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Legislative Update December 2022

Republican Lee Kaplan for City of Houston Mayor

As more People sign up to run for Mayor, we will list their names

I was born in Methodist Hospital, and we lived in Houston throughout my childhood. I was joined by two brothers, David and Jay, and my sister Nanette. I attended Condit and Lovett Elementary, Johnston Junior High (now Meyerland Middle School), and Bellaire High. I had various part-time and summer jobs, including as a peanut vendor for two years at Astros games in 1966-67.

Being accepted at Princeton University was a great honor, and, even though I had a partial scholarship and part-time jobs there, I owed it to my parents to take an extra course every semester and to miss as few classes as possible. I authored my senior thesis on the Houston Independent School District, which was transitioning (too slowly) from a segregated district to one run by public-spirited citizens who trusted and honored real educators.

I then attended the University of Texas Law School and graduated with honors. I received a coveted clerkship with a federal judge, Joe MacDonald Ingraham. At law school, I met a brilliant woman, now my wife Diana Hudson.

In 1977 I joined the Baker Botts law firm and tried cases and appeals, including a pro bono case for an indigent defendant who received ineffective counsel. The case went up to the U.S. Supreme Court, by which time Mr. Guerra had served his time and been released. In late 1984 I was immensely proud to be selected as a partner, and I continued to try lawsuits.

Over time I became restless and explored the possibility of starting my own firm. Diana and I agonized over this, and we eventually decided it was a risk worth taking. With two friends who were accomplished lawyers, I took the leap, and we formed our own small trial litigation boutique. Our first office was 1100 square feet. We could hear every telephone that rang throughout the office, and we would all jump to answer, waiting to find out if it carried the promise of a new client.


NOVEMBER 7, 2023, GENERAL ELECTION CANDIDATE INFORMATION 

MORE INFORMATION ON WHO IS RUNNING AS SOON AS THE FILING DEADLINE IS OVER

Page last updated November 3, 2022, 11:55 AM

The City of Houston will conduct a general election on Tuesday, November 7, 2023, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at voting sites available throughout the City of Houston, at which there will be elected the following officers of the City:

Mayor
Council Member, District A
Council Member, District B
Council Member, District C
Council Member, District D
Council Member, District E this is our district and it is open
Council Member, District F
Council Member, District G
Council Member, District H
Council Member, District I
Council Member, District J
Council Member, District K
Council Member, At-Large Position 1
Council Member, At-Large Position 2
Council Member, At-Large Position 3
Council Member, At-Large Position 4
Council Member, At-Large Position 5

City Controller

We can vote for all these seats

CANDIDATE FILING PERIOD

The first day to file an application for a place on the ballot is Saturday, July 22, 2023.

The last day to file for a place on the ballot is Monday, August 21, 2023, by 5:00 p.m.

The last day to file a declaration as a write-in candidate is Friday, August 25, 2023, by 5:00 p.m.

Applications for a place on the ballot must be filed in the Mayor’s Office, 901 Bagby, 3rd Floor, Houston, Texas, 77002. Applications may also be submitted via e-mail to mayor@houstontx.gov. Please note that, for applications submitted via e-mail, the filing fee or petition in lieu of a filing fee must still be filed in person. Please also note that the first day of the filing period is set by state law and does not move; the hours of operation for the Mayor’s Office are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The complete candidate packet will be available on this website and in the Mayor’s Office in 2023.

REDISTRICTING

The City Council approved new Council District boundaries on October 12, 2022, as part of the redistricting process after the 2020 federal census. The new boundaries will be used for electing District Council Members at the November 7, 2023, City General Election for terms of office beginning on January 2, 2024.

Visit the City’s Redistricting Website to learn more about the redistricting process and determine what Council District you reside in for the 2023 City General Election.


Speaker of the State House

Two people are running for this Position

 First Tony Tinderholt of

Arlington

Tony Tinderholt Says Legislature Should Focus on GOP Priorities

The candidate for Speaker of the Texas House called a ban on child gender mutilation “low hanging fruit” that should have been passed last year.

As his campaign for speaker of the Texas House gets underway, State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington) says the Legislature’s focus should be on the priorities of the Republican Party of Texas.

At the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) Convention in June, more than 5,000 delegates from across the state gathered to determine the party priorities and platform for the next two years.

These eight legislative priorities are meant to serve as directives for lawmakers on what party members would like to see accomplished during the 140-day legislative session beginning on January 10.

In an interview on The Salcedo Storm last week, Tinderholt said he believed those priorities should be adopted by the Legislature.

“The issues for Republicans should be easy. As Republican elected officials, we go to Austin, and our job is to execute Republican priorities that are created by a whole bunch of other people. A lot of time is put into those priorities,” said Tinderholt. “I think it’s important that every Republican go down to Austin and not try to create their own priorities, but to do what the Republican Party has asked us and what Texas voters have asked for us to do.”

Among those top priorities is ending child gender mutilation.

“A huge percent of the voting population, to include Democrats, do not want children having their gender gender permanently modified. I mean, they cannot even buy cigarettes or alcohol until they are twenty-one…but you can permanently modify a child’s gender at the age of seven.”

Additionally, Tinderholt highlighted school choice as a priority he would like to see accomplished in the coming session, especially considering the increasingly sexualized and radical curriculum in public schools.

“They are not just teaching them, they are indoctrinating them into pornographic things with the books that are in the library, discussing transgenderism, and sexuality. And the sad thing is that the school districts do not even realize that it is the parents’ choice to teach those children these things at the time that the parent determines it is right for their individual child,” said Tinderholt.

A central piece of Tinderholt’s candidacy has been the question of whether Democrats should be placed in positions of power in the Republican-led chamber. Eliminating the practice of awarding Democrats committee chairmanships in the Texas Legislature is one of the Texas GOP’s eight legislative priorities for the upcoming session. Current House Speaker Dade Phelan has supported the practice, while Tinderholt voted against it last year.

“As a speaker candidate, I cannot say what I would or would not do as the law prevents you from doing that. But when that rule comes up as a member, I will vote yes on that rule change again,” said Tinderholt. “’It is insane to me that people go to the polls, and they vote overwhelmingly to have Republicans in charge down in Texas and the Texas House and we do not follow their lead. We do not do what they are asking us to do.”

The vote for speaker of the House will take place among House members when the state Legislature convenes on January 10, 2023.


Dade Phelan of Baytown is the Current Speaker of the House and is running for the Position for the next Legislative Session

Dade Phelan Downplays Potential for Property Tax Relief

“No one is even considering how much more expensive it’s going to be to run government next cycle.”

With the state expected to have a $27 billion surplus when lawmakers gather in January for the next legislative session, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan is tempering expectations that the money will be used for property tax relief.

Since the surplus was announced earlier this year, Gov. Greg Abbott has stated that “at least half” of the money should go toward property tax relief, committing to put the state on a path toward the elimination of school property taxes.

That plan has received the support of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has said the actual number could be much higher than half.

But at a recent meeting of the Transportation Advocacy Group in Houston, Speaker Phelan indicated that his plans for the surplus may not include substantial property tax relief.

“I know there’s a lot of politicians who are going around saying we need to go around spending half this revenue [on property tax relief],” Phelan told attendees. “I have elected officials who have not taken the oath of office saying we need to spend all the revenue on property tax relief. Let me just remind you, none of this money came from property taxes. It all came from sales tax.”

Phelan later hinted that the money would go to infrastructure and growing government, saying, “No one is even considering how much more expensive it’s going to be to run government next cycle.”

Meanwhile, State Rep. Tom Oliverson (R–Cypress) and incoming State Rep. Ellen Troxclair have both filed bills to use 90 percent of the $27 billion surplus toward buying down property taxes.

Texans for Fiscal Responsibility Editor says Phelan’s stance should concern Texans.

“It should be concerning to Texans to have the Republican speaker of the Texas House be on the opposite side of Texas taxpayers, his own political party’s platform, the lieutenant governor, and governor when it comes to using the projected budget surplus to provide actual property tax relief to Texas taxpayers,” said Kitchen. “If the speaker is so concerned about infrastructure spending, he should set his mind to using existing budget resources for those efforts.”

Kitchen added, “Taxpayers have had to tighten their belts as a result of record inflation and out-of-control government spending at the federal, state, and local levels, ultimately stifling their own future prosperity, all of which should necessitate that government does the same.”


Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Previews Priorities Ahead of Legislature’s Return

Property tax relief, increased teacher pays, and electric grid reform are just a few of the priorities Patrick said he would like lawmakers to consider in the upcoming session.

With just over a month until the Texas Legislature is slated to return, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick previewed his priorities for the upcoming session, including property tax relief, protecting the state’s electric grid, and raising teacher pay.

Patrick’s announcement came in the form of a press conference shortly after the Legislative Budget Board approved the spending cap for the upcoming biennial budget. With the state facing an over $27 billion surplus, pressure has grown for lawmakers to return the money.

Gov. Greg Abbott has stated that “at least half” of the money should go toward property tax relief, committing to put the state on a path toward the elimination of school property taxes. This plan was endorsed at the time by Patrick, who said the amount should be “at least half” of the surplus.

Patrick’s current proposal, which he warned were “general concepts” that he would like senators to think about before the start of the session, calls for an increase in the homestead exemption, a move he estimated could cost $4-5 billion over the course of 2024-2025.

“Much of what I’m laying out today is not specific because it’s really up to the members to write the bills in the Senate and the House,” said Patrick.” It is good that the Legislature’s back. We have an extraordinary opportunity, unlike we have never had before, to chart the future of the state of Texas and create a vision.”

Patrick did indicate, however, that more could be done.

“We need to do more than just the homestead exemption, whether it’s a one-time dividend to taxpayers, and that’s a little difficult to do constitutionally,” said Patrick. “But we need a robust property tax cut for everyone in the state.”

Patrick did warn, however, that he did not want to bust the spending cap for property tax relief, saying it could set a “dangerous precedent.”

On the issue of the electric grid, Patrick said more needs to be done to ensure a similar blackout like the one that affected the state during the winter storms in 2021 does not happen again.

“We need to redesign the market to make sure there is enough generation and there’s enough power,” said Patrick. “We can’t leave here next spring unless we have a plan for more natural gas power.”

“If you can’t turn the lights on, you don’t have a Texas miracle,” he added.

On the issue of education, Patrick echoed his previous calls for increasing pay for current and retired teachers, as well as increased student aid to prospective teachers and school safety funding. Shannon Holmes, the director of the Association of Texas Professional Educators, the state’s largest teacher’s union, said that while the proposal was “welcome,” she was also cautious.

“At the 30,000-foot level, those sound good. But the devil is always in the details, and we urge lawmakers to listen to the feedback of public educators as they craft these plans to ensure they are designed to provide maximum benefit for Texas students,” said Holmes.

The Legislature will convene on January 10, 2023.

Patrick’s full list of priorities is below:

Property Tax Relief

– Raise the Homestead Exemption for More Homeowner Tax Relief

– Cut Taxes for Businesses by Expanding the Personal Property Tax Exemption

Electric Grid Reliability

– Build More Natural Gas Power Plants to Add Needed Megawatts

– Level the Playing Field Between Renewable Energy and Dispatchable Energy to Ensure Reliability

Border Security and Law Enforcement

– Rural Law Enforcement Fund

– Sheriff Pay Enhancement

– 10-year Mandatory Minimum Sentence to Criminals Who Use a Firearm in the Commission of a Crime

– Recall District Attorneys and Judges who Refuse to Follow Texas Law

– Continue Border Security Funding

Education and School Security

– New Fund for non-PUF Schools

– Expand Usage of Current Scholarship Programs for Teachers and Law Enforcement

– Increase Teacher Pay

– 13th Check or COLA for Retired Teachers

– Empower Parents by Giving Them a Voice in Their Children’s Education

– Continued School Safety Funding

– Reform Tenure in Higher Education

Moving Texas Forward

– Continued Investment in the State Mental Health System

– Finish Alamo Restoration

– Retire Debt Where it Saves Money

Election Integrity

– Restore Voter Fraud to a Felony

– Ensure Timely Counting of Votes and Review of Machines

the Unborn” ordinance.


Governor Abbott Calls for Investigation of Harris County Elections

Following reports of irregularities, the governor is asking the attorney general’s office and the Texas Rangers to launch an investigation.

After an election marred by missing and malfunctioning equipment, a shortage of paper ballots, and controversial court orders, Gov. Greg Abbott has called for an investigation into Harris County elections.

In a statement released Monday, Abbott said he is calling on the secretary of state, the attorney general’s office, and the Texas Rangers “to initiate investigations into allegations of improprieties in the way that the 2022 elections were conducted in Harris County.”

“The allegations of election improprieties in our state’s largest county may result from anything ranging from malfeasance to blatant criminal conduct. Voters in Harris County deserve to know what happened,” said Abbott.

His call stems from a chaotic Election Day in the state’s most populous county, which began with polling sites that opened hours late and then once open were unable to process voters due to inoperable voting machines.

During an Election Day press conference, newly appointed Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum told the media that in one instance there had been miscommunications about supply delivery and that a key to access equipment had gone missing for the Baker Ripley Cleveland Campus. That site did not open until 11:00 a.m., and even after opening, the equipment malfunctioned.

In addition, multiple polling locations ran out of paper ballots at some point during Election Day. According to Andy Taylor, an attorney representing the Harris County Republican Party, there were at least 23 locations that either completely ran out or came close to running out of supplies.

While some were allegedly able to borrow supplies from other polling sites, multiple locations were forced to turn away voters.

During an emergency hearing on election night, First Assistant County Attorney Jonathan Fombonne admitted that the county had failed to resupply paper ballots for some locations.

“Why would it be that the only places that our investigation has shown thus far to not have enough paper to vote [were in] Republican stronghold precincts?” Taylor asked at a press conference last week.

In addition to the paper shortage, Taylor explained that elections workers had reported errors in handling ballots that were damaged or misfed at scanners. In some cases, if the second page failed to scan, voters were allegedly given new access codes to vote again and print new ballots to feed into scanners. If so, those voters would have voted twice in some contests.

A preliminary Harris County reconciliation report required by Texas election reforms passed last session indicated there were 6,405 more ballots cast than voters checked in, but a revised reconciliation report posted by the county has reduced the discrepancy to 2,712.

On Election Day, a local district court judge ordered polls in Harris County to remain open an extra hour due to delays in the morning. Her order was struck down by the Supreme Court of Texas, but thousands of voters were allowed to cast provisional ballots after the 7:00 p.m. cutoff.

On the following day, the county quietly obtained a second emergency order to allow them to continue to count ballots beyond the statutory deadline.

In a few Harris County contests, the candidates are separated by a few thousand votes. In the race for the 180th Criminal District Court, Democratic incumbent Judge DaSean Jones trails Republican challenger Tami C. Pierce by a mere 165 votes.

Following Abbott’s announcement, the Texas Secretary of State’s Office released a statement indicating they had received information regarding alleged improprieties in the conduct of Harris County’s election administration last week.

“Under Sec. 31.006 of the Texas Election Code, our office has referred that information to the Texas Attorney General’s office and the Harris County District Attorney’s office for investigation. Simultaneously, Harris County is already subject to the next round of post-election audits required under Sec. 127.351 of the Texas Election Code, so we will be collecting even more information to ultimately provide the public with greater clarity on the root causes of the issues witnessed in Harris County on Election Day.”

Tatum also responded to the investigation announcement saying his office is “fully committed to transparency regarding the processes and procedures implemented” for the Midterm Elections.

“As already established, Harris County has been selected to participate in the 2022 SOS Audit and has been in communication with the SOS Auditing team regarding this election. The office is currently completing vote tabulation of provisional ballots in preparation for the statutorily required manual count that must occur before canvassing,” said Tatum. “The office is currently reviewing issues and claims made about Election Day and will include these findings in a post-elections report to be shared promptly with the Harris County Elections Commission and the County Commissioner Court.”

State Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), a former Harris County voter registrar, told The Texan he welcomed the investigation, as his and other legislative offices had been flooded with complaints from election workers and voters about irregularities.

“I suspect many election contests will be filed,” said Bettencourt. “This is not about being an election denier, it is about actual reported voter irregularities. The cause of this must be determined.”

According to the election code, for all county and precinct races, the county commissioners court will conduct the final canvass and certify the election. The state legislature conducts the canvass for the governor and lieutenant governor’s elections.

According to an advisory from the Texas Secretary of State’s Director of Elections Keith Ingram, canvassing may be completed any time between November 11 and 22, and any recount requests must be filed no later than 5:00 p.m. on the second day after the canvass is conducted.

Texas law also states that if enough criminal complaints are received, either the district attorney or the attorney general’s office may impound ballots and election materials. Failure to distribute or deliver supplies, or obstructing distribution of supplies, are Class C misdemeanors.


List of 2023 Texas Legislators

The Texas House and Senate will see substantial turnover heading into this legislative session. Six new senators and 23 new representatives will join the Capitol ranks.

Here’s a list of every state legislator who will convene in Austin next year. Find out who represents you here.

*Denotes a returning member.

Senate

Search:

District Name
1 Bryan Hughes* (R)
2 Bob Hall* (R)
3 Robert Nichols* (R)
4 Brandon Creighton* (R)
5 Charles Schwertner* (R)
6 Carol Alvarado* (D)
7 Paul Bettencourt* (R)
8 Angela Paxton* (R)
9 Kelly Hancock* (R)
10 Phil King (R)
11 Mayes Middleton (R)
12 Tan Parker (R)
13 Borris Miles* (D)
14 Sarah Eckhardt* (D)
15 John Whitmire* (D)
16 Nathan Johnson* (D)
17 Joan Huffman* (R)
18 Lois Kolkhorst* (R)
19 Roland Gutierrez* (D)
20 Juan Hinojosa* (D)
21 Judith Zaffirini* (D)
22 Brian Birdwell* (R)
23 Royce West* (D)
24 Pete Flores (R)
25 Donna Campbell* (R)
26 José Menéndez* (D)
27 Morgan LaMantia (D)
28 Charles Perry* (R)
29 César Blanco* (D)
30 Drew Springer* (R)
31 Kevin Sparks (R)

Showing 1 to 31 of 31 entries

House

District Name
1 Gary VanDeaver* (R)
2 Bryan Slaton* (R)
3 Cecil Bell, Jr.* (R)
4 Keith Bell* (R)
5 Cole Hefner* (R)
6 Matt Schaefer* (R)
7 Jay Dean* (R)
8 Cody Harris* (R)
9 Trent Ashby* (R)
10 Brian Harrison* (R)
11 Travis Clardy* (R)
12 Kyle Kacal* (R)
13 Angelia Orr (R)
14 John Raney* (R)
15 Steve Toth* (R)
16 Will Metcalf* (R)
17 Stan Gerdes (R)
18 Ernest Bailes* (R)
19 Ellen Troxclair (R)
20 Terry Wilson* (R)
21 Dade Phelan* (R)
22 Christian Hayes (D)
23 Terri Leo-Wilson (R)
24 Greg Bonnen* (R)
25 Cody Vasut* (R)
26 Jacey Jetton* (R)
27 Ron Reynolds* (D)
28 Gary Gates* (R)
29 Ed Thompson* (R)
30 Geanie Morrison* (R)
31 Ryan Guillen* (R)
32 Todd Hunter* (R)
33 Justin Holland* (R)
34 Abel Herrero* (D)
35 Oscar Longoria* (D)
36 Sergio Muñoz Jr.* (D)
37 Janie Lopez (R)
38 Erin Gamez* (D)
39 Armando Martinez* (D)
40 Terry Canales* (D)
41 Bobby Guerra* (D)
42 Richard Peña Raymond* (D)
43 J.M. Lozano* (R)
44 John Kuempel* (R)
45 Erin Zwiener* (D)
46 Sheryl Cole* (D)
47 Vikki Goodwin* (D)
48 Donna Howard* (D)
49 Gina Hinojosa* (D)
50 James Talarico* (D)
51 Maria Luisa Flores (D)
52 Caroline Harris (R)
53 Andrew Murr* (R)
54 Brad Buckley* (R)
55 Hugh Shine* (R)
56 Doc Anderson* (R)
57 Richard Hayes (R)
58 DeWayne Burns* (R)
59 Shelby Slawson* (R)
60 Glenn Rogers* (R)
61 Frederick Frazier (R)
62 Reggie Smith* (R)
63 Ben Bumgarner (R)
64 Lynn Stucky* (R)
65 Kronda Thimesch (R)
66 Matt Shaheen* (R)
67 Jeff Leach* (R)
68 David Spiller* (R)
69 James Frank* (R)
70 Mihaela Plesa (D)
71 Stan Lambert* (R)
72 Drew Darby* (R)
73 Carrie Isaac (R)
74 Eddie Morales, Jr.* (D)
75 Mary Gonzalez* (D)
76 Suleman Lalani (D)
77 Lina Ortega* (D)
78 Joe Moody* (D)
79 Claudia Ordaz Perez* (D)
80 Tracy King* (D)
81 Brooks Landgraf* (R)
82 Tom Craddick* (R)
83 Dustin Burrows* (R)
84 Carl Tepper (R)
85 Stan Kitzman (R)
86 John Smithee* (R)
87 Four Price* (R)
88 Ken King* (R)
89 Candy Noble* (R)
90 Ramon Romero, Jr.* (R)
91 Stephanie Klick* (R)
92 Salman Bhojani (D)
93 Nate Schatzline (R)
94 Tony Tinderholt* (R)
95 Nicole Collier* (R)
96 David Cook* (R)
97 Craig Goldman* (R)
98 Giovanni Capriglione* (R)
99 Charlie Geren* (R)
100 Venton Jones (D)
101 Chris Turner* (D)
102 Ana-Maria Ramos* (D)
103 Rafael Anchia* (D)
104 Jessica Gonzalez* (D)
105 Terry Meza* (D)
106 Jared Patterson* (R)
107 Victoria Neave* (D)
108 Morgan Meyer* (R)
109 Carl Sherman, Jr.* (D)
110 Toni Rose* (D)
111 Yvonne Davis* (D)
112 Angie Chen Button* (R)
113 Rhetta Bowers* (D)
114 John Bryant* (D)
115 Julie Johnson* (D)
116 Trey Martinez Fischer* (D)
117 Philip Cortez* (D)
118 John Lujan* (R)
119 Elizabeth Campos* (D)
120 Barbara Gervin-Hawkins* (D)
121 Steve Allison* (R)
122 Mark Dorazio (R)
123 Diego Bernal* (D)
124 Josey Garcia (D)
125 Ray Lopez* (D)
126 Sam Harless* (R)
127 Charles Cunningham (R)
128 Briscoe Cain* (R)
129 Dennis Paul* (R)
130 Tom Oliverson* (R)
131 Alma Allen* (D)
132 Mike Schofield* (R)
133 Mano DeAyala (R)
134 Ann Johnson* (D)
135 Jon Rosenthal* (D)
136 John Bucy* (D)
137 Gene Wu* (D)
138 Lacey Hull* (R)
139 Jarvis Johnson* (D)
140 Armando Walle* (D)
141 Senfronia Thompson* (D)
142 Harold Dutton, Jr.* (D)
143 Ana Hernandez* (D)
144 Mary Ann Perez* (D)
145 Christina Morales* (D)
146 Shawn Thierry* (D)
147 Jolanda Jones* (D)
148 Penny Morales Shaw* (D)
149 Hubert Vo* (D)
150 Valoree Swanson* (R)

 

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