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Home   About Us   Membership   Education   Events   Contact Us           April 23, 2015


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Straus raps House ream for budget negotiations
The Texas Tribune
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus announced his five-member team to negotiate a final two-year state budget with their Senate counterparts, and House members urged them not to focus on tax cuts — a contentious issue between the two chambers. The House passed a $209.8 billion budget earlier this month after an 18-hour marathon debate, and the Senate later passed its own $211.4 billion version of the budget. Each chamber now sends five members to hash out differences in the two versions.
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As time winds down for Texas lawmakers, pace becomes a concern
Austin Business Journal
As the Texas Legislature enters its last 40 days, tempers on both sides will begin to fray as bills begin to stall and die this 84t h session. Senior House members are keenly aware of the slow pace over in the Senate. As the House plowed through another Senate education reform bill at the end of Tuesday, Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, took to the back microphone to make sure his colleagues understood the House was moving and the Senate was not when it came to the other chamber's bills.
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Fed's Beige Book: The Texas economy grew at a 'moderate' pace despite low oil prices
The Dallas Morning News
The Texas economy grew at a "moderate" pace from mid-February through the end of March despite the impact of persistent low oil prices on certain industries, according to data released by the Federal Reserve. Even as the energy industry continued to decline, the Texas economy was buoyed by growth in manufacturing, real estate, auto sales and many services. Hiring picked up across most industries, but oil and gas producers and oilfield service firms continued to cut their workforce.
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Analysis: Legislative dance partners, stepping on toes
The Texas Tribune
Few normal people can tell you whether a piece of legislation started in the Senate or the House. It doesn't make much difference. The real measure of legislation is whether it becomes law. But lawmakers are not like the rest of us: They might be the only people who care whether it is a Senate or a House bill that passes, but sometimes they care quite a bit. That can throw them off course.
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Politics, policy collide over tax cut debate
Houston Chronicle
The last time lawmakers approved school property tax relief, then-Gov. Rick Perry ran ads promising a $2,000 cut for the average homeowner. The angry calls from taxpayers who looked in vain for lower bills are still ringing in some lawmakers' ears as they again work to reduce taxes. "They called us liars," said House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, who wants to avoid property-tax promises and instead trim the state sales tax.
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The 10 best housing designs of 2015, according to architects
The Huffington Post
The American Institute of Architects announced the winners of its annual 2015 Housing Awards, and the designs are absolutely stunning. The 10 breathtaking homes were selected for awards — which were established "to recognize the best in housing design and promote the importance of good housing as a necessity of life" — across three categories: one/two family custom housing, multifamily housing and special housing. There were no selections in a fourth category, one/two family production housing, this year.
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The rise of singles will change how we live in cities
The Washington Post
Over the last half-century in America, it's become acceptable, then increasingly common, then entirely unremarkable, to live alone. As a result of all these shifts, more than a quarter of households in the U.S. now contain one person, alone. This trend has all kinds of consequences, including a particularly problematic one for where we live: Our housing stock wasn't built for a society full of singles.
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In Texas, homebuyers go for jumbo loans
The Wall Street Journal
In parts of Texas, the luxury real-estate market is hotter than a billy goat in a pepper patch. Median home prices appreciated as much as around 10 percent from late 2013 to late 2014 in the state's top metro areas, compared with 6 percent nationwide, according to the National Association of Realtors, a trade group. Because developers didn't overbuild before the recession — and still aren't doing so — homes in Texas didn't suffer the sharp price drops that the rest of the nation did in the housing crisis of 2007, says Lawrence Yun, chief economist with NAR.
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Texas poised to pass open-carry handgun law
Los Angeles Times
Texas is on the verge of passing legislation that would allow handgun owners to openly carry firearms. The House approved a proposal by a vote of 101 to 42 that would allow those with concealed carry licenses to openly carry handguns in a shoulder or hip holster as of January 2016. It's already legal in Texas to openly carry rifles or shotguns without a license.
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