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Public Policy

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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Why Houston Will Be Hard to Count in Census 2020

By David McClendon / November 30, 2018

Counting people is vital to our democracy. Every ten years, the US government has a constitutional obligation to conduct a census that counts everyone living in the United States. This count determines how many Congressional representatives each state receives, the levels of Federal funding for state and local governments and federal programs, and serves as…

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Policy Hackathons Pop Up in Houston

By Jeff Reichman / April 5, 2016

There’s a new spin on hackathons, and it doesn’t involve technology. In the last month alone, Houston hosted two policy hackathons. They got people thinking creatively about our government and the laws they write. On March 5-6, Polithon and Young Invincibles held a policy hackathon about student debt. They brought together a few dozen people between…

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Crowdsourcing Transportation Policy With MobilityHouston

By Jeff Reichman / January 1, 2016

MobilityHouston is a website that crowdsources transportation policy ideas from Houstonians. The goal is to help lawmakers create smarter, more comprehensive transportation policies. They do it with a specific focus on mobility and a broad community engagement strategy. So Far, Policymaking is Offline Houston’s lawmakers have to get smart on a range of issues before they write the laws. They…

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Mapping Low Level Marijuana Arrests

By Jeff Reichman / September 1, 2016

Update: February 20, 2017 Beginning March 1, 2017 marijuana will be effectively decriminalized in Harris County. The DA estimates this will save $25 million a year. Congratulations to DA Kim Ogg, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, and everyone involved in this swift policy change. Back in February 2016, Texas Lyceum published the results of a survey that…

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Map of Bills Filed by Texas House and Senate Members

By Jeff Reichman / November 20, 2016

Updated May 29, 2017. Last week, the Texas Legislature published bills filed by our newly elected House and Senate members. The Texas Legislature only meets for six months every two years. These bills are the raw materials for potential new state laws. You can browse the publicly available data here. I wanted to get a better…

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City of Houston Launches Performance Improvement Portal with Open Data

By Jeff Reichman / February 4, 2014

Today, Mayor Parker announced the launch of the Performance Improvement Portal, a City website that provides insight into how the City measures its departments and responds to citizen requests.  The website also promotes open data and civic innovation projects (think hackathons, writeathons, and community challenges). We were really excited to work with the City on…

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7 Hours in Houston: My Day with the Jobs Council

By Jeff Reichman / August 1, 2012

Last week, I had the opportunity to accompany the Executive Director of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness to three roundtable meetings in Houston, Texas. We met with over 50 leaders from business, government, and academia. Together, they tell the story of Houston for the last 30 years, from boom and bust to recovery…

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