so that I may maximize the effectiveness of my visits.

Click here to read the Press Release!