The Mignon Memo

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Posted September 13, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

It’s a go for Speaker Joe Straus.  

Yesterday Speaker Straus was honored at a luncheon by the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce where he answered questions about running for speaker. Speaker Straus confirmed he is running for a 6th term as speaker.  To read more…

Hurricane Recovery Czar, John Sharp.

Governor Abbott has appointed Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp to head the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas. Abbot described Sharp’s “simple charge” as “rebuilding Texas ahead of schedule, under budget, and with a friendly smile of constant consumer service.” To read more…

New maps? Not so fast…

Last night the U.S. Supreme Court pushed pause on the redrawing of new Texas Congressional and House district maps before the 2018 election. The lower court ruled that new maps were required, but with last night’s 5-4 decision, redrawing has been halted while Attorney General Ken Paxton appeals.  To read more…

Only in Austin…

Monday, the 16th anniversary of 9/11, the Texas War Memorial announced the creation of “The Price of Liberty Memorial” on the Capitol Grounds. The statue will portray a service member saying good bye to his family for an overseas deployment. The monument is to honor service members who fought in the “Global War on Terror.” The unveiling and dedication will take place on December 2, 2017. To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Posted September 6, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

No second special session for now…

Friday Governor Abbott declared that an additional special session is not necessary for Texas’ response to Hurricane Harvey. The Rainy Day Fund is estimated to have a balance of $10.3 billion. Rainy Day Funds were used after Hurricane Ike hit in the fall of 2008.   To read more…

 

Photo ID still required, for now.

Last night, a 3-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision that Texas can use its revised voter ID law (SB 5) for the upcoming November elections. What does this mean? For now, Texans without photo ID may vote if they present alternate forms of ID and sign affidavits swearing to a “reasonable impediment” keeping them from obtaining proper ID. Just last month, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos found that the revised law failed to fully address the discriminatory features of the original voter ID law. To read more…

 

San Antonio to host a star-studded benefit for hurricane relief.

Tickets go on sale today for a star-studded concert headlined by George Strait to raise money for the Rebuild Texas Fund supporting long-term recovery from Hurricane Harvey. An hour of the concert will be broadcast from The Majestic in San Antonio on ABC for the “Hand in Hand” telethon.  Telethon proceeds will go to the United Way of Greater Houston, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, Direct Relief, Feeding Texas, and the Mayor’s Fund for Hurricane Harvey Relief. To read more…

 

Only in Austin…

 

Mexico Modern, a new exhibit opening September 11th at the Harry Ransom Center, features two decades (1920-1945) of dynamic cultural exchange between Mexico and the United States. This period is marked by the rise of modernism in Mexico, merging indigenous traditions with modernist aesthetics. Admission is free to the public. To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Posted August 31, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

#TexasStrong

We are praying for everyone impacted by Hurricane Harvey and thankful for all the brave helpers out there doing the work to rescue and keep people safe. Not all heroes wear capes. If you would like to donate to organizations providing relief assistance in the communities devastated by Harvey, here is a good resource.  http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/28/546745827/looking-to-help-those-affected-by-harvey-here-s-a-list.

 

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Posted August 25, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

No second special session…

At least not for redistricting purposes. Attorney General Ken Paxton will appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States instead of having legislators redraw the congressional map found unconstitutional last week by a panel of federal judges in San Antonio. To read more…

From NASA to the University of North Texas.

Lesa Roe, current deputy administrator at NASA, has been named the next chancellor of the University of North Texas System. Roe will continue at NASA until she takes over from retiring chancellor Lee Jackson at the beginning of 2018.  Roe is the first woman to serve as UNT System Chancellor. To read more…

Big Tex = Deep Fried Everything!

This Sunday, the Big Tex Choice Awards, will be held in Dallas at the historic Tower Building in Fair Park. The 10 culinary finalists are competing for titles of “Best Taste-Sweet,” “Best Taste-Savory,” and “Most Creative.” Team McGarry is rooting for Deep Fried Chicken Noodle Soup on a Stick! To read more…

Wild Texas Film Tour ramps up.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, YETI, Stewards of the Wild, the Borderlands Research Institute, and King Land & Water are sponsoring an 11-city film tour featuring Texas wildlife and conservation short films. The tour kicks off in San Antonio on September 21st and wraps up in Fort Worth on October 26th. Each event including a film viewing, speakers, and the chance for attendees to learn more about supporting conservation organizations at a pre- or post- party. To learn more…

Only in Austin…

Cisco’s, an Austin Tex-Mex favorite since 1943, is getting new owners. Co-owners Matt Cisneros (grandson of Rudy “Cisco” Cisneros), Will Bridges, Rick McMinn, and Bryan Schneider vow it will remain mostly unchanged, but will expand its hours and add a liquor license.  To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Posted August 21, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

9 out of 20.

The special session ended last night with both chambers adjourning sine die on the 29th day of the first called special session. Nine out of Governor Abbott’s 20 special session items passed and have been signed into law or are awaiting his signature. To read more…

Like finding a $20 bill in your coat pocket.

Well, sort of… Comptroller Glenn Hegar has updated his projection of unexpended general revenue from $41.5 million to $237 million. This was announced as legislators were negotiating a school finance package during the final days of the special session. To read more…

Get your map pencils ready.

A three-judge panel in San Antonio unanimously ruled that two Congressional districts (CD 27 represented by U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi; and CD 35 represented by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin) are unconstitutional and violate the Voting Rights Act. The maps must be redrawn before the 2018 election. To read more…

Only in Austin…

Asleep At the Wheel’s Ray Benson has created a fun live music venue that is an Austin must see. Its rooftop deck is a perfect place to catch a view of the Downtown skyline. Maybe you’ll bump into ‘ol Ray the next time you visit The Rattle Inn.  To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Posted August 21, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

Remembering Governor Mark White.

Governor Mark White (served from 1983-1987) died over the weekend at the age of 77. He leaves behind a legacy in public education, including the controversial “no pass, no play” policy for student athletes. Gov. White will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda, tomorrow, from 12-3pm. To read more…

 

Opposition to the “bathroom bill” continues to build.

Power players in various industries continue to voice their opposition to Governor Abbott regarding the “bathroom bill,” legislation that would regulate which restrooms transgender people may use. Most recently, a letter was sent to the Governor from executives of 11 prominent companies including Frito-Lay North America-PepsiCo, Neiman Marcus, Baker Hughes, and JP Morgan Chase.  The Texas Travel Industry sent a letter from its members yesterday. To read more…

 

 

Who does it best: Congress Street Bridge or Old Tunnel State Park?

Austin is home to the world’s largest urban bat colony with 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats under the Congress Street Bridge. Old Tunnel State Park in Fredericksburg also houses millions of Mexican free-tailed bats, but in an abandoned railroad tunnel repurposed by nature. The trail at Old Tunnel is open year-round, but bat viewing is held nightly May through October. You be the judge of which is the more impressive bat show! To read more…

 

Only in Austin…

 

Meet Butters, the adorable pygmy goat mascot of Civil Goat Coffee Co., a small batch coffee roaster, located near Bee Cave at 704 North Cuernavaca Drive. “Take your goat to work day” may not be every day, but Butters often tags along with Civil Goat owner and founder, Chris O’ Brien. To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Posted August 21, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

Leapin’ Lizards!

The Dallas Zoo has welcomed 6 baby Texas horned lizards. The state reptile is a threated species, so these tiny babies (weighing less than a dime) are important additions that will help save this species. To read more…

 

Deal or No Deal?

 

Monday, Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore made an offer to Rep. Dawnna Dukes to drop corruption charges if she agreed to resign from office and submit to a drug and alcohol assessment by the end of the day Tuesday. That offer has now expired, without an acceptance by Rep. Dukes. Her trial will begin in October. To read more…

 

Campus carry in full effect.

As of yesterday, community colleges must allow licensed gun owners to carry concealed handguns on campus. Campus carry has been in effect for public universities for a year now. Guns will be banned from classes attended exclusively by minors, and in campus day care centers. To read more…

 

Take me out to the ballgame…

Baseball legends, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers and Jeff Bagwell of the Houston Astros were inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame Sunday. Rodriguez is one of the best catchers of all time, and Bagwell one of the best offensive first baseman. To read more…

 

Only in Austin…

Alcomar, named for co-executive chefs Alma Alcocer (of El Alma) and Jeff Martinez (of El Chile), features cuisines of Mexico’s coastlines. Nothing beats the heat better than a cold margarita and a good ceviche. To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Posted August 21, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

Wondering how the rules apply during a special session?

 

HOUSE RULES SPECIFIC TO A SPECIAL SESSION

 

Rule 4, Section 11 (Posting Rule) — 24 hours instead of 5 days

“No committee or subcommittee, including a calendars committee, shall assemble for the purpose of a public hearing during a special session unless notice of the hearing has been posted in accordance with the rules at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing.”

 

Rule 4, Section 29 (Minority Report) — One day instead of two days during last week

“…..except during the last 15 calendar days of a regular session, or the last 7 calendar days of a special session, when the chief clerk shall hold a bill only one calendar day, exclusive of Sunday and the date of committee action, awaiting the filing of a minority report before the bill is filed away as dead.”

 

Rule 5, Section 28 (Debate Limits) — 10 minute limit during last 5 days

“During the last 10 calendar days of the regular session, and the last 5 calendar days of a special session, Sundays excepted, all speeches shall be limited to 10 minutes and shall not be extended.”

 

Rule 6, Section16 (Calendar Layout) — 24 hours instead of 36 hours

“A calendar must be posted on the electronic legislative information system at least 36 hours if convened in regular session and 24 hours if convened in special session before the calendar may be considered by the house, except as otherwise provided by these rules for the calendar on which the general appropriations bill is first eligible for consideration on second reading when convened in regular session.”

 

Rule 8, Section 7 (Prefiling) — 30 days before

“Beginning the first Monday after the general election preceding the next regular legislative session, or within 30 days prior to any special session, it shall be in order to file with the chief clerk bills and resolutions for introduction in that session.”

 

Rule 8, Section 14 (Committee Report Layout) — 24 hours instead of 36 hours

“Each bill or resolution, except the general appropriations bill, shall be delivered to each member by making a copy of the bill or resolution available in an electronic format for viewing by the member and, when the electronic format copy of the appropriate printing becomes available, by sending notice of that fact to a Capitol e-mail address designated by the member, at least 36 hours if convened in regular session and 24 hours if convened in special session before the bill can be considered by the house on second reading. If a member informs the chief clerk in writing that the member desires to receive paper copies of bills and resolutions under this section in addition to delivery in an electronic format, the chief clerk shall place a paper copy of the bill or resolution in the newspaper box of the member as soon as practicable after the electronic copies of the bill or resolution are made available for viewing. A printed copy of the general appropriations bill shall be placed in the newspaper mailbox of each member at least 168 hours during a regular session and at least 72 hours during a special session before the bill can be considered by the house on second reading.”

 

Rule 10, Section 7 (Resolutions) — HRs and HCRs need not be in the call

“The subject matter of house resolutions and concurrent resolutions does not have to be submitted by the governor in a called session before they can be considered.”

 

Rule 13, Section 9(f)(2)

(f) Limitations imposed on certain conference committees by the provisions of this section may be suspended in part by permission of the house to allow consideration of and action on a specific matter or matters which otherwise would be prohibited. Permission shall be granted only by resolution passed by majority vote of the house. All such resolutions shall be privileged in nature and need not be referred to a committee. The introduction of such a resolution shall be announced from the house floor and the resolution shall be eligible for consideration by the house:

(1) three hours after a copy of the resolution has been distributed to each member; or

(2) for a resolution suspending limitations on a conference committee considering the general appropriations bill, 48 hours in a regular session and 24 hours in a special session after a copy of the resolution has been distributed to each member.

 

As for the Senate? Well, the rules have always been a bit more bendy over there.

 

Yesterday the Senate suspended the rules to suspend the “tag” rule, allowing for the Sunset bill to be immediately heard in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee. The Sunset bill, continuing the Texas Medical Board and a few other licensing boards, is on its way to the Senate floor. To read more…

 

Only in Austin…

Need a sweet treat to cool off? Visit Lick for unique flavors like Dewberry Corn Cobbler, Honeyed Peaches with Rosemary, and Lemon Lavender. All of the milk and cream used to make Lick ice cream comes from a local, family-owned dairy in Central Texas; and everything from the sauces, syrups, cakes and marshmallows is made by hand in the Lick kitchen.  Check them out at the Burnet Road location, or at the new Mueller shop! To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Posted July 12, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

Summer is coming to an end …

At least for folks at the Texas Legislature… Governor Abbott has filed the official proclamation calling for the special session to begin Tuesday, July 18th at 10am. Which team are you on–#TeamSunsetandSineDie or #Team20for20?  To read more…

 

Raising Texas Teachers

Charles Butt, chairman and CEO of HEB Grocery Co., has once again demonstrated his commitment to public education in Texas by pledging $50 million to the Raising Texas Teachers scholarship fund. College students at 10 Texas schools will be eligible for scholarships of $8,000 per year to help them pursue teaching as a career. To read more…

 

Redistricting heats up, again.

Monday, the Texas redistricting case began in San Antonio before a panel of three federal judges who will decide whether the state intentionally discriminated against black and Hispanic voters when drawing House and Congressional districts. The trial will last all week, concluding Friday or Saturday. To read more…

 

Only in Austin…

Geraldine’s, named for the infamous guinea fowl that once roamed Rainey Street, is located at the bottom of the posh Hotel Van Zandt. Visitors may enjoy live music, the rooftop lounge, and private cabanas with outdoor seating. It’s the perfect place to spend a summer evening without too much of the Austin heat. To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Posted June 14, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

We have a budget!

Monday, Governor Abbott signed the state budget for the next biennium (2018-2019). But not without making some tweaks first, vetoing $120 million of the $217 billion budget. To read more…

 

New Leadership for San Antonio and El Paso.

San Antonio and El Paso have elected new mayors. Former state representative, Dee Margo, defeated businessman David Saucedo to replace outgoing El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser. San Antonio city councilman Ron Nirenberg defeated incumbent Mayor Ivy Taylor. To read more…

 

Put your summer trip to see the Battleship Texas on hold for now…

The 105-year-old Battleship Texas is closed until further notice after the discovery of a leak by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. An estimated $18 million is necessary for necessary repairs to deteriorating supports near the Texas’ engines. The San Jacinto Monument, however, is still ready for a summer tour. To read more…

 

Only in Austin…

Forever Bicycles, an outdoor art installation by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, is now open at the Waller Delta located at 74 Trinity. Over 1200 bicycles make up this impressive work of art. To read more…