The Mignon Memo

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Posted September 12, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

Top ranking Texas institutions of higher ed.

The 2019 U.S News & World Report rankings have two Texas universities in the top 50—Rice University at #16 and the University of Texas-Austin at #49. While not in the top 50, Southern Methodist University (#59), Texas A&M University (#66), and University of Houston (#171) all moved up from last year. To read more…

40 DAYS….

Until early voting begins for the November 6th General Election. Already registered? GREAT! Not registered in Texas? Request a postage-paid voter registration form here: https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/vrrequest/index.asp The deadline for registration is October 9th.  To read more…

Remember the Alamo.

As long as its heroically. A State Board of Education workgroup initially proposed removing the word “heroic” when describing defenders of the Alamo. The removal was part of the group’s work to streamline curriculum standards for social studies. After pushback from advocates, George P. Bush, and Governor Abbott, it appears “heroic” will stay on the books. A preliminary vote is Friday. To read more…

Remembering 9/11 in Austin: a memorial to honor fallen emergency services personnel.

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Posted August 29, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

Gubernatorial debate on the books.

Governor Abbott and his Democratic challenger, Lupe Valdez, will debate in Austin on September 28th. Telemundo will also broadcast the debate with instantaneous Spanish translation. To read more…

New HHSC Commissioner.

Governor Abbott has appointed Courtney Phillips as the new Executive Commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Phillips currently serves as the CEO of Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services. Phillips will take over from acting commissioner Cecile Young on October 19th. To read more… 

Big Tex Winners.

With the State Fair of Texas just around the corner, Texans are getting creative again with fair food. The 2018 Big Tex Choice Award winners are still as sweet and/or as fried as you can get! Most Creative- Cotton Candy Taco; Best Taste (Savory)- Fernie’s Hoppin’ John Cake with Jackpot Sauce; Best Taste (Sweet)- fried Arroz con Leche. To read more…

Only in Austin…

We are in the 2nd week of Austin Restaurant Week(s), benefiting the Central Texas Food Bank. From August 16-September 3rd, some of the best restaurants in Austin offer set menus with a portion of the specially-set price going directly to the Food Bank. Now is the time to try that restaurant you’ve always wanted to eat at and feel good about it at the same time. To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Posted August 22, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

76 days.

Until the November 6th General Election. Take a look at the candidates on the ballot. Don’t forget to register by October 9th. Early voting will run October 22- November 2.  To read more…

Changes at TCEQ.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has appointed Toby Baker as its new executive director. Baker stepped down as a TCEQ Commissioner to accept the position. Governor Abbott has appointed Emily Lindley as the next commissioner. Lindley comes from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) where she served as chief of staff for Region Six. To read more…

Interim Chancellor appointed.

On September 1st, Ted Mitchell will take over as Chancellor for the Texas Tech University System. Mitchell is currently President of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock. To read more…

Only in Austin…

 You may have passed the “We Rock” billboard for Nature’s Treasures on I-35, but have you ever stopped to visit? What you’ll find is a 7,000 sq. ft. showroom filled with crystals, fossils, gemstones, and jewels. Outside is a rock yard where you can sift through mounds of bulk rough rock and boulders. It’s an amateur geologist’s dream! To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Posted August 15, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

Battle of the Petes.

On September 18th, Democrat Pete Gallego (D-Alpine) and Republican Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton) will face off in a special election runoff to fill the Texas Senate seat formerly held by Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio). Early voting runs September 10th – 14th.   To read more…

Remembering Babe.

Former state Senator A.R. “Babe” Schwartz (D-Galveston) died Friday at the age of 92. Although he served in the 1960s and ‘70s, he remained a fixture at the Capitol as he continued to champion environmental and conservation causes. He and his stories will be missed. To read more…

Texas Film Trails.

Looking for one more summer road trip? The Texas Film Commission has put together the Texas Film Trails project to guide film buffs around Texas sites featured in famous films. Self-guided trails include—Fear the Walking Dead Trail, Texas Classics Trail, and the Richard Linklater Trail. There is something for everyone. To read more…

Only in Austin…

Once Captain Quackenbushes Intergalactic Dessert Company and Espresso Café was Austin’s first coffeehouse and located on The Drag. Now on 43rd Street and with an abbreviated name, Quack’s Bakery is still a local go to for sweet tooth satisfaction and caffeination. All bakery goods are baked on site and from scratch. “Meet me at Quack’s!” To read more…

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Posted August 15, 2018 in The Mignon Memo

Less than 100 days…

 

Until the General Election on November 6, 2018. Double check your voter registration by clicking on the link below. The last day to register is October 9th.  To read more…

Taking care of our retired teachers.

After a Teacher Retirement System vote to lower the expected rate of return on investments, Texas retired teachers are looking to lawmakers to make sure funding for the TRS pension fund is shored up. Without support from the Legislature, pension benefits and contribution rates could be decreased. To read more…

New class of game wardens for Texas.

Since 1895, Texas game wardens have been an integral part of law enforcement, including land, water, and air patrols; search and rescue missions; and other tactical operations, all while protecting Texas’ natural resources. We congratulate the newly commissioned class of Texas game wardens.  To read more…

Only in Austin…

Since 2011, Juiceland has served up refreshing juices and smoothies to Austinites. There are now dozens of locations to choose from, including a few in Houston, Dallas, and even Brooklyn, New York. What started as menu with only four smoothie options has expanded exponentially and includes vegan-friendly salads and wraps.  To read more…

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…