The Mignon Memo

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Posted January 10, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

Bulletproof.

On Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, $23 million in grants for rifle-resistant vests to 453 jurisdictions around the state was announced at the Dallas Police Association. Legislation was passed last session and funding was set aside in the budget for this purpose. An estimated 32,842 rifle-resistant vests are expected to be purchased with the $23 million. To read more…

Texas Capitol Hosts World Series Championship Trophy.

Yesterday the 2017 Houston Astros World Series Championship Trophy made a stop at the Texas Capitol, kicking off its 100-city tour. The Governor’s Public Reception Room was open to the public for fans to get a peek of the gold-plated beauty. To read more…

Joint Interim Committee on Prescribing Appointed.

The Joint Interim Committee on Prescribing and Dispensing Controlled Substances has been appointed. Senate membership includes: Sen. Charles Schwertner, MD (R-Georgetown), Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin), Sen. Dawn Buckingham, MD (R-Lakeway). House membership includes: Rep. J.D. Sheffield, DO (R-Gatesville), Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin), and Rep. Dewayne Burns (R-Cleburne). Drs. Schwertner and Sheffield will co-chair the committee.

Only in Austin…

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s exhibit Read My Pins is currently showing at the LBJ Library and Museum until January 21st. Featured are more than 200 pins and brooches from her personal collection. The exhibition examines the jewelry for their historic significance as well as for their ability to convey a foreign policy message. To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Posted January 10, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

New Texas Ethics Commissioners.

House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick have both named appointees to the Texas Ethics Commission. Speaker Straus has appointed Randy Erben, an attorney and former lobbyist, who previously served as Governor Abbott’s Legislative Director. Lt. Governor Patrick has appointed Joseph Slovacek, a Houston real estate attorney. To read more…

Texan of the Year.

As 2017 ended, Speaker Joe Straus was named the 15th annual Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year, largely in part to his stance against the “bathroom bill.” To read more…

7 weeks and counting.

In 7 weeks, early voting will begin for the primary election in Texas. 9 weeks until Primary Election Day on March 6th—the earliest in the country. Bookmark this list for a great reference on candidates and election summaries—from statewide office to the State Board of Education. To read more…

Only in Austin…

A new year, a fresh start, and new restaurants to open in Austin in 2018! Hopefully these future foodie stops don’t hinder too many of your healthy New Year’s resolutions. To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Posted December 13, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

Your candidates are…

The candidate filing period ended Monday after several twists and turns. At least 13 Texas House members will not be returning because of retirement or because of running for another office. At least one Texas Senator, maybe two, will not be returning because of congressional races. Seven members of Congress are also not returning to the U.S. House of Representatives. This link leads you to what continues to be our favorite spreadsheet of candidates. To read more…

From GLO to EPA.

Anne Idsal, the Texas General Land Office’s (GLO) Chief Clerk has been named the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regional administrator for region 6. Region 6 includes Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Previously, Idsal was general counsel at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). To read more…

We’re all ears.

What do you love/not love about the Mignon Memo? Let us know! We want this to be something fun and useful for you. This link will take you to a 1 minute survey. To read more…

Only in Austin…

Last night, the first light of the menorah outside of the Texas Capitol was lit. Chanukah continues through Wednesday, December 20th with an additional candle being lit each evening.

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Posted December 6, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

The fight over Voter ID continues.

Tuesday, Texas and minority rights groups returned to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals over the recent revisions made to the voter ID law after being declared intentionally discriminatory. Revisions are to take effect January 1, 2018, but that could change based on what the 5th Circuit decides after this hearing. To read more… 

5 days left for filing.

With 5 days remaining for candidates to file, there are a lot of moving pieces. Former State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio) is running for his old House seat; State Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) is running for the congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Dallas); and Lupe Valdez (D-Dallas) has resigned as Dallas County Sheriff to run against Governor Abbott. Check this list for all the twists and turns.  To read more…

#HoustonStrong

José Altuve of the Houston Astros and J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans have been jointly named as Sports Illustrated’s 2017 Sportsperson of the Year. Watt raised millions of dollars for Hurricane Harvey recovery and Altuve helped bring home an unlikely World Series championship to a city needing hope. Congrats! To read more…

Only in Austin…

After you’ve taken your picture with the big jolly guy, why not grab a photo with a Willie Nelson nutcracker? The 10-foot-tall Red Headed Stranger can be found out at The Domain along with an armadillo snowman and a cowboy version of Santa.

 

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Posted November 29, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

Another retirement in the Texas House.

Rep. Helen Giddings (D-DeSoto) has announced that she will not seek re-election. Rep. Giddings is chair of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus and vice chair of the House State Affairs committee. Casey Littlejohn, a Republican, was running for HD 109 before Giddings’ announcement. December 11th is the candidate filing deadline.  To read more…

Price of Liberty monument.

Saturday, a new monument honoring Texas soldiers who served in post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be unveiled on the Capitol grounds. The “Price of Liberty” monument, a 20-foot tall bronze sculpture, has been in the works since 2015. The angel in the monument was modeled after the Goddess of Liberty on the dome of the Texas Capitol.   To read more…

A pending appointment.

Gov. Abbott has announced that he will appoint his general counsel, Jimmy Blacklock, to replace Judge Don Willet on the Texas Supreme Court. This appointment is contingent upon Willett’s confirmation by the U.S. Senate to the federal bench. Once appointed, Blacklock would have to run for re-election next year. To read more…

Only in Austin…

The Capitol Christmas trees have arrived! Two 23-24 feet tall Virginia Pines from the Elves Christmas Tree Farm in Denison have been transported by the Texas Parks of Wildlife Department and delivered by the Texas Christmas Tree Growers Association. You can find one in the House chamber and the other in the Senate chamber. They really are an impressive and twinkly sight to see. To read more…

 

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Posted November 29, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

CHIP program in danger.

If Congress fails to reauthorize the CHIP program, 400,000 low-income children in Texas will lose health care coverage. HHSC has already set its automated computer system to cut off new enrollment into the program as of December 14, 2017. The agency has also requested from CMS to retain $90 million to push the program along until the end of February, giving Congress time to pass legislation renewing the program. To read more…

Another Texas medical school in the works?

The University of Houston System regents have voted unanimously to create a medical school. If approved and funding is secured from the Legislature and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, UH would begin admitting medical students in 2020. The System’s goal would be to produce more primary care physicians for rural and inner-city populations, while graduating diverse doctors whose demographics are representative of Texas. To read more…

Candidate Tracker.

A lot has happened in the last week, and will continue to do so until candidate filing ends on December 11, 2017. Click on this link to keep up with the latest candidate filings. To read more…

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
-Mignon, Chelsy, and Juliana

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Posted November 8, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

Constitutional Newbies.

With roughly 5.6% of registered voters voting, all 7 constitutional amendments passed with large margins.

Proposition 1: Provides a property tax exemption to certain partially disabled veterans or a surviving spouse.

Proposition 2: Would ease restrictions on taking out a home equity loan.

Proposition 3: The term of an appointee of the Governor, who has not been re-appointed, would end at the beginning of the next legislative session.

Proposition 4: Requires the courts to notify the office of the Attorney General when the state is sued, then requires the courts to wait 45 days before taking action.

Proposition 5: Allows the charitable foundations of professional sports teams to conduct raffles.

Proposition 6: Provides a property tax exemption to surviving spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty.

Proposition 7: Provides an exception that would allow financial institutions, including banks and credit unions, to conduct raffles.

To read more…

Another retirement for the Texas congressional delegation.

 Congressman Ted Poe (R-Humble) is the third Texan in Congress this week to announce his retirement. CD 2 includes parts of west Houston and northern suburban areas like Kingwood. To read more…

Texas’ first Director of Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation.

Kim Grabert has started as the state’s first Director of Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation, a position funded through a grant out of the Governor’s office. Grabert comes from Florida where she held a similar position as Statewide Human Trafficking Prevention Director for the Florida Department of Children and Families. Her work will include bringing stakeholders together to make sure that the survivors of trafficking receive the services they need over the entire continuum of care. To read more…

 Only in Austin New Braunfels…

It’s the time of year for a short day trip to New Braunfels for Wurstfest, a 10-day Bavarian celebration! There’s plenty of food, music, dancing, and carnival fun. Wearing your dirndls and lederhosen are encouraged. Prosit! To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Posted November 8, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

Let the Race Begin!

With Speaker Staus’ announcement that he will not be seeking re-election, we have an open race for Speaker of the Texas House. Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Richmond) has filed his papers as a candidate for Speaker. Many more have expressed interest, but have not officially filed.  To read more…

Senate Sunset Appointees.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has appointed the following to the Sunset Advisory Commission: Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) as Chair, Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville), Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway), Sen. Bob Hall (R-Canton), and Emily Pataki (public member-Cedar Park). Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) will continue to serve as the lieutenant governor’s appointee. The Sunset Advisory Commission is responsible for reviewing state agencies and approving recommendations to eliminate waste, duplication, and inefficiency in those agencies. To read more…

Hensarling to retire.

Yesterday, Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-Dallas) made a surprise announcement that he will not seek re-election. Hensarling is currently the Chair of the Financial Services Committee. U.S. Congressional District 5 stretches from Mesquite to Palestine, overlapping much of the Texas Senate District represented by Sen. Bob Hall (R-Canton).  To read more…

Only in Austin…

As we transition from haunted houses to gingerbread houses, we’ve got a place you will want to check out sometime between November 24 and Christmas Eve. Miracle, a holiday pop-up bar will transform The Eleanor into Miracle on 5th Street. The pop-up will feature seasonally-themed cocktails in a fully festive atmosphere. To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Posted October 24, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness.
Speaker Joe Straus has created a new House Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness. This committee, chaired by Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), will look at factors drawing businesses to Texas like education and infrastructure. To read more…

Early voting starts Monday.

Tuesday, November 7th is the day Texans will vote on Constitutional Amendments proposed by the Texas Legislature. Early voting starts Monday, October 23rd and ends Friday, November 3rd. Visit the Secretary of State’s website to view ballot language: https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/forms/2017-sample-ballot.pdf. To read more…

Take me out to the ballgame.

 Today the Houston Astros face the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium for Game 5 of the American League Championship Series. The Series is currently tied 2-2, after the Astros lost their 2-game lead. Wouldn’t it be nice to see a Texas team in the World Series? Go ‘Stros! To read more…

Only in Austin…
It’s another busy weekend for Austin as it hosts the Formula 1 Grand Prix out at the Circuit of The Americas. Not into the race? Not to worry. Justin Timberlake and Stevie Wonder will also be performing. To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Posted October 11, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

A Presidential Performance.

Every living former U.S. President will attend a hurricane relief event in College Station on October 21st. Proceeds will go to relief efforts in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Performances include former Aggies Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen, and country greats like Alabama and the Gatlin Brothers. To read more…

Hegar: Budget hit, but not the economy.

Yesterday, Comptroller Hegar released his 2018-19 Certified Revenue Estimate, how much revenue will be available for spending in the state’s next two-year budget cycle. The estimated $107.33 billion will support the budget passed by the Legislature. What is not fully reflected in this CRE is the impact of Hurricane Harvey and the multi-billion dollar hit it will inflict on the budget. To read more…

Red River Showdown.

 

This weekend is the legendary matchup between the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners. This college football rivalry is also known for its festive backdrop, the State Fair of Texas. Whether your team wins or loses, there is always a deep-fried treat close by! To read more…

Only in Austin…

While some will head north on I-35 for Texas/OU weekend, others will flock to Austin for the second weekend of the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Last Saturday, festival goers witnessed a tribute to Tom Petty when a team of skydivers jumped out over Zilker Park to “Free Fallin’” as footage from Petty at ACL showed on all stage screens simultaneously. This weekend will no doubt have its own surprises. To read more…