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This Week in Texas Politics: February 3, 2012


February 3, 2012



Kilday Hart: State rules for health care complicates lives, industry

What could be scarier than government health care, where bureaucrats controlling huge pots of money create rules that affect both patient access and the ability of providers to make money? Thank goodness we live in Texas, where our state leaders would embrace secession before letting government paper-pushers dictate how private health care entities do business. It would rain flying pigs first, right?
(View complete article here.)


State Under Pressure As Health Law Deadlines Approach

The health law’s biggest changes don’t take effect until 2014, when states and insurers must be ready to begin signing up an estimated 32 million people in Medicaid and private insurance. But a successful rollout in two years hinges on critical decisions that states must make – and take quick action on – this year.(View complete article here.)


State Commissioner predicts $15 to $17 billion shortfall in Medicaid

Kudos to the Quorum Report’s John Reynolds for reporting State Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs’ latest prediction on the looming state Medicaid funding shortfall which will have to be addressed by the Legislature when it meets in January 2013.
(View complete article here.)



Leaders warn of more budget problems in Texas

Two key leaders of Gov. Rick Perry‘s team highlighted growing budget problems this week, with one projecting at least a $15 billion hole in the Medicaid program and another warning that the ban on social promotions will end unless lawmakers find money to help struggling students.
(View complete article here.)


Are state employees not fessing up to tobacco use?

Lord knows we all love state employees. And woe be unto any local politician who dares doubt that each and every state employee is among the best, hardest-working, finest-looking people ever created.
(View complete article here.)


Teachers group says Texas education cuts mean 32,000 job losses so far

A school advocacy group says an estimated 32,000 school employees across Texas — including 12,000 teachers — have lost their jobs due to $5.4 billion in education cuts.
(View complete article here.)


Little Agreement on How to Fix School Finance System

A teachers group has urged Gov. Rick Perry to call a special session to address education funding, but there’s still plenty of disagreement on what fixing the school funding system would actually mean.
(View complete article here.)


Some Texas political campaigns can’t gear up just yet

It’s fundamental that political candidates communicate clearly with the voters they want to represent.  But that’s a tricky task in Texas this year, with maps for congressional and legislative districts still being battled over in court.
(View complete article here.)

Redistricting Judges Tell Lawyers to Negotiate Maps

A panel of three federal judges stuck between the need for redistricting maps in a hurry and the need for maps that hold up in court told the parties to negotiate over the weekend and to bring in the results next week.
(View complete article here.)


Senate committees push boundaries on social media

Cherie Hampton recently took part in a legislative committee hearing at the Capitol on Texas’ electric power supply. And she didn’t have to leave her Houston home.
(View complete article here.)


A Divide on the Payoff of Legalizing Immigrants

Granting legal status to the illegal immigrants living in one of Texas’ largest metropolitan areas would generate at least $1.4 billion a year in revenue for state and federal agencies, with Social Security and Medicare being the largest potential beneficiaries, according to an analysis by a Houston business group.
(View complete article here.)


Decline in quail has state looking for answers

The number of bobwhite quail living on the limited and shrinking habitat declined so dramatically and obviously over several years that it couldn’t be ignored or explained away as one of those temporary population hiccups the iconic grassland game birds see when drought or flood or a severe freeze cuts deep into coveys.
(View complete article here.)


Climate science experts predict intensified drought in Texas

The extreme drought gripping Texas and the rest of the Southwest is likely to intensify, according to a panel of climate experts from Columbia University.  Richard Seager, an expert on droughts in North America, told a Washington audience that the Texas drought of the past decade has been the continent’s most serious.
(View complete article here.)


Powers of HOA in Texas reduced

Longing to hang a cross on the door? Wishing that you could capture all the rainwater that’s been gushing off the roof lately?

You’re in luck.
(View complete article here.)


Texas’ Haul From BP Spill: $100 Million, and Counting

Sand dunes rise above a windy, desolate stretch of beach, miles beyond where most tourists venture. Occasional flocks of brown pelicans are visible, arcing through the sky above the water.
(View complete article here.)




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