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Home | Tag Archives: dan patrick

Tag Archives: dan patrick

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Blames City Governments for “All our Problems in America”

City governments, particularly those led by Democrats, are to blame for problems nationwide, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said during a nationally televised interview Friday.

“People are happy with their governments at their state level, they’re not with the city,” said Patrick, a Republican, in an interview with Fox Business Network. He was responding to a question about gubernatorial races.

“Our cities are still controlled by Democrats,” he added. “And where do we have all our problems in America? Not at the state level run by Republicans, but in our cities that are mostly controlled by Democrat mayors and Democrat city council men and women. That’s where you see liberal policies. That’s where you see high taxes. That’s where you see street crime.”

The comments drew a quick response from mayors in Texas. In a message posted to Twitter, Austin Mayor Steve Adler responded, “If it’s wrong to have lower jobless and crime rates than Texas as a whole, I don’t want to be right. Certainly not that far right.”

Patrick’s remarks came halfway through a special legislative session in which lawmakers have repeatedly taken aim at local governments. Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, has proposed to lawmakers a long list of ideas related to how cities and counties set budgets, regulate land use and approve construction projects.

Some of the most controversial bills now making their way through the Legislature would require a local election to approve property tax rate increases over a certain percentage and legislation that would regulate which bathrooms transgender people can use. Current versions of the bathroom proposal would preempt parts of local nondiscrimination ordinances that include protections for transgender people.

Many city officials have criticized the Legislature’s efforts, saying city governments need freedom and flexibility to govern.

“We are closer to our residents than the state is or the federal government, so we know what is best for our community because we are responsible for our community,” said El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, a Republican. “Not only is El Paso the largest U.S. city on the Mexican border, we’re also ranked as the safest city in the nation.”

Mayors from two of the state’s six biggest cities are Republican: Margo, plus Betsy Price of Fort Worth.

But “the fact that city elections are nonpartisan is one of the greatest things about city government,” said Bennett Sandlin, executive director of the Texas Municipal League. “We like to say that potholes aren’t Democratic or Republican… it costs the same amount regardless of ideology.” 

Disclosure: Steve Adler, a former Texas Tribune board chairman, the Texas Municipal League and Dee Margo have been financial supporters of the Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Read related Tribune coverage:

  • Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price talked about their Tuesday meeting with Gov. Greg Abbott about several local control issues he put on the agenda for the special legislative session. [link]
  • Texas legislators would love to lower your property taxes, but none of the proposals they’re considering in the special session would do that. [link]
  • Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is a former radio host who still owns a radio station in Houston. The station continues to push his conservative agenda. [link]

Author:  SHANNON NAJMABADI – The Texas Tribune

Dan Patrick Unconvinced by House Action on Bathrooms, Property Taxes

After threatening to force a special session of the Texas Legislature unless lawmakers approve a “bathroom bill” and property tax legislation, Lt. Gov Dan Patrick on Monday appeared to be unconvinced by the House’s actions on the two issues.

“I share Governor Abbott’s concern about the lack of a rollback provision in Senate Bill 669 on property taxes,” Patrick said in a statement about a property tax measure the House passed Saturday that did not include a rollback provision for local tax increases. Patrick, like Gov. Greg Abbott, had indicated he wanted the House to approve Senate Bill 2, to require local governments that want to raise property taxes by 5 percent or more to get voter approval, but that proposal stalled in the House.

On the bathroom front, Patrick said he had concerns about the “ambiguous language” the House approved as an amendment Sunday to address bathroom use by transgender Texans in public schools because it “doesn’t appear to do much.” The measure the House approved would require schools to provide single-stall restrooms, locker rooms and changing facilities to students who don’t want to use facilities designated by “biological sex.”

“There is still time for the House and Senate to address these concerns — which are both priorities for Texas voters — in a meaningful way,” Patrick said.

Throughout the session, Patrick and Straus have been at odds over what should be the Legislature’s priorities. The lieutenant governor’s statement comes after a weekend of House votes on the issues that have emerged as sticking points in his efforts to push for Abbott to call a special session. The regular legislative session ends May 29.

Last week, Patrick had said he was prepared to go to a special session if the House did not act on the property tax issue and some version of a “bathroom bill.”

Abbott said both pieces of legislation were also priorities for him, though he has not publicly threatened a special session over the two items.

But following the House’s vote on the bathroom amendment, House Speaker Joe Straus said in a statement that the governor made clear “he would demand action on this in a special session.”

Patrick had pushed for the House to move on Senate Bill 6, the measure his chamber passed out in March, to regulate bathroom use for transgender Texans or to amend a bill with language from a related House measure. Both measures stalled in the House, which on Sunday approved a more narrow proposal.

Over the past few months, Straus was reticent to allow a vote on the Senate’s bathroom proposal, saying the issue felt “manufactured and unnecessary.”

And ahead of the House’s vote on the property tax measure — which was set on the House calendar ahead of Patrick’s special session ultimatum — Straus argued that the House had addressed the issue of offering taxpayers relief by focusing on a measure intended to reform the state’s complex school finance system.

A spokesman for Straus did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Patrick’s statement.

Read related coverage:

Author:  ALEXA URA – The Texas Tribune

Tensions Mount between Dan Patrick and the Texas House

Less than two months into the session, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has been hardly masking his irritation with a lower chamber that has shown little appetite for some of his priorities.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick celebrated a milestone Wednesday: His Senate had acted on all four of Gov. Greg Abbott‘s emergency items with many more days to go in the 85th legislative session.

“It’s the earliest ever that anyone knows of that either body … has already passed all the emergency items,” Patrick said in a radio interview. Abbott’s top priorities are “out and done” in the Senate, Patrick boasted  a not-so-subtle contrast with the Texas House, which tackled its first emergency item this week.

It’s not the only bone Patrick has to pick with the House these days. As its resistance to some of his top priorities has come into focus in recent weeks, the lieutenant governor has become increasingly vocal about the tension between the two chambers.

“The brow-beating — I think the volume’s up a lot higher than we’ve seen in the past,” said state Rep. Lyle Larson, an ally of House Speaker Joe Straus, a fellow San Antonio Republican. “Using a brow-beating approach in governing never bodes well for anybody.”

In recent media appearances, Patrick has stopped short of directly criticizing the House. But he has hardly concealed his irritation with a chamber that has shown little appetite for some of the issues he cares most about. The latest exhibit came Tuesday, when state Rep. Dan Huberty, the Houston Republican who chairs the House Public Education Committee, bluntly stated that Patrick’s school voucher bill will be dead on arrival in the lower chamber.

“They’ve said they’re against school choice, which is a high priority,” Patrick said in a radio interview on Monday. “We’re going to pass the Texas Privacy Act, which keeps men out of bathrooms and stops boys and girls from showering together in high schools. The House has said they’re not interested in that bill. I don’t know where they are on property tax relief, but … conservatives in the Senate have made a pledge that we’re going to get our job done.”

“What I always ask for is, just bring a bill to the floor,” Patrick added. “We have 94 out of 150 … House members [who] are Republicans. You need 76 to pass a bill. I believe there will be 76 out of 94 Republicans, if given a vote, on the House floor to pass all the legislation that we’re going to pass.”

The House has not responded in kind to most of Patrick’s public volleys, which date back to his panning of the lower chamber’s budget proposal in January — “I can’t explain the House budget” — and demand on the Capitol steps that same month that the House give school choice a vote this session. “It’s easy to kill a bill when no one gets to vote on it,” he said, joining Abbott at a school choice rally.

Then there is Patrick’s highest-profile priority, the so-called bathroom bill that would require transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their “biological sex” in public schools, government buildings and public universities. Straus made clear early in the session that he has serious concerns with the legislation, which is set for a committee hearing Tuesday amid mounting opposition from the business community.

“The speaker said it’s not important to him,” Patrick said in an appearance Sunday on Dallas TV. “Well, it’s important to the voters.”

For argument’s sake, there are some structural differences that allow the Senate to get to work faster than the House. Patrick has acknowledged as much in some recent interviews, while touting the cohesion in his chamber, which this session added even more Republican members cut from Patrick’s ideological cloth.

“You never know what the real drill is there,” Patrick said of the House in Monday’s radio interview, discussing the 150-member lower chamber. “We’re a tight group in the Senate — 31 of us. We work together pretty well.”

Those familiar with House leadership say Patrick’s recent comments probably aren’t helping him make his case across the hall. If anything, they’re solidifying the House’s resolve to chart its own path this session.

“With all due respect, I think they could care less,” said former state Rep. Jim Keffer, an Eastland Republican close to Straus. “Sitting there pounding your chest and pointing your fingers and trying to kick sand in someone’s face — that’s pretty childish to me.”

Looming in the background of these debates is Abbott, who has largely stayed out of the crossfire at the Capitol since his State of the State address in January. The biggest development since then has been his criticism of the NFL for its opposition to the bathroom bill, a potential sign that Abbott is moving toward siding with Patrick after months on the sidelines. Abbott still has not taken a position in a debate that has been going on since early last summer.

Of course, not all the brow-beating on legislative progress is coming from Patrick. Abbott used his State of the State speech to dish out some tough love for legislators on funding for his pre-Kindergarten initiative, telling them to “do it right or don’t do it at all.” Larson called parts of the speech “very demeaning, very condescending.”

Yet just under two months into the session, most of the spotlight remains on the Patrick agenda and its hurdles in the House.

To Straus’ critics on the right, the House’s work so far reeks of an effort to run out the clock before the chamber is forced to take up legislation that could lead to politically difficult votes. Straus’ antagonists at the conservative advocacy group Empower Texans have taken to calling it “Operation Slowdown,” a reference to a Democratic state representative’s remarks in November assuring a crowd that the lower chamber would not move as quickly on some divisive proposals originating in the Senate.

JoAnn Fleming, a Tea Party leader from East Texas, called it the “same old drill over in the House” but noted one difference this session: No one in the House challenged Straus for speaker or voted against his speakership. When the session began in January, he won unanimous support for a record-tying fifth term as speaker.

That has ratcheted up Fleming’s expectations for conservative lawmakers.

“If you can’t get your bills through committee, you need to get out on the steps and call names,” said Fleming, who chaired Patrick’s now-defunct Grassroots Advisory Council last session and remains in touch with the lieutenant governor. “Any slow-walking that goes on over there in the House — if you’re not calling it out, then you’re part of the problem.”

Yet even Patrick’s outspokenness has its limits. As radio host Chris Salcedo railed against the House’s “foot-dragging” and called Straus an “obstructionist” in the Monday interview, acknowledging Patrick would never use such words himself, the lieutenant governor interjected.

“No, no,” Patrick said. “Look, Chris, I’m not going to get into a direct fight at this time with the House.”

Read more:

  • House Public Education Chair Dan Huberty spawned a backlash from school choice activists after his remarks in opposition to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s voucher push.
  • Both chambers have unanimously passed legislation aimed at reforming the state’s troubled child welfare system.

Author:  PATRICK SVITEK – The Texas Tribune

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