Posts categorized as:

Public Policy

How H-GAC’s representation bias helps the suburbs and hurts the city

By Brian Barr / April 27, 2023

Every third Tuesday of the month, thirty-seven local policymakers pack themselves into a conference room in Greenway Plaza to determine the shape of Houston’s future. Although this particular conference room is in the geographic center of the Houston region, the policymakers represent the interest of people in the suburbs. This isn’t by accident. It’s how…

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I’m rooting for an obscure line item in the Texas budget

By Jeff Reichman / January 12, 2023

The Texas legislative session kicked off this week, and lawmakers have a $32.7 billion surplus to work with. What are they going to do with it? I’ve got an idea. It’s just an IT line item in a budget request, and it would only cost 0.018% of that surplus. But it’s meaningful, and it could…

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Map of bills filed by the 88th Texas Legislature (2023)

By Jeff Reichman / November 22, 2022

The next meeting of the Texas legislature starts in January, and House and Senate members just started the process of filing new bills. Over the next few months, these bills will be refined in committees, emerge for a vote, and potentially signed into law. But right now, they are the raw materials for the next…

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harris county justice of the peace boundaries, redrawn by january advisors

Redrawing Houston’s Eviction Courts: Any Map is Better Than What We Have Now

By David McClendon / November 11, 2022

Every Monday morning, Judge Israel Garcia, Jr., who serves as Harris County Justice of the Peace for Precinct 5, stares down a punishing docket of eviction, debt collection, and traffic cases for the week. His courtroom has a line out the door of parents and children, desperate to resolve a dispute with their landlord or…

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Unemployment insurance claims spiked immediately during the beginning of the pandemic, but has since declined.

Over 60,000 Texans lost their “break even wage” when Federal unemployment insurance expired

By Ben Daecher / July 29, 2021

Since August 2020, thousands of unemployed Texans have received an extra $300 per week in unemployment from the Federal government. In fact, when Governor Greg Abbott ended this program in Texas in June 2021, there were 197,679 people who lost this benefit. Governor Abbott’s logic was to help “unemployed Texans connect with the more than…

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Map of Bills Filed by the 87th Texas Legislature (2021)

By Jeff Reichman / November 9, 2020

The Texas Legislature doesn’t meet very often. When it does, a lot can happen in a short period of time. We have to live with the results. It’s a policy pressure cooker. Today, members of the Texas House and Senate began filing bills. The lege website makes it easy to see the bills filed every…

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Top 5 Takeaways About the Vote Your Way Campaign

By David McClendon / December 20, 2019

In the November 2019 election, voters in Harris County, Texas could vote at any polling location, not just the polling place assigned to their precinct. This change was designed to make it easier for more people to participate in the electoral process. In order to promote the program, the Harris County Clerk brought in our friends…

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Serving Veterans After Hurricane Harvey: Five Key Findings

By David McClendon / December 2, 2019

Last week, we released a new study, Serving Veterans After Hurricane Harvey, with our partners at Combined Arms examining the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the Gulf Coast veteran population. Texas is home to nearly 1.5 million veterans and many felt the direct impact of the storm. Yet, two years later, we still needed to answer…

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Understanding the Property Tax Protest Industry of Houston

By Jeff Reichman / December 9, 2019

It’s a tough time of year for homeowners in Houston. In November, a letter arrives from the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector with next year’s property tax bill. Some people pay their taxes every month with their mortgage. Others, like me, end up writing a big check in January. But there’s some relief. The Harris County…

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human trafficking by legislative district

How to Fight Human Trafficking with Data

By David McClendon / April 25, 2019

We recently did a webinar with Jamey Caruthers, senior staff attorney at Children At Risk, about how to use data to fight human trafficking. Human trafficking is a huge problem in Texas, especially in Houston, and Children At Risk is leading the charge in helping to write and pass laws that increase penalties for perpetrators while…

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