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This Week in Texas: Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Posted March 20, 2019 in Uncategorized

Whoa, we’re halfway there!

Monday marked the halfway point for the 86th legislative session, which means the House and Senate are picking up in earnest. The House heard its first set of bills on the floor Tuesday.

 

Christina Morales sworn in Monday

Newly elected Rep. Christina Morales, D-145, was sworn in Monday, March 18. She is Harris County’s third freshman House Democrat. Read more about her here.

 

Will Texas raise the smoking age to 21 this session?

A bill with broad support from lawmakers was heard for the first time in a Senate hearing this week. It aims to reduce teen smoking – including e-cigarettes – by raising the smoking age from 18 to 21. Read more about the bill here.

 

Only in Austin…

El Paso Representative Cesar Blanco poses with the “Texas House Candy Jar.”

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Posted December 19, 2014 in The Mignon Memo, Uncategorized

News this week:

  • Mark your calendar. January 6, 2015 is the special election date to fill three legislative seats that are being vacated:

o   Senate District 26 (San Antonio): Leticia Van de Putte is leaving to run for mayor of San Antonio.

o   House District 17 (central Texas; includes Lee, Bastrop, and Caldwell counties): Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt is leaving to serve as general counsel for the Texas Department of Agriculture.

o   House District 123 (San Antonio): Mike Villarreal is also running for mayor of San Antonio.

Candidates for all three seats must file applications with the Secretary of State no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 22, 2014. Early voting begins Monday, December 29, 2014.

 

  • The 2015 Inaugural Committee, responsible for overseeing inauguration festivities for Governor-elect Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor-elect Dan Patrick, has been announced. Ardon Moore of Fort Worth will chair the committee, with Alejandra de la Vega Foster of El Paso and Toni Brinker Pickens of Dallas serving as co-chairs. Inauguration Day is January 20, 2015.

 

  • Texas A&M University, the alma mater of outgoing governor Rick Perry, may rename its 100 year-old “Academic Building” the “Governor Rick Perry ’72 Building.” The Board of Regents meets Thursday to vote on the proposal.

 

Only in Austin… A truly Austin holiday tradition is to decorate a cedar tree along Loop 360. No one knows how this all got started, but the tale is that it began with just one family decorating a single tree. The number of decorated trees grows each year. If you decide to go decorate a tree on Loop 360, don’t forget to un-decorate it after the New Year!    

360 xmas trees

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This Week in Texas: Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Posted October 30, 2014 in The Mignon Memo, Uncategorized

state cemetary tombstones

Haunting tales of the week:

  • TRICK OR TREAT! Early voting ends this Friday, October 31st. Click here for the early voting locations in your county and here for Mignon’s early voting primer. Tuesday, November 4th, is Election Day. If you are an Election Day voter, you can find your Election Day polling location here. GO VOTE!

o   Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)

o   Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS

o   Texas personal identification card issued by DPS

o   Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS

o   United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph

o   United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph

o   United States passport

  • Phil Collins returned to the Alamo to deliver his private collection of Texas artifacts. Items like Davy Crockett’s leather pouch and gun, Jim Bowie’s famous knife, and letters from William B. Travis were transported in crates to the Alamo Executive Offices located in the Gallagher House in San Antonio.
  • This weekend people from all over the world will flock to Austin for F1 weekend. In addition to F1 races, the Circuit of the Americas track has hosted 200+ events this past year. Races, the ESPN X Games, and multiple concerts at the Austin360 Amphitheater, have created a combined impact of $897 million on Austin’s economy. Since the track’s opening nearly three years ago, its estimated impact on the city’s economy is $2.8 billion.

 

Only in Austin…
state cemetery entrance

The Texas State Cemetery is just blocks away from the Capitol on the east side of I-35. The cemetery was established in 1851, with the death and burial of General Edward Burleson, who served with Sam Houston in the Battle of San Jacinto. Stephen F. Austin, Governor John Connally, Governor Ann Richards, Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock, Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, and author James Michener are just a few of the other “Honored Texans” that have found a final resting place at the State Cemetery. The grounds of the cemetery are open 8am-5pm daily and guided tours may be booked through the Texas State Cemetery office. Get in the spirit of Halloween and stop by for a visit.

 

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This Week in Texas: Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Posted October 27, 2014 in The Mignon Memo, Uncategorized

Tiny pies 2 Things to know this week:

  • On the first day of early voting, October 21st, major counties like Harris and Tarrant reported an increase in the number of early ballots cast compared to the election four years ago. Harris County reported an increase of 20% and Tarrant County an increase of 10%. Don’t be spooked by the lines on Election Day—VOTE EARLY through October 31st! Check your county registrar site for polling locations here.

 

  • The Texas Workforce Commission reports that Texas has added 413,700 new jobs to the Texas economy, breaking its record for jobs added in a 12-month span. The Texas unemployment rate has also fallen to 5.2%, down from a year ago when the state’s employment rate was 6.3%.

 

  • Austin resident, filmmaker Richard Linklater, was recently spotted filming on and around the campus of Texas State University. It is rumored he is working on the sequel to Dazed and Confused. Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron are said to have been on set. Filming will continue through November 29th in locations around Austin, San Antonio, San Marcos, Taylor, Elgin and Bastrop.

 

  • The 2014 State Fair of Texas has wrapped up its 24-day run, reporting official sales around $41 million. That’s a lot of corny dogs! Ever wonder what they do with all that grease?

    Only in Austin…   What do you do when you want to pack an individual portion of pie in your son’s lunchbox? Bake tiny hand-held pies and start a business called Tiny Pies, of course. Well, that’s what Amanda Bates and her mother, Kit Seay, decided to do. Amanda and Kit first sold their pies at local farmers’ markets around town, but after being featured in Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine, business took off. Go visit them at their Burnet Road location for tiny pies, teeny tiny pies, pie pops, empanadas, and even savory pies. Tiny Pies has been Team McGarry tested and approved!      Tiny pies  

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Wish you were here!

Posted April 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

It is a gorgeous day here in the ATX! Here is a quick picture of the rose garden at the Texas Capitol building. We like to “stop and smell the roses” to and from the Capitol each day. Have a great Monday, everyone!

This Week in Texas: January 5, 2011

Posted January 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

Texas Commissioner of Insurance Mike Geeslin announced today that he will not seek another term. His current term ends Feb. 1st but he stated he will stay on for a transition period. Governor Perry has not made any announcement about a replacement for this appointed position.

Speaker Joe Straus has appointed Rep. Will Hartnett (R-Dallas) to serve as the master of discovery in the election contest filed by Republican Dan Neil against Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) in House District 48. Hartnett previously served as master of discovery in the 2005 election contest between former state Rep. Talmadge Heflin and current state Rep. Hubert Vo, both of Houston.

Governor Rick Perry announced several new assignments in the governor’s office. Former Perry campaign manager Rob Johnson is going into the governor’s office as a senior advisor. Jeff Boyd will be the governor’s general counsel; Brandy Marty will be the director of Budget, Planning and Policy; Milton Rister will serve as director of Administration; and Sarah Floerke was named deputy legislative director and House liaison

This Week in Texas: August 11, 2010

Posted August 11, 2010 in Uncategorized

Mignon Memo: This Week in Texas
Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

This week, we continue our focus on frequently asked questions.
What is the Rainy Day Fund? Where does the money in the fund come from and are there limitations on its use?
In 1988, Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment that required periodic transfers into a new Economic Stabilization Fund, or “Rainy Day Fund,” as a cushion against unexpected revenue shortages. Deposits into the fund consist of transfers of half of any General Revenue Fund surplus in each biennium and 75 percent of any oil and natural gas production taxes exceeding 1987 levels. The fund is capped at 10 percent of the total general revenue budget. Texas State Comptroller Susan Combs has forecast that Texas will have $8.2 billion in its Economic Stabilization Fund by Aug. 31, 2011.
In Texas, in order to use the money in the fund to address an unexpected budget deficit or a decrease in revenue certified by the comptroller, there must be a three-fifths vote of each house of the Texas Legislature. In order to use money for any other purpose, like a budget shortfall, a two-thirds vote is required.
The majority of states have rainy day funds. In the last two fiscal years, states have tapped their rainy day funds at levels not seen since the 2001 recession. States have various restrictions on how the money can be removed and spent. In some states, the governor has the power to transfer funds but in other states, only a supermajority vote of the legislature can approve the transfer of funds.
As state budgets are under pressure across the United States, state legislators are being encouraged to continue adding to these rainy day funds. In a speech last week to the Southern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke encouraged states to continue amassing these reserve funds even as the economy slowly improves.

This Week in Texas: June 9, 2010

Posted June 9, 2010 in Uncategorized

Texas has a new web portal – http://www.Texas.gov. The new website replaces texasonline.com. Texans can connect to 1,000 state services on Texas.gov, including renewing driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations and buying hunting and fishing licenses. The website is funded through a partnership with Texas NICUSA, a subsidiary of NIC, a company that specializes in building government websites. Users can now link with the social media pages of various government agencies, including the Twitter account of the Legislature and the Facebook page of the Department of Agriculture. Continue Reading »