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Username: Chaille Jolink
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Created: Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 03:37 PM CST
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Chaille was born and raised in Austin, TX and has a decade of experience working in Texas politics. She earned her BA at UT in History, English and Government, and believes in public options for health care, transportation and free love.

Progressive Texas Legislators Fight Back After Predatory Lenders Accuse Them For Lack of Reform

by: Chaille Jolink

Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 00:03 PM CDT

In case you missed it last week, Senator Rodney Ellis, Representative Craig Eiland, and Representative Mike Villareal published an op-ed piece in the Galveston Daily News responding to an opinion editorial guest piece that was written by the field organizer for the Consumer Service Alliance of Texas, a group that represents pay day lenders.

In the original op-ed piece a Mr. Burklund accuses Senator Ellis, and Representatives Eiland and Villareal for killing the a pay day reform bill that would have actually done very little to help Texas consumers and families. Senator Ellis, and Representatives Eliand and Villareal set the record straight here, on Senator Ellis's website, by publishing their response op-ed piece in its entirety.

Essentially the bill that Mr. Burklund was referring to was a bill that had some modest reforms in it, but would have also preempted any other city mandates in the state of Texas, that might have had stronger regulations on pay day lenders.

Sure enough, seven Texas cities already had city ordinances regulating these predatory lenders of some kind, and the bill that Mr. Burklund was accusing these senior legislators of killing had significantly less tighter controls on the businesses that Mr. Burklund represents.

Read more about pay day loan reforms in the Texas Legislature below the jump.

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Lon Burnam Files Lawsuit in Tarrant County Against Ramon Romero

by: Chaille Jolink

Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:00 PM CDT

After longtime liberal lion Lon Burnam's loss this past March, Democratic insiders within the Texas legislature mourned one of the more bitter loses they've seen since the 2010 Tea Party tidal wave election year.

Well, true to form as within the House chamber, citizen Burnam isn't going down without one last chance at the back microphone.

In a lawsuit filed today in Tarrant County against his democratic primary opponent who won the election by 110 votes, Burnam claims that there are reports of an illegal vote by mail operation of some kind, that allegedly might have been orchestrated by his opponent.

This lawsuit seeks to obtain any information from the County Clerk's office, and from those involved in any of the alleged practices, to get down to the bottom of what, if any, wrongdoing occurred.

In a press release from Burnam published by Quorum Report Burnam noted:

"I have received reports from voters in the district who say they were approached at their door by campaign workers of unclear affiliation who asked them to fill out a vote-by-mail application on an electronic tablet device such as an iPad.

Texas law clearly does not allow the practice of filling out vote-by-mail ballot applications electronically, which the Texas Secretary of State's has confirmed. Other questionable practices about this operation aside, this renders the entire operation illegal."

Read more about this lawsuit and about Lon Burnam below the jump.

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Wendy Davis at Equal Pay Rally: "What on Earth is going on at your Attorney General's office?"

by: Chaille Jolink

Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 02:33 PM CDT

Photo Credit: Heather Busby
Over two hundred people poured into Scholz Garten in Austin this morning to see Wendy Davis speak about the equal pay issue that has plagued the Republican candidate for Governor and current Attorney General Greg Abbott for weeks now.

"Why do you think it's ok to pay women in your office less than men when they do the same work?" Davis asked.

Of course Davis is referring to the breaking news story last week by the San Antonio Express News, that revealed that female assistant AGs earn approximately $6,000 less than male assistant AGs despite doing similar if not the same work.

Abbott has fumbled this equal pay issue a couple of times. When a woman representing a large Republican PAC went on local news, she stumbled and said, "women are too busy" to concern themselves with equal pay, while the Executive Director of the Republican Party in Texas, Beth Cubriel encouraged women to simply become "better negotiators."

Abbott finally had to come out and say that if he were Governor he would be forced to veto the Texas version of the Fair Pay Act, but of course, Abbott himself hasn't said this, a spokesperson for his campaign did.

Davis continued to press Abbott saying that he should "act like a Texan and speak for himself."

Read more about the background of this equal pay issue, and why it continues to cause problems for Republicans.

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Dark Money or "Free Speech?" The Michael Quinn Sullivan Saga Continues

by: Chaille Jolink

Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 09:00 AM CDT

In the latest chapter of the ongoing Michael Quinn Sullivan saga, Sullivan found his day in court, but things did not necessarily go his way.

Judge Sam Sparks denied a temporary restraining order sought by the attorneys of Michael Quinn Sullivan against the Texas Ethics Commission. Judge Sparks also gave Joe Nixon, the leading attorney for Michael Quinn Sullivan, 15 days to prove that this state ethics case should continue in federal court.  

Sullivan is seeking to sue the Texas Ethics Commission in federal court claiming that his free speech has been violated since the Texas Ethics Commission is asking him to report certain donor information.  

Michael Quinn Sullivan and the Texas Ethics Commission also have 15 days to reconcile the scope of the information requests from the TEC. If this happens, meaning that if Sullivan decides to actually cooperate and disclose some amount of information, this whole case can go away.

But, the question that Michael Quinn Sullivan is ultimately getting at is if dark money is free speech in Texas, and if Judge Sam Sparks decides that this case can continue in federal court, possibly in the United States.

See more about what Judge Sparks decision could mean for the future of elections in Texas below the jump.  

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Travis County Democratic Party Chairwoman Jan Soifer: "Equal Pay Should Be Non-Negotiable."

by: Chaille Jolink

Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 03:03 PM CDT

Yesterday the Capital Area Democratic Women had their regular monthly luncheon discussing many action items, including one overriding topic: Equal Pay.

The Capital Area Democratic Women is one of the larger democratic clubs in Austin, and has been actively involved in the Austin political scene for several years. Namely last summer when Wendy Davis gave her historic filibuster, CADW along with other statewide organizations were of the first groups on the ground signing people up to keep them involved and motivated throughout the course of the events that happened at the capitol last summer.

After the CADW luncheon discussed their plans for turning out more women voters in Travis County this election year, the group hosted a press conference with State Representative Donna Howard, Travis County Democratic Party Chairwoman Jan Soifer, and Grace Garcia the Executive Director of Annie's List, discussing equal pay for women.

See the video of Chairwoman Jan Soifer discuss equal pay below the jump.

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Democratic Comptroller Candidate Mike Collier Calls Glenn Hegar's Tax Proposals "Wrong and Dumb"

by: Chaille Jolink

Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 04:32 PM CDT

Earlier this week the Democratic Candidate For Comptroller Mike Collier started a petition from his website asking people to stand against a "massive new sales tax" for Texas consumers.

Citing a video of Hegar explaining that he "never liked the property tax," Hegar introduced an alternative tax to replace all property tax in the state of Texas, a "consumption based tax" or in other words a sales tax.

Texas currently has one of the higher sales tax rates in the nation, at 8.25 percent, but eliminating property taxes in Texas would mean that sales taxes would have to at least double if not triple, making Texas have the highest sales tax in the country, and ultimately hurting Texas consumers, Texas businesses, and Texas families.

Collier commented on this new proposal of Hegar's and said, "That's not just wrong; it's dumb."

Click below the jump to see the video of Hegar support this giant tax hike for all Texans.

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Michael Quinn Sullivan: Lobbyist, Reporter, Scofflaw

by: Chaille Jolink

Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 04:38 PM CDT

In one of the more divisive developments with fringe Republican Michael Quinn Sullivan, Sullivan has perhaps started to play a little too loose with the rules.

Dan Branch, statewide candidate for Attorney General released an email sent to his campaign from none other than Michael Quinn Sullivan seeking a comment for a story Sullivan was writing for Breitbart News. Sullivan and his PAC Empower Texans have endorsed and funded Branch's opponent Ken Paxton in the run-off for Attorney General's race. Paxton is a tea party favorite of some sort.

While Sullivan was simply looking for a comment from the hyper conservative media outlet he writes for, it's not surprising that Dan Branch's campaign has taken this as a direct attack from Ken Paxton's campaign. Perhaps if MQS played a little nicer, a little bit fairer, he might not get so many powerful enemies within his own party.

Click below the jump to read more about his history with making powerful enemies below the jump.  

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Lieutenant Governor Candidate and Senator Leticia Van de Putte Press Round Up

by: Chaille Jolink

Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 08:03 PM CDT

Texas State Senator and Statewide Candidate for Lieutenant Governor Leticia Van de Putte has been making the rounds with the national press lately as a guest on national political shows such as The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd and Ronan Farrow Daily.

Although she is considered the "running mate" to the Senator and Texas Gubernatorial Candidate Wendy Davis, as a 23 year veteran in the Texas Legislature, Senator Van de Putte can stand the spotlight alone and shine just fine by herself.

Check out her interview with Chuck Todd on the Daily Rundown below the jump, and click to see all the other media Senator Van de Putte has earned.  

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Rock Enroll Rally Rolls Through SXSW

by: Chaille Jolink

Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 08:00 AM CDT

State Representative Donna Howard Address Crowd At "Rock Enroll" Rally

Early Thursday afternoon Enroll America's "Countdown to Get Covered" bus tour stopped in Austin for a special SXSW "Rock Enroll" rally to help ensure all Texans are covered by the Affordable Care Act before the enrollment deadline of March 31st.

State Representative Donna Howard along with City Councilmen Mike Martinez and Chris Riley were among the elected officials in attendance. Beth Broderick, actress and founder of Momentum, as well as the President of Enroll America Anne Filipic spoke briefly about how important it is to have heath insurance in your life. Representative Donna Howard also provided important information regarding the deadline, including in particular the benefits for women and women's healthcare.

A group of volunteers attended the rally and after the press conference walked across the river to Auditorium Shores to inform people of the upcoming deadline and enroll people in the new insurance marketplace.

It is important that all Texans sign up for health insurance before the March 31st deadline to avoid the fine. Texans can sign up at Healthcare.gov.

Click below the jump to read more about Enroll America's "Countdown to Get Covered" bus tour.

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Ramon Romero, Democratic Candidate in HD-90, Has Republican Donor History

by: Chaille Jolink

Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 03:46 PM CST

The race for House District 90 -- occupied by longtime incumbent and stalwart liberal lion Lon Burnam -- is heating up.

Ramon Romero has been building a significant challenge to the longtime incumbent, but his donor history reveals that Romero might not have the best interests of Democrats in mind.

In 2008 Ramon Romero donated to conservative Republican Phil King. Legislative watchers might remember King from his authorship of one of the voter ID bills back in 2007, and of his more recent attempts last session to prevent the Travis County District Attorney's office from operating the Public Integrity Unit.

Romero has reportedly denied that he donated to Phil King publicly, according to a Facebook post, but a 2008 Ethics report by the Phil King campaign reveals otherwise.  

Click below the jump to read more about Ramon Romero's donor history

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