Early voting for the May 1 general and special elections begins on April 19.

Appellate Districts: Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) has pulled down a bill that would consolidate the current 14 Court of Appeals districts to seven. In a statement, Huffman said there was not enough time left in the legislative session to pass it.

Senate Bill 11 was heard by the Senate Jurisprudence Committee, which Huffman chairs, on April 1. Only two witnesses were in favor: Lee Parsley, the general counsel for Texans for Lawsuit Reform, and James Worthen (R), chief justice of the 12th Court of Appeals. Nearly three dozen witnesses testified or registered against it. The bill advanced by a 3-2, party-line vote.

Two identical companion bills – House Bill 339 by Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford) and House Bill 2613 by Rep. Andrew Murr (R-Junction) – have been referred to the House Redistricting Committee.

Arlington: Mayoral candidate Jerry Warden was ruled ineligible by the city secretary over past felony convictions. Section 141.001, Election Code provides that a candidate cannot have been “finally convicted of a felony from which the person has not been pardoned or otherwise released from the resulting disabilities.” The complaint against Warden’s eligibility was raised by mayoral candidate Jim Ross. Warden’s name will remain on the ballot.

The Dallas Morning News endorsed former council member Michael Glaspie for mayor.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram endorsed Ross for mayor, council member Barbara Odom-Wesley for re-election and Rebecca Boxall for an open council seat.

Dallas: The Dallas Morning News endorsed council members Carolyn King Arnold and Chad West for re-election.

Fort Worth: The Mattie Parker campaign released a pair of ads. “A Positive Approach That Unites Us” stressing nonpartisanship to solve the city’s issues.

“City Hall Should Be Run on a Budget” highlights Parker’s experience at managing budgets.

Note: This report has been updated to correct an error. James Worthen is Chief Justice of the 12th Court of Appeals, not the 14th.

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