Kel Seliger

Wikimedia Commons

Texas Senator Kel Seliger formally announced his bid for re-election this week, reports The Amarillo Globe-News.

First elected to the state Senate in 2004, Seliger says he is particularly interested in maintaining local control for Texas communities, after the Texas Legislature recently passed a number of bills aimed at weakening the power of Texas municipalities.

senate.texas.gov

A prominent Amarillo restaurateur will challenge Texas state Senator Kel Seliger for his seat next year, The Amarillo Globe-News reports. Victor Leal is the former mayor of Muleshoe, Texas, and he owns the popular restaurant Leal’s in Amarillo.

Leal is running as a Republican. He previously sat on the board of directors of an influential conservative think tank known as the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Larry D. Moore / Wikimedia Commons

One of the overarching struggles in Texas this year has been a pitched battle between cities and the state over who should have the right to make laws for local municipalities. This battle has manifested in myriad ways, from heated debates over bathroom usage and “sanctuary cities,” to arguments over property taxes, school vouchers, and texting-while-driving laws.

senate.texas.gov

A prominent Amarillo politician and state senator had some strong words regarding the special legislative session that begins today in Austin. As Amarillo.com reports, Senator Kel Seliger has called the special session an assault on the ability of local communities in Texas to govern themselves.

“There’s no other way you can look at it,” Seliger added.

Before his successful senatorial campaigns, Seliger was the mayor of Amarillo for eight years—and it’s clear that he still carries something of a mayor’s mentality toward local control.

Many of the 20 items on the special-session agenda are aimed at stifling the ability of local municipalities to decide their own tax policy or even who can use the bathrooms in their communities.

One controversial bill supported by Gov. Greg Abbott would place a limit on how much a city can raise its property taxes, even if the city itself favors the tax raise.   

Wikimedia Commons

West Texas A&M University in Canyon took a big hit this week, as the budget approved by Governor Greg Abbott slashed funding to the school by almost $2 million.

Meanwhile, the A&M flagship university in College Station received a hefty increase of $14 million in funding.

Programs receiving cuts at WT include agricultural research and small-business development. The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum also had its funding slashed.

Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

A Texas Senate panel is moving toward abolishing a rule aimed at helping low-income students attend college in the Lone Star State, reports The Texas Tribune.

The legislation, known as “Bill 18,” would eliminate a rule requiring universities to set aside tuition dollars for scholarships and grants to benefit poor students. The legislation, which is supported by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, was introduced by Senator Kel Seliger, a Republican from Amarillo.

Alison V Smith / Texas Tribune

Some Lone Star lawmakers have more campaign cash on hand than the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for president of the United States, reports The Texas Tribune. Last week Donald Trump revealed that his campaign had just $1.3 million on hand to fund their election efforts. Meanwhile his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton reportedly has $42 million in the bank.

Seliger's Education Bill Draws Criticism

Nov 23, 2015
Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

A Texas state senate bill by Amarillo Sen. Kel Seliger is drawing a good deal of criticism, according to The Texas Tribune. Senate Bill 149 allows Texas high school seniors to graduate without passing all five state exams, and instead being cleared by a panel of teachers, counselors, and parents.

Legislators from the Texas Panhandle were successful in getting many of their efforts passed this session. Sen. Kel Seliger filed about 75 bills, and the Texas Legislature passed nearly 20. In the House of Representatives, Four Price and John Smithee both fared well. Nine of Smithee’s 37 bills passed. As for Price, eight of the 27 bills he authored passed. He also sponsored nine Senate bills, and all passed.

texastribune.org

Texas State Senator Kel Seliger is working to fast-track a bill giving school officials the option to graduate high school students who have failed state exams.  This report from the Texas Tribune.

Seliger says students who are doing well in school shouldn’t be kept from getting a high school diploma because of a standardized test.

Panhandle legislators get in on pre-filing

Nov 16, 2014
Elise Hu / texastribune.org

Texas lawmakers filed 365 bills on the first day of pre-filing.  Panhandle representatives made a number of contributions.  

The Amarillo Globe News reported State Senator Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, filed proposals to fund 64 construction and renovation projects at public universities, and address high-stakes testing at high schools.  State Representative Four Price filed three bills.  One requiring public colleges and universities to post mental health information on their website. 

Texas Runoff results could impact the Panhandle

Jun 1, 2014
texastribune.org

Unless there’s a Democratic upset Nov. 4, the Texas state government will probably be far more conservative, and committee appointments could impact the Panhandle’s clout, reported the Amarillo Globe News.

Texas District 31 Primary: North versus South?

Dec 10, 2013
texasalmanac.com

Incumbent Sen. Kel Seliger, R- Amarillo, will have a Republican challenger from the south in next year’s primary election reported Enrique Rangel for the Amarillo Globe-News.  

capitol.state.tx.us

In Texas, a crowded field of hopefuls is expected for statewide offices in the March primaries.  However, for most Texas Panhandle posts, those primary races are going uncontested.

Michael Schumacher / AGN Media

The Amarillo Area Foundation recently hosted a symposium hoping to provide answers many have about the Affordable Care Act which many have dubbed Obamacare. Health care providers, administrators, business owners, and other citizens came to find out more according to the Amarillo Globe News.

polhudson.lohudblogs.com

This year the Texas legislature did not pass a measure prohibiting texting, but Amarillo passed a city ordinance a year ago prohibiting all use of hand-held devices while driving according to the Amarillo Globe-News. 

http://www.ebitulawgrp.com/

Whether you agree with them or not, two High Plains legislators stand for what they believe-- even when they’re standing alone.  They are: Representative Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas, 1st District, and Texas State Senator Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, State Senate District 31.