Perry

In Session. In-depth: Texas Gun Business

May 7th, 2013 at 3:48 pm by under Politics
Gov. Rick Perry welcomes Shield Tactical from California to Shiner. (Josh Hinkle/KXAN)

Gov. Rick Perry welcomes Shield Tactical from California to Shiner. (Josh Hinkle/KXAN)

This weekend on “In Session. In-depth,” we focus on gun control and big business. One state’s loss might be Texas’ gain. As much of the country restricts firearms, Gov. Rick Perry is asking gun companies to set up shop here. But more business might mean more competition for an already booming industry.

We speak with the governor one-on-one, then our political roundtable weighs in on his plan and other gun items at the Capitol.

  • Paul Burka, Texas Monthly
  • Christy Hoppe, Dallas Morning News
  • Jay Root, Texas Tribune.

Join us for “In Session. In-depth.” this Sunday at 8:30 a.m.


Preview: Perry’s State of the State

January 28th, 2013 at 10:42 am by under Politics

Inside the State of the State address Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011 (Josh Hinkle/KXAN)

Tuesday’s State of the State could determine the state of Rick Perry’s political future for years to come. The speech will launch his seventh legislative session as governor and indicate how likely it would be to make another run for this office or possibly another stab at leading the nation as president.

The address is at 11 a.m. Tuesday during a joint session of the House and Senate. This is a chance for Perry to lay out the issues he wants state lawmakers to tackle in the current legislative session. So far, he has mentioned:

  • Tax relief, based on billions in the state’s surplus
  • Infrastructure and energy improvements, possibly using the rainy day fund for water supplies
  • Making the small business tax exemption permanent
  • Controlling college tuition, in an effort to bolster the state’s workforce
  • Drug screening welfare applicants
  • Expanding the ban on abortion, based on the pain felt by the fetus

Perry has not ruled out running for either office, though he has indicated he would wait to make any announcement until after the session. But after a year of very public campaign stumbles, people will be watching closely to see if he has the ability to bounce back.


In Session, In-depth: Gov. Rick Perry

January 10th, 2013 at 4:51 pm by under Politics

Gov. Rick Perry speaks with KXAN about 83rd Texas Legislative Session (Mark Batchelder/KXAN)

This Sunday on KXAN’s “In Session, In-depth,” Gov. Rick Perry talks about his proposed tax relief for some Texans and what lawmakers should do with the state’s Rainy Day Fund this session.

Plus, Brian Sweany of Texas Monthly, Shelley Kofler of KERA and Mike Ward of the Austin-American Statesman take part in our political roundtable to talk about the legislature’s opening weekend, the race for House Speaker and the budget challenges ahead.

Join us for “In Session, In-depth” this Sunday morning at 8:30 on KXAN News.


139 More Days for Texas Lawmakers

January 8th, 2013 at 5:13 pm by under Politics

Texas Senate press corps on opening day of 83rd Legislative Session (Josh Hinkle/KXAN)

From Senate staffers fainting during Gov. Rick Perry’s opening address to a clogging team clacking away in support of Rep. Debbie Riddle, the Texas Legislative Session was underway. Day 1 brought crowds of little kids running among the desks in the chambers and protesters slowly lining the hallways.

The governor outlined his hopes for lawmakers, warning against tapping the rainy day fund and overspending after a better-than-expected revenue outlook. No emergency items just yet, but his office says to “stay tuned.”

Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus are holding a joint press conference Wednesday morning. Perhaps we will find out more about potential emergencies items – those bills lawmakers can tackle in the first 60 days of the session.

Next in line – committee assignments and committee leadership. All eyes will be on Dewhurst and Straus during that time, as those decisions will have a direct impact on how this session plays out and who calls the shots.


Session ’13: Opening Day Expectations

January 7th, 2013 at 6:26 pm by under Politics

Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio (Texas House of Representatives)

Lawmakers and their families will crowd the chamber floors at the Texas State Capitol on Tuesday, as the 83rd Legislative Session officially begins. Both the House and Senate will convene at noon.

Members will be sworn in, then elect their own leaders. Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, is set to become the President Pro Tem of the Senate.

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio (Texas Senate)

It is largely a ceremonial post as the lieutenant governor actually runs the Texas Senate. But the post does mean that Van de Putte will be in line to become governor, right after Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, is expected to retain his role as leader of the House, though he faces conservative competition from sophomore Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview.

Gov. Rick Perry will also address each chamber, laying out his vision for the session ahead. In the past, he has also declared some early emergency items for lawmakers to begin tackling in their first sixty days at the Capitol. Some have suspected Perry’s first issue this session might be abortion-related, as he has already shown strong support for “fetal pain” legislation.


Breaking down Perry’s early retirement controversy

December 20th, 2011 at 9:38 am by under Politics

Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas(Courtesy: Office of the Texas Governor)

Click on the link labeled “Retirees Who Return to Work” on Texas’ Employees Retirement System online, and a one-page document with the words “Publication under revision” pops up.

ERS tells KXAN the feature was taken offline on Dec. 16 – that’s the same day the Texas Tribune published a story that caused quite a stir about Gov. Rick Perry’s retirement.

“Perry officially retired in January so he could start collecting his lucrative pension benefits early, but he still gets to collect his salary and has in turn dramatically boosted his take-home pay,” the Tribune article stated. “Perry makes a $150,000 annual gross salary as Texas governor. Now, thanks to his early retirement, Perry, 61, gets a monthly retirement annuity of $7,698 before taxes, or $6,588 net. That raises his gross annual salary to more than $240,000.”

People asked KXAN whether ERS took down the web form as a result of the discovery in Perry’s latest presidential campaign finance report. ERS told us it was pure coincidence.

The agency’s communications and research director, Catherine Terrell, said the document instead needed several updates:

  • Remove information about long term care, as no new enrollments would be allowed after Jan. 1
  • Add information about Humana Medicare Advantage Plan, which goes into effect for retirees with Medicare on Jan. 1
  • Update old ERS logo and branding

“It had nothing to do with the governor,” Terrell said. “We counsel people on their retirement. As far as I know, that’s what we did for him, too.”

While on the campaign trail in Iowa, Perry told the Tribune he did not find the process to be “out of the ordinary.”

“ERS called me and said, ‘Listen, you’re eligible to access your retirement now with your military time and your time and service, and I think you would be rather foolish to not access what you’ve earned.’”

Terrell explained that there are two retirement classes related to this matter. The “elected class” is for elected state officials (ESO) like state legislators, district attorneys and statewide elected officials. State employees are in the “employee class.”

“State law allows certain elected state officials to establish and transfer service from one class to the other, and to retire in one class and work, contribute and accrue service in a different class,” Terrell said.

Perry can eventually retire from both systems. Right now, he is retired from the “employee class,” and he will retire from the “elected class” when he leaves office.

“(Perry) receives annuity from employee class and continues to pay 6 percent of his salary into elected class as allowed by Texas law,” Perry’s campaign spokesperson Ray Sullivan told KXAN on Monday.

Perry can legally collect employee class annuity under the “rule of 80,” which means “the combination of (Perry’s) U.S. military service, state service and age exceeded 80 years and qualifies him for the annuity under Texas Government Code 813.503 as amended in 1991,” according to Sullivan in the Tribune article.

KXAN obtained a copy of ERS’ “return to work” document previously posted online and found, if Perry had only been in one class – the employee class – he would not be able to both collect retirement and resume earning his salary as governor.

The document said that employees’ retirement can be cancelled if they have promise of employment:

  • IRS and ERS rules say that you cannot have a promise of employment with the State when you retire
  • State law says you cannot return to work within 90 days of retiring

Terrell said the revised version of the ERS document would be available online Jan. 1.


Is the Iowa Straw Poll still important in a presidential run?

August 8th, 2011 at 7:27 pm by under Politics

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll but lost the Republican nomination for president. This year, though his name is on the ballot, he is not actively working to bring supporters to the event (AP PHOTO).

Before coming to work at KXAN here in Austin, I was a reporter in Iowa during the last presidential election cycle. A veteran journalist from my previous market told me the Iowa Straw Poll was a way to “trim the fat” in the Republican race for the White House.

This year’s event in Ames has the same intention, but some political-types wonder how important such a show has become since it emerged in 1979. While it gives a decent indication of how the GOP field will fan out, its results are often hazy and less crucial to some of the heaviest hitters in recent years.

Candidates who don’t fare well in this mock election – also called the Ames Straw Poll – often drop out, though some people will tell you it’s flawed and unrealistic to the bigger race. Critics are quick to point out the event’s low turnout, saying it doesn’t truly represent all Iowans.

And another controversy – campaigns use their money to “buy votes” – $30 tickets for potential voters on the Iowa State University campus – spreading out under massive tents and booths like what you might see at the state fair. It’s also a way for the Republican Party of Iowa to raise money with ticket sales and tent space.

Still, others say it’s the best method for voters to gauge a campaign’s strength, as they must attract supporters to the poll in the first place.

This year, there will be nine choices on the ballot:

  • Michele Bachmann, U.S. Congresswoman from Minnesota
  • Herman Cain, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO
  • Newt Gingrich, former U.S. House speaker
  • Jon Huntsman, former Utah governor
  • Thaddeus McCotter, U.S. Congressman from Michigan
  • Ron Paul, U.S. Congressman from Texas
  • Tim Pawlenty, former Minnesota governor
  • Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor
  • Rick Santorum, former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

The effectiveness of the Iowa Straw Poll is under question by some lately, partly because a few of the well-known candidates aren’t really taking an active part in the poll. In 2008, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani steered clear. And now, Romney – who won the event in 2008 but lost the GOP nomination – and Huntsman are not making too many efforts to push supporters to Ames, even though their names are on the ballot.

Still, Iowa Republicans are drawing as much attention to this year’s event as possible by holding a nationally televised debate on Thursday – just two days before the straw poll.

And for the time in the event’s history, voters will be able to write in any names they like. Let’s not forget former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who could shake things up when she visits Iowa on Sept. 3. And there’s always Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who seems to be swarming in attention yet remains undeclared – a little late in the game compared to his potential opponents.

But media reports on Monday suggested Perry would make his presidential intentions clear on Saturday in South Carolina ahead of a separate stop in New Hampshire – both key states on the campaign trail. It comes as no surprise such a move would happen on the same day as the Iowa Straw Poll… a way for Perry to steal the spotlight from the event’s winner, the likely Republican to beat for the nomination (by the way, he’s planning a trip to Iowa in the days to follow the straw poll).

So, while it’s an important indicator, the Iowa Straw Poll certainly doesn’t guarantee anything. Take a look at its history:

1979

George H.W. Bush won the first Iowa Straw Poll, but Ronald Reagan won the Republican nomination. Keep in mind, the poll had lower voter turnout in the beginning.

1987

Pat Robertson won the Iowa Straw Poll. But Bob Dole, who finished second in the poll, won the Iowa Caucus. Still, neither man won the Republican nomination that election cycle. That designation, not to mention the presidency, went to George H.W. Bush, who finished third in the poll.

1995

Bob Dole and Phill Gramm tied for first place in the Iowa Straw Poll. Dole won the Republican nomination.

1999

George W. Bush won the Iowa Straw Poll and the presidential election. His main Republican threat after the poll was John McCain. He had poor results at the event because he didn’t declare his candidacy until September, which was a month after the straw poll. Because of their own low votes, Lamar Alexander and Dan Quayle both dropped out of the race directly after the event, with Elizabeth Dole and Pat Buchanan within the month after (Buchanan ended up continuing his campaign as a Reform Party candidate).

2007

Romney won the Iowa Straw Poll but failed to get the Republican nomination. Two months before the straw poll, McCain and Giuliani both announced they would bypass the event. The Republican Party of Iowa included their names anyway. McCain finished second to last but continued his campaign and eventually won the GOP nomination.


Perry Prayer Picketers Organizing Online

July 14th, 2011 at 1:11 pm by under Politics

Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas (Associated Press)

An online push for picketers is shaping up quickly before next month’s mega-prayer rally called “The Response.” The event – spawned by Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas – will take place at Houston’s Reliant Stadium and already has more than 6,000 attendees registered, according to organizers.

Worshipers will likely find themselves amid groups of critics of the evangelical-billed event on Aug. 6. One of the largest so far is a group labeling itself on Facebook as “Protest of TX Gov. Perry/AFA’s Prayer/Hate Event.” Members are using the social medium to count heads, offer car pools, and coordinate efforts.

“Currently, Atheists, Agnostics, Secular Humanists and others interested in protecting state/church separation are planning to set up our demonstration at the corner of Kirby Dr and McNee Rd, just north of the stadium, but if the turnout is more than expected we may need to position several groups throughout the area,” the site says. “We’ll be on the sidewalk all along the perimeter of Reliant Park. This is our free speech zone.”

Opponents have taken issue with the event’s organizers, the American Family Association, which has traditionally shown an anti-gay, pro-Christian stance. There are also several Christian endorsers causing controversy with their own statements – anything from calling the Statue of Liberty “demonic” to alleging the Nazi Party was founded in a gay bar.

“We don’t have to agree with each other on every issue to pray together,” said Eric Bearse, the prayer event’s spokesperson.

Rumors of a possible presidential run have been swarming Perry’s office in recent months. Some critics say this event is his way to attract an even greater conservative base.

“This is bigger than one man,” Bearse said. “This is about coming together as a nation in a time of spiritual need.”

“Anyone who values the separation of Church and State is welcome to join – non-theists, non-Christians, Christians,” the protest site continued. “Please be aware that we are NOT trying to convert or mock anybody’s religion. We are also not trying to prevent the prayer event from happening. If it doesn’t happen, we will have no picket. This is about a picket, not an effort to stop an event from happening.”

A federal lawsuit to stop Perry from taking part in the event has already been filed in Houston. Also, a counter event – separate from the protest – is planned on the steps of the State Capitol in Austin the same day.


What Bachmann’s bid means for Perry’s possibilities

June 27th, 2011 at 2:15 pm by under Politics

 

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Iowa (Associated Press)

Another “official” hat in the Republican ring, as Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann announced she’s running for president Monday. And while Texas Governor Rick Perry has yet to make a decision about a bid for the same office, it has some talking about where his chances stand now.

When you look at the bigger picture, most will tell you it will be tough for anyone to beat Mitt Romney. He is the clear front runner. However, in the years since the last presidential election, the Tea Party movement has grown considerably across the nation. And that group is where both Perry and Bachmann will likely find their best chances of winning.

Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas (Associated Press)

One advantage Bachmann has though – she is very appealing to Iowa Republicans. She’s from the state, and it’s where she made her announcement. Iowa has the all-important first-in-the-nation caucuses, too. In a Des Moines Register poll released over the weekend, she finished just a point behind Romney.

Still, she and Perry have made many similar points – blasting Barack Obama’s presidency, urging smaller government, and also pitching to religious conservatives. For now though, Perry is still keeping quiet about his decision. He has said he’s considering but is focused on the special session. That’s done in three days.

Check out the “Presidential Contenders” feature on our special political site onpolitix.com.

Another “official” hat in the Republican ring, as Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann announced she’s running for president Monday. And while Texas Governor Rick Perry has yet to make a decision about a bid for the same office, it has some talking about where his chances stand now.

 

When you look at the bigger picture, most will tell you it will be tough for anyone to beat Mitt Romney. He is the clear front runner. However, in the years since the last presidential election, the Tea Party movement has grown considerably across the nation. And that group is where both Perry and Bachmann will likely find their best chances of winning.

 

One advantage Bachmann has though – she is very appealing to Iowa Republicans. She’s from the state, and it’s where she made her announcement. Iowa has the all-important first-in-the-nation caucuses, too. In a Des Moines Register poll released over the weekend, she finished just a point behind Romney.

 

Still, she and Perry have made many similar points – blasting Barack Obama’s presidency, urging smaller government, and also pitching to religious conservatives. For now though, Perry is still keeping quiet about his decision. He has said he’s considering but is focused on the special session. That’s done in three days.

Another “official” hat in the Republican ring, as Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann announced she’s running for president Monday. And while Texas Governor Rick Perry has yet to make a decision about a bid for the same office, it has some talking about where his chances stand now.

 

When you look at the bigger picture, most will tell you it will be tough for anyone to beat Mitt Romney. He is the clear front runner. However, in the years since the last presidential election, the Tea Party movement has grown considerably across the nation. And that group is where both Perry and Bachmann will likely find their best chances of winning.

 

One advantage Bachmann has though – she is very appealing to Iowa Republicans. She’s from the state, and it’s where she made her announcement. Iowa has the all-important first-in-the-nation caucuses, too. In a Des Moines Register poll released over the weekend, she finished just a point behind Romney.

 

Still, she and Perry have made many similar points – blasting Barack Obama’s presidency, urging smaller government, and also pitching to religious conservatives. For now though, Perry is still keeping quiet about his decision. He has said he’s considering but is focused on the special session. That’s done in three days.


To veto or not to veto: the chances a bill will make it past Perry

June 20th, 2011 at 5:47 pm by under Politics

Courtesy: Office of the Governor

As the deadline for Gov. Rick Perry to take action on legislation came and went over the weekend, we took a look what became of every single regular session bills to hit his desk since his first term as governor. Since 2001, he has had to review nearly 8,700 items passed by lawmakers.

With 71% of the bills he signed since the 77th Regular Legislative Session, he took them up within the last three days before the deadline to do so passed. When it comes to the bills he vetoed, that number goes up to 98%.

Why so many late decisions? If the legislature is in session at the time of a veto, lawmakers could have the chance to override that decision. This is a rare move though, as the last time it happened was in 1979 with Republican Gov. Bill Clements’ veto of a hunting and fishing bill.

Clements’ veto of 184 vetoes in his tenure is a good indication of his relationship with the Democratic legislature. Now, Perry has beat Clements’ record with 259 vetoes, the bulk of those made in the three days before his deadline.

His last-minute moves were allowed because lawmakers typically did not pass most of their bills until the end of the session. If the session ends within ten days of the governor receiving a bill, he has another twenty days after adjournment to take it up.

Extra time and a powerful advantage. Since they aren’t in session within that 20-day timeframe, they can’t override vetoes. This was questioned recently with an online sales tax bill from the most recent regular session. Because the governor called a special session immediately after, lawmakers wondered whether they could override his veto on that bill.

The 1875 Constitutional Convention took away the legislature’s ability to consider any vetoed bills from a previous session. In regard to the previously mentioned tax bill, the general consensus among parliamentary experts was that a special session should not be reason to bend the rules. It’s not an extension of the regular session.

There have been 90 bills over the years Perry has let slide through as law by simply not signing them. And, in scouring his record, we found two others that never resulted in any action:

  • In 2001, Perry returned Senate Bill 1672 to lawmakers at the end of the session. However, lawmakers never took this legislation relating to the disposition of certain real property owned by the state back up.
  • In 2005, lawmakers recalled Senate Bill 1708 from Perry, so he would not sign it. This related to assessments levied on certain owners of cattle and used for marketing, education, research, and promotion of Texas beef.