Texas Lobbyist News

Fundraising Reports Suggest Front Runners in Competitive HD-28. On Monday, candidates filed their first set of 30-day fundraising reports for House District 28, located outside Houston and recently vacated by Republican state Rep. John Zerwas, who won re-election in 2016 by 8 percentage points. Six GOP candidates have declared for the seat, with three raising or spending significant funds: Anna Allred, a Houston anesthesiologist; Gary Gates, a businessman from Rosenberg; and Tricia Krenek, a former member of the Fulshear City Council. Allred raised more than any other candidate — $159,000 — while Gates spent the most — $214,000. Tricia Krenek ended the period with the highest cash on hand, $113,000. Eliz Markowitz, a teacher from Katy and the only Democratic candidate in the race, raised $62,000 and ended the period with $38,000 cash on hand. HD-28 is one of three House seats that will be determined in a special election on November 5th.

Special Elections in HD-148 and HD-100. Two other special elections will be held on November 5th in safely Democratic districts, though they have drawn large fields that will likely result in runoff elections. In House District 148, 15 candidates — 12 Democrats, two Republicans and one independent — filed to succeed Rep. Jessica Farrar (D-Houston), who like Rep. Zerwas, recently vacated her seat. Democrats Michele Leal and Anna Eastman are the lead fundraisers in the race for HD-148, reporting contributions of about $100,000 and just over $50,000, respectively. In House District 100, five Democrats have lined up to replace former Rep. Eric Johnson, (D-Dallas), who vacated the seat earlier this year after winning the Dallas mayoral race. Democrat Lorraine Birabil, a lawyer and longtime community activist, reported contributions of $60,000, far outpacing other candidates.

DPS Suspends Cannabis License Applications. The Texas Department of Public Safety announced Thursday that it would suspend accepting new applications for licenses to grow medical cannabis under the state’s Compassionate Use Program, which was expanded to cover a wider range of diseases and conditions during the 86th Session. The delay is expected to be temporary while the Department determines exactly which conditions will be covered under the expanded Compassionate Use Program.

House Redistricting Committee Holds Regional Hearings. On Wednesday, the Texas House Redistricting Committee held a meeting in Fort Worth to hear residents’ concerns, questions, and comments about the new legislative maps. By law, state lawmakers must redraw boundaries for U.S. House and Texas House and Senate legislative districts every 10 years, based on new Census figures. Lawmakers will redraw maps in 2021 based on Census data from 2020, and will continue to hold hearings across the state in the meantime. The next meetings will be held in Houston on October 21 and 22, 2019. More information can be found here.

Rep. Israel to Lead House Democratic Campaign Committee. State Rep. Celia Israel (D-Austin) was recently named to lead the Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee, the primary campaign committee tasked with helping Democrats win seats in the Texas House. She takes over the role from Rep. Cesar Blanco (D-El Paso), who recently stepped down to run for the State Senate. “We’ve got 67 Democrats and we would like to get to 76 plus,” Israel said. “Then we can determine the makeup of the redistricting and the maps.”

Senators Up for Re-Election. Unlike the Texas House, where members are elected or re-elected every two years, Senators in Texas are elected to either four-year or two-year terms, based on a drawing. In any given election, about half the Texas Senate is on the ballot. In 2020, the Senators up for re-election are:

  • Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury)
  • Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway)
  • Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe)
  • Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton)
  • Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen)
  • Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola)
  • Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham)
  • Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownville)
  • Jose Menendez (D- San Antonio)
  • Borris Miles (D-Houston)
  • Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound)
  • Charles Perry (R-Lubbock)
  • Larry Taylor (D-Friendswood)
  • Judith Zaffirini (R-Laredo)

For more information on the Texas Legislature, visit https://capitol.texas.gov/