The Mignon Memo

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Posted June 26, 2019 in The Mignon Memo

Representative Jonathan Stickland Will Not Seek Reelection

On Monday, Rep. Jonathan Stickland announced his intent to retire from the Texas House. “Eight years was enough for George Washington, and it certainly is for me. After much prayerful consideration and reflection, I have determined it is not the Lord’s will for me to seek reelection,” he posted on Facebook. To read more, click here.

Porch Pirates Could Receive Jail Time in Texas

Starting September 1st, Texans who take items from mailboxes and porches face tougher penalties for their crimes. Governor Greg Abbott recently signed House Bill 37 which attempts to deter offenders by increasing the punishment for such crimes. To learn more, click here.

Fun with Bill Captions

A few favorites from a list of the best bill captions of the 86th Legislature:

HB 410 – Relating to the personal use exemption for domestic rabbit meat

HB 1699/SB 1693 – Relating to designating November 7 as Victims of Communism Day

HB 2558 – Relating to prohibited retaliation against state employees for referring to climate change or global warming

HB 2596/SB 86 – Relating to the regulation of raising or keeping six or fewer chickens by a political subdivision

HB 3646/SB 2084 – Relating to operating a motor vehicle while a person is occupying the trunk of the motor vehicle

HCR 123 – Designating the breakfast taco as the official state breakfast item of Texas

SB 1271 – Relating to the issuance of Keep Austin Weird specialty license plates

Only in Austin…

“Would you rather boop that nose or play with those ears? The most difficult question ever asked, probably.”  ZilkerBark photographs some of the cutest dogs in Austin — Oliver, a 7 month old Basset Hound, was featured on ZilkerBark’s Facebook page recently.

Speaking of dog noses, the Memo is taking a break for the month of July so we can boop as many doggos as possible.  See you in August!

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Posted June 19, 2019 in The Mignon Memo

Governor’s Veto Period Ended Sunday

Governor Greg Abbott considered 1429 bills after the 86th Legislative Session.  By the end of the veto period Sunday, June 16th, he had vetoed 56 bills, signed 1229 and let 144 become law without his signature.  To review the final list, click here.

Texas Monthly’s 2019 Best and Worst Legislators List

It’s out!  Everyone involved in the legislative session at the Texas Capitol looks forward to the release of Texas Monthly’s biennial tally of successes and failures.  To see the full list, click here.

Whataburger Attempts to Reassure Texans After News of Sale

Reactions to the sale of Whataburger to Chicago-based BDT Capital Partners have been passionate, to say the least.  Click here to see a few clever responses.

Only in Austin…

Plumbers gathered at the Capitol to protest the shuttering of the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners on June 14th.  Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order to save the agency a day earlier.

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Posted June 12, 2019 in The Mignon Memo

Rep. Eric Johnson wins Dallas mayoral runoff

State Representative Eric Johnson will become Dallas’ next mayor, voters decided last Saturday. He was endorsed by a slew of his fellow House members. San Antonio’s mayor Ron Nirenberg was also re-elected. Read more here.

Gov. Abbott has until Sunday, June 16, to sign or veto bills

The Governor has so far signed over 800 bills. He has until Sunday to sign or veto the over 4500 bills passed by both chambers this session. To see where the biggest bills you’ve been following this session are, click here.

Rep. John Cyrier participates in D-Day re-enactment

State Rep. John Cyrier (second from right) was in Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Rep. Cyrier is an avid flyer and serves as a member of the Texas State Guard.

Only in Austin…

In a viral “PSA,” a Nashville comedy group is begging people to move to Austin, apparently hoping to convince viewers that the Live Music Capital is less crowded than Music City. Watch the funny video here.

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Posted June 5, 2019 in The Mignon Memo

Texas AG Ken Paxton sues City of San Antonio over Chick-fil-A Decision

Thought the poultry drama was over and done with? Think again. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the city over documents related to San Antonio’s decision to exclude Chick-fil-A from its airport. Since the decision was announced in March, many Republicans have called ‘fowl,’ saying the exclusion is a violation of the fast food chain’s religious liberty, and Paxton’s office has opened an investigation. To read more…


Want to know how competitive your district is? Check out this interactive from the Texas Tribune.

Were the midterm election results a fluke, or is Texas really turning purple? To find out how competitive your congressional or legislative district is, click here.


Ted Cruz to team up with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on lawmaker-to-lobbyist ban?

Stranger things have happened. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has made headlines this week for finding unlikely common ground with self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez: they both want to ban lawmakers from lobbying after their public service is up – a practice so common it’s often referred to as a ‘revolving door’. To read more…


Only in Austin…

The SXSW Center opened in downtown Austin earlier this week. The snazzy music festival’s new headquarters features a café, coffee bar, gym, rooftop deck, and more!

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Posted May 29, 2019 in The Mignon Memo

Moments from the 86th Legislative Session, which ended Monday, May 27th

Pancake, the First Dog of Texas, joins “the Big 3” at the May 23rd press conference announcing a deal on increased school funding, teacher pay raises and property tax relief. Dogs make any press conference better…

The Women of the Texas House – “Who Runs the World?”

Puppy therapy at the Capitol is a necessity by the end of the session.

Photo marking the end of session for the House Committee on Elections. The “kumbaya” spirit of the session really did last all the way to the end.

Cute kiddos on the House Floor – Rep. Joe Moody’s son Preston stole the show on Sine Die.

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Posted May 22, 2019 in The Mignon Memo

With only a few days left, here’s where the most high-profile bills are in the process

Out of the over 7,000 bills filed during the 86th legislative session, so far only about 500 have passed (that’s around 7% for you math nerds out there). To see what’s happening with the biggest priority bills, check out this page from the Texas Tribune. Negotiations are still in the works for parts of the state budget, school finance and property tax reform.


With deadlines, pressure is mounting

To see what’s in store at the lege for the next few days, check out the deadline calendar here. Today is the last day for the both chambers to consider bills.


Bill raising the legal age for buying tobacco and e-cigarettes to 21 sent to Gov. Abbott

In an effort to curb teen e-cigarette use, SB 21 has passed both the House and Senate. The bill is supported by the makers of Marlboro cigarettes and Juul Labs, the largest e-cig manufacturer, as well as groups like the Texas Medical Association and other health advocates. Read more here.


Only in Austin…

Representative Dade Phelan gets a surprise visit from his family during the last days of session.

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Posted May 21, 2019 in The Mignon Memo

13 Days til Sine Die

Paid sick leave bills revived

Several bills that would prevent cities and counties from adopting local paid sick leave ordinances have advanced out of committee. The bills now include protections for LGBTQ workers that were originally in the bills but later removed by the Senate. The bills are expected to go before the full House soon. Read more here.


“Save Chick-fil-A” bill gets Senate fast track


Another reminder that nothing is really dead until session is over… After the House bill was killed on a point of order last week, the Senate’s version was quietly advanced out of committee on Monday. The bill would prevent the government from penalizing an individual or business for actions based on religious beliefs or moral convictions, but opponents see the bill as opening doors for discrimination. Read more here.


Take a behind-the-scenes look at the people who make the Capitol go ‘round

Check out the latest in the Tribune’s documentary series “Under the Dome” – this one is about Capitol staffers. Fun fact: everyone at MM&A has been a staffer at some point! Click here to watch the video.


Only in Austin…

The House and Senate honored legendary Mavericks player Dirk Nowitzki on Tuesday, and, of course, everyone posted a picture to Twitter, including Rep. Briscoe Cain (shown here).

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Posted May 1, 2019 in The Mignon Memo

Saturday is election day!

This Saturday, May 4, is election day all over Texas! Voters in Dallas, San Antonio, Fort Worth and other cities will be voting for mayor and other local officials. To find out more about the elections, click here.


27 days and counting…

It’s crunch time! Deadlines are coming up quickly. To learn more about the behind-the-scenes of what can kill a bill, check out the latest of Texas Tribune’s “Under the Dome” documentary series here.


Property tax bill SB 2 clears another hurdle, passing in the House

The Senate’s property tax reform measure was debated Tuesday in the House. The bill is all but guaranteed to go to a conference committee and will not go into effect unless education reform is also passed. Both are a priority for Capitol leadership this session. Read more here.


Only in Austin…

2019 in Texas: Leave your horses at home, because electric scooters are all the rage in Austin!

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Posted April 24, 2019 in The Mignon Memo

Senate budget conferees announced

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick announced his picks to work on ironing out differences between the House and Senate’s version of the state’s budget. Sens. Jane Nelson, Joan Huffman, Lois Kolkhorst, Larry Taylor and Robert Nichols, all Republicans, are the Senate conferees. This marks the first time in three decades that the lite gov has snubbed the minority party. Read more here.


Dueling press conferences on immigration

Senate members on both sides of the aisle held press conferences on immigration last week, about an hour apart from one another. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn joined the Republicans, while Rep. Joaquin Castro – a rumored 2020 Cornyn challenger – took part in the Democratic presser. Republicans emphasized crime and drug trafficking in their conference, while Democrats of course took a very different approach. Read more here.


M.J. Hegar enters 2020 Senate race, vying for Cornyn’s seat

Democratic former Air Force pilot M.J. Hegar, who narrowly lost her House race in 2018, is challenging John Cornyn in 2020. Her 2018 race highlights included viral videos that helped increase her fundraising margins. Read more here.


Only in Austin…

The bipartisan seersucker caucus poses for a picture in the House.


This Week in Texas: Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Posted April 17, 2019 in The Mignon Memo

Happy Easter!

The Texas Senate is suspending their regular order of business for Easter break. They’re meeting today but won’t be back in Austin until next Tuesday, April 23, while the House is in session tomorrow but taking Friday and Monday off. Happy Easter, everyone!


After some drama, property tax reform gets preliminary OK in the Senate

There was plenty of drama this week at the lege while both chambers looked to see what the other would do regarding property taxes. Eventually, the Senate broke the stalemate and after a lively debate passed SB 2, which would make cities and counties get approval from voters to raise 3.5% more property tax revenue than the year before. Read more here.


Bushes in the News

The Bush Dynasty lives on in Texas… George P. Bush was recently profiled by the Atlantic, while his cousin Pierce Bush has recently hinted that he might run for Congress in his grandfather’s old district in West Houston. U.S. Rep. Lizzie Pannill Fletcher currently holds the seat. Read the stories here and here.


Only in Austin…

Rep. Zweiner’s daughter Lark has been a constant fixture at the Capitol this session. The cutie has had fun exploring the House floor.