Houston Matters

What’s the Effect of Houston’s Smoking Ban, Ten Years Later?

Posted on · This year marks ten years since the City of Houston banned indoor smoking in public areas and workplaces. That means, for a decade, smokers have been relegated to smoking at least 25 feet from building entrances and exits. Ten years later, the city’s health department is examining the impact the ordinance has had. We learn […]

Houston Matters

A Voter’s Guide to the HERO Ordinance

Posted on · With early voting underway starting today (Oct. 19, 2015), we thought it would be useful to walk through the entire Houston Equal Rights Ordinance saga – from the legal and political disputes, to the dueling ad campaigns over Proposition 1, to the language on the ballot, and in the ordinance itself. That represents a lot […]

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Rethinking Marijuana Possession Penalties and Transitional Artifacts: Houston Matters for Friday, August 8, 2014

Posted on · A 2013 study by the American Civil Liberties Union reported Harris County had one of the highest rates of marijuana arrests in 2010. Nearly 12,000 people in Harris County were busted for pot possession. Getting caught with even a little bit of marijuana in Texas is going to cost you. Possessing two ounces or less […]

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Border Refugees, Response & Security: Houston Matters for Monday, July 14, 2014

Posted on · Since October, more than 52,000 undocumented children have come into the U.S. Most of these children are from Central America, and many of them arrived unaccompanied by adults. The local response here in Greater Houston has been mixed. Organizations like Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston are asking for donations, foster care parents, and volunteers […]

Good, Bad and Ugly

League City’s Immigrant Ordinance and Life Like a Country Song: The Good The Bad and The Ugly of Houston News

Posted on · From the new resolution banning undocumented children from entering League City, to concern over pollution in and around Galena Park, to Texas being named the second-most state where “life is most like a country song” — it’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of this week’s Houston news. This week’s rotating panel of non-experts is […]

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Equal Rights Ordinance Challenge Update and Ethnic Food Markets: Houston Matters for Thursday, July 10, 2014

Posted on · Last week, opponents of Houston’s recently-passed non-discrimination ordinance turned in signatures to a petition calling for a November vote to consider repealing the measure. 17,269 signatures are needed from registered Houston voters in order to trigger such a vote. Opponents turned in 50,000, but they are all subject to verification over the next month, and […]

Houston Matters

What the Equal Rights Ordinance Passage Means for the City Going Forward

Posted on · Houston’s City Council Wednesday passed the long-debated Equal Rights Ordinance, which extends equal rights protections to gay and transgender Houstonians. The vote had been delayed, in part, to offer more time for public comment, including some nine hours of discussion Wednesday. Ultimately, though, the council passed the ordinance by a vote of 11 to 6. Mayor Annise […]

Good, Bad and Ugly

Equal Rights Delay, the Astrodome and a James Beard Award: The Good The Bad and The Ugly of Houston News

Posted on · From a delay (again) in the vote over the proposed Houston Equal Rights Ordinance; to a meeting of the minds (again) over the future of the Astrodome; to more non-recurring events like flat home sales and a James Beard Foundation award granted to a Houston chef: we take the week’s Houston news and turn it […]

Houston Matters

Council Members Delay Vote on Controversial Equal Rights Ordinance

Posted on · The Houston City Council is delaying a vote on a proposed Equal Rights Ordinance for another two weeks. Council members did vote Wednesday on a number of amendments to the ordinance, including one that would eventually apply the ordinance to companies with 15 or more workers, drawn down, over time, from 50. We discuss what happened in City Council Wednesday, […]

Houston Matters

Will Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance Pass or Fail?

Posted on · The Houston city council is delaying a vote on the proposed Equal Rights Ordinance by one week while members review various amendments to the measure. The proposal would ban discrimination based on sex, race, age, and religion, and expand anti-bias protections for gay and transgender residents. The ordinance would apply to private businesses, housing, city […]