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Old 05-14-2003, 01:00 AM   #1
TexLex
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Texas Politics

Originally posted by Evenodds 05-12-2003 at 04:24 PM on main thread.
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Angry Democrats boycott Texas House

AUSTIN, Texas, May 12 (UPI) -- Fifty-two angry Democrats refused to show up Monday in the Texas House, stalling action on a congressional redistricting bill backed by House Majority Leader Tom Delay, R-Texas.

Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, immediately ordered the sergeant of arms to have them arrested and returned to the House but there were reports they had left the state, putting them out of the jurisdiction of state troopers. Craddick lacked a quorum to conduct business with the Democrats absent.

Republicans control the Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction but they need two-thirds of the 150 members present to conduct business. Ten other Democrats did not take part in the protest.

Letters from the 52 Democrats were presented to Craddick minutes before the session was to begin, informing him they would not be present. They asked that their voting machines be locked until they return to the House floor and request that their machines be unlocked.

In a statement, the boycotting Democrats laid the blame squarely DeLay.

Full text: http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID...12-042506-7960r

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Old 05-14-2003, 01:24 AM   #2
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Texas Politics

Rebel Democrats want redistricting dropped
From the UPI National Desk
Published 5/13/2003 4:47 PM

ARDMORE, Okla., May 13 (UPI) -- Rebel Democrats refused Tuesday to return to the Texas House unless Republican leaders drop a congressional redistricting bill backed by U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

About 51 Democratic state representatives are holed up at a Holiday Inn in Ardmore, Okla., just across the state line, where they are safe from state troopers dispatched by Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick, a Republican. Their absences are preventing the quorum GOP leaders need to conduct business in the 150-member House.

The Democrats reported their absence to Craddick early Monday, the day the congressional redistricting bill was to come up for debate. At least two-thirds of the members are necessary to conduct business under the House rules. The state troopers dispatched by Craddick have no jurisdiction in Oklahoma.

The Democrats say DeLay is behind the recent move to push a new redistricting plan through the Republican-controlled Legislature to increase the number of GOP members in the Texas delegation. There are currently 17 Democrats and 15 Republicans. The GOP could pick up at least four more seats.

DeLay has said the current Texas redistricting plan doesn't represent the political sentiment of Texas, which last year elected the first Republican Legislature since Reconstruction. All the major statewide offices in Austin are now held by Republicans.

At a news conference Tuesday, Democrats said the walkout was the only option they had left to stop the redistricting bill. They pointed out that only two states, the other one being Colorado, have been asked to address redistricting this year.

"We have a message for Tom DeLay, 'Don't mess with Texas,'" said state Rep. Jim Dunnam, of Waco. "We did not choose the path that led us to Ardmore, Okla. Tom DeLay chose that path."

Full text: http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=...3-041556-4127r
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Old 05-14-2003, 08:50 AM   #3
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Texas Tort Reform

Senators forge ahead on lawsuit reform bill
By David Pasztor
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Lawsuit reform, one of the most contentious and far-reaching endeavors during this year's legislative session, is finally headed to the state Senate floor.

After more than a month of public hearings and technical fiddling, the Senate State Affairs Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved its version of House Bill 4, a massive bill that rewrites portions of the state's civil justice laws in an effort to cut down on nuisance lawsuits and runaway jury verdicts.

The committee also unanimously approved a proposed constitutional amendment that supporters say is crucial to the portion of the bill aimed at lowering medical malpractice insurance premiums.

"I feel like I just gave birth to an elephant," joked committee Chairman Bill Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, who presided over laborious revisions to the hastily passed House version of the bill.

As modified by Ratliff and the committee, one of the bill's major components — caps on damage awards for such things as pain and suffering in malpractice lawsuits — has been revised.

Reform advocates, medical groups and doctors have consistently called for a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damage awards in all malpractice cases, a provision contained in the House version.

But under the Senate version, injured patients would be able to receive up to $750,000 in noneconomic damages if there are multiple defendants in a case, such as numerous doctors, nurses or hospitals.

The bill still caps the liability of any individual doctor or nurse at $250,000 and caps the liability of a single institution such as a hospital or nursing home at $500,000.

Full text: http://www.statesman.com/legislature.../0514tort.html
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Old 05-14-2003, 10:44 AM   #4
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What a bunch of sore losers.
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Old 05-14-2003, 02:03 PM   #5
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Does anyone have a link to the current map (that was apparently court-imposed in 2001) and the redistricting plan? One article I read said that a single street in Austin was divided between three (four?) districts.
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Old 05-14-2003, 04:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by ltl/fb
Does anyone have a link to the current map (that was apparently court-imposed in 2001) and the redistricting plan? One article I read said that a single street in Austin was divided between three (four?) districts.
I'd like to see it too. My understanding is that the map was drawn to ensure that there would be only one Democrat representative in the House.
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Old 05-14-2003, 04:24 PM   #7
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This is a couple hours old - sorry about the delay.

DeLay backs federal aid to track down walkouts

Furtive plan was 'only alternative'

House to stay shut, absentees vow

A bunch of related articles.


And here's all the bills that mention "redistricting" I don't have time to go through and figure out what's what right now. Here's the link if you want to do your own search or look at the text of a bill: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlo/l...ill_status.htm


HB 2394 Goodman/et al.
IN HCMTE: Redistricting SCMTE:
INT 03/18/03 H Referred to Redistricting
Relating to the composition of certain districts of the Texas House of Representatives.


HB 2871 Alonzo
IN HCMTE: Elections SCMTE:
INT 04/23/03 H Left pending in committee
Relating to the protection of the rights of Texas voters without regard to race, color, or ethnicity.


HB 3398 Crabb/et al.
OUT HCMTE: Redistricting SCMTE:
HC 05/12/03 H Placed on Major State Calendar
Relating to the composition of the districts for the election of members of the United States House of Representatives from the State of Texas.


SB 9 Harris
SCMTE: HCMTE:
INT 05/13/03 S Received by the Secretary of the Senate
Relating to the composition of the districts for the election of members of the United States House of Representatives from the State of Texas.


SB 90 Wentworth
IN SCMTE: Jurisprudence HCMTE:
INT 01/27/03 S Referred to Jurisprudence
Relating to the reapportionment of state legislative, congressional, and judicial districts and the creation, function, and duties of the Texas Redistricting Commission.


SB 1531 Brimer
IN SCMTE: Jurisprudence HCMTE:
INT 03/20/03 S Referred to Jurisprudence
Relating to the composition of certain districts of the Texas Senate.


SJR 6 Wentworth
IN SCMTE: Jurisprudence HCMTE:
INT 02/06/03 S Referred to Jurisprudence
Proposing a constitutional amendment establishing the Texas Redistricting Commission to establish legislative and congressional districts and revising constitutional redistricting procedures.
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Old 05-15-2003, 07:07 PM   #8
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Boycott Over

Redistricting is off the agenda, so the Dems are coming home.

I saw this in the Chronicle, while I was looking for news:

Feds helped search plane for Texas lawmakers
Associated Press

AUSTIN - An agency within the federal Homeland Security Department said today it helped search for a plane believed to be carrying Texas lawmakers because a state law officer made it seem as though the plane had run into trouble and might have crashed.

The plane had carried state Rep. Pete Laney, who flew to Ardmore, Okla., as part of a group of Democrats who left the state to help block a legislative quorum and halt debate on a congressional redistricting plan in the Texas House.

A Texas Department of Public Safety officer called the federal Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Air and Marine Interdiction Coordination Center on Monday and requested assistance in finding a missing aircraft, the federal agency had said.

Today the Department of Homeland Security issued another statement saying that the center received an urgent phone call from a Texas DPS officer asking for help in finding a plane that was missing and had state representatives on board.

"From all indications, this request from the Texas DPS was an urgent plea for assistance from a law enforcement agency trying to locate a missing, lost, or possibly crashed aircraft," the statement said.

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory...olitan/1911853
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Old 05-20-2003, 03:55 PM   #9
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Should Texans change the way judges are chosen?
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Old 05-20-2003, 04:06 PM   #10
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Oops - wrong place.
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Old 05-22-2003, 10:47 AM   #11
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DPS Deleted Documents About Search for Democrats

This story continues to amuse me . . .

Texas Deleted Documents About Search for Democrats
By KATE ZERNIKE

HOUSTON, May 21 — The fight over the flight of Democratic legislators intensified yesterday as the Texas Department of Public Safety admitted it had destroyed documents that were collected last week as state troopers searched for the missing lawmakers.
What started out as a local partisan dispute about redistricting escalated into accusations of a cover-up and abuse of federal power.

Indeed, federal authorities are investigating how the Department of Homeland Security became involved in the search for the lawmakers.

Today's uproar began after The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that a commander at the Department of Public Safety issued an e-mail notice instructing that all "notes, correspondence, photos, etc." concerning the search "be destroyed immediately."

Full text: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/22/na...22TEXA.html?th
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Old 05-30-2003, 11:57 AM   #12
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WD-40 Objects to Texas Democrats' Moniker

"The makers of the lubricant WD-40 are objecting to some Texas lawmakers calling themselves "the WD-40s" - a name they say describes them because they're white Democrats over 40........"



Political winds blow yard signs: Houstonian says civic group, deed rules harm free speech

Michael Skadden says he shouldn't have to remove his Bill White sign while others supporting George Bush remain up. Skadden and his wife received a notice from the Precinct 287 Civic Association telling them to remove the White sign from their house in the Post Oak Manor subdivision.


Jury at impasse in Angel Doe deliberations

Jurors who said Thursday they were deadlocked on the fate of the accused killer of a 6-year-old girl, known only as Angel Doe for months, were told by the judge to continue deliberating today.
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Old 05-30-2003, 12:14 PM   #13
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Van lawsuit filed quickly amid tort reform war

FRANKLIN -- A fatal Houston traffic accident involving a Central Texas high school van has spawned a lawsuit against Ford, the maker of Hankook tires and an auto dealership.

The lawsuit was filed in a Robertson County state district court Thursday, less than three weeks after the May 9 accident that killed a Hearne High School senior and injured 10 others.

The suit alleges defects in the design and manufacture of both the van and its tires, plaintiffs' attorney Robert Waltman of College Station told Bryan-College Station television station KBTX.

Attorneys hurried with the lawsuit because of tort-reform legislation pending in the Texas Legislature, Waltman said...........
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Old 06-03-2003, 08:44 PM   #14
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FYI

Harris County Commissioners just appointed a non-lawyer to fill Judge Fury's spot in Precinct 5, Pos. 1 (One of the busiest JPs in the state - lovely) due to Fury's resignation on the 13th of May. Should be in the paper later this week if you are interested.

-TL
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Old 06-03-2003, 08:56 PM   #15
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Rush to beat lawsuit caps all for naught

Lawyers worked frantically last week to file medical malpractice lawsuits before the Legislature capped damages, swamping district clerks throughout the state with filings.

It all turned out to be for nothing.

Fear of a $250,000 cap sent lawyers into a frenzy of work to meet an initial Friday deadline, with large law firms sending in lawsuits by the boxfull..............

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