Archives by date

You are browsing the site archives by date.


State Rep. Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches RER56) could become the second Texas State Representative to be officially censured and recommended for sanction by a Texas Republican County Executive Committee.

The Cherokee County GOP Executive Committee is scheduled to meet tonight. The county seat is Rusk, Texas – behind the Pine Curtain of our state’s east. Cherokee County GOP Chair Tammy Blair has confirmed to that she has been informed by county precinct chairs that they intend to present a #Rule44 resolution before the body in tonight’s meeting naming Clardy.

The Chairwoman has indicated she has no intention of blocking any move by the body. “They do have a #Rule44 Resolution”, said Blair. “As a courtesy, I told Clardy.  He’s having a wall-eyed hissy fit and demanding all kinds of information.”

Just like Bexar County, hardcore drama has been taking place in Cherokee.  It exploded when the CEC unanimously passed an “anti-Straus” resolution this past August.  It was a strong telegraph to Straus-ian Clardy that he was on the target list.  Clardy wasn’t happy.

When broke the story that Bexar County GOP was facing a #Rule44 battle on Joe Straus, Clardy went ballistic.  Blair told RER on Friday, September 15, Clardy threatened to sue the CEC if the committee #Rule44’d him in a previous-day phone conversation.

Blair reported that in that phone conversation, Clardy said “the Platform is meaningless” and that “it’s the Chair’s job to keep censure off the agenda”.  Blair told RER, “What happened to ‘of, by, and for the people’?”

On Saturday, September 23, State Rep. “Lord Byron” Cook (R-Corsicana RER56) was the first Texas GOP public officeholder to be officially censured and recommended for sanction by the state party when Anderson County of his district met the rule’s voting threshold.  Only minutes after Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus announced that he was leaving the Pink Dome, all together, “Lord Byron” did the same on October 25.

Potentially getting #Rule44’d couldn’t come at a worse time for Clardy. On Thursday, October 26, one day after the Straus and Cook announcements, Clardy told the Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel that he was interested in the Texas Speaker’s position.

Danny Ward has declard as an opponent to Clardy for the March 2018 Texas primary.

Copyright©2017 Raging Elephants Radio LLC


A political earthquake has hit Texas.

The #2 powerbroker in the Texas House, State Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) has announced that he will not seek another term. “Lord Byron” is the Chairman of the powerful Texas House State Affairs Committee.

At 10:22 a.m. this morning, the Quorum Report posted the headline “Speaker Straus will not seek reelection”.  At 10:26 a.m. this morning, the Quorum Report posted the headline “Chairman Cook will not seek reelection”.

In one day, the top of the Texas plutocratic pyramid has crumbled.

“Lord Byron’s” announcement reads in part, “It is an honor to represent the families of Anderson, Freestone, Hill, and Navarro Counties in the Texas House of Representatives.  However, I will not seek a 9th term in the upcoming March 2018 Republican primary for the Texas House of Representatives.”

It may be a pleasure for Cook to represent them, but apparently it’s not a pleasure for them to have him as their representative.  On September 23, Anderson County officially voted to #RULE44 “Lord Byron” – the first State Representative to be officially censured and recommended for sanctions by a county party in his district in Texas.

On the same day, Hill County debated the identical resolution, but decided to give Cook 30 days to respond to the charges contained within the censure resolution.

Cook’s primary victory in 2016 remains under a cloud because undeniable voting fraud was discovered and investigated by the office of the Texas Attorney General.  Questions over whether he should have taken the oath of office for the 2017 Texas Legislative Session bounced around the chattering class.

Perhaps Cook’s most notable moment in the 2017 session was when he had citizen journalist Amy Hedtke dragged out of the State Affairs Committee room by Texas DPS and arrested for video live streaming the committee proceedings.

Cook was one of the last remaining Original Straus 11 that aligned with 65 Democrats in 2009 to take over the Speaker post.  With Cook’s announcement and Straus’ announcement, only State Rep. Charlie “Cookie Monster” Geren (R- Fort Worth) remains of the 11.

Copyright©2017 Raging Elephants Radio LLC


In a letter to supporters this morning, Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus has announced that he will not run for reelection as the State Representative for Texas House District 121 in Bexar County.  The shocking news was first reported by the Texas Tribune.  Straus stated within the campaign email, “My time as a State Representative and Speaker will end at the conclusion of my current term.”

Straus was first elected Speaker at the start of the 2009 Texas Legislative Session ousting Tom Craddick from west Texas.  He did so by gaining the support of 65 Democrat legislators and 11 Republican allies that immediately took hold of the reins of power under the Pink Dome.

Straus vanquished opposition to the gavel in 2011, 2013, and 2015.  In 2017, he received a unanimous 150 to 0 recorded vote to enter a recorded-tying fifth term as Speaker.

His announcement ends a tumultuous era in Texas GOP internal fighting.  His unpopularity was spiking. Just two weeks ago, he was facing official censure and possible sanctions through the party’s #RULE44 that can only be applied by his own county constituents.

Copyright©2017 Raging Elephants Radio LLC


The October 9 meeting of the Bexar GOP County Executive Committee was a tinderbox from the first moments.  It was held at the county party’s headquarters.  Tension could be cut with a knife because everyone knew there would be showdown on a #RULE44 resolution naming Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus.

This move by a faction of precinct chairs in Bexar County, the home county of the power-wielding Speaker, may be the story of the year.

Even before a motion was made on the #RULE44 resolution from the floor, raw nerves exploded into an attempt by Chairman Stovall to have a committee member forcibly removed from the county executive committee meeting by the Sargent-at-Arms.

The committee member continually stood to challenge the Chair on points of order.  Stovall began to ignore her calls from the floor for recognition.  At one point, she steps into the aisle and begins slowly moving toward the front of the meeting room continually repeating, “Mr. Chairman! Mr. Chairman!”

When Stovall called for her removal, tempers flared.

Copyright©2017 Raging Elephants Radio LLC

State creates mental health task force for Harvey-affected schools

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath on Oct. 11 announced the establishment of the Hurricane Harvey Task Force on School Mental Health Supports to deliver needed attention to schools and higher education institutions impacted by the storm.

The Texas Education Agency, acting on orders from Gov. Greg Abbott, is spearheading the effort in partnership with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and Texas Health and Human Services Commission, in collaboration with the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. The task force will develop a list of tiered supports and resources that can be used by school leaders to address the mental health needs of affected staff, students and families.

“As I’ve traveled the state following Hurricane Harvey, it is evident that addressing the mental health needs of our students and educators is of the utmost importance,” Morath said. “This coordinated mental health response will allow our state agencies to coordinate local responses that reflect the specific needs of each individual community,” he added.

“The invisible wounds left behind after this storm are often the most difficult to recover from,” Abbott said.

Abbott, Sharp visit cities

Gov. Abbott on Oct. 11 visited the cities of Port Arthur, Mont Belvieu, Dayton, Kountze and Orange in southeast Texas during a three-day, 16-city tour of hurricane-impacted areas of the state.

Joining Abbott was John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, who serves as chair of the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas. Abbott has delegated executive authority to Sharp to marshal state agency resources to rebuild hurricane-damaged infrastructure, including roads, bridges, schools, government buildings and other public facilities.

Abbott and Sharp visited with mayors, legislators, county judges and other officials “to ensure they are getting all the help they need in the recovery effort,” Abbott said.

Other cities hosting gubernatorial visits included Sugar Land, Wharton, Bay City, Angleton, and Dickinson on Oct. 10 and Aransas Pass, Port Aransas, Rockport, Refugio, Port Lavaca, and Victoria on Oct. 9.



Undocumented pregnant teen seeking an abortion in Texas could set new legal precedents

by Penny Nance

A court case bubbling up in Texas could have huge ramifications on both immigration and abortion in our nation. A 17-year-old was caught crossing the United States-Mexican border and was transferred, as is normal procedure, to the Office of Refugee Resettlement under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They took custody of the girl, who is pregnant, and have been caring for her and her unborn child.

Entering the drama is the leftist American Civil Liberties Union, who has gone to court to try to force the government to allow her to obtain an abortion. On whose dime the abortion would be provided, we don’t know. Various media reports have said pro-abortion organizations have raised funds to pay for the abortion, but that’s unclear.

A judge in California threw out the case, because it wasn’t in her jurisdiction. The ACLU refiled the case in Washington, D.C. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has said that undocumented immigrants have no constitutional right to abortion and that he does not want Texas to become a “sanctuary state” for abortion. Add to the mix that Texas has parental notification laws. Several states have already filed amicus briefs in support of Texas’ stance.
I’d agree as well.

There are numerous moral and legal issues to this case that must be addressed. First, the girl is a minor, and she was unaccompanied when she crossed the border. We don’t know where her parents are or anything about her family. She is legally under the custody of HHS, who are providing her with the care she needs and is not consenting to take her to have an abortion. It is also worth noting that HHS is actually caring for two patients (the mother and the unborn child). I am told by sources inside HHS that our government has offered to take her back to her home country where she and her parents can decide what to do.

Secondly, an illegal immigrant has no legal right to an abortion in this country. (Actually, there is no legal right to abortion under the Constitution, as the ACLU has argued, but that is another story.) If a court decides this young woman can come to the United States illegally and demand to have an abortion, what’s to stop anyone following her from doing the exact same thing?

And who is going to foot the bill for these abortions? Taxpayers? No way.


ICYMI: NAACP Asks Texas to Accommodate Voters Displaced by Hurricane Harvey

Kenrya Rankin

Nearly two months after Hurricane Harvey ripped through Texas, 850,000+ households have applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for temporary support, according to Texas Monthly. The agency reports that just 321,244 applications have been approved as of press time.

In an October 11 letter to Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF) argues that the widespread displacement and loss means that thousands of Texans no longer have transportation or the state-required identification they need to head to the polls. LDF is currently challenging the state’s voter ID law in federal court.

From a statement about the letter:

The Texas code already recognizes that a natural disaster is an extenuating circumstance necessitating accommodations.


The racially disparate impact of the photo ID law has only been exacerbated since the storm as Black and Latino Texans are more likely to have lost their IDs in its wake. As a result, it will be difficult for many voters to reach their assigned polling sites on Election Day and/or register to vote by the October 10, 2017 deadline.


Texas roadway deal looms large in U.S. municipal calendar next week

By Stephanie Kelly

NEW YORK, Oct 6 (Reuters) – A $2.57 billion North Texas roadway deal dominates U.S. municipal bond and note issuance next week, resulting in a larger-than-usual Columbus Day holiday week calendar, according to Thomson Reuters data.

North Texas Tollway Authority is the largest issuer in next week’s expected $8 billion of municipal debt issuance. The authority expands roadways around areas including Dallas County and Grayson County in Texas.

“Dallas is a growing area,” said Alan Schankel, a managing director at Janney Montgomery Scott. “The economy has been reasonably strong.

Low gas prices and increased traveling with the recession further and further behind us has helped toll roads in general, and this one specifically is in good shape.”

The deal, issuing system revenue and refunding bonds, will be made up of $1.79 billion of first-tier bonds and $776.6 million of second-tier bonds, according to the preliminary official statement dated Sept. 22.

The first-tier bonds are rated A1 by Moody’s Investors Service and A by S&P Global Ratings, while the second-tier bonds are rated A2 and A-minus by the firms, respectively, according to the statement.



Law Limits Cities’ Take as 5G Spreads

by Sarah Bays

A new law clamps down on how much municipalities can charge wireless carriers to mount 5G equipment within public rights-of-way.

Senate Bill 1004 went into effect Sept. 1, limiting local governments to collecting payment of $250 per network node per year.

Many cities had planned to charge $1,000 per node or more.

“That [new amount] certainly, in my opinion, doesn’t compensate the city for the staff time to review these permit applications,” said Dale Harwell, University Park IT director.

The bill’s author, Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, has said the new law will help grow Texas’ telecom infrastructure, improving cell service for customers and strengthening the state economically.

But Dallas and 21 other cities have filed suit, saying the law violates the anti-gift and non-delegation provisions of the state constitution. The suit argues that SB 1004 would make cities illegally transfer “wealth of as much as hundreds of millions of dollars from municipal coffers to private telecommunications companies each year.”

The law also regulates application and permitting processes, establishes short review times, and addresses what design standards municipalities may enact for aesthetic and safety needs.


Could a loophole allow billboards to grow twice as tall across Texas?

By Bill Hanna

Imagine driving across Texas and seeing billboards suddenly stretching twice as high, marring your view of the landscape.

A scenic advocacy group fears this could be the result of proposed new rules from the Texas Department of Transportation.

For decades, the maximum height for billboards has stood at 42 1/2 feet. But the proposed rules state that “a sign existing on March 1, 2017 may not be higher than 85 feet.” That’s taller than an 8-story building.

While the agency contends its new rule is only intended to bring some taller billboards into compliance with state law, the group Scenic Texas believes it could open the door for billboard companies to raise existing signs.

“The way we interpret it is that any billboard that existed on March 1 may go up to 85 feet,” said Margaret Lloyd, vice president of Scenic Texas, who lives in Galveston.

TxDOT will be accepting comments on the proposed rule change through 5 p.m. on Oct. 16.

In this year’s legislative session, Senate Bill 312 added a new portion of the state’s transportation code declaring that signs existing on March 1, 2017 “may not be higher than 85 feet.” It also stated that signs could be rebuilt without obtaining a new permit as long as they remain at their existing height. TxDOT has now written rules to implement the change.