Ed Sterling

State’s top elected officials take oaths of office

Public officials and private citizens gathered at the south steps of the state Capitol on Jan. 15 for a day’s worth of inaugural events, most notably the administering of oaths of office to Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who were reelected to four-year terms in November. In his inaugural address, Gov. Abbott predicted the 86th regular session […]

House elects new speaker as legislative session kicks off

The 86th Texas Legislature convened on Jan. 8 with all its customary ceremonies and recognitions— chief of which was the unanimous election of a new House speaker — Angleton Republican Dennis Bonnen. On Jan. 9, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, and Speaker Bonnen announced their joint commitment to passing legislation that would improve […]

Texas Legislature to convene with list of big issues to tackle

The 86th Texas Legislature convenes Jan. 8 as the partial shutdown of the federal government that began Dec. 22 enters a third week. As always, lawmakers’ priorities will be the writing of a two-year state budget and deciding how to fund it. In the 140 days of the regular session, they also will consider public education funding, property tax reform, […]

Workforce commission reports continuation of employment trend

Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in November, remaining at the same 42-year low rate as in October, the Texas Workforce Commission reported Dec. 21. The Texas economy added 14,000 seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs in November and annual employment growth was 3.0 percent for the month, marking 103 consecutive months of annual growth, according to the commission. “The […]

Texas’ top lawyer cheers court ruling against Obamacare

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton applauded a Dec. 14 Fort Worth federal district court decision declaring unconstitutional the U.S. Affordable Care Act, widely known as “Obamacare.” Ten months ago, Paxton and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel led a 20-state coalition lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the 2010 health care law, arguing that Congress rendered all of Obamacare unconstitutional by doing […]

Texas, nation mourn death of former president

Gov. Greg Abbott on Dec. 3 proclaimed Dec. 5 as an official day of mourning across the Lone Star State in honor of former President George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, who died in Houston on Nov. 30. In the proclamation, Abbott encouraged Texans to “gather, assemble and pay their respects to the memory of George […]

Texas unemployment rate hits lowest level since 1976

Texas has its lowest unemployment rate in more than 42 years. The Texas Workforce Commission on Nov. 16 announced that Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in October, down from 3.8 percent the prior month. It is the lowest level of unemployment the state has seen since January 1976. The Texas economy added 32,300 seasonally adjusted non-farm […]

Election results reveal larger than usual turnout

More than 8.3 million of Texas’ 15.8 million registered voters cast ballots in the Nov. 6 general election, as shown in results posted by the secretary of state. The turnout of almost 53 percent was recognized widely as the highest in nearly 50 years for a Texas election without presidential candidates on the ballot. U.S. Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, […]

Disaster declaration affects counties hit by heavy rains, flooding

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a state disaster declaration for 18 Texas counties recently impacted by deadly weather that claimed at least four lives and caused extensive flooding. On Oct. 16, Abbott authorized the use of all available resources of state government and of political subdivisions to aid in response efforts. “Texas is taking immediate action to respond to the threat […]

Panel hears about what’s being done to ‘harden’ school campuses

The Texas House Committee on Appropriations met Oct. 9 to hear ideas on improving school safety in the aftermath of the May 18 Santa Fe High School shooting that left eight students, two teachers dead and 13 injured. “It’s an unbelievable reality that shootings in schools are occurring more frequently,” said state Rep. John Zerwas, chairman of the powerful, state […]

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