NEWS IN STATE GOVERNMENT
Governor Abbott pardoned several Texas inmates this holiday season. Click here to read more about gubernatorial-pardons and other news during this holiday week.
Health and Human Services:
Texas Set to Implement Tough Surprise Billing Law After Loophole Gets Shot Down: It appears Texas will get one of the strongest laws in the nation against surprise medical bills after all. Earlier this year, lawmakers passed legislation to protect people in state-regulated health plans from getting outrageous bills for out-of-network care. Click here to read the full KUT article.
Statewide Payday Lending Reforms Needed: The Fort Worth City Council took a step in the right direction in voting to rein in payday lenders. It joins nearly 70 other Texas cities that have enacted some type of regulation for short-term loans during the past 10 years. This should send a clear message to lawmakers that statewide legislation on this issue is needed. Click here to read the full San Antonio Express News EDITORIAL article here.
U.S. House Passes Replacement for North American Free Trade Agreement: Many Texas lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have urged the agreement’s passage, due to the state’s reliance on cross-border commerce with Mexico. Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article.
Why Port Aransas, Port of Corpus Christi Disagree on What Judge’s Ruling Means: The court battle between the Port of Corpus Christi and the city of Port Aransas over the future of Harbor Island may have come to a halt — at least for the moment. The two have been at odds for months over development of a desalination plant and marine terminal on the island. Click here to read the full Caller Times article.
Annual Toll Rate Increase Takes Effect January 2020: TxDOT’s annual toll rate increase is set to start Jan. 1, 2020. The biggest increase will be felt by drivers who still pay by mail, as the surcharge for those transactions will increase to 50 percent of the base rate paid by all toll users. Click here to read the full TxDOT press release.
Fed Up with Slow and Spotty Internet, a Small Texas Town Built its Own High-Speed Network: Residents of this fast-growing town on the outer ring of Houston complained to local leaders about slow and spotty internet. Subscribers can click here to read the full Dallas Morning News article.
Sunset Commission Shakeup Coming on the House Side: As reported by Quorum Report on December 21, 2019 - Bonnen set to appoint Cyrier to replace Paddie as Chair, Canales to replace Nevarez, and Goldman to be added, per sources. Could get rolled out at soon as Monday.
Investigation Finds House Speaker ‘Likely Violated’ Law, Doesn’t Recommend Prosecution: Months after the Texas House was thrust into a scandal that led to Speaker Dennis Bonnen’s descent, the House committee investigating the allegations adopted a report Friday that found Bonnen “likely violated” state law. Click here to read the full Star Telegram article.
Banks Get Tough on Shale Loans as Fracking Forecasts Flop: Some of the banks that helped fuel the fracking boom are beginning to question the industry’s fundamentals, as many shale wells produce less than companies forecast. Click here to read the full Wall Street Journal article.