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Gun Manufacturer To Relocate To Texas

(HOUSTON, TX)– Firearm accessories manufacturer Magpul Industries has announced it is relocating its corporate headquarters from Colorado to Texas.

According to Governor Rick Perry’s office, Magpul began a nationwide relocation search following the passage of anti-second amendment legislation in Colorado this summer that made it difficult for the company to do business.

Governor Perry has reached out to more than 30 firearm manufacturers in states across the country that are restricting firearms sales and manufacturing or are considering it. Magpul cited the Lone Star States business-friendly environment, predictable regulations and consistent respect for the second amendment as key elements in its decision to … Continued here: http://news92fm.com/405310/gun-manufacturer-to-relocate-to-texas/

Travis Co. offers tax break to flood survivors

TRAVIS COUNY (KXAN) – Some survivors of the floods in Central Texas on Halloween will get a little help. Travis County officials announced some tax relief options.

Property owners in the declared disaster areas can pay their taxes in four installments if they can’t pay the full price by the January 31st deadline.

Those families can also request a reappraisal of the property’s value. The taxpayer would likely end up paying a little less because the rate would be prorated after the October flood.

Travis Central Appraisal District Chief Appraiser Marya Crigler said the plan could mean slightly lower taxes for 2013. If the homeowners don’t finish renovations before the 2014 appraisals, they could also get some help in next year’s bill too.

Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant said, “nature wreaks havoc on Travis County. This will…Continued here: http://www.kxan.com/news/local/austin/travis-co-offers-tax-break-to-flood-survivors

Top 10 Education Stories

AISD Board
Photo by John Anderson

By Richard Whittaker

1) A Vote of No Confidence AISD voters handed Superintendent Meria Carstarphen an embarrassing defeat at the ballot box in May by rejecting two of the district’s four bond initiatives. Now the question is, will voters back a long-delayed tax rollback election, tentatively planned for next November?

 

2) A New Future for Eastside Memor­ial After years under constant threat of closure, the Texas Education Agency, AISD, and the East Austin community came together to create a new plan for the campus, with the nationally acclaimed Johns Hopkins Talent Development Secondary coming in as a collaborative partner.

 

3) Back to the Courts The Texas public school finance system is unconstitutional. That was the preliminary ruling from Judge John Dietz in February, but the case is far from over. In June, Dietz said he’d reopen the hearings in January, to examine whether extra funding approved by lawmakers in the legislative session really changed anything.

 

4) A Vocation for Education There was a tectonic shakeup in education with the passage of House Bill 5, a major overhaul of graduation requirements that opens a more vocational track.

5) The New Segregationists In January, AISD trustees took the controversial vote to turn two middle school campuses – Pearce and Garcia – into single-sex academies, starting in the 2014-15 school year. Trustee Cheryl Bradley argued that the trials and tribulations of middle school are “easier if you’re going to do that in a setting where everybody looks…Continued here: http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2014-01-03/top-10-education-stories/

Garcia: Texas Finance Commission Chairman William White should resign

Senator Sylvia Garcia echoed the call to Governor Rick Perry to ask William White to resign as Chairman of the Finance Commission of Texas following controversial statements White made to the El Paso Times. Senator Garcia joins her colleague, Senator Wendy Davis, who first called for White’s resignation earlier this week.

“This is just another example of how political cronyism by failed leaders in Austin works against Texans,” said Senator Sylvia Garcia. “Senator Davis is right to bring this issue to light. As Chairman of the Texas Finance Commission, White’s comments earlier this week were inappropriate and clearly show that he does not have the interest of Texas consumers at heart. He needs to decide which side he is on: the people he’s charged to protect or the political insiders cutting back room deals and hurting our state.”

Appointed by Governor Perry, White oversees the Office of the Consumer Credit Commissioner, a state agency responsible for regulating the credit industry as well as protecting and educating consumers about credit lending practices. In addition to his appointed position, White also serves as a Vice President for Cash America International.

 

During his recent interview with the El Paso Times, White strongly defended his employer, Cash America, instead of Texas consumers in an interview with the newspaper. Last month, the Fort Worth-based pay day lender was fined $19 million dollars by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last month for abusive practices.

In December 2013, the City of Houston passed its own ordinance regulating pay day lending that requires lenders to register with the city, places limits on the amount of loans that…Continued here: http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/bay_area/opinion/garcia-texas-finance-commission-chairman-william-white-should-resign/article_acf7d8cb-262a-5b22-804f-2f9f949ad347.html

Publication Chooses 7-Year-Old Girl as a “Pro-Choice Hero of 2013”

Cortney O’Brien

The pro-abortion organization RH Reality Check has compiled a list of “The Top Pro-Choice Heroes of 2013.” They chose some obvious and unfortunately familiar faces, such as Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris-Perry and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

One surprising face on the list however, is that of Tiana Parker, a 7-year-old girl who was sent home from school in September after administrators deemed her dreadlocks as a “distracting” and “unacceptable” hairstyle. Here is the group’s explanation for…Continued here: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/cortneyobrien/2014/01/03/prochoice-organization-uses-7yearold-girl-for-own-agenda-n1771459

 

Ex-campaign manager signs home over to Dewhurst

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A former campaign manager to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has signed over his 6,000-square foot Austin home to Dewhurst as part of a legal settlement.

Dewhurst’s lawsuit, filed in March, accused former campaign manager Kenneth Barfield of stealing more than $2 million in campaign funds.

The Houston Chronicle reported Friday that the settlement between Dewhurst and Barfield was reached in November.

Dewhurst’s lawsuit had claimed that Barfield began stealing from campaign funds sometime before 2010.

The home in West Austin is listed for sale at $2.8 million. The final order filed with…Continued here: http://www.kxan.com/news/texas/ex-campaign-manager-signs-home-over-to-dewhurst

Lt. Gov. Dewhurst orders health-services studies

by Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Dec. 20 delivered charges for the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services to tackle before the 2015 Texas Legislature convenes.

Dewhurst, who presides over the Senate, ordered the panel of nine senators to study what is being done by the state to enhance the health of Texas women. He also called on the committee to assess the effectiveness of programs designed to improve mental health for all Texans.

The committee will monitor all state-provided women’s health programs, access to preventive services, efforts to reduce unplanned pregnancies, and the maximizing of efficiencies, Dewhurst said.

Also, the lieutenant governor said, the committee will monitor programs designed to improve mental health and substance abuse services, assess their outcomes, and address any gaps in the system.

Perry takes various actions

Gov. Rick Perry on Dec. 20 renewed for another month the current drought disaster proclamation for 114 of Texas’ 254 counties. Perry originally issued the proclamation on July 5, 2011.

Meanwhile, also on Dec. 20, the federal government approved Perry’s Dec. 13 request for disaster assistance to three central Texas counties — Travis, Hays, and Caldwell — for damages attributed to severe flooding that occurred when hard rains hit the region at the end of October through mid-November.

In addition to the approval, the U.S. Small Business Administration granted Perry’s request for additional assistance that will allow homeowners, renters, and businesses in 11 Central Texas counties to apply for long-term, low-interest disaster loans, the governor’s office reported.

In other news, on Dec. 19, the governor posted notice of clemency he granted…Continued here: http://www.lavernianews.com/article.php?id=1065&n=featured-column-lt-gov-dewhurst-orders-health-services-studies

Texas GOP attorney general candidates prepare for sprint to primary

On the issues, there’s little that separates the Republican candidates for Texas attorney general. They rail against the policies of President Barack Obama, pledge to fight against government overreach and vow to defend the state’s voter identification law.

So between now and the March 4 primary, Rep. Dan Branch, Sen. Ken Paxton and Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman are looking to break from the pack in a down-ballot race that’s not likely to capture the fascination of the average GOP voter.

BRANCH CERAWEEK_2013 NSW_11legislature23

The trio of Republican contenders is unfamiliar to most Texans, particularly Branch and Paxton, who are making their first runs for statewide office. Smitherman won a statewide campaign for his seat last year but is not a household name.

Over the summer, the candidates for attorney general participated in small forums and straw polls to acquaint themselves with voters. Now, with a little more than two months till the election, the contest will shift largely from retail to wholesale politics, with the candidates relying on massive media campaigns to reach voters across the state.

“Down-ballot name recognition only goes so far,” said Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. “The attorney general candidates are all on the bubble. They are going to have to raise money, run ads and distinguish themselves from the others. That’s the game at this point.”

It’s unclear which voters will turn out. Though several statewide contests see contested GOP primaries for the first time in years, there’s no marquee matchup at the top of the ballot. Attorney General Greg Abbott, the likely nominee for governor…Continued here: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/20140101-texas-gop-attorney-general-candidates-prepare-for-sprint-to-primary.ece

Wayne Christian Says Railroad Commissioner Race Could Be A “Backdoor” To Shut Down Oil & Gas Industries In Texas [AUDIO]

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by Ariel Walden

On the Thursday edition of The Chad Hasty Show, Wayne Christian, Republican candidate for Railroad Commissioner, talked with Chad Hasty about his campaign and why he chose to enter the race.

 

Christan said that while most people don’t pay attention to the Texas Railroad Commissioner’s race, it’s actually one of the most important races out there and called it a “backdoor fight” for Democrats. He explained that while everyone else is focused on the Democrats efforts to turn Texas blue, the Obama administration plans to use the office of Railroad Commissioner to turn Texas green by shutting down the oil, gas and coal industries in Texas.

 

Christian added that these industries are what make Texas so great and help keep Texas independent from the government, and he vowed to fight against the federal government’s attempts to shut down these industries.

 

“…because we’ve had the consistent inflow of oil, gas and liquid nitrogen for decades and decades in this state, and the oil booms in the early 1900′s, the story of the Ewings on television and where they came form, that Texas and that’s what’s made us very different from other states. But we are under threat form a president that wants everything but oil, gas and liquid nitrogen in this country.”

 

Christian also spoke about fracking in Texas. He said that he knows many citizens are very concerned about the effects of fracking and that he aims to represent the citizens’ best interests. However, eh also added that, to his knowledge, fracking has not been proven to be dangerous.

For more information on Wayne Christian and his campaign for Texas Railroad Commissioner…Continued here: http://kfyo.com/wayne-christian-says-railroad-commissioner-race-could-be-a-backdoor-to-shut-down-oil-gas-industries-in-texas-audio/

As Year Begins, Texas Governor’s Race Will Heat Up

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State Sen. Wendy Davis, who got off to a slow and often rocky start in her race for Texas governor, will ring in the New Year with a much bigger bank account and an aggressive new strategy designed to keep front-running candidate Greg Abbott on the defensive.

For Abbott, a three-term attorney general, it’s steady as she goes: He’ll keep unveiling carefully crafted policy initiatives and tying Davis to President Obama while remaining hyper-cautious in his own dealings with the news media — lest he become the first Republican in nearly a quarter-century to blow a governor’s race.

Welcome to the marquee political contest this year in Texas, where the gubernatorial primaries are all but decided and both candidates are looking toward a November showdown with knives drawn.

“I’m looking for both of the campaigns to get very aggressive as soon as they find it strategically sound,” said Jim Henson, a Texas Tribune pollster and the director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. “I would expect that ethics and character are going to be big parts of both of those efforts.”

For the Abbott campaign, that means making the most of Davis’ private dealings as a lawyer, particularly her partnership with Gov. Rick Perry’s former chief of staff, Brian Newby, and their long list of public-sector clients who have interests before the Texas Legislature.

The Davis campaign, meanwhile, is hammering Abbott over his role — or lack thereof — overseeing the troubled Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, whose former chief commercialization officer was indicted over allegedly lax vetting procedures related to a cancer research grant.

Polls show it’s still Abbott’s race to lose. But the Republicans are facing something Texas hasn’t seen in years: a Democrat who is about as recognizable to Texans as their own standard-bearer. Davis, a Harvard-trained lawyer, became an instant celebrity after waging an 11-hour filibuster of a restrictive abortion bill over the summer.

Her stardom didn’t change the conservative leanings of the Texas electorate, of course. But it gave her a head start because one of the most important tasks for any campaign is boosting name ID, and for Davis that was accomplished literally overnight.

Her status as a feminist icon and Democratic hero also turned her into a fundraising powerhouse. The day after her announcement on Oct. 3, the campaign exceeded a 24-hour goal of $500,000, Davis said, and she has spent much of her time crisscrossing the country raising money in California, Washington, D.C., and the East Coast, according to press reports and Abbott supporters who are more than happy to emphasize her out-of-state dough.

The public will get a better sense of the resources the candidates have at their disposal in mid-January, when the next campaign finance reports are due. In the summer, Abbott reported more than $20 million in the bank, compared with about $1 million for Davis. With so much money piled up so far and plenty of GOP donors anxious about a Democratic resurgence, the attorney general is expected to maintain a financial advantage in the race, and probably a significant one.

But one Democratic ally familiar with Davis’ fundraising operation says her campaign is “satisfied” with the haul.

“It’s going to be a big number,” the ally said.

It hasn’t been all roses for the titan in pink tennis shoes, though. Her launch was rocky literally from the beginning, when aides told the media not to leak word of the location of her Oct. 3 announcement but then proceeded to profusely leak it to supporters and donors.

Then within days of the announcement, a round of thank-you emails to donors listed the wrong website for her campaign, directing people instead to an anti-Davis site that’s running a flattering video about Abbott. Her campaign also listed the wrong address to an event at around the same time in San Antonio, causing some reporters to show up late.

As winter set in, Davis began racking up some unflattering headlines in the news media.

“Wendy Davis is not ready for prime time,” blared a highly critical column in the McAllen Monitor, which faulted the campaign for a logistically glitchy South Texas event and the candidate’s seemingly hands-off approach to the issue that made her famous — the “A-word: abortion,” as the columnist put it.

Others, including Texas Monthly‘s Paul Burka, wondered out loud — in blog posts titled “Where’s Wendy?” and “Where’s Wendy (Part II)?” — why Davis wasn’t hitting Abbott harder on the issues, from energy pricing to education.

“The perception came together that they were sort of not being aggressive enough,” said Republican political strategist Matt Mackowiak. “I think that probably started to hurt them.”

Henson, the UT political scientist, said Davis was saddled on the one hand with sky-high expectations — ultimately impossible to meet — and an atrophied Democratic Party infrastructure on the other. As a result, Abbott mostly got a “free ride” and valuable time to boost his profile while she was trying to build a campaign from scratch, get people in the field and put money in the bank, he said.

More recently, though, the Davis campaign has been striking a decidedly tougher tone, a development some insiders are attributing to newly installed campaign manager Karin Johanson, a veteran of difficult, high-stakes political contests.

When Abbott began touring Texas to tout ideas for education reforms, for example, Team Davis pounced with attacks on the attorney general’s role as the lawyer who’s defending $5.4 billion in education cuts made by the Legislature in 2011.

Abbott says he was just doing his job, but Davis aides and surrogates have repeatedly pressed him to either embrace or repudiate the cuts. Abbott says he can’t talk about the cuts and then defend them in court in the ongoing school finance trial. The Davis camp has also hit Abbott for refusing to take a position on major issues, from school vouchers to immigration and threatened or endangered species protection.

Like Davis, the Abbott campaign also had some early boo-boos. In September, Abbott distanced himself from a Tweet of a top adviser, who re-broadcast the suggestion that Davis was “too stupid to be governor.”

Earlier, he had faced criticism for thanking a supporter who, in a Twitter message praising the attorney general, had called Davis a “Retard Barbie.” Abbott said the tweet was accidental and called the language his supporter used “reprehensible” and “completely unacceptable,” according to the Houston Chronicle.

None of the mistakes, on either side, have changed the fundamentals of the race. Texas was and is a Republican state, and for those who like to handicap political races, this one leans rather heavily in favor of Perry’s heir apparent. Like Perry, Abbott can draw on the GOP’s well-oiled turnout machine, a long list of supportive officeholders and the deep pockets of dozens of pro-business donors.

But as Democratic consultant Glenn Smith likes to point out, weird and unexpected things can happen in elections — as they did in 1978, when Democrats ruled Texas similar to the way the GOP does now.

“Wendy is an underdog,” said Smith, a former aide to Gov. Ann Richards. “So were the Republicans when Bill Clements got in. And he won.”

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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2014/01/01/texas-governors-race-getting-more-heated/.