Rodney Ellis

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Rodney Ellis
Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis, May 2014.jpg
Ellis in May 2014
Member of the Texas Senate
from the 13th district
In office
February 27, 1990 – January 9, 2017
Preceded byCraig Anthony Washington
Succeeded byBorris Miles
Harris County Commissioner from Precinct 1
Assumed office
January 9, 2017
Preceded byEl Franco Lee
Member of the Houston City Council from District D
In office
January 2, 1983 – December 28, 1988
Preceded byAnthony Hall
Succeeded byAlfred Calloway
Personal details
Born (1954-04-07) April 7, 1954 (age 66)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Licia Green Ellis
Children4
ResidenceHouston, Texas, U.S.
Alma materTexas Southern University (B.A.)
Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs (M.P.A.)
University of Texas Law School (J.D.)
ProfessionLawyer
Websitehttp://www.rodneyellis.com

Rodney Glenn Ellis (born April 7, 1954)[1] is an American politician. He represented Texas' 13th state senate district in the Texas Senate from 1990 to 2017. The district contains portions of Harris County, including downtown Houston, and Fort Bend County. He is a member of the Democratic Party. On June 25, 2016, Ellis won the Democratic Party's nomination for Harris County Commissioners Court Precinct 1.[2] He was elected county commissioner on November 8, 2016 and sworn into office on January 1, 2017.[3]

Ellis was elected to the Texas Senate on February 13, 1990, and sworn into office on February 27, 1990.[4] In his 26-year tenure, Ellis passed 700 pieces of legislation[5] and earned praise for his leadership on increasing access to college for high-achieving Texas students, championing criminal justice reforms to protect the innocent and hold the guilty accountable, and fighting to provide quality, affordable health care to the most vulnerable Texans, amongst many other issues.

Ellis sat on the Senate State Affairs, Transportation, and Business & Commerce Committees.[6] In previous sessions, Ellis chaired the Senate Finance, Jurisprudence, Government Organization, Intergovernmental Relations, and Open Government Committees.[7]

Ellis chaired the Board of Directors for the Innocence Project from 2003 to 2017. He now serves as a member of the Founders' Circle for the Innocence Project. He co-chairs the National Conference of State Legislatures Task Force on International Relations. He also serves on the National Conference of State Legislatures Executive Committee, the LBJ Foundation Board of Trustees, and the Council on Foreign Relations.[8]

Early life and education[edit]

Ellis, from the Sunnyside neighborhood of Houston,[9] is one of three children of Eligha and Oliver Teresa Ellis. His father worked as a yard man and his mother a maid, and each worked as health care assistants. In the summers, Ellis served as his father's assistant.[10]

Ellis attended B.H. Grimes Elementary and Carter G. Woodson Middle School and is a graduate of Evan E. Worthing High School, where he was president of the student council. He enrolled at Xavier University in Louisiana before returning to Texas and graduating from Texas Southern University with a Bachelor of Science degree in political science. Ellis earned his Masters in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas and then a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. Ellis also studied at the London School of Economics.[11]

While in Austin, Ellis got experience in Texas government, working as an aide to Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby and as Law Clerk to Chief Justice John C. Phillips on the Third Court of Appeals. Ellis also served as legal counsel to Texas Railroad Commissioner Buddy Temple before moving to Washington, DC to become chief of staff to U.S. Representative Mickey Leland.[12]

It was through Congressman Leland that Ellis first met his future wife Licia. They were married in 1997. Their family includes four children: Nicole, Maria, Leland, and Alena.[13]

City Council record[edit]

Ellis and Congressman Mickey Leland, for whom Ellis served as chief of staff

In 1983, at age 29, Ellis was elected to the Houston City Council, where he served three terms representing District D.[14] While on Council, Ellis worked on efforts to tear down abandoned buildings that had attracted criminals and the drug trade. [15] He worked to secure more funds to raze these dangerous buildings, and drove a front-loader to help clean up drug-ridden Houston neighborhoods.[16] To combat rising drug crime, Ellis pushed to increase funding for anti-drug efforts in the city,[17] but also called for greater community oversight of the Houston Police Department through a citizen's review board.[18]

Ellis worked to increase funding to expand low-income housing projects across Houston,[19] preserve Allen Park Village,[20] and strengthen policies for the city's use of federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to ensure a greater percentage is devoted to low and moderate-income Texans.[21] Ellis also worked to seize abandoned properties and sell on the market to raise funds for housing and other vital needs.[22]

Ellis served as chair of the Economic Redevelopment Committee, where he advocated policies to spur economic development in Houston. He called for the creation of a new think tank and city Department of Commerce[23] to coordinate and streamline city economic development policies, worked to save city and taxpayer investments in projects such as the Palm Center and Mercado del Sol shopping center, and pushed to expand low-interest loans to small businesses.[24]

Ellis pushed to rename Houston Intercontinental Airport after Mickey Leland, following his death on an anti-hunger mission to Ethiopia. Controversy ensued after comments were made about the effort by a fellow council member.[25] In the end, the newest terminal at the airport was named in honor of Leland.[26]

In the battle against apartheid in South Africa, Ellis helped convince the University of Houston to become the first university in the south to divest from companies doing business in South Africa.[27] He also helped defeat efforts to merge the University of Houston–Downtown with Texas Southern University, protecting the historically black college's history and mission as a stand-alone institution.[28]

Texas Senate record[edit]

Budget & economy[edit]

In 1997, Ellis authored legislation creating the Texas Capital Access Fund providing up to $140 million in private lending to small businesses and nonprofit organizations.[29] The program was designed to help small businesses that do not qualify for conventional financing to access the capital they need through a public-private partnership.

In 1999, Ellis introduced and passed a $506 million tax relief package which created a three-day sales tax holiday, eliminated the sales tax on over-the-counter medicines, and cut business taxes.[30] The tax holiday was designed to give Texans a tax break on items such as back-to-school clothing. In 2012 alone, the sales tax holiday was estimated to save Texas taxpayers over $64 million.[31]

As the chair of the Senate Committee on Finance in 2001, Ellis authored the $113.8 billion budget bill.[32] The population of Texas had grown 25 percent in the prior ten years and the pressure of that continued growth was reflected in a budget that raised funding $11.8 billion, or 11.6 percent over the previous biennium.[33] As chair of the Finance Committee, "Ellis managed in spite of the tight budget to fund four priority items: a major Medicaid expansion, state employee pay raises, teacher health insurance, and financial aid for college students."[34]

The Texas Green Jobs Act of 2009, authored by Ellis, was amended onto House Bill 1935, establishing the first statewide green jobs program in Texas.[35] The program set up a framework for training workers for skills in the clean energy economy.

Civil rights[edit]

Texas Governor Ann Richards, His Excellency Nelson Mandela, Dominique de Menil, and Ellis, 1991

In 1993, Ellis introduced the Motor Voter program to allow citizens to register to vote when they renew their driver's licenses.[36] To further increase participation in the democratic process, Ellis introduced legislation to implement the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 in Texas in 1995 in order to bring Texas up to federal standards by requiring government agencies to afford citizens a chance to register to vote each time they seek state services through government agencies.[37]

In 2001, Ellis authored and passed the James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Act, legislation to clarify and strengthen the state's hate crimes statute by defining a hate crime as one that has been proven in court to have been motivated by "the race, religion, color, disability, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry" of the victim.[38] The Act bears the name of James Byrd, Jr., an African American who was targeted and murdered in one of the most brutal hate crimes of the post-Civil Rights Era. In 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law a federal hate crimes bill also bearing Byrd's name.[39]

In 2007, Ellis introduced and passed the Stop the Genocide Act, requiring state pension funds to divest from companies doing business in Sudan.[40] Over the four years prior to the bill's introduction, the Sudanese government and their allied organizations had killed more than 400,000 people and displaced more than 2.5 million in Sudan's Darfur region.[41]

Ellis helped pass the Free Flow of Information Act in 2009 to protect journalists from being forced to testify or disclose confidential sources.[42] The law aimed to balance the public's right to know the truth from an independent press and the state's ability to uphold justice.

In 2009, Ellis introduced and passed legislation creating the Holocaust and Genocide Commission, a volunteer commission that serves as a conduit of information to public schools, private schools, and organizations regarding the Holocaust and acts of genocide.[43]

Health care[edit]

Ellis and other legislators at the 2011 National Conference of State Legislatures Bipartisan Bike Ride in San Antonio, an event that Ellis has sponsored since 2005

In 1993, Ellis authored and passed legislation requiring private nonprofit hospitals to provide a certain amount of charity care to uninsured patients.[44]

In 2001, under Ellis' leadership as Chairman of the Texas Senate Committee on Finance, the legislature increased funding for health and human services by $5.1 billion.[45] The budget simplified Medicaid eligibility by eliminating face-to-face interviews and allowed families to apply through the mail or over the telephone. The budget also allocated $197 million to increase reimbursement rates for doctors, dentists, and hospitals; provided $63 million to maintain current services at Mental Health & Mental Retardation state schools, hospitals, and community centers; provided $1.025 billion for the Children's Health Insurance Program; and allocated $104 million to improve care in state schools and nursing homes.[46]

In 2011, Ellis amended the Texas Department of Insurance sunset legislation to include a provision that will increase access to individual health insurance plans in order to expand the availability of coverage to children under 19.[47]

In 2011, Ellis sponsored legislation that ensures a voice for advocates and individuals infected with HIV in the state's HIV Medication Advisory Committee.[48]

Criminal justice[edit]

In 2001, Ellis authored and passed the Texas Fair Defense Act, overhauling the Texas indigent defense system by focusing on four critical issues: timely appointment of counsel, method of counsel appointment by the courts, reporting of information about indigent representation services, and minimum standards for counsel. The legislation required all criminal courts in Texas to adopt formal procedures for providing appointed lawyers to indigent defendants.[49]

The Texas Fair Defense Act also created a new state indigent defense commission, the Task Force on Indigent Defense (now called the Texas Indigent Defense Commission), to oversee the implementation of the Texas Fair Defense Act and administer a new state program for awarding indigent defense grants to counties.[50]

In 2009, Ellis sponsored and passed legislation to establish the Tim Cole Advisory Panel to identify and study the factors that contribute to wrongful convictions.[51] The panel was named in honor of Tim Cole, a young man who died in prison after being wrongfully convicted of rape.

As a result of the work of the Tim Cole Advisory Panel, in 2011 Senator Ellis authored a package of legislation to reform and improve the reliability of the Texas criminal justice system, which included eyewitness identification reforms to address the leading cause of proven wrongful convictions, and legislation to ensure that if there is DNA evidence available to prove someone's innocence, it can and will be tested.[52]

Ellis, Michael Morton, staff, and supporters after Senate passage of the "Michael Morton Act," April 2013

In 2009, Ellis authored and passed legislation to create the Office of Capital Writs, the state's first statewide public defender office, to manage death penalty appeals.[53] Texas has the highest number of executions since 1979 - over four times the next state with the second highest number. Texas also has a high number of wrongful convictions relative to other states in the U.S.[54] The Office of Capital Writs is "entrusted with advocating on behalf of indigent individuals sentenced to death in Texas. The office works within the judicial system to safeguard the Constitutional rights of the individual through high quality legal representation."[55]

Ellis has "led legislative efforts to increase compensation for the wrongfully imprisoned."[56] In 2001, Ellis authored and passed legislation that increased the amount of compensation, increased the statute of limitations for claiming compensation, and allowed convicted persons found to be innocent to seek relief and compensation from the courts, rather than by pardon.[57] In 2011, Ellis sponsored and passed comprehensive exoneree compensation reform legislation, which provided health care to the wrongfully convicted, established standards for attorney's fees in compensation claims, and helped exonerees to receive compensation.[58]

In 2013, Ellis authored and passed the "Michael Morton Act," legislation creating a uniform, statutory open file criminal discovery policy in Texas.[59] With the bill's passage, Texas law now explicitly states that every prosecutor has a duty to disclose documents or information that could raise questions about a defendant's guilt or lead to a lighter sentence if there is a conviction.[60] Prior to the bill's passage, Texas' criminal discovery laws had not changed since they were initially adopted in 1965.[61] The bill was named after Michael Morton, who was wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife and subsequently spent almost 25 years in prison before being exonerated by DNA evidence.

In 2015, Ellis sponsored and passed legislation creating the Tim Cole Exoneration Review Commission.[62] The Commission will bring together criminal justice experts to review proven wrongful convictions, identify the main causes of those convictions, and recommend more reliable practices to improve public safety and prevent such tragedies from reoccurring in the future.[63] The Commission is named after Tim Cole, a Texas Tech University student who was wrongfully convicted of a crime he did not commit. Cole died in prison in 1999 after 25 years behind bars. He became the state's first and only posthumous exoneration in 2009, and Governor Rick Perry later pardoned Cole in 2010.[64]

Ellis was named "Texan of the Year" by the Dallas Morning News on December 26, 2015, along with Senator John Whitmire and Representative Ruth McClendon for their work on criminal justice reforms.[65] The Dallas Morning News wrote that "the measures [Ellis] championed this year — and in previous legislative sessions — have targeted every major facet of flawed criminal justice, from prosecutors' reliance on junk science (such as bite-mark evidence) and flawed eyewitness testimony, to holding overzealous prosecutors accountable and improving public-defender funding so indigents can't be railroaded into prison."[66]

Higher education[edit]

Ellis in his Austin office, 2014

In 1999, Ellis sponsored legislation that created the TEXAS Grant Program.[67] The TEXAS Grant program provides tuition and fees to qualified students to make sure that well-prepared high school graduates with financial need could go to college.[68] Since its creation, the program has awarded $3.3 billion in financial aid to more than 460,000 students.[69]

In 2011, Ellis cosponsored legislation to help the University of Houston and other Texas universities become Tier One institutions of higher education.[70]

Efficient government and ethics[edit]

In 1995, Ellis introduced a constitutional amendment to abolish the office of state treasurer. Texas voters endorsed the measure, and the office of the treasurer closed its doors on September 1, 1996, transferring its duties to other state agencies.[71]

In 2003, Ellis sponsored comprehensive ethics reform for state and local elected officials. The legislation required any contribution greater than $500 be reported to the Ethics Commission. It also prohibited legislators from representing people for compensation before state agencies; required a legislator to file notice with his or her legislative body before introducing, sponsoring, or voting on a measure for which a close relative is lobbying; requires disclosure of all referral fees for legal services; requires disclosure of legislative continuances; and required office holders to show campaign fund balances. The bill also required annual filing of personal financial disclosure statements by municipal candidates and officeholders in cities greater than 100,000 and all members of sports and port and authority boards.[72]

Served as governor, lieutenant governor[edit]

Ellis and the TLIP class of 2013

In 1999, Ellis was named President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate.[73] Normally only a ceremonial position, Ellis served while Governor George W. Bush was running for President of the United States. When Bush traveled out of Texas, Lieutenant Governor Rick Perry was elevated to governor, and Ellis acted as Lieutenant Governor of Texas. If the governor and lieutenant governor are both out of the state, the president pro tempore is acting governor in their absence.[74]

In 1999 and 2000, Ellis served as Acting Governor of Texas for a record fifty days and was the Lieutenant Governor of Texas for 7 days, 7 hours and 31 minutes.[75] Upon Bush's election as president, Ellis presided over the Texas Senate as it chose Bill Ratliff to serve as its presiding officer.[76]

Texas Legislative Internship Program (TLIP)[edit]

In 1990, Ellis founded the Texas Legislative Internship Program (TLIP).[77] Administered by the Mickey Leland Center on World Hunger and Peace at Texas Southern University, TLIP provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to serve as interns in the Texas Legislature, various state agencies, and local government.[78] Students receive a minimum of six and a maximum of fifteen academic credit hours for participating in the program, which combines academic study and research with supervised practical training. A TLIP internship lasts for one academic semester and affords students an opportunity to experience public service firsthand.[79] In 2011, three members of the Texas House of Representatives were TLIP graduates.[80]

Harris County Commissioners Court[edit]

After the death of Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee in January 2016, Ellis announced that he would be seeking the Precinct 1 seat on the Harris County Commissioners Court.[81] On June 25, 2016, Ellis secured the Democratic nomination for the seat and was unopposed on the ballot in November.[82] He won the Democratic nomination a second time in March 2020 with 67% of the votes.[83]

As Commissioner of Precinct One, Ellis has played a critical role on the Court, securing major reforms to the misdemeanor bail system[84], equity guidelines for flood control projects[85], higher wages and stronger protections for workers contracting with the county[86], funding for indigent defense[87] and various forms of direct relief for residents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[88]

COVID-19 Response

As Harris County dealt with the outbreak of COVID-19 and the economic fallout, Commissioner Rodney Ellis led the charge to provide direct assistance to residents, starting with a $30 million COVID-19 Relief Fund in May 2020.[89] The Fund targeted the most vulnerable in the county, providing up to $1,500 in assistance regardless of immigration status, dependent status or unemployment status.[90] [91] In July, Commissioners Court approved an additional $40 million for direct assistance to low-income residents. [92]

In April 2020, Ellis and Harris County approved the $10 million Harris County COVID-19 Forgivable Loan Program that offered loans of up to $25,000 with zero percent interest for a five-year term. The loans aimed at helping small businesses in Harris County stay open and maintain operating expenses. After five years, the loan may be forgiven. [93] The fund provides grants of up to $25,000 to continue to help cover necessary expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, payroll costs, and other operating expenses.[94]

Commissioner Ellis also voted for a total of $40 million in funding for emergency rental assistance payments for low-income residents to help prevent an eviction crisis in the county.[95] An additional $750,000 in federal money was approved at Ellis’ request to provide legal assistance for renters facing eviction.[96]

Criminal Justice

In February 2019, Commissioner Ellis voted in favor of a budget increase to the Harris County Public Defender’s Office to $9 million, in order to hire 61 new employees, the majority of them lawyers to represent people charged with misdemeanor, felony, and juvenile courts who cannot afford legal representation.[97]

In July 2019, Commissioner Ellis led Commissioner’s Court in approving a historic settlement agreement to change the local misdemeanor bail system found unconstitutional by a local judge for keeping poor people who could not afford bail incarcerated prior to having their case heard. [98] Under the agreement, about 85% of people arrested on misdemeanors will qualify for automatic, no-cash pretrial release.[99] The agreement also included public defense services and safeguards to help ensure defendants show up for court.[100]. In September 2020, the first six-month report of the independent monitor in the case found that the reforms did not increase the risk of reoffending. [101].

In June 2020, in response to the death of native Houstonian George Floyd and subsequent nationwide protests against police brutality against Black Americans, Commissioner Ellis led the effort to pass a package of 11 criminal justice reform measures.[102] The measures aimed to provide civilian oversight of police, including an order proposed by Commissioner Ellis for the Justice Administration department to study creating a civilian oversight board to review allegations of the use of force by police as well as $25 million to study alternatives to incarceration. [103] [104]

Voting Rights

In August 2019, Ellis voted to pass a measure to restore voting rights for jail inmates, including setting up a polling location at the Harris County jail for eligible inmates to be able to vote.[105]

In July 2020, Ellis motioned to create an independent election administrator’s office, moving away from splitting election duties between two county departments, the County Clerk and County Tax Assessor-Collector.[106] Ellis claimed that the old system was a relic of Jim Crow and was as much of an insult to voters as having to walk into a polling center named after Robert E. Lee.[107] The move faced opposition, but researchers and voting rights advocates agreed the move will improve voter participation in Harris County.[108]

Economic Justice

In July 2018, Commissioner Ellis led the effort in securing a $600,000 investment, using money from his own Precinct, to fund a county-wide disparity study on the county’s use of minority and women owned businesses (MWBE) for contracting purposes.[109] The results of the disparity study, published in 2020, showed that minority- and women-owned businesses receive only 9% of Harris County’s contract dollars, despite representing 28% of the available market.[110] [111] In response to the report, the Houston Chronicle Editorial Board published an op-ed titled Disparity for minority businesses in Harris County contracts must end.[112]

In January of 2019, Ellis proposed the creation of the new Department of Economic Opportunity and Equity, which would address income inequality and other economic disparities in Harris County. Economic policies and initiatives would be focused on fair and equitable county contracting, workforce development, community business programs, community-based economic tax incentives, and workers’ rights.[113]

In August 2019, in response to the economic devastation and inequality exacerbated by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Ellis worked with representatives from Harris County Community Services Department to help develop Opportunity Builds Harris County, a policy with transformational rules that embed stronger worker protection and economic opportunity provisions into Harris County’s construction contracting practices. The policy requires county contractors to pay workers no less than $15/hour on county building projects, addressing Houston’s growing labor shortage for skilled construction workers and ensuring fair and safe practices and sustainable wages.[114]

Environmental Justice

In 2018, Ellis secured a unanimous decision by the Commissioner’s Court to approve an election for a $2.5 billion flood bond program that would prioritize socially vulnerable communities for flood control projects.[115] On August 26, 2018, county voters overwhelmingly approved the program with more than 85 percent support.[116] The equity guidelines for the over 500 flood control projects have been nationally recognized for tackling racial inequity and climate change. [117]

After a string of mishaps by chemical firms including the Exon and ITC fires in March 2019, KMCO fire in April, Ellis and Commissioner’s Court voted on a $11.6 million investment toward purchasing new equipment and to hire 61 employees to the fire marshal’s office, pollution control, and public health departments to significantly boost Harris County’s ability to respond to environmental emergencies.[118]

In December 2019, Ellis voted to approve the County Attorney Vince Ryan’s request to consider legal action against Union Pacific, a multi-billion-dollar transportation company for mismanagement of contamination from a rail yard in northeast Houston that has in recent years moved beneath an estimated 110 properties in the Kashmere Gardens and Fifth Ward, both historically Black neighborhoods. [119]

On December 18, as a response to pressure, chemical firms offered a $1 million grant which was approved to come to Harris County for air quality monitors and training, growing the emergency response infrastructure in the heart of the nation’s petrochemical industry.[120]

Business career and personal[edit]

Ellis with Innocence Project founders Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld and executive director Madeline deLone, 2013

Ellis is a senior advisor in the Public Policy and Regulation practice group for Dentons, the world's largest law firm.[121] Ellis previously served as an advisor to the Mexican government during the ratification of the NAFTA Treaty.[122] He also advised the buy side on the $1.3 billion privatization of Telkom South Africa, at the time the largest privatization in Africa.[123]

Ellis chairs the board of directors for the Innocence Project and co-chairs the National Conference of State Legislatures Task Force on International Relations. He also serves on the National Conference of State Legislatures Executive Committee, the LBJ Foundation board of trustees, the University of Texas School of Law Foundation board of trustees, and the Council on Foreign Relations.[124] Ellis previously served on the board of the National Commission on Energy Policy, the U.S. Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, the Center for Policy Alternatives, and the Commission to Engage African Americans on Energy, Climate Change, and the Environment.

Ellis helped to negotiate bringing Lucy (Australopithecus), a natural history exhibit, to Houston. Ellis led a delegation to the National Museum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to bring Lucy's bones to the United States and the Houston Museum of Natural Science.[125] Lucy, who lived 3.2 million years ago and is perhaps man's earliest known ancestor, was discovered in 1974.

Ellis is an avid cyclist who has authored "Complete Streets" legislation[126] to improve safety for motorists and cyclists and sponsored or taken part in numerous cycling events, like the MS 150, in Texas and across the country.[127] Ellis has sponsored the annual National Conference of State Legislatures Bipartisan Bike Ride each year since 2005.[128]

Ellis is an art collector and has a collection of African art.[129]

Ellis was listed as a bundler for President Barack Obama's reelection campaign in 2012.[130]

Controversies[edit]

In 1995, Ellis was featured in the PBS documentary "Vote for Me."[131] He was filmed on the floor of the Senate during the 74th Legislative Session in 1995 with a live microphone, unknown to his fellow Senators.[132] Ellis apologized to his colleagues for the breach of protocol.[133]

In 2001, following George W. Bush's election to the presidency and Lieutenant Governor Rick Perry's promotion to governor, Ellis – by virtue of serving as President Pro Tempore – became the official presiding officer of the Texas Senate. He drew fire from Texas media for ensuring the Senate vote to replace Perry was done with a secret ballot and without a record vote.[134]

In 2013, Ellis assisted Senator Wendy Davis with a back brace during Davis' 11-hour filibuster of Senate Bill 5, a bill to add and update abortion regulations in Texas.[135][136] Ellis' assistance resulted in a point of order being called against Davis, effectively the second warning that her filibuster could be forced to end.[137] Even though Davis' filibuster was eventually cut off, Senate Bill 5 failed to pass later that night, as parliamentary inquiries from senators and cheering from the Senate gallery caused the session to run past the midnight deadline.[138] Later, in remarks to the National Press Club, Davis said that "Texas women know that Senator Ellis has our back."[139]

In 2013, Ellis wrote to Houston Independent School District Superintendent Terry Grier and requested the district begin the process of changing the Lamar High School mascot, which at the time was the Redskins.[140] Despite some opposition, the HISD Board of Trustees later voted unanimously to adopt a new district policy that banned the use of offensive mascot names.[141]

Election history[edit]

Election history of Ellis from 1992.[142]

2012[edit]

Texas general election, 2012: Senate District 13[143]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Rodney Ellis (Incumbent) 181,866 100.00
Majority 181,866 100.00
Turnout 181,866
Democratic hold

2010[edit]

Texas general election, 2010: Senate District 13[144]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Rodney Ellis (Incumbent) 113,155 78.17
Republican Michael Mauldin 31,596 21.82
Majority 81,559 56.35
Turnout 144,751
Democratic hold

2006[edit]

Texas general election, 2006: Senate District 13[145]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Rodney Ellis (Incumbent) 90,148 100.00
Majority 90,148 100.00
Turnout 90,148
Democratic hold

2002[edit]

Texas general election, 2002: Senate District 13[146]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Rodney Ellis (Incumbent) 107,897 100.00
Majority 107,897 100.00
Turnout 107,897
Democratic hold

1998[edit]

Texas general election, 1998: Senate District 13[147]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Rodney Ellis (Incumbent) 86,631 100.00
Majority 86,631 100.00
Turnout 86,631
Democratic hold

1994[edit]

Texas general election, 1994: Senate District 13[148]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Rodney Ellis (Incumbent) 89,832 100.00
Majority 89,832 100.00
Turnout 89,832
Democratic hold

1992[edit]

Texas general election, 1992: Senate District 13[149]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Rodney Ellis (Incumbent) 135,262 91.41
Libertarian John Persakis 12,713 8.59
Majority 122,549 82.82
Turnout 147,975
Democratic hold

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Texas Legislative Reference Library
  2. ^ Texas Tribune
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Texas Legislative Reference Library
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ Texas Senate website Archived 2011-08-03 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Texas Legislative Reference Library
  8. ^ Texas Senate website Archived 2011-08-03 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Isensee, Laura (2016-08-22). "New School Year Brings Long-Delayed Construction At Worthing High School". Houston Public Media. It depicts her mentors, state Rep. Alma Allen and Sen. Rodney Ellis, both from Sunnyside.
  10. ^ Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs website
  11. ^ Texas Senate website
  12. ^ Texas Senate website
  13. ^ Texas Senate website
  14. ^ Texas Senate website, City of Houston website
  15. ^ Houston Chronicle
  16. ^ Houston Chronicle
  17. ^ Houston Chronicle
  18. ^ Houston Chronicle
  19. ^ Houston Chronicle
  20. ^ Houston Chronicle
  21. ^ Houston Chronicle
  22. ^ Houston Chronicle
  23. ^ Houston Chronicle
  24. ^ Houston Chronicle
  25. ^ Houston Chronicle
  26. ^ Houston Chronicle
  27. ^ Houston Chronicle
  28. ^ Houston Chronicle
  29. ^ S.B. 266, 75th Regular Session, Texas Legislature Online
  30. ^ S.B. 441, 76th Regular Session, Texas Legislature Online
  31. ^ Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
  32. ^ S.B. 1, 77th Regular Session, Texas Legislature Online
  33. ^ Texas Senate website
  34. ^ Texas Observer, "All Rodney, All the Time"
  35. ^ H.B. 1935, 81st Regular Session, Texas Legislature Online
  36. ^ S.B. 551, 72nd Regular Legislature, Texas Legislative Reference Library
  37. ^ S.B. 53, 74th Regular Session, Texas Legislature Online
  38. ^ Texas Senate website
  39. ^ White House website
  40. ^ S.B. 247, 80th Regular Session, Texas Legislature Online
  41. ^ Texas Senate website
  42. ^ Texas Senate website
  43. ^ S.B. 482, 81st Regular Session, Texas Legislature Online
  44. ^ S.B. 427, 73rd Regular Session, Texas Legislature Online
  45. ^ Texas Senate website
  46. ^ S.B. 1, 77th Regular Session, Texas Legislative Budget Board
  47. ^ H.B. 1951, 82nd Regular Session, Texas Legislature Online
  48. ^ H.B. 2229, 82nd Regular Session, Texas Legislature Online
  49. ^ S.B. 7, 77th Regular Session, Texas Legislature Online
  50. ^ Texas Indigent Defense Commission website
  51. ^ H.B. 498, 81st Regular Session, Texas Legislature Online
  52. ^ Houston Chronicle, "Houston senator's bills aim to stop wrongful convictions"
  53. ^ Texas Office of Capital Writs website
  54. ^ National Registry of Exonerations report
  55. ^ Texas Office of Capital Writs website
  56. ^ New York Times, "Exonerated of Crimes, But Compensated Differently"
  57. ^ S.B. 536, 77th Regular Session, Texas Legislature Online
  58. ^ H.B. 417, 82nd Regular Session, Texas Legislature Online
  59. ^ Houston Chronicle, "Michael Morton Act signed into law"
  60. ^ Austin American-Statesman, "Michael Morton Act sent to governor"
  61. ^ Austin American-Statesman, "Michael Morton Act sent to governor"
  62. ^ Texas Legislature Online
  63. ^ Texas Senate website
  64. ^ Innocence Project
  65. ^ Dallas Morning News
  66. ^ Dallas Morning News
  67. ^ H.B. 713, 76th Regular Session, Texas Legislature Online
  68. ^ College for All Texans, TEXAS Grants
  69. ^ Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, "TEXAS Grant Program: Report to the Texas Legislature," June 2016
  70. ^ H.B. 1000, 82nd Regular Session, Texas Legislature Online
  71. ^ S.J.R. 1, 74th Regular Session, Texas Legislature Online; Texas Secretary of State Election History Archived 2014-01-09 at the Wayback Machine
  72. ^ H.B. 1606, 78th Regular Session, Texas Legislature Online
  73. ^ Texas Legislative Reference Library
  74. ^ Texas Constitution
  75. ^ Texas Legislative Reference Library
  76. ^ Associated Press, "Secret ballot will pick Perry replacement"
  77. ^ Texas Legislative Internship website
  78. ^ University of Houston Hobby Center for Public Policy
  79. ^ Texas Senate website
  80. ^ Texas Senate website
  81. ^ Houston Chronicle
  82. ^ Texas Tribune
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  121. ^ Dentons website
  122. ^ Rice Financial website
  123. ^ Rice Financial website
  124. ^ Texas Senate website Archived 2011-08-03 at the Wayback Machine
  125. ^ NPR, "World's Oldest Hominid Now World's Oldest Tourist"
  126. ^ S.B. 513, 82nd Regular Session, Texas Legislature Online
  127. ^ Austin American-Statesman, "Ellis pedals toward fitness diversity"
  128. ^ Bike Texas, National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Bipartisan Bike Ride
  129. ^ Channel 11 KHOU segment on Ellis and art on YouTube
  130. ^ Huffington Post, "Obama's Black Bundlers"
  131. ^ Center for New American Media, Vote for Me
  132. ^ Clip of Sen. Ellis' segment in "Vote for Me" on YouTube
  133. ^ Texas Observer, "All Rodney, All the Time"
  134. ^ Associated Press, "Secret ballot to be used for Perry's successor"
  135. ^ Austin American-Statesman, "Dewhurst declares abortion bill dead, blames 'unruly mob'"
  136. ^ "Video of Sen. Wendy Davis Attempting to put on Back-Brace During Filibuster" on YouTube
  137. ^ Austin American-Statesman, "Dewhurst declares abortion bill dead, blames 'unruly mob'"
  138. ^ The Guardian, "Texas abortion bill defeated by Wendy Davis filbuster and public protest"
  139. ^ C-SPAN, "Texas State Senator Wendy Davis Remarks, Aug 5, 2013"
  140. ^ Houston Chronicle, "State senator tweets letter asking HISD to end use of Redskins by Lamar," December 3, 2013
  141. ^ Reuters, "Houston school board votes to stop using Native American mascot names," December 12, 2013
  142. ^ Uncontested primary elections are not shown.
  143. ^ "2012 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  144. ^ "2010 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  145. ^ "2006 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2007-01-03.
  146. ^ "2002 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2007-01-03.
  147. ^ "1998 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2007-01-03.
  148. ^ "1994 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2007-01-03.
  149. ^ "1992 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2007-01-03.

External links[edit]

Texas Senate
Preceded by
Craig A. Washington
Texas State Senator
from District 13 (Houston)

1989-2017