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Bexar Democrats celebrate paying off debt

October 20, 2011

Jubilant Democrats chanted “Paid in full!” on the courthouse steps Thursday before turning over $142,727.07 in checks to Bexar County officials, satisfying a 3-year-old election debt that went unpaid because of alleged embezzlement.

Repayment of the $278,000 original debt was stymied by intramural turmoil, but party leaders pressed for donations this year and capped the fund-raising drive at an Oct. 14 gala.

With a pile of recent donations in the bank, a ceremonial check for $138,227.07 was touted to the media by Democratic Chairwoman Choco Meza, symbolizing the cashier's check delivered to the district attorney's office, along with several small instruments for the remaining $4,500 owed.

Ratepayers asked to keep or dissolve BexarMet

October 20, 2011

By Marissa Villa

After years of turmoil, Bexar Metropolitan Water District ratepayers will have their say in whether or not to dissolve the utility.

The election, which will be held Nov. 8 — with early voting starting Monday — will determine whether BexarMet will become a part of the San Antonio Water System.

State Sen. Carlos Uresti and state Rep. José Menéndez, who wrote legislative bills that called for the election, say they are confident ratepayers will choose to dissolve the entity after years of board in-fighting, ratepayer complaints and federal indictments that plagued utility leaders.

Uresti honored as “Friend of County Government”

October 20, 2011

SAN ANTONIO - The Texas Association of Counties (TAC) has named Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-District 19, as a "Friend of County Government" for his work during the 82nd Legislature.

The award was presented to Uresti at the Bexar County Commissioners Court meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

Uresti's leadership helped pass SB 1505, legislation that corrects oil and gas property undervaluations. The undervaluations had caused a loss of revenue to local government and additional burdens on local homeowners and small businesses.

TAC said it also appreciates the senator's efforts to preserve local control for counties and their taxpayers.

Democrats pay off local party's debt

October 15, 2011

By Brian Chasnoff
San Antonio Express News

With five major donations, local Democrats paid off a long-festering debt Friday night and put the Bexar County Democratic Party back in the black.

Democratic Chairwoman Choco Meza touted the payoff as a turning point for a party that has reeled for years in the turmoil of an embezzlement scandal and a leadership feud made even more destabilizing by the tsunami of Republican victories in 2010.

“This situation has become the rallying force for the party,” Meza said. “We have gone from an almost political flat line to a trajectory that is moving very fast, because in this county there is a strong Democratic base.”

Uresti presented with ‘Legislator of the Year Award'

October 13, 2011

State Sen. Carlos Uresti was recently named the Senate's Legislator of the Year by the Child Protection Roundtable for his leadership role on children's issues in the 82nd Texas Legislature.

“Sen. Carlos Uresti has been fighting for Texas children over the course of his entire legislative career,” Scott McCown, executive director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, said in presenting the award. “He has taken on the epidemic of child maltreatment.”

McCown added that Uresti is a legislative leader in finding solutions, including his creation of the local and statewide Blue Ribbon Task Force.

Texas Taxpayer & Student Fairness Coalition Files School Finance Lawsuit

October 11, 2011

(AUSTIN, TX) - A coalition representing public school districts, taxpayers and parents formally filed a lawsuit against the state in Travis County district court last night. In its suit, the Texas Taxpayer & Student Fairness Coalition claims the state’s public school finance system is unconstitutional because it doesn’t treat Texas taxpayers and school children fairly.

Condensed Analyses of Proposed Constitutional Amendments

July 27, 2011
November 8, 2011, Election
Prepared by the Staff
of the
Texas Legislative Council
Austin, Texas
Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, Joint Chair
Speaker Joe Straus, Joint Chair
Debbie Irvine, Executive Director
July 2011

Amendment No. 1 (S.J.R. 14)

Uresti Opposes Sanctuary Cities Bill In Special Session

June 13, 2011

Terry Gildea - Texas Public Radio

June 13, 2011 - The legislation, known as the Sanctuary Cities Bill, was designated an emergency item by Governor Perry. Those who oppose it say it unfairly profiles Hispanics.

Senator Uresti represents the largest district in the state, much of it along the Texas-Mexico border. He says a lot of folks are concerned how this would be enforced in their communities.

"So, I have constituents living in Eagle Pass, in Del Rio, in Presidio and El Paso. Sixty-five percent of the people in my district are Hispanic. So, a bill like this, the Sanctuary Cities Bill, not only affects those border cities, those border towns, but it affects large urban cities like San Antonio."

Concern Over Gaps in Seniors’ Safety Net

March 22, 2011

by Matt Largey

At the Texas Capitol Wednesday morning, the House Appropriations Committee will hold a public hearing on their version of the state budget bill.
Facing a budget hole of more than $20 billion, state lawmakers will be making deep cuts to services in the next biennium.  Money towards services for the elderly is among the cuts being proposed. But some say they’re worried about what such cuts mean for the safety of the state’s elderly.
The main concern of seniors’ advocates is about Medicaid reimbursements for nursing homes and at-home caregivers.  Under the current budget proposal, those rates would be cut by up to a third. Amanda Fredriksen is with the Texas chapter of AARP, a group that lobbies for people 50 and older.

Special Senate panel starts search for more revenue

March 22, 2011

By Peggy Fikac/Express-News
AUSTIN — Lawmakers' search for additional billions of dollars to help offset drastic state budget cuts kicked into gear Tuesday, as Texans again trooped through the Capitol and rallied on its steps to warn of the human and economic toll of proposed reductions.
“This is probably one of the more important things that we'll be doing this session if we intend to get out of this legislative session with a budget,” said Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, at the first meeting of a special Senate Finance subcommittee searching for $5 billion in untapped revenue.