The Mignon Memo

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…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Posted October 4, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

Check-mate.

Gov. Greg Abbott and Mayor Sylvester Turner have recently been at odds over the possibility of a special session to address the costs of Hurricane Harvey. Last Friday, Governor Abbott presented a $50 million check to Mayor Turner to cover short-term recovery costs. This also resulted in Turner waiting to push a proposed tax increase for the City of Houston. To read more…

CHIP not reauthorized.

U.S. Congress failed to re-authorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, putting more than 390,000 Texas children and pregnant women at risk of losing health insurance coverage. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission says they have enough funds to keep CHIP going until February 2018.   To read more…

Gear up for Game wardens.

A group of Texans is partnering with Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation to launch Gear Up for Game Wardens. Often our Texas Game Wardens are the first responders during natural disasters and other emergencies. This group’s goal is to raise private funds for specialized equipment needed to keep wardens safe while providing critical services to Texans.  To read more…

Only in Austin…

We are a month out from the 2017 Texas Book Festival. TBF was founded in 1995 by First Lady Laura Bush and Mary Margaret Farabee with the mission to honor Texas authors and to promote a love for literature. Since its founding, the TBF has donated nearly $3 million to Texas public libraries and donated more than 81,000 books to students in Title I schools. This year’s big headliner is TOM HANKS who has written a collection of stories in Uncommon Type. You won’t want to miss it! To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Posted September 27, 2017 in The Mignon Memo

More of SB 4 goes into effect.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia blocked part of the “sanctuary cities” bill that requires jail officials to honor all federal immigration detainers. Monday, a panel of appellate judges ruled that the “detainer” part of the bill can go into effect while the lawsuit continues on appeal. A hearing is scheduled November 6th before the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. To read more…

New Chair of the PUC.

Governor Abbott has appointed one of his senior policy advisors, DeAnn Walker, as chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC). Before serving as Gov. Abbott’s advisor on policy related to regulated industries, Walker served as an associate general counsel for CenterPoint Energy.  To read more…

 TDI has a new commissioner.

Governor Abbott has appointed Kent Sullivan as insurance commissioner. Sullivan, an Austin attorney, previously worked for Abbott as his first assistant attorney general. Formerly, Sullivan was a state appeals court judge and state district court judge. To read more…

 Only in Austin…

There is no better time than fall for a round of golf. Mini golf, that is. Peter Pan Mini Golf has been an Austin tradition since 1948. Take your pick of two 18-hole courses, and try your best to navigate the brightly colored character obstacles. Fore! To read more…

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…