Columns/Opinions

Wed
04
May

Beyond transparency, we need accountability

By Lee Hamilton

Over more than three decades in Congress, I had the chance to question a lot of federal officials. Most of the time I wasn’t after anything dramatic — I just wanted to understand who was responsible for certain decisions. Want to know how often I got a straight answer? Almost never. It was easily one of the most frustrating aspects of trying to ensure robust oversight of the government. Our representatives’ job, after all, is to help make government work better. And you can’t do that if you don’t know whom to hold accountable for important decisions.

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Wed
04
May

Supreme Court sends voter ID case back to Fifth Circuit

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Texas’ voter identification law will remain in effect for now, but the U.S. Supreme Court has instructed a lower court to rule on its constitutionality before November’s election. On April 29 the Supreme Court temporarily upheld a stay granted by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Oct. 14. The stay has allowed the Texas law to remain in effect.

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Wed
27
Apr

Guilty pleasure

By Dr. Genie Ellis

I was feeling a little guilty chasing after the County Wide Yard Sales when I should have been preparing for company. I didn’t let it stop me. As usual, I got lost way out in the country trying to find one of the sales. Actually came to a sign on a gravel road in the middle of nowhere - where it dead-ended - that stated, “You are now leaving Bosque County”!!!! Not a house or landmark in sight. I finally arrived at the sale and found nothing I wanted but one S-hook.

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Wed
27
Apr

Abbott proclaims flooding disaster, adds more counties

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on April 18 declared a state of disaster for Austin, Bastrop, Colorado, Fort Bend, Grimes, Harris, Montgomery, Waller and Wharton counties. Those counties were hit with severe storms and flooding beginning April 17, requiring the aid of emergency responders over many days.

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Wed
20
Apr

Two Texans play historic parts in Utah confrontation

By Bartee Haile

Former Texas Ranger Ben McCulloch left for Utah on Apr. 13, 1858 with orders straight from the president to stop the Mormons led by Brigham Young and federal troops commanded by a fellow Texan from going to war. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints had been a target of persistent and often violent persecution since its founding in 1830 by Joseph Smith. Driven from Ohio and Missouri, the Mormons enjoyed temporary tolerance in Illinois until a mob murdered Smith in 1844.

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Wed
20
Apr

SEC files charges naming Paxton in Servergy case

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is facing civil fraud charges filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Paxton was named in charges filed April 11 against Servergy Inc., a McKinney-based technology company incorporated in Nevada, and its founder and former chief executive officer William E. Mapp III.

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Wed
13
Apr

Stirring up memories

By Genie Ellis Zacharias

This past winter wasn’t particularly frigid. I know this because Zack’s intake of sweet tea never diminished. He had his share of hot chocolate and chocolate coffee. But by the time lunch rolled around, was ready for a cold glass of sweet tea. Dr. Pepper was my drink. It’s now one of the many, many things I’ve mostly given up. Self-deprivation’s the only way we’ve found to keep extra weight off and feel healthier. It’s not fun, but it works. My son tells me to think of food as fuel not fun. I’m trying, I’m trying.

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Wed
13
Apr

Supreme Court rules in ‘one person, one vote’ case

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — On a unanimous vote of 8-0, the U.S. Supreme Court on April 4 affirmed that states may continue to draw legislative districts based on total population. In the Texas case, Evenwel v. Abbott, the question presented to the high court on appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas was whether the one-person, one-vote principle of the Fourteenth Amendment creates a “judicially enforceable right ensuring that the districting process does not deny voters an equal vote.”

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Wed
06
Apr

Senate Finance chair confirms health budget

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — The Texas Health and Human Services Commission will have some $6.7 billion to fund the state’s behavioral health services efforts during the 2016-2017 fiscal biennium. Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson, at a March 30 meeting of the committee, confirmed the $6.7 billion, using figures provided by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the 10-member Legislative Budget Board. In the 2014-2015 state budget the amount for behavioral health funding was an estimated $6.2 billion.

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Wed
06
Apr

Frontier Texans found something to laugh about

By Bartee Haile

On Mar. 31, 1879, A West Texas judge fined a local hell-raiser five dollars for a drunken spree that left a bystander short an ear and ordered the inebriated victim to fork over five cents for winking at the sharpshooter, when he bent down to pick up the body part. What little law that existed on the Lone Star frontier was often dispensed with a humorous touch. The most gruesome event could tickle the funny bone of those adventurous souls living on the edge of civilization. Well aware the next day might be their last, they found a way to laugh to keep from crying.

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