The Mignon Memo

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Posted July 25, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

Formal resignation.

State Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston) has submitted her resignation letter to Gov. Greg Abbott, effective January 2, 2019. Garcia is essentially the rep-elect for U.S. Congressional District 29. In her letter she asks Governor Abbott to call a special election on November 6th, General Election Day, to fill her Senate seat.  To read more…

TLC gets a facelift.

The Texas Legislative Council has always been a one stop shop for legislative research and information. It’s also the agency responsible for assisting legislators with drafting and analyzing proposed legislation. The TLC website has recently undergone an impressive renovation. Check it out!  To read more…

Nacho typical fire call.

Recently, the Austin Fire Department responded to a different type of fire—one caused by the spontaneous combustion of tortilla chips. The factory recently changed its disposal method, grinding chips to powder and storing them in boxes outside. The 100+ degree temps caused the boxes to self-combust! To read more…

Only in Austin…

With the crazy summer heat, being in the water is one of the only ways to enjoy being outside right now. The Barton Creek Greenbelt offers several places where you can access some of Austin’s best swimming spots. Some of these may take a little hiking to get to, but you’ll be rewarded with a refreshing dip in the water. To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Posted July 19, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

Revenue estimate increased.

Comptroller Glenn Hegar has raised the revenue estimate for the next biennium by $2.8 billion. With oil prices up to $70/barrel (instead of $50), and better than expected sales tax collections, budget writers will have $110.17 billion in general revenue to appropriate. To read more…

Capitol Complex work begins.

Phase One of the Capitol Complex project has commenced. Phase one includes the construction of two state office buildings, three of the four blocks of the proposed Texas Mall, underground parking, and an expansion of the Sam Houston building. The Texas Facilities Commission has a website providing updates, and includes updates on road closures due to construction. Late 2021 is the planned completion date. To read more…

An award-winning bromance.

U.S. Representatives Beto O’ Rourke (D-El Paso) and Will Hurd (R-Helotes) have been awarded the 2018 Prize for Civility in Public Life by the National Press Club. In March of 2017 faced with flight cancellations, the two Texans set out on a road trip from San Antonio to D.C. and became an example of bipartisan collaboration. To read more…

Only in Austin…

One of our favorite places in Austin is locally owned Terra Toys. You can spend hours perusing 12,000 square feet of jam packed fun. The best part is that you can actually test out the toys!  To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Posted July 11, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

Texas is good for business.

A recent CNBC study ranks Texas as #1 in the country for doing business. All 50 states were evaluated on 60 measures of competitiveness developed by business and policy experts. Last year Texas ranked #4. To read more…

Another Tech/A&M rivalry. Maybe.

Texas Tech University has plans for a veterinarian school in Amarillo, expected to open in 2019. If all goes smoothly, the first class of Texas Tech vet students will start in fall 2021. Tech sees its program, focused on rural areas experiencing vet shortages, as complimentary to Texas A&M’s program. However, A&M is currently the only vet school in the state, and would like to keep it that way. To read more…

Bag ban is sacked.

The Texas Supreme Court recently struck down a Laredo ordinance banning plastic bags. Attorney General Ken Paxton then sent letters to the 11 cities across the state with bag bans warning that continuing to enforce such bans is illegal. Austin is one of the cities that has said they will no longer enforce its local bag ban. To read more…

Only in Austin…

Tonight, a showing of Wayne’s World kicks off Austin’s Sound & Cinema lineup at the Long Center. Find a spot on the lawn and enjoy live music combined with this cult favorite flick. Food trucks start serving at 6pm, music starts at 7:30pm, and the film begins after sunset. Sound & Cinema is held every other Wednesday through August 15th. To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Posted June 27, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

Special Election for Texas Senate.

A special election to replace Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio) will be held on July 31st. After a 5-day filing period, eight candidates have filed—four Democrats, three Republicans, and one Libertarian. Early voting will run Monday July 16, 2018 – Friday, July 27, 2018. To read more…

7 years later…

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Texas Legislature did not intentionally discriminate against voters of color when drawing congressional and Texas House maps. In a 5-4 decision, SCOTUS upheld 10 out of the 11 districts being challenged. The next round of redistricting begins in a few short years, after the next Census. To read more…

Block grant for Harvey relief.

Almost a year after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, a $5 billion federal block grant for disaster relief has been approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Texas General Land Office’s State Action Plan allocates $2.3 billion in funding for Houston and Harris County, and $2.7 billion for all other areas. To read more…

Only in Austin…

Almost 8 million people have visited the Bullock Texas State History Museum since its opening in 2001. The museum is home to important Texas artifacts, rotating exhibits, and items from library archives that bring Texas history to life. Sunday, you can visit for free and take part in Stars and Stripes Sunday. Live music, art, food—what more could you need for a patriotic celebration? To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Posted June 20, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

RPT Platform.

Last weekend Texas Republicans voted on priority issues to support as the 2019 legislative session approaches. In the end, 10,000 delegates voted on and adopted more than 300 planks. For the full text, click here. Texas Democrats meet this weekend in Fort Worth to adopt their platform and priorities.   To read more…

Juneteenth.

153 years ago, on June 19th, the Emancipation Proclamation was announced publicly in Galveston, 2 years after its issuance by President Lincoln. It wasn’t until this day that 250,000 enslaved Texans learned they had been freed. To read more…

Uresti resigns.

Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio) has resigned from the Texas Senate, effective Thursday. In his resignation letter to Governor Abbott, Uresti asked that a special election be called to coincide with the General Election—November 6, 2018. Former congressman and state representative Pete Gallego (D-Alpine) and Rep. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) continue to campaign. To read more…

Only in Austin…

Ballet Austin and the Butler Center for Dance & Fitness have teamed up for Rhythm on Stage at the Long Center. Thursday is Brazilian Dance Night with live drummers, starting at 7pm. Come and dance the night away. No experience necessary! To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Posted June 20, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

iWatchTexas.

It’s not a competitor to the Apple Watch, but a new mobile app recently introduced to help Texans report suspicious or unusual activity in schools and communities. Possible threats reported on the app are reviewed by law enforcement upon submission. All reports are confidential. iWatch is available for download in the iPhone App Store and Google Play for Androids. To read more…

Flood funds on the ballot.

The Harris County Commissioners Court has unanimously approved a bond proposal to be voted on August 25th, the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey’s landfall in Texas. With voter approval, the bond will fund projects such as drainage improvements, upgraded warning systems, infrastructure repairs, home buyouts, and construction of additional detention basins. To read more…

Texas at the College World Series.

Two Texas teams have advanced to the 2018 College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. This is the 36th trip for the Texas Longhorns, more than any other school, and the third time in five seasons for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The series begins June 16th. To read more…

Only in Austin…

Sam’s Bar-B-Que on E. 12th has been serving BBQ for more than six decades. Sam Campbell opened his restaurant in 1957, and the Mays family took over upon his death. On the outside, the building features a portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr. On the inside, is the brick pit where the magic happens. Check it out and see if there is any truth to Sam’s slogan— “You don’t need no teeth to eat my beef!” To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Posted June 6, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

School safety in the forefront.

Shortly after Governor Abbott released his proposal to address school safety, Speaker Straus and Lt. Governor Patrick tasked the House and Senate with developing their own proposals. Speaker Straus issued new committee charges to several committees and Lt. Governor Patrick appointed the Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security. Both the House and Senate have scheduled committee hearings to begin next week.  To read more…

Young temporary Executive Commissioner for HHSC.

Effective June 1, Cecile Young began as acting Executive Commissioner for the Health and Human Services Commission. She will lead the agency while a permanent successor for Charles Smith is sought. Young most recently served as Deputy Executive Commissioner for HHSC. To read more…

Kimmel v. Cruz

We’ve all heard about the Beto O’Rourke/Ted Cruz faceoff, but a more light-hearted competition between talk show host Jimmy Kimmel and Senator Ted Cruz has been scheduled for Father’s Day weekend. Cruz and Kimmel will head to the basketball court and the loser will donate $5000 to the non-political charity of the winner’s choosing. The hoop challenge is the result of Kimmel’s comment about Cruz’s attire at a recent Rockets playoff game. To read more…

Only in Austin…

The Elephant Room on Congress is one of those unique venues that helps give Austin its claim to fame as “Live Music Capital of the World.” The unassuming basement environment may not be glamorous, but the jazz and blues musicians who play the Elephant Room are exceptional.  Come early for a seat close to the stage! To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Posted May 30, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

School safety in the wake of Santa Fe.

Today Governor Abbott will announce his proposals to address school safety after a mass shooting took place at Santa Fe High School. Work on some of the proposals can begin before the Legislature convenes in January. The others will need legislative approval. Several lawmakers have called on the Governor to call a special session to address this issue.  To read more…

The 8th Wonder makes history.

The Astrodome is now an officially recorded Texas historic landmark with a new marker to boot. What a difference a few years makes—from planned demolition to becoming an historic landmark awaiting a $105 million renovation plan to commence.  To read more…

The swearing begins.

Thursday Ben Leman will be sworn in to serve the remainder of Rep. Leighton Schubert’s term. Leman also won the primary runoff to become the Republican candidate for Texas House District 13 in November. Leman faces Democrat Cecil Webster in November, but this district is Republican-leaning. To read more…

Only in Austin…

Looking for a cool place to spend the summer hours AND get some of the city’s most raved about enchiladas? Look no further than Dart Bowl. Established in 1958, Dart Bowl has been operated as a family owned business for over 50 years. Who doesn’t love old school bowling and homemade enchiladas? To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, March 23, 2018

Posted May 23, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

Primary results—the sequel. 

We’ve done the breakdown of last night’s primary runoff election. Some quick tidbits from last night:

·       2 incumbents lost their seat in the Texas House—Scott Cosper (R-Killeen), and Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville).

·       Moderate Republicans fared well over more ideologically driven Republicans, particularly in Texas House races. This will impact the race for Speaker to be decided in January.

·       Democrats had the only major statewide runoff on their ballots, but voter turnout was dismal. Less than 430,000 Democrats voted during the runoff, down from the 1 million Democrats who voted in the March primary.

For more detailed information, go to the Secretary of State’s website here.

Governor

In a race that was extremely close for most of the night, Lupe Valdez (D-Dallas) defeated Andrew White (D-Houston) with 53% of the vote and will face Governor Greg Abbott (R) in November.

U.S. Congress

Eight open seats in the Texas congressional delegation have made for an extremely competitive election cycle. Five of those seats either had a Democratic or Republican (or both) runoff last night.

CD-2 (SE Texas; north Houston suburbs/eastern Harris County/along Louisiana border): Republican Dan Crenshaw defeated Kevin Roberts with 69.87% of the vote and will face Democrat Todd Litton in November to succeed Ted Poe (R-Humble) who is retiring.

CD-3 (suburban area N and NE of Dallas, including McKinney, Plano, and Frisco): Democrat Lorie Burch defeated Sam Johnson (not the one retiring) with an overwhelming 75% of the vote, and will face Van Taylor (R-Plano) in November to succeed Sam Johnson (R-Plano)—the one who IS retiring.

CD-5 (SE portion of Dallas County, including surrounding counties south and east of Dallas): Outgoing State Representative Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) defeated Bunni Pounds with 53.13% of the vote and is poised to succeed Jeb Hensarling (R-Dallas) who is retiring. He will face Democrat Dan Wood in November in this Republican-leaning district.

CD-6: (south of DFW area and the SE corner of Tarrant County): Republican Ron Wright defeated Jake Ellzey with 52.17% of the vote; Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez defeated Ruby Faye Wooldridge with 53.1% of the vote. Sanchez and Wright will face each other in November, and the winner will succeed Joe Baron (R-Ennis) who is retiring.

CD-7 (western Harris County): Democrat Lizzie Pannill Fletcher defeated Laura Moser with 67.1% of the vote and will face incumbent John Culberson (R-Houston) in November.

CD 10 (stretches from NW Harris County to Austin): Democrat Mike Siegel defeated Tawana Walter-Cadien with 69.9% of the vote and will face incumbent Michael McCaul (R-Tomball) in November.

CD-21 (includes north of San Antonio, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Austin, Kerrville, Fredericksburg): Republican Chip Roy defeated Matt McCall with 52.66% of the vote; Democrat Joseph Kopser defeated Mary Wilson with 57.95% of the vote. Roy and Kopser will face each other in November, and the winner will succeed Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio) who is retiring.

CD-22 (majority of Fort Bend County, unincorporated Katy, northern Brazoria County, and small portion of SE Harris County): Democrat Sri Preston Kulkarni defeated Letitia Plummer with 62.12% and will face incumbent Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land) in November.

CD-23 (SW portion of Texas, stretching from Western San Antonio to just outside of El Paso): Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones defeated Rick Trevino with 67.9% of the vote and will face incumbent Will Hurd (R-Helotes) in November. This is a competitive/swing district.

CD-25 (includes 13 counties stretching from Austin to the DFW area): Democrat Julie Oliver defeated Chris Perri with 52.22% of the vote and will face incumbent Roger Williams (R-Austin) in November.

CD-27 (coastal bend; formerly represented by Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi): Republican Michael Cloud defeated Bech Bruun with 61% of the vote; Democrat Eric Holguin defeated Roy Barrera with 61.89% of the vote. Cloud and Holguin will face off in November. A special election is also being held June 30th to fill the remainder of Farenthold’s term.

CD-29 (eastern portion of Houston): Republican Phillip Aronoff defeated Carmen Maria Montiel with 51.87% of the vote and will face Democrat Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston) in November. The winner will succeed Gene Green (D-Houston) who is retiring. This is a Democratic stronghold.

CD-31 (central Texas strip from north Austin to Temple): Democrat M.J. Hegar defeated Christine Eady Mann with 62.21% of the vote and will face incumbent John Carter (R-Round Rock) in November.

CD-32 (NE suburban Dallas): Democrat Colin Allred defeated Lillian Salerno with 69.49% of the vote and will face incumbent Pete Sessions (R-Dallas) in November. This is a Republican leaning district, but Democrats hope Allred is a candidate that could pull off a long shot win.

Texas Senate

·        SD 17 (includes Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, and Jefferson counties): Democrat Rita Lucido defeated Fran Watson with 57.76% of the vote and will face incumbent Joan Huffman (R-Houston) in November.

Texas House

·        HD 4 (Kaufman and Henderson Counties): Republican Keith Bell defeated Stuart Spitzer with 58.89% of the vote and will succeed Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) who stepped down to run for Congress.

·        HD 8 (Anderson, Freestone, Hill and Navarro Counties): Republican Cody Harris defeated Thomas McNutt with 56.96% of the vote and will succeed Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) who is retiring.

·        HD 13 (covers a 7-county region between Austin and Houston, stretching outside of Bryan down toward Victoria): Republican Ben Leman defeated Jill Wolfskill with 57.3% of the vote and will succeed Leighton Schubert (R-Caldwell) who stepped down to accept a position at Blinn College.

·        HD 37 (large portion of Cameron County, includes South Padre Island, Port Isabel, Brownsville): incumbent Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville) was defeated by challenger Alex Dominguez who received 56.7% of the vote.

·        HD 45 (Blanco and Hays Counties): Democrat Erin Zwiener defeated Rebecca Bell-Metereau with 51.42% of the vote and will face Republican Ken Strange in November. The winner will succeed Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) who resigned to run for Congress.

·        HD 46 (east Austin, Manor, portion of Pflugerville): Democrat Sheryl Cole defeated Chito Vela with 50.88% of the vote and will face Republican Gabriel Nila in November. The winner will succeed Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin) who lost in the March primary. This is a heavily Democratic district.

·        HD 47 (western Travis County, portions of southern Travis County): Democrat Vikki Goodwin defeated Elaina Fowler with 58% of the vote and will face incumbent Paul Workman (R-Austin) in November.

·        HD 54 (western portion of Bell County and Lampasas County): incumbent Scott Cosper (R-Killeen) was defeated by challenger Brad Buckley who garnered 58.25% of the vote. Buckley will face Democrat Kathy Richerson in November. This district is Republican-leaning.

·        HD 62 (Delta, Fannin, and Grayson Counties): Republican Reggie Smith handily defeated Brent Lawson with 71.19% of the vote and will face Democrat Valerie Hefner in November. The winner will succeed Larry Phillips (R-Sherman) who retired to become a district judge. This district is Republican-leaning.

·        HD 64 (includes Denton, Corinth, Hickory Creek, Lake Dallas, and Shady Shores): Democrat Andrew Morris defeated Mat Pruneda with 54% of the vote and will face incumbent Lynn Stucky (R-Denton) in November. This is a Republican-leaning district.

·        HD 107 (includes parts of Dallas, Mesquite, Garland): Republican Deanna Metzger defeated Joe Ruzicka with 56.1% of the vote and will face incumbent Victoria Neave (D-Dallas) in November. This is a competitive/swing district.

·        HD 109 (wraps around Dallas to the south):  Democrat Carl Sherman defeated Deshaundra Jones with 64.23% of the vote and will succeed Helen Giddings (D-DeSoto) who is retiring. No Republican is running for this seat.

·        HD 121 (Bexar County communities of Alamo Heights, Olmos Park, Terrell Hills, and NE San Antonio): Republican Steve Allison defeated Matt Beebe with 57.46% of the vote and will face Democrat Celina Montoya in November. The winner will succeed Speaker Joe Straus (R-Alamo Heights) who is not seeking re-election.

·        HD 133 (West Houston, includes Bunker Hill, Piney Point, Hunters Creek Village): Democrat Marty Schexnayder defeated Sandra Moore with 56.36% of the vote and will face incumbent Jim Murphy (R-Houston) in November.

Judicial Races

Justice, 3rd Court of Appeals, Place 6: Republican Mike Toth defeated Donna Davidson with 52.83% of the vote.

Justice, 5th Court of Appeals, Place 12: Republican Jim Pikl defeated Randy Johnson with 57.74% of the vote.

 

 

 

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Posted May 23, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

Early voting underway.

Early voting for primary runoffs began Monday and ends Friday. Actual runoff election day is May 22nd. If you didn’t vote in the March primary, you are still able to vote in the runoff. Check here to find all the runoffs by county. Local elections are important too! https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/candidate-filing/cf-report.aspx   To read more…

Groceries in the age of technology.

HEB has named its first chief digital officer, Jag Bath, CEO of Favor Delivery. Bath will remain CEO of Favor, a company HEB purchased in February, as well as oversee HEB’s digital products and services. To read more…

Texas sues over opioid epidemic.

Yesterday, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that Texas and five other states are suing Purdue Pharma for deceptive trade practices that helped exacerbate the nation’s opioid epidemic. The AG’s office is still investigating other pharmaceutical companies and distributors. To read more…

Only in Austin…

Unplugged at the Grove is one of Austin’s longest running free concert series. On Thursday evenings, you can enjoy some of the best music Austin has to offer at Shady Grove on Barton Springs Road. Check out the “don’t want to miss” lineup. To read more…