Sen. Florence ShapiroAlthough the governor's Business Margin Tax has passed both houses of the legislature and sits on his desk, the session today broke down with efforts to pass enabling legislation at a standstill. Sen. Francis Shapiro (R-Plano) and give GOP colleagues walked out of the Senate Finance Committee protesting what they say was both the form and substance of HB1. That is the bill that addresses equity, recapture, a teacher pay raise and other matters necessary to resolve issues raised by the Texas Supreme Court. Also, a point of order sent HB2 back to the Senate. HB2 dedicates revenue from the Perry tax plan to tax relief. The Senate version would dedicate a portion of the revenue to school funding. Speaker Tom Craddick ruled on a point of order that such a dedication was not germane to the bill's topic.
After their exit Sen. Shapiro released the following statement:
"The solutions being offered by some of my colleagues can best be described as a bridge to nowhere. They are setting bad fiscal policy for our state that benefits some schools while hurting others. We need policies that are in the best interests of all schools and students in our state.
"The purpose of this special session is to deliver property tax reduction and address the Court's concerns; not create a personal piggy bank for certain members."
Shapiro maintains that the legislature must address the issues laid out by the Supreme Court of Texas and that other issues should wait for the regular session.
Shapiro is joined in her efforts by Senate Finance Committee members Jane Nelson, Kyle Janek, Bob Deuell, Kim Brimer and Tommy Williams - all Republicans.
Former Nightlight host Ted Koppel will lead off SMU's Tate Lecture Series in September. Other speakers for 2006-2007 announced include Lee Kuan Yew, the first prime minister of Singapore, CNN"s Anderson Cooper, The New Yorker's Malcolm Gladwell, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, economist Steve Levitt and geographer Jared Diamond. See http://www.smu.edu/tateseries for more info.
Twenty-seven new police officers - apprentice officers - join the ranks of Dallas' Finest today at a graduation ceremony for Police Academy Class 289 scheduled for 2 p.m. today. It will be held at the Hoblitzelle Auditorium of the Bill J. Priest Institute.
Top honors go to Officer Justin Boyce, who scored the highest overall academy average of 93.15 and was second in academics with a 92.33. Officer Rachel Moore scored the highest in academics with a 93.00 and was second overall with a 92.65. Officer Daniel Fogle was third in both academics and overall with 92.13 and 91.37 respectively.
The female recruits lead the competition in the area of motor fitness. Officer Patricia Mora scored the highest in motor fitness performance with a 97.20. Officer Barbara Ausborne was second with a 94.60. Officer Perry Strickland was third with a 94.40.
Officer William McLennan out shot the other recruits and earned the highest score in Firearms Proficiency with a perfect average of 100.00. Officer Justin Boyce was second with a strong 99.90. Officer Justin Brandt came in third with the outstanding score of 99.80.
Say, here's an idea. Instead of berating a retiring CEO over money he earned and that his shareholders obviously agree with, pandering proposals to suspend gas taxes, and passing feel-good legislation to stop the "price gouging" boogeyman, why not do something useful?
Like opening ANWAR and the coasts to drilling? Easing ridiculous environmental regulations so that it's easier to build more refineries, since we haven't had a new one in 30 years? Or maybe building more nuclear plants so our grids wouldn't be reliant on natural gas?
Oh wait - election year. Best to go after the companies whose total profits account for 9 cents of the price of a gallon of gas.
Is it really a surprise the Dallas Independent School District is in the shape it's in given the current field of trustees and would-be trustees?
Matt Pulle over at the Dallas Observer has a hilarious summary of the Men and Women Who Would Be, which as we now know includes an alleged bathroom paramour, a convicted domestic abuser and an expensive lingerie fetishist. Joy.
The Houston Chronicle does a good job of covering how the illegal immigration debate is bleeding over into today's Cinco de Mayo celebrations, which is a real shame because no matter where people's opinions fall, there's never a bad day to celebrate with beer, tequila, chips and salsa. And it's not like Cinco de Mayo isn't part of the Texas heritage, with a number of Texans having fought in the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
"I think at any other time Texans may be more than happy to raise a Mexican flag or to drink a beer under the Mexican flag," said Tijerina, a historian who has written books about Tejanos including, Tejanos and Texas Under the Mexican Flag, 1821-1836. "That flag has recently been raising eyebrows."
A few years back the Dallas Observer in an article on a space cult allowed as how most folks in Dallas thought North Park was the mother ship. If so, today the mother ship becomes one mother of a ship. Today the north Dallas structure created by Ray Nasher becomes the largest mall in Texas and among the five largest in the US. True to the Nasher tradition of arts and architecture the expanded North Park will have as its center piece a one and a half acre park and a magnificent 15-screen move theatre. Oh yes, it will also have over 1 million square feet of new stores for a total of nearly 2.5 million. And you are expected to drop about a billion a year there. Earth to shopper.
The emergency funding bill for the Iraq war and hurricane relief includes $1.5 billion in relief for Texas. Measures supported by Senator Hutchinson include:
(from the article)
“-$650 million to help cover costs for students who will enroll in Texas schools in the fall.
-$30 million that colleges and universities can apply for to cover costs associated with hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
-$10 million for law enforcement funds for fire and emergency services and other law enforcement expenses incurred with the arrival of Hurricane Katrina evacuees.
-$611 million in wildfire recovery assistance.”
Sen. Hutchinson and Sen. Cornyn are also pushing FEMA to increase the federal rate of reimbursement for damage claims to 90 percent from the current 75 percent. Cornyn is also trying to get $182 million in Community Development Block Grants for Texas.