Ed Sterling


Top officeholders join together in push for funding solution

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen on April 10 released a joint statement promoting a twofold method for the 86th Texas Legislature to curb property tax increases across the state.

“Texans are fed up with skyrocketing property taxes. At the beginning of the legislative session, the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker laid out an agenda for property tax relief through the passage of Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 2 to limit property tax growth,” the state's top officeholders said.

SB 2 and HB 2, the not-yet-approved property tax reform bills, would reduce the revenue growth increment used for determination of the rollback tax rate from 8.0 percent to 2.5 percent for taxing units other than small taxing units unless the voters in a small taxing unit election decide to opt-in to the proposed new voter-approved tax rate procedure.


Full 5th Circuit to hear Texas voter ID case

The entire U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will review Texas’ controversial voter identification law.

A majority of the judges of the Fifth Circuit on March 9 voted in support of an “en banc” rehearing of oral arguments in Veasey v. Abbott, a case challenging the law. No date for the rehearing has been set.

The case stems from Senate Bill 14, a law passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011, which requires prospective voters to present an acceptable form of photo identification along with their voter registration card in order to cast a ballot.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton praised the development, saying: “Today’s decision is a strong step forward in our efforts to defend the state’s voter ID laws. Safeguarding the integrity of our elections is a primary function of state government and is essential to preserving our democratic process. We look forward to presenting our case before the full Fifth Circuit.”


Supreme Court halts EPA abatement rule

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Feb. 9 heralded the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 order that put on hold a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule requiring power producers to cut back on the release of pollutants emitted mainly from coal-burning operations.

In reacting to the order, Paxton and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, the leaders of a coalition of 29 states and state agencies, declared victory over the rule referred to as the Obama Administration’s “Clean Power Plan” or as the EPA “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units.” 

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