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      Commentary: Solitary confinement reform is necessary

      by Joseph A. Fiorenza and Neil F. Blumofe, special to the Houston Chronicle—

      State Sen. Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso, has proposed legislation to reform the use of solitary confinement as employed in Texas state prisons. As religious leaders, we urge the Texas Legislature to pass this legislation, which would exclude people with serious …

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      Lawmakers Look to Gulf to Meet State Water Needs

      by Eva Hershaw, Texas Tribune—

      The drought is ongoing, lakes and aquifers are emptying, yet people keep moving to Texas. State lawmakers on Monday discussed looking to the Gulf of Mexico as a new source of water that, though expensive, might help slake the state’s growing thirst. …

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      Bill could make open carry easier for out-of-staters

      by Lauren McGaughy, Houston Chronicle—

      AUSTIN – In their push to make open carry the law of the Lone Star land, legislators also may be extending the right to Texans who have lost their gun licenses, as well as out-of-staters who never would be eligible …

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      Texas lawmakers question DPS chief’s testimony

      by Marty Schladen, El Paso Times—

      AUSTIN >> Some Texas lawmakers are questioning the accuracy of some answers given last month by the state’s top law enforcement officer when he testified before the House General Investigating and Ethics Committee about a no-bid, border-security contract he had …

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      Legacy of ‘Giant’

      by Ramón Rentería, El Paso Times—

      Hector Galan has been tearing down fences, telling the stories that other documentary filmmakers hardly ever touch. “When I do documentaries, I don’t just want to preach to the choir,” the Austin-based filmmaker said in a recent phone interview from …

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      Texas DREAMing

      Dear friend: SB 1819, which is being heard now in the Senate Border Security Subcommittee, is a bill that denies educational opportunities to Texas students. Before I go into detail about the bill, it’s important to understand the context. DREAMers, …

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      Sen. Rodríguez statement on school-labeling bill

      AUSTIN – State Sen. José Rodríguez released the following statement on the debate regarding SB 6, which would label schools on an A-F scale: During the HB 5 negotiations last session, the concern about rating campuses A-F was that it …

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      Editorial: Texas border paranoia has consequences

      by El Paso Times Editorial Board—

      Public policy is about setting informed priorities when it comes to using available resources. But when politics trumps policy, decisions often are made without fully understanding the consequences. Such is the case with the state of Texas’ much-touted “border surge.” …

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      Taxes, vouchers and in-state tuition

      Dear friend: This week the Senate took important votes on tax policy. I voted against the bills because they use the state’s General Fund revenue to give tax breaks that will be felt by few, while missing the chance to …

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        A former migrant farm worker, Jose understands that education is the key to individual and community success. He’s fought for equitable funding, innovative programs, and access to higher education.

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        Border Issues

        José firmly believes that the future of the Border is the future of the State (and indeed the nation). Jose’s message is clear: The border is an opportunity for Texas and the U.S.

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        Access to healthcare is a critical issue for El Paso, the state, and the nation. We can do better when it comes to ensuring access to affordable, quality health care for million of Texans.

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        Jobs & Economy

        While El Paso is making significant economic gains, its low tax base, high unemployment, and lack of high paying jobs are a barrier to economic prosperity. Young college graduates are unable to find sufficient job opportunities and leave, while other workers find only low wage jobs.

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        Government & Ethics

        Across the nation, including in El Paso, public corruption has grown like a cancer and tested the will of citizens to reign in those who spread it.

        “Pay to play “in the government procurement process, gifts, and other undue influences

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        Public Safety

        Despite El Paso’s designation as the second safest city in the nation, the drug war violence in Cd. Juarez, Mexico has raised legitimate concerns about spill over violence into El Paso. Of particular concern are transnational gangs operating in El Paso that work for the drug cartels.

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        Adequate transportation and related infrastructure remain a critical need in El Paso; without them, El Paso’s progress will be stymied. State transportation funding has literally dried up and our challenge is to find new ways of generating funds to meet transportation needs. 

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