Senate approves $3B in construction bonds for Texas colleges

Wed, May 20, 2015 - 5:46am

he Senate passed legislation Tuesday that would authorize over $3 billion in revenue bonds for construction and renovation projects at 64 college campuses across the state. Schools in North Texas would get a sizable chunk of the money.

Senate Higher Education Committee Chairman Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, said the improvements would be the first new college projects approved by lawmakers since 2006.

“In a growing state with a priority for an educated workforce, the need for classroom, lab and other academic space is clear,” Seliger said.

Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler,...

Governor Abbott to sign Denton fracking bill

Wed, May 20, 2015 - 5:35am

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced this morning that he will sign into law a bill that reasserts the state’s control over oil and gas drilling and prohibits cities from banning hydraulic fracturing, giving them only limited control over the oil and gas process within their city limits.

Abbott will sign the bill two days after he appeared at commencement services in Denton at the University of North Texas. Denton was the first — and likely the last — city in Texas to ban fracking.

Abbott’s stamp of approval on the bill comes as no surprise. At the beginning of the legislative session,...

Is fracking moratorium the solution for quakes in Texas, Oklahoma?

Mon, Apr 27, 2015 - 12:55pm

The release of studies this week linking fracking to recent earthquakes in Texas and Oklahoma came as no surprise to those who have been rocked by the temblors in recent years.

The question for people such as Angela Spotts, 53, of Stillwater, Okla., is what’s being done about the problem. The reports, including one by the U.S. Geological Survey on Thursday, tied seismic activity to wastewater disposal following the oil and gas extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

“I’m trying to understand what’s being done to protect us. There’s no excuse for a moratorium not being put in place...

Texas Lawmaker Delays Transgender School ‘Bathroom Bill’

Fri, Apr 17, 2015 - 1:02pm

A highly anticipated hearing on a bill limiting transgender students’ use of Texas school bathrooms and locker rooms has been delayed after a veteran Republican told the author to soften his language.

Rep. Byron Cook pulled the bill from a Wednesday hearing before his powerful House State Affairs Committee. He told fellow Republican Rep. Gilbert Pena that it wouldn’t make the committee’s agenda until its language is “toned down.”

Pena said a revised version will be heard in committee next week.

Pena’s is the only one of four “bathroom bills,” which would specify which bathrooms transgender Texans use and...

House Tentatively OKs Campus Construction Bond Plan

Thu, Apr 9, 2015 - 10:05am

The Texas House on Wednesday tentatively approved the authorization of a package of bonds worth $3.1 billion to support construction on college campuses, continuing lawmakers’ hasty work on the subject.  

The Senate is expected to consider a similar bill in the coming days, a sign that some lawmakers want to avoid the fate the bonds suffered in recent years. In past legislative sessions, the bonds have enjoyed broad support, but haven’t reached final approval before the sessions wrapped up. 

After Wednesday's vote, House Bill 100...