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Two Views

Two Views: Which bills will survive distance between Senate, House?

Two Views: Which bills will survive distance between Senate, House?

In 1990, a Democratic member of the U.S. House named Al Swift was quoted in D.C.-area media reports as saying “Republicans are the opposition, but the Senate is the enemy.” That line remains a shrewd observation today. Though partisanship is a considerable factor in any legislative body, nothing unites a legislative body like the disdain it has for its counterpart. There are about 70 days...
Two Views: Distance between House, Senate leaves key bills in doubt

Two Views: Distance between House, Senate leaves key bills in doubt

It was an old ritual of the high school rebels: light up our cigarettes in the bathroom. That’ll show the teachers and the principals who’s really in charge! In our ritual conformity, we rebels were a rather sad spectacle, but we can put the behavior off to adolescent confusions. The same excuse can’t be made for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has turned the 2017 Legislature into an extended...
Commentary: Tackle drug monopolies to bring medication prices down

Commentary: Tackle drug monopolies to bring medication prices down

The news that President Donald Trump takes the anti-baldness drug Propecia has temporarily bumped his war against the pharma sector from the front pages. Before his doctor offered this juicy tidbit, the focus was on Trump’s comment that drug companies were “getting away with murder” and his threat to authorize Medicare to negotiate lower prices. Wall Street took Trump’s remarks...
Commentary: Legalizing drug importation harms Texas’ patients, economy

Commentary: Legalizing drug importation harms Texas’ patients, economy

President Donald Trump promises to help lower America’s prescription drug bills. How? By allowing patients to buy medicines from overseas pharmacies. Though intended to help everyday Americans, legalizing drug importation would actually harm them. It would force American pharmacies to compete on a deeply uneven playing field. Foreign companies, benefiting from the socialist price controls of...
Two Views: Bathroom bill is about women’s rights

Two Views: Bathroom bill is about women’s rights

In May, President Obama issued an edict that all schoolchildren could declare their own gender and use the restroom and shower of their choice. Thankfully, the newly appointed attorney general has rescinded that order, saying it was done “without due regard for the primary role of the states.” I agree, which is why I’ve been joined by over a dozen of my fellow state senators in authoring...
Two Views: Bathroom bill puts trans children in harm’s way

Two Views: Bathroom bill puts trans children in harm’s way

As a pediatrician, I have dedicated my life to the well-being and protection of children. A large part of my job is to care for and advocate for those who have no voice. My wife, also a pediatrician, underwent three years of extra training to specialize in caring for children who have been sexually or physical abused. Throughout our careers in pediatrics, we have seen far too many children who were...
Two Views: Prohibitions on dues deductions punishes professionals

Two Views: Prohibitions on dues deductions punishes professionals

It’s alarming to see how quickly some Republican leaders of an extremist bent can turn their followers on opponents. It’s like Donald Sutherland’s space-alien howl and pointed finger in the film, “The Body Snatchers.” The extremists point to a villain, and their followers, full of instant animosity, attack. It’s happened to lawyers. It’s happened to women&rsquo...
Two Views: Texas collects labor union dues used to harass employers

Two Views: Texas collects labor union dues used to harass employers

From 2005-15, Texas has actively collected over $49 million in dues on behalf of politically active labor unions, not including data from school districts, cities and counties. Here’s a simple question: Why don’t labor unions collect their own dues? Recently, the Senate State Affairs Committee approved Senate Bill 13, authored by state Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), the State Affairs Chair...
Two Views: Why school vouchers won’t work — an economist’s perspective

Two Views: Why school vouchers won’t work — an economist’s perspective

The school-reform movement stands at a crossroads. One camp wants unfettered free markets, while charter school leaders and others want to offer families choice and preserve meaningful oversight and accountability. This debate is playing out in Texas on Senate Bill 3, which would create two forms of school vouchers. Though packaged as savings accounts and tax credits, Senate Bill 3 is essentially...
Two Views: Schools could thrive with free market, less bureaucracy

Two Views: Schools could thrive with free market, less bureaucracy

Recently, due to tremendous momentum, the issue of school choice has become front and center in education policy debates around the country. With the largest and most successful National School Choice Week ever, and President Donald Trump issuing a proclamation supporting school choice, the issue has been generating a lot of attention. Many people are still learning about school choice — and...
Commentary: Trump order mucks up the regulatory process

Commentary: Trump order mucks up the regulatory process

President Trump’s recently issued executive order requiring agencies to trash two regulations for every one that they adopt is another ham-handed attempt to deliver on a campaign promise that will — like the recent immigration order — eventually prove unworkable. In the meantime it will prevent federal agencies from writing and enforcing regulations needed to protect us from serious...

Commentary: New Cabinet, Trump’s regulatory policy can revive economy

The world is watching as President Donald Trump lurches into motion. For many, the early signs suggest a blend of hubris and incompetence as he creates chaos in the nation’s highest executive office. For those inclined to panic, I would ask to what halcyon days are you yearning to return? The resuscitation of our nation’s economy may, in fact, require the knockabout approaches of our bumptious...
Smith: Serving up lies to 'Intimidation and Customs Enforcement' raids

Smith: Serving up lies to 'Intimidation and Customs Enforcement' raids

Remember when Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republican state officials hated the federal government? Why, a few years ago former Gov. Rick Perry even tossed the word “secession” into his poisonous mix of anti-President Obama rhetoric. He was, we were told, just kidding. Think back to 2015, when Abbott and others feared that run-of-the-mill U.S. military maneuvers known as Jade Helm were suspected...

Mackowiak: Abbott, Patrick seek to protect public with SB4

In near record time, the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 4, legislation authored by state Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), which seeks to end so-called sanctuary city policies in our state. To date, only Travis County has put such policies in place, while Dallas County has reserved the right to do so on a case-by-case basis. The other 252 county sheriffs in Texas have not done so. A sanctuary city...
Commentary: Even Merkel admits wide-open immigration was a mistake

Commentary: Even Merkel admits wide-open immigration was a mistake

President Trump’s first few weeks in office have been exhilarating. Among the many positive outcomes is a renewed interest concerning the importance of border security. While nearly all of us would agree that some level of border protection is required, there is much disagreement about how far such protections should be taken. The Trump administration, though, has made it clear that it believes...
Commentary: A wall would not hurt Mexico as much as NAFTA has

Commentary: A wall would not hurt Mexico as much as NAFTA has

President Trump is unlikely to fulfill his dream of forcing Mexico to pay for his proposed wall along the United States’ Southern border. If it is built, though, U.S. taxpayers will almost certainly foot the bill, which some have estimated could be as high as $50 billion. With that said, it’s worth taking a step back to look at the economics of U.S.-Mexican relations to see how immigration...
Floyd: Gorsuch seems to be qualified, unlike other Trump choices

Floyd: Gorsuch seems to be qualified, unlike other Trump choices

Confession: I felt relief last week at the president’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. This isn’t because I agree with Gorsuch on many — perhaps any — hot-button issues: reproductive rights, environmental regulation, health care and other topics of ideological warfare in our bifurcated society. A widely circulated Supreme Court graphic that places Gorsuch&rsquo...
Commentary: Cabinet is small potatoes; Gorsuch is the real battle

Commentary: Cabinet is small potatoes; Gorsuch is the real battle

Donald Trump often describes things he perceives to be beneath him or to be inconsequential as “small potatoes.” Some of these include his participation in the USFL, his billion-dollar investment in an Irish golf course and even the George Washington Bridge. Trump has yet to describe the ongoing Cabinet nomination battles as “small potatoes,” but they are compared with the...
Glenn Smith: Abbott and Co. are disenfranchising metropolitan voters

Glenn Smith: Abbott and Co. are disenfranchising metropolitan voters

On a variety of fronts, Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Legislature are moving to strip local voters of control over their communities. It’s a dangerous, anti-democratic gambit that ought to have conservative, moderate and liberal voters up in arms. Of course, Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and other legislators don’t put it this way. According to their statements, they are only protecting...
Matt Mackowiak: Local control ends where common sense begins

Matt Mackowiak: Local control ends where common sense begins

With enough time and effort, a person can find inconsistency in any ideological viewpoint. One of the arguments that liberals and journalists often make to stop conservative efforts in the Texas Legislature in our deeply red state is to stop athwart history and yell “local control!” It is true that conservatives believe in two important principles: limited government and that the government...
Matt Mackowiak: Legislative session begins in tight budget climate

Matt Mackowiak: Legislative session begins in tight budget climate

The 85th Legislature, which began Jan. 10 and famously lasts just 140 days, is occurring at a time when the low price of oil has hit the Texas economy hard. How hard? Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar, who is rightly receiving rave reviews for his thoroughness, seriousness and responsiveness in his job, announced on Jan. 9 that Texas Legislators will have $9 billion less to spend than they did just two...
Glenn M. Smith: Will Legislature be all engine noise and no action?

Glenn M. Smith: Will Legislature be all engine noise and no action?

Analyzing the 2017 session of the Texas Legislature is a little like predicting the havoc of one of those old automobile destruction derbies. What will happen when the ghosts of the reactionary past try to run over those who are hopeful for a fair shot at a prosperous future? It won’t be pretty. It’ll be so loud our ears will hurt and we’ll choke on the exhaust fumes. Drivers of...
Harrington: This year’s MLK celebration should be different from others

Harrington: This year’s MLK celebration should be different from others

In years past, the Martin Luther King holiday has been a happy celebration with lively marches, exalted oratory and the like. However, this year, as everyone knows, is different. In the past, we have honored the holiday as representing a milestone in American history — a day signifying progress in ending the historical scourge of slavery and its Jim Crow progeny, segregation. This year, there...
Opinion: What Martin Luther King Jr. may have thought about U.S. today

Opinion: What Martin Luther King Jr. may have thought about U.S. today

As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, I wonder what MLK would think about the country for which he dedicated his life to fighting racial oppression and advancing civil rights. Would he be pleased with the state of affairs of our country? What does the presidential election say about who we are as a nation? It is symbolic that about a week after we celebrate MLK Day will mark the...
Commentary: School choice means accountability to parents

Commentary: School choice means accountability to parents

We all want an education system that delivers a high-quality education to all children. Ensuring quality requires holding schools accountable for results, but that raises a crucial question: accountable to whom? A few years ago, as the Arizona Legislature was considering expanding its pioneering education savings account (ESA) program, the mother of a child with special needs who benefited from an...
Commentary: School vouchers would run public education like a business

Commentary: School vouchers would run public education like a business

It’s no surprise that some of our current leaders like Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick or President-elect Donald Trump are pushing school voucher programs. They’ve been telling us that was their intention for years. Abandoning our neighborhood public schools, however, isn’t something the vast majority of Texans want. While political salesmen like Patrick and Trump and the organizations that...

President-elect Donald Trump has nominated former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to lead the Department of Energy, which insiders know should be more accurately called the Department of Nuclear Weaponry. The nomination has drawn jeers from some national pundits who pointed out that the Energy Department was the very agency Perry forgot he wanted to abolish in his memorable “oops” debate moment...
Mackowiak: Perry’s public service record will benefit Energy Department

Mackowiak: Perry’s public service record will benefit Energy Department

Let’s consider what former Texas Gov. Rick Perry brings to the table as a member of President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet and as the president’s designee as Secretary of Energy: • He was the longest-serving governor in the history of the nation’s second-largest state • He has 24 years of executive experience, having served as agriculture commissioner, lieutenant...
Commentary: Trump policies protect us and allies from Chinese bullying

Commentary: Trump policies protect us and allies from Chinese bullying

President-elect Donald Trump’s phone call with the president of Taiwan early this month shattered the tired political wisdom of the Washington establishment regarding China and the island the mainland considers a breakaway province. It sent a powerful message to Beijing that major change is coming in America’s foreign policy. Trump’s conversation with the Taiwanese president was...
Commentary: Even before taking office, Trump has made a mess

Commentary: Even before taking office, Trump has made a mess

President-elect Donald Trump’s phone call last month with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan sent shock waves throughout China and much of the world. For nearly four decades, it has been Washington’s official policy to diplomatically recognize only China and not Taiwan, an island the mainland considers a breakaway province. Trump has indicated that by abandoning this policy and, in effect...
Mackowiak: Holiday season offers us a chance to help our community

Mackowiak: Holiday season offers us a chance to help our community

When you’re a kid, you think the holiday season is about receiving gifts. When you grow up a little bit, you realize the holiday season is about giving gifts. Since I was about 12 years old, I’ve always enjoyed giving extravagant or especially thoughtful Christmas gifts. Nothing makes me happier. In the past few years, I’ve been fortunate to have the means and the opportunity to...
Smith: ‘Tis the season to re-engage with the world

Smith: ‘Tis the season to re-engage with the world

Maybe radio is what Santa Claus hears on his sleigh’s stereo as he travels around the world. The earth below spins by and Santa hears pop songs in Russian, prayers in Italian and news in Chinese. Maybe, like me, he heard Tom Jones sing “Delilah” on a Tehran, Iran station. Unlike Santa, I was just home for the holidays listening to human voices from around the world on a web site...
Commentary: DeVos will be breath of fresh air for parents, students

Commentary: DeVos will be breath of fresh air for parents, students

Teachers unions and the education establishment reacted with predictable scorn when President-elect Donald Trump last month named Betsy DeVos as his nominee for secretary of education. But parents have one simple reason to be optimistic: DeVos has been a champion for educational choice across the country. Her support for school choice goes beyond mere lip service. She has worked to advance viable...
Commentary: DeVos’ hostility to public schools should be a disqualifier

Commentary: DeVos’ hostility to public schools should be a disqualifier

In the United States, 90 percent of children attend public schools. These young people and their families rely on this system, which is funded by tax dollars and is answerable to democratically elected school boards. In many communities, the public school system is the glue that holds a diverse population together. We therefore expect the men and women who set federal education policy to support public...
Smith: School privatization is a pyramid scheme

Smith: School privatization is a pyramid scheme

Want to know why today’s Trumpian Republicans — Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick among them — think public education is a waste of money? Just listen to President-elect Donald Trump surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes. She cuts to the heart of it. There’s no such thing as facts, Hughes said. In the Trump era, a Pinocchio nose is the new Washington Monument. It’s growing out of the...
Mackowiak: School choice returns power to parents

Mackowiak: School choice returns power to parents

Conservatives support school choice. However, rural elected officials, many of whom are also conservative, generally do not. There’s an inherent conflict in this that partly explains why the broad issue of education reform has made some progress in Texas in recent years but the narrower issue of school choice has not. School choice offers a fundamental question: Should there be competition in...
Commentary: Trump, GOP should go ‘nuclear’ on Obamacare repeal

Commentary: Trump, GOP should go ‘nuclear’ on Obamacare repeal

Republicans are about to control the House of Representatives, Senate and presidency — and they say they’re not planning on wasting this historic opportunity to promote conservative policies and reforms, especially when it comes to health care. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the day after the Republicans’ historic election that repealing and replacing the...
Jacqueline Angel: The nation’s health is under attack

Jacqueline Angel: The nation’s health is under attack

It is well understood that the economy of a country becomes more robust as the health and well-being of its citizens improves. It is also clear that improving the health of a nation’s citizens can directly result in economic growth, partly because more people are more productive in the labor force. But word that President-elect Donald Trump wants to cut or modify the Affordable Care Act could...
Jesse Jackson: Paradoxes of Castro cannot be reduced to black, white

Jesse Jackson: Paradoxes of Castro cannot be reduced to black, white

Fidel Castro, Cuba’s leader for almost six decades, died at 90 in Havana. USA Today’s headline on Monday read, “No Mourning in Miami,” noting the continued bitterness of those who left Cuba. The Washington Post featured testimonies condemning Castro’s authoritarian government. A revolutionary, a brutal dictator who sided with the USSR in the Cold War, a sponsor of guerilla...
De La Cruz: The weight of hate lifted with death of Castro

De La Cruz: The weight of hate lifted with death of Castro

I never expected to cry when Fidel Castro died. Having been brought over from Cuba on a small boat when I was only 4, I was too far removed. Too American. Besides, I’ve spent an adult lifetime resolved that the demon would not infect my soul. I would not allow him to make me angry. Wouldn’t let him affect my politics. Wouldn’t drink to his demise. Wouldn’t shed a tear upon...
Smith: Fate of the golden door — Trump and immigration

Smith: Fate of the golden door — Trump and immigration

We wrap our words for pathways to hoped-for futures in metaphors of treasure. Immigrants came to America through the “Golden Door” of Ellis Island. Christians speak of entering heaven through “Pearly Gates.” Doorways to or from other worlds have often received special names. Ancient Greeks spoke of false dreams coming through gates of ivory and true dreams through gates of...
Mackowiak: What can Trump deliver on immigration?

Mackowiak: What can Trump deliver on immigration?

The single issue that Donald Trump used most effectively to win the national election was immigration. For decades, Democrats have entirely failed to understand how many citizens feel about illegal immigration, offering almost no serious plan to secure our border and instead irresponsibly suggesting that open borders and a welfare state are a fiscally responsible policy. Now don’t get me wrong...
Commentary: Sluggish economy can be jump-started by revamping EPA

Commentary: Sluggish economy can be jump-started by revamping EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has grown into a leviathan, expanding its authority far beyond the restrictions established by law and extending its activities to issues best left to the states. Indeed, the EPA has become one of the most powerful agencies in our government, limiting economic growth and people’s use of their property with little legislative oversight. President-elect...
Carefully reform — don’t wreck — critical agency

Carefully reform — don’t wreck — critical agency

The 2016 elections put Republicans in charge of the White House and both houses of Congress, giving them a unique opportunity to reshape policy pertaining to environmental protection, energy and climate change. Consequently, the Environmental Protection Agency will, no doubt, be at the center of what are likely to be some very contentious debates. Conservatives have long criticized EPA actions, most...
Carafano: To keep global peace, US must remain top dog

Carafano: To keep global peace, US must remain top dog

America’s military is shrinking — and not by accident. Over the last five years, Washington has slashed defense spending by almost 25 percent. Whether measured as a percentage of gross domestic product or as a portion of the federal budget, the Pentagon’s operating budget is near historic lows for the modern era — and is slated to go lower. Shrinking funds necessitate shrinking...
Quigley: Don’t spend trillions; present forces can deal with any enemy

Quigley: Don’t spend trillions; present forces can deal with any enemy

The numbers make one’s head spin. The USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier has been under construction since 2005. It is to be operational by 2019. Price tag: $13 billion. The Navy wants two more similarly sized ships and is forecasting a total cost of $43 billion. But cost overruns are all too common with such projects, so where the final tab will wind up is anyone’s guess. The USS Ford...

Matt Mackowiak: Trump proved everyone wrong

I’ll admit it — I was wrong. Donald Trump just won the most improbable, shocking victory in American presidential political history. As it turned out, Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate. She was distrusted by 7 in 10 voters, incapable of creating enthusiasm, offered no new big ideas and inexplicably ran as a status quo candidate in a change election year. We learned that enthusiasm...
Glenn W. Smith: What does the 2016 election mean for Texas?

Glenn W. Smith: What does the 2016 election mean for Texas?

In his introduction of Hillary Clinton the morning after the election, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine quoted a post-Civil War Southerner from William Faulkner’s novel “Absalom, Absalom!” “They kilt us, but they ain’t whupped us yit,” he said. The quote is not without irony in the context of the 2016 election. It’s uttered by the poor white sharecropper Wash, and it&rsquo...
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