Author Archives: Charles Kuffner

SCOTx declines to take up IVF appeal

A small victory. The Texas Supreme Court has declined to take up a major in vitro fertilization case that could have potentially upended access to the procedure. The justices allowed a lower court’s opinion to stand, and, for now, sidestepped … Continue reading

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Federal judge strikes down Florida laws against gender-affirming care for minors and adults

Of interest, for obvious reasons. Florida can no longer enforce its ban against transgender youth receiving gender-affirming care, or its restrictions against adults accessing gender-affirming care, after a federal district court ruling on Tuesday found those rules to be unconstitutional … Continue reading

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B-Cycle’s reprieve runs out

Sad to see it go. Houston’s long-struggling system of on-demand bicycles is reaching the end of the trail. BCycle, the system of kiosks with available bikes spread around downtown, Midtown and other locations will close June 30, officials with the … Continue reading

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Weekend link dump for June 16

“How Donald Trump Could Weaponize US Surveillance in a Second Term”. “The Scottish woman who claims to be the inspiration for Richard Gadd’s hit Netflix “Baby Reindeer” has sued the streamer, seeking monetary damages of at least $170 million.” “Republicans … Continue reading

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Scott and McCrutcheon win HCAD runoffs

Not much to say, you can see the live results. There were 12,479 total mail ballots, so another 1,436 were received after Tuesday. A bit more than 11K votes had been counted as of 10 PM and two thirds of … Continue reading

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Controller Hollins has not certified the firefighter deal yet

In case you were wondering. Hours after Mayor John Whitmire told City Council members on Friday that Controller Chris Hollins plans to certify the mayor’s landmark contract with the Houston firefighters union, Hollins walked back that claim, saying his review … Continue reading

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Uplift Harris remains on hold

Doesn’t look good for them. The Supreme Court of Texas ruled against Harris County’s guaranteed income program Friday, continuing to block the county from sending checks to participants. In an opinion written by Justice James D. Blacklock, the court said … Continue reading

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HCAD Runoff Day is today

From the inbox: Harris County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth announced that the June 15 Uniform Runoff Election Day is this Saturday. There are 131 Election Day vote centers open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. across Harris County. “A runoff election … Continue reading

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Board of Managers passes Mike Miles’ budget

It was a close vote, but as we kids used to say, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. In their most divided vote taken to date, members of Houston ISD’s state-appointed school board on Thursday narrowly approved a … Continue reading

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Rep. Nehls accused of stolen valor

This is interesting. House Republicans are accusing Rep. Troy Nehls of “stolen valor” for continuing to wear a lapel pin for infantrymen or Special Forces who fought in active combat. “It matters. As a former commander, it matters what you … Continue reading

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SCOTUS swats away that bogus mifepristone case

A good and expected result, though the door for future challenges remains open. A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the anti-abortion doctor plaintiffs in a major mifepristone case lack standing to reimpose restrictions on the drug. The case presented … Continue reading

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On the bonds and closing or not closing schools

This is a very complicated issue. Two decades ago, children crowded the halls of Houston ISD’s Attucks and Cullen middle schools, historic campuses located two miles apart on the city’s south side. Since then, hundreds of families have fled the … Continue reading

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Mayor criticized for Gulfton comments

From the inbox: Community Leaders Demand Apology from Mayor Whitmire for Offensive Remarks About Gulfton Houston, TX – A coalition of over 20 community leaders and organizations has released a letter (see attached PDF) calling on Mayor Whitmire to retract … Continue reading

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Dispatches from Dallas, June 14 edition

This is a weekly feature produced by my friend Ginger. Let us know what you think. This week, in news from Dallas-Fort Worth, we have a grab bag. Catch up on: storm aftermath; primary aftermath; bigots and other troublemakers; school … Continue reading

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Council approves bond deal for firefighter back pay

This is a big component of the firefighter pay deal, just not the whole thing. Houston City Council approved Wednesday a historic bond deal, estimated to cost taxpayers over $1 billion, to spread $650 million in backpay to firefighters over … Continue reading

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Miles to decimate wraparound services

This is a bad idea. State-appointed Superintendent Mike Miles said social work services for students will be provided by a trimmer team of wraparound specialists who will each serve multiple campuses and refer students to off-campus support centers. Houston ISD … Continue reading

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I-45 construction set to begin

Ready or not, here it comes. Houston’s largest-ever freeway project is one step closer to starting construction, with crews poised to begin digging in the dirt along Interstate 69 by fall. After years of planning and sometimes fiery debate, the … Continue reading

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Texas blog roundup for the week of June 10

The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes everyone had a nice time in El Paso as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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June HCAD special election runoff early voting Day Nine: On to Saturday

And we are done with early voting for the HCAD runoffs. Here’s the final EV report. Let’s have another chart, shall we? Month Mail Early Total ============================== May 14,152 19,500 33,652 June 11,043 18,048 29,091 As predicted yesterday, we have … Continue reading

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Hollins not ready to certify firefighters’ deal

Welp. The proposed $1.5 billion settlement and labor contract with the Houston firefighters union appears unlikely to be certified in time for Wednesday’s scheduled City Council vote because a lengthy list of questions Controller Chris Hollins sent Mayor John Whitmire … Continue reading

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Cruise returns to Houston

They’re baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack… Houston, we missed you! Today we’re resuming driving in Houston where we’ll build on the knowledge collected last year. We’ll start with human driven vehicles and move to supervised autonomous driving with a safety driver behind the wheel … Continue reading

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June HCAD special election runoff early voting Day Eight: Let’s not be too pessimistic about turnout

I was struck by the following passage in this Houston Landing story about the HCAD runoff elections. Turnout in the Place 1 race was just 2.1 percent of Harris County’s 2.56 million registered voters, according to Harris County Clerk’s Office … Continue reading

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It’s Greg Abbott’s fault if your school district is facing a budget crunch

News item #1: Houston-area school districts brace for big budget cuts. Staring down a $100 million deficit budget, even after deciding to close three campuses in February, Aldine ISD trustees have a difficult decision to make this week. Voting on … Continue reading

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Once again we ask, what’s up with that FBI investigation of Ken Paxton?

Who knows? Federal agents were still actively investigating Paxton for alleged corruption after he was acquitted of related impeachment charges last year, according to multiple sources who spoke with The Texas Newsroom in recent weeks. Among Paxton’s potential crimes listed … Continue reading

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June HCAD special election runoff early voting Day Seven: Two more days to go

Here’s your Day Seven EV report for the June HCAD runoff. And just for kicks, let’s do a comparison with the May election for this day in the EV process. Month Mail Early Total ============================== May 13,446 10,282 23,728 June … Continue reading

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Fifth Circuit partially upholds ruling that ordered library books back on shelves in Llano County

This is a lot. Eight books dealing with subjects including racism and transgender issues must be returned to library shelves in a rural Texas county that had removed them in an ongoing book banning controversy, a divided panel of three … Continue reading

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Mayor Whitmire wants to get rid of ShotSpotter

Fine by me. Mayor John Whitmire revealed plans to scrap the city’s $3.5 million ShotSpotter program, positioning Houston as the latest city government to abandon the controversial gunshot detection technology after a brief experiment. “I think it is a gimmick,” … Continue reading

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Weekend link dump for June 9

“No one has ever sold out a hundred shows at Madison Square Garden, and I don’t think anybody ever will.” Cool story about Dat Nguyen, College Football Hall of Famer at Texas A&M, first Vietnamese-American to play in the NFL, … Continue reading

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A closer look at the HISD bond proposal

From the Houston Landing, which put together five highlights from the proposal. 1. Elementary and middle schools to see the biggest upgrades All schools will see some level of investment under the bond plan, but elementary and middle schools will … Continue reading

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Uvalde parents sue FedEx and UPS over gun shipment

Very interesting. The lawsuit alleges that FedEx was used to ship the AR-15 style rifle used in the shooting, and UPS was used for the shipment of a bump stock, which was found at the scene. According to the lawsuit, … Continue reading

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National attention on the Allred-Cruz race

Things are a little different now than they were in 2018. Also, Dems have very few even remotely realistic pickup opportunities this cycle, so. With more than four months left before Election Day 2018, Democrat Beto O’Rourke had campaigned in … Continue reading

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June HCAD special election runoff early voting Day Five: The pace of the mail ballots

I’ll get right to it, here’s your Day Five EV report for the June HCAD runoffs. I’ve said before in these recaps that I don’t often have much to say about them because there’s not much of a basis for … Continue reading

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Another statewide improvement effort

Let a thousand flowers bloom, I say. A team of Democratic strategists unveiled a new group Thursday that aims to turn Texas blue by building up the party’s campaign infrastructure over multiple elections — offering a more practical outlet, in … Continue reading

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All Texas Republicans vote against bill to protect contraception

The headline speaks for itself. The U.S. House passed a bill Thursday that would prevent states from banning birth control, though nearly the entire Republican delegation from Texas voted against it. The bill, which faces far more hurdles passing through … Continue reading

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