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Lead Stories

Politico - August 29, 2015

Top Jeb fundraisers leave campaign amid troubling signs

Three top Jeb Bush fundraisers abruptly parted ways with his presidential campaign on Friday, amid internal personality conflicts and questions about the strength of his candidacy, POLITICO has learned. There are different versions of what transpired. The Florida-based fundraising consultants — Kris Money, Trey McCarley, and Debbie Aleksander — have said that they voluntarily quit the campaign and were still working with Bush's super PAC, Right to Rise Super PAC. Others said the three, who worked under the same contract, were let go because they were no longer needed for the current phase of the campaign.

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KSAT - August 29, 2015

Abbott wants new abortion limits following undercover video

Gov. Greg Abbott is calling on the Legislature to approve several new abortion restrictions — even though Texas already has some of the nation's toughest limits on the procedure. Lawmakers don't reconvene until 2017, unless Abbott calls a special session. Still, in a statement Friday, the Republican said he'd like laws changed to make performing partial-birth abortions a state felony. He also wants to pull all state and local funding from Planned Parenthood, a group that's already a frequent target for legislators.

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Texas Tribune - August 28, 2015

Texas Asks Full Appeals Court to Hear Voter ID Case

Continuing to protect a voter identification law that courts say discriminates against Hispanics and African Americans, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has asked a full federal appeals court to hear his arguments about why the state’s requirements at the polls do not violate the Voting Rights Act. In a series of filings Friday, the Republican asked the full U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the case, weeks after the court’s three-judge panel ruled that the four-year-old law has a “discriminatory effect” that violates the federal law prohibiting racial discrimination in voting.

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Dallas Morning News - August 29, 2015

Robberson: Paxton’s lawyer switcheroo suggests the stakes are higher than he acknowledges

Until now, Attorney General Ken Paxton has treated his two-count indictment for felony securities fraud as little more than a nuisance, part of the game-playing that goes on when political opponents try to sabotage a good guy whose only crime was to win election to the state’s top law-enforcement office. Paxton’s spokesman, Anthony Holm, dismissed the indictment last month as “a politically motivated effort to ruin the career of a longtime public servant. These attacks on Ken Paxton appear to have become a political hit-job in the media, perhaps having the effect of inappropriately influencing the grand jury.”

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State Stories

Austin American Statesman - August 29, 2015

Kelso: I think I’m being funny on UT statues; others think I’m a jerk

Oh brother, did I ever get hammered by Confederate sympathizers over my column a couple weeks back. Not that I’m unaccustomed to a good verbal flogging. Remember the famous racehorse Kelso? I bring this up because of one of my first columns ever, which covered the subject of belly dancers in a rather sexist manner. This led one of the dancers to write a letter to the editor saying she preferred Kelso the gelding to Kelso the stud. Take that, wise guy. My problem is that although I think I’m being funny, others think I’m a jerk. It’s like a friend of mine once observed: We’re all nincompoops to somebody. It’s just that some of us have a bigger following than others. And over the years I’ve developed a mob.

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Austin American Statesman - August 29, 2015

AAS: Texas was quick to help thousands displaced by Hurricane Katrina

Even 10 years later, there are two common narratives about Hurricane Katrina. One focuses on the destruction that almost wiped out one of the country’s most beloved cities: New Orleans. The other narrative is about the horrifying conditions endured by New Orleans’ poorest and most vulnerable residents for days as a result of the ineptitude of local, state and federal governments. Not as often recounted, however, are the ways Louisiana’s neighbor, Texas, rallied to help those displaced by the deadly storm. ... Many Texans, including then-Gov. Rick Perry, who watched the aftermath unfold, felt compelled to help. Perry asked Texas leaders to open facilities, including the Astrodome in Houston and Toney Burger Center in Austin, as shelter for thousands of hurricane victims.

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Austin American Statesman - August 29, 2015

James: Opponents’ smears won’t change Sierra Club’s goal to protect Texas

On Aug. 18, the Austin American-Statesman published a syndicated commentary from outside Texas by Andrew Quinlan of the Virginia-based Center for Freedom and Prosperity, which tried to smear our organization. Quinlan’s piece was intended to be a counterpart to another commentary criticizing subsidies for coal mining on federal lands. The allegedly pro free-market Quinlan did not address the mountains of government subsidies the coal industry has received over the decades, which is kind of strange coming from a Washington-area group that ostensibly espouses free-market principles. Instead, his piece attacked the Sierra Club.

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Ft. Worth Star Telegram - August 29, 2015

Last dog track in Texas shutting down

Twenty years ago, gamblers who did not wish to run afoul of the law didn’t have many options in the United States of America. There was Las Vegas. There was Atlantic City, N.J. There were the ponies, a handful of tribal casinos and, for the brave, jai alai. And then there were the dogs. Though commercial dog-racing is now illegal in 39 states, the greyhounds who run in the six states currently with tracks haven’t exactly captured the popular imagination. We know names like Barbaro, American Pharoah and, of course, Secretariat. But who will make a film about the glories of Rural Rube and EA’s Itzaboy? Now, recognizing that it is offering a pastime that is in decline, the last dog track in the Lone Star State – Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque – will close its doors.

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Ft. Worth Star Telegram - August 29, 2015

New Texas law takes aim at erroneous gun-ban signs

The message has long been clear at the Fort Worth Zoo. Texans cannot pack heat when they visit the state’s oldest animal attraction, according to signs posted at the entrance. But through the years, some lawmakers and open-carry advocates have questioned whether the zoo’s declaration is legitimate. The privately run zoo is on city-owned land, they argue, so that means it should be fair game for holders of concealed-handgun permits. “The Fort Worth Zoo has always been in contention,” said Alice Tripp, legislative director of the Austin-based Texas State Rifle Association, noting that it’s hardly the only place in Texas where handgun-ban signs have caused confusion. “Over the years, the signs have popped up here and there.”

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Texas Observer - August 28, 2015

Wilder: The Borderlands, So Far from Austin

Sometimes it seems like politicians have forgotten that the borderlands are still part of Texas and the United States. Donald Trump, the conservative id, has set the tone for GOP presidential contenders. In July, he blustered down to Laredo, wearing one of those lumpy grandpa hats emblazoned with “Make America Great Again.” Trump wanted the eagerly awaiting press to see how he had braved the border netherworld. “People say, ‘Oh, it’s so dangerous, Mr. Trump, it’s so dangerous what you’re doing!’” he said. “I have to do it. I have to do it.” Laredo, 96 percent Hispanic, is one of the safest cities in Texas. But Trump, like many Republicans, apparently believes that the closer you get to the border, the more afraid you should be. That crackpot and borderline racist framework allowed Trump to cast himself as a hero just for landing Trump Force One at the Laredo airport.

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Texas Tribune - August 28, 2015

Lakey: Texas must fix its mental health hospital system

Texas’ mental health hospital system was designed and built a century ago and is ill suited to meet the needs of our state. Although these hospitals play an essential role in the mental health delivery system, many of them are functionally obsolete. That’s why the Texas Legislature next session must make restructuring and replacing the state’s outdated mental health hospital structure a top priority. The system was developed when Texas and health care were significantly different, a time when Texas was very rural and good treatment options for mental illness weren’t available.

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El Paso Times - August 28, 2015

George P. Bush helps celebrate El Paso's home for vets

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, scion of one of America's political dynasties, thanked veterans for their service to the country at Friday's 10th anniversary celebration of the Ambrosio Guillen Texas State Veterans Home in El Paso. Bush, the son of Republican presidential hopeful Jeb E. Bush, paid tribute to the late Guillen, the U.S. Marine Corps staff sergeant who was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously after defending an outpost in Korea against two battalions of Chinese soldiers.

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Dallas Morning News - August 28, 2015

Grigsby: Renaming Prairie View street after Sandra Bland is wrong call in tragedy

I salute those protesters in Prairie View who peacefully keep the drumbeat of attention on the death of Sandra Bland, whose unjust arrest — and subsequent death in a southeast Texas jail cell — made national news. But the Prairie View city council’s seemingly hasty decision this week to rename the street where the young woman was pulled over — and manhandled — by a state trooper strikes me as the wrong call. I write those words with no small amount of conflict. In multiple articles, I’ve raised up Sandra Bland’s story as a tragedy that lies at the feet of that trooper’s bad decision-making. And I acknowledge the strong emotional sentiment for changing the name of University Drive to Sandra Bland Parkway: As one protester put it, “If every time they pull over a student, they have to be reminded of what took place here, then that will help the relationship to be more respectful between the officers and the students.”

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Ft. Worth Star Telegram - August 29, 2015

Hammond: Why 60X30 is so important for Texas

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has hit a home run with the 60x30TX plan. No other education plan will impact businesses in a more positive way than this one will. If you haven’t heard of the goal, it is to have 60 percent of Texans between the age of 25 and 34 hold some kind of degree or post-secondary certification by the year 2030. That number right now is 38 percent, so we have a long way to go and only 15 years to get there. In Texas, we are seeing a brain drain as the older generation retires.

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Texas Tribune - August 29, 2015

UT-Austin to Remove Confederate Statue Sunday

Days after a state district judge gave the go-ahead, the University of Texas at Austin plans to remove a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from a plaza on campus Sunday. The removal will begin around 9 a.m., according to a press release. The statue is being moved after years of complaints that it was offensive to minorities on campus. UT-Austin President Greg Fenves commissioned a committee to consider its future this summer. Acting upon that group's recommendation, Fenves decided to remove it and instead display it in its "proper context" at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

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Austin American Statesman - August 29, 2015

Another high-profile loss for Public Integrity Unit

Fresh from being treated like a political piƱata during this year’s legislative session, Travis County’s Public Integrity Unit lost a high-profile criminal case last week — adding to a string of politically charged, headline-generating legal defeats. Wednesday’s not guilty verdict for Jerry Cobbs, accused of using deception to help ensure an $11 million state cancer research grant for a Dallas biotech firm, followed cases involving GOP politicians Rep. Tom DeLay (2010 money laundering conviction tossed on appeal) and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (official misconduct charges dropped shortly before trial in 1994) and Democratic Attorney General Jim Mattox (acquitted of commercial bribery by a jury in 1985).

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Austin American Statesman - August 29, 2015

Texas has mixed record on environmental cases against EPA

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is accusing the Obama administration of an illegal, green-cloaked plot to “to take over America’s electrical grid” through its newest proposals to cut greenhouse gas emissions. If the White House doesn’t back off, he says, he’ll sue. But an American-Statesman review of Texas’ challenges to 23 Environmental Protection Agency proposals since Obama took office shows a gulf between the self-confident rhetoric from Texas officials and the final word from judges who set the limits on the federal agency’s power.

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Austin American Statesman - August 29, 2015

UT to move Jefferson Davis, Woodrow Wilson statues Sunday morning

Larger-than-life-size statues of Jefferson Davis and Woodrow Wilson have stood on the plaza of the Main Mall at the University of Texas since 1933. Barring a last-minute intervention by the courts, they won’t be there much longer. UT officials said Saturday that work would begin at 9 a.m. Sunday to remove the bronze likenesses of the two presidents — one of the Confederate states, including Texas, which fought a civil war in a failed effort to preserve slavery, and one of a unified nation that battled German aggression in World War I.

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Texas Tribune - August 29, 2015

A Funding Boost For Texas' Parks

For years, the Legislature has been stockpiling hundreds of millions of dollars meant for Texas’ parks in order to artificially balance the state budget. That practice may not end completely with the passage of House Bill 158, but it’s certainly being scaled down, at least for the next few years. The bill, authored by State Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, ensures that all money Texas collects from the sporting goods sales tax is used for parks and historical sites. That could pump more than $200 million into state parks over the next five years, along with almost $80 million for local parks.

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Texas Tribune - August 28, 2015

State Bungled Earlier Complaints About Group Home

As the Texas Attorney General moved on Friday to shut down an illegal assisted living operation in Austin, The Texas Tribune has learned that the state failed to investigate previous complaints about the facility, and an employee of the attorney general's office may have been unlawfully assisting one of the facility's associates. On Friday, Attorney General Ken Paxton's office obtained a temporary restraining order against Zoe's Safe Place, one week after the state Department of Aging and Disabilities Services sent investigators to interview residents there. After determining that Zoe's was operating as an illegal assisted living center, the department relocated five people and referred the case to Paxton's office.

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Texas Tribune - August 28, 2015

Judge Casts EPA Rule into Muddy Legal Waters

After a setback in court Thursday, can the federal government enforce its controversial "Waters of the U.S." rule in Texas? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says yes. Texas says no. The agency on Friday said the regulation, aimed at better defining the scope of bodies of water protected under the federal Clean Water Act, took effect in Texas and several other states, rankling Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

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Texas Tribune - August 28, 2015

Third Prosecutor Added to Ken Paxton Case

The team prosecuting state Attorney General Ken Paxton is growing as Paxton looks for a new lawyer to defend him against charges of securities fraud. Houston lawyer Nicole DeBorde has been added as the third prosecutor in Paxton's case, according to Brian Wice, one of two special prosecutors originally appointed to look into Paxton's self-admitted violation of state securities law last year. The website of DeBorde's law firm says she has nearly 20 years of experience, some in the Harris County district attorney's office. DeBorde did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Texas Tribune - August 28, 2015

Kyle's Brother, Father Say They Weren't Invited to Abbott Ceremony

The father and brother of Chris Kyle are saying they were not invited to a ceremony held Wednesday by Gov. Greg Abbott to honor the late Iraq War veteran of American Sniper fame. On Thursday, both relatives said they were excluded from the event outside the Governor's Mansion, where Abbott posthumously awarded the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor to Kyle. Taya Kyle, Chris Kyle's widow, accepted the accolade on his behalf at the ceremony.

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Austin American Statesman - August 28, 2015

Attorney General Ken Paxton seeks to close group home Zoe’s Safe Place

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday is trying to cease operations at Zoe’s Safe Place and prevent owner Tommie Yvette McKinney from operating an unlicensed assisted living facility in North Austin. The request for a temporary restraining order was filed after a referral from the Department of Aging and Disability Services, following complaints. In its statement, Paxton’s office also cited frequent police calls to the facility because of reports of violence and other issues.

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Dallas Business Journal - August 28, 2015

GE dropping Dallas won't significantly impact region's relocation business

General Electric Co. has reportedly dropped Dallas as a potential site for a headquarters move over concern that Texas' political climate is unfavorable to the conglomerate's business, according to a Bloomberg report. In recent days, Dallas business leaders reportedly were told the Fairfield, Connecticut-based company would look elsewhere for a new headquarters location because of Texas lawmakers' opposition to the U.S. Export-Import Bank. The bank is an important source of financing for some of the company's overseas sales. General Electric (NYSE: GE), one of the biggest U.S. exporters and makers of locomotives, lightbulbs and jet engines, was reportedly looking at Texas, among other states, in response to the rising taxes in Connecticut.

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Houston Chronicle - August 28, 2015

Malfaro: Taking Texas schools beyond overtesting and underfunding

As public schools reopen their doors this month, there is more than usual cause for hope that we can improve the odds of success for our students. The doors are opening to a new conversation about the next generation of policies needed to make Texas a better place for our 5.2 million Texas schoolchildren. A lawsuit challenging the adequacy and equity of the state's system of school funding will come before the Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday. Previous decisions by the high court have forced funding increases and more equitable distribution of aid to school districts to meet state constitutional requirements of educational opportunity for all. A decision in the current case, expected in 2016, could compel legislators to raise state financial support for Texas schoolchildren.

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Dallas Voice - August 28, 2015

Texas issuing new rules on birth certificates

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia, who declared Texas’ law banning marriage equality unconstitutional in February 2014, ruled this month on a motion in the marriage case, asking that the state be forced to list a same-sex spouse on a man’s death certificate. In ordering the state to list the dead man’s spouse on the certificate, Garcia went a step further and ordered the state to equalize treatment for same-sex couples regarding birth certificates, too. Garcia gave Attorney General Ken Paxton until Aug. 24 to have new rules in place and ordered him to appear in court on Sept. 10 to show that changes have been implemented. If he fails to do so, Paxton will face a contempt of court citation. Neel Lane, plaintiffs’ attorney in the Texas marriage equality case, said he’s just looking for the rules to be the same for all parents.

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New York Times - August 29, 2015

Texas Deputy Killed ‘Because He Wore a Uniform,’ Sheriff Says

Law enforcement officials said Saturday that an arrest had been made in the fatal shooting the night before of a sheriff’s deputy as he filled the gas tank of his patrol car. The deputy, Darren H. Goforth, 47, a 10-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, pulled into a Chevron gas station about 8:30 p.m. in a busy, tree-lined stretch of suburban Houston about 25 miles from downtown. As Deputy Goforth pumped the gas, the gunman approached from behind and began firing, continuing to shoot after the officer fell to the ground, the authorities said. Investigators had not found any provocation that might have set off the attack.

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Dallas Morning News - August 28, 2015

Gov. Greg Abbott wants stronger abortion crackdown after graphic videos released

Citing the recent release of “gruesome videos” taken inside Planned Parenthood abortion clinics that were considering donating fetal tissue, Gov. Greg Abbott announced a new anti-abortion initiative Friday. “Treating unborn children as commodities to be sold is an abomination. The barbaric practice of harvesting and selling baby body parts must end,” Abbott said in a statement. The Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group, has released several undercover videos in which its staff posed as representatives of a tissue procurement organization seeking to obtain fetal tissue. The graphic footage shows conversations with Planned Parenthood staff about how much it would cost to obtain tissue from aborted fetuses.

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Texas Tribune - August 30, 2015

Relaxed Food Stamp Rules Meant to Help Felons

One way to help keep thousands of freed drug felons from returning to Texas prisons is letting them collect food stamps while getting back on their feet, advocates say. And starting Sept. 1, many will be able to do just that. A Texas law will go into effect allowing people with felony drug convictions to qualify for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Previously, a drug conviction meant a lifetime ban from food stamps. Supporters hope the change will reduce recidivism and enable felons to better integrate into society.

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Lubbock Avalanche Journal - August 28, 2015

School funding on the line when Texas Supreme Court takes on case next week

Back to the courthouse. Four years after more than 600 school districts, the charter school system, a group of parents and even the influential Texas Association of Business sued the state on grounds the Legislature has failed to adequately fund public education, attorneys for both sides square off again Tuesday. Although, so far, the state is 0-2 in the current legal fight that began in the fall of 2011 — it is the sixth school funding lawsuit since the mid-1980s — this should be the decisive round because the Texas Supreme Court, not a state district court, is now refereeing the bout. Both sides know the stakes are high.

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San Antonio Express News - August 30, 2015

Combs: Sound science worth state investment

The dunes sagebrush lizard is not what you’d call cuddly, but it’s “part of the family” here in Texas. Several years ago, while I was serving as Texas comptroller, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposed adding this little sand-dwelling lizard to its list of species deserving special protection, a move that would have had a big impact on the West Texas economy. Part of my comptroller duties included assessing the economic implications of such proposals, and my team quickly identified some real limitations with the USFWS research.

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San Antonio Express News - August 29, 2015

Texas wants full circuit court review of voter ID ruling

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is asking the full bench of a federal appeals court to reconsider a ruling that found that the state’s strict voter identification law illegally hindered minorities from casting ballots. The state launched the legal salvo in the voter ID court fight with multiple filings late Friday, including a signal from Paxton’s office that it will take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. Earlier this month, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a complex ruling that was largely interpreted as a narrow win for civil rights groups suing the state.

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Ft. Worth Star Telegram - August 29, 2015

Heads up! Nearly 700 new laws take effect Tuesday

Maybe you won’t even notice at first. But on Tuesday, hundreds of new Texas laws that will influence your life in a variety of ways will take effect. No longer will skipping school land a student in jail. But anyone caught lying about a military record could spend time behind bars. And victims of stalking, voyeurism and revenge porn will have more protections. Concealed-handgun licenses are now an acceptable form of ID, firecrackers can be bought more often, election dates are shifting — and owners of drones need to keep them out of the Texas Capitol unless they want to pay a fine and face jail time.

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Austin American Statesman - August 29, 2015

Planning underway for new building on Texas State Round Rock campus

The city of Round Rock and Texas State University are in the planning stages for a new health professions building on the Round Rock campus after receiving legislative funding this session. The Texas Legislature passed tuition revenue bonds in the 84th legislative session that will fund a new building on the Texas State University Round Rock campus. The university received $48.6 million in funding for the new building from the legislature, said Bill Nance, vice president for finance and support services at Texas State. The construction for the new building is estimated to cost $67.5 million, Nance said.

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San Antonio Express News - August 29, 2015

SAEN: Texas Supreme Court has opportunity to improve public education

This week, the Texas Supreme Court will hear what could well be its most important case ever — on public school financing. The court has a chance to guarantee every child in the state has the same opportunity to get a high quality education, based on the requirements of the Texas Constitution. The court should adopt a straightforward and clear test for the Legislature to follow and the public to understand. Every school district should have the same access to funds for every student as every other district at any tax rate allowed by the state, taking into account differences in costs of education among students and districts.

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Valley Central - August 29, 2015

Texas therapy providers face major budget cuts

Therapy providers in Texas could be facing large budget cuts after state legislators called for a major proposal to cut payment rates. The Health and Human Services Commission recently announced that it “plans to move forward with implementing the full Medicaid therapy rate reductions – a directive that was passed by the legislature.” The $100 million in cuts will be made in a period of two years to therapy programs for poor and disabled children. Keira Garcia, a three year-old girl who suffers from severe autism and ADHD, is one of the thousands that may be affected by the decision.

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County Stories

Texas Tribune - August 30, 2015

"Cops' Lives Matter," Says Sheriff After Houston Killing

Following the killing of a Harris County sheriff’s deputy late Friday night, a local law enforcement leader said Saturday the “rhetoric” of anti-police brutality protestors had ramped up “to the point where calculated, cold-blooded assassination of police officers happens.” “We’ve heard black lives matter, all lives matter,” Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman told reporters at a press conference. “Well, cops’ lives matter, too.” Hickman was speaking after Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth, 47, was shot Friday night at a Houston gas station. After Goforth fell to the ground, a suspect — Shannon Miles, a black man, authorities said — stood over him and fired several more times. Miles has been arrested and charged with capital murder.

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Houston Chronicle - August 30, 2015

Capital murder charges filed in deputy's death

A 30-year-old Cypress man was charged with capital murder Saturday for allegedly ambushing and then, for no apparent reason, shooting to death a Harris County Sheriff's deputy who had just refueled his police cruiser at a gas station. Shannon J. Miles was arrested and charged in the death of Deputy Darren Goforth after authorities spent much of the day questioning him. Miles walked up behind Goforth at the gas station at Telge and West at about 8:20 p.m. Friday and shot him repeatedly in the back without any apparent provocation or motive, said Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman, who called the crime "cold blooded" and "cowardly" at a press conference Saturday. Related Stories Manslaughter charges in deputy's death Coroner releases cause of death for fallen jailer Goforth, 47, died at the scene, as law enforcement flooded the area and spent hours searching for the shooter.

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Dallas Morning News - August 30, 2015

Party leaders discuss DA Susan Hawk’s predicament on Lone Star Politics

The chairwoman of the Dallas County Democratic Party says Susan Hawk should resign as district attorney, if her mental illness prevents her from doing the job. “She can be an effective district attorney, if she wants to be,” Carol Donovan said during a taping of Lone Star Politics, which airs Sunday, 8:40 a.m. on KXAS (NBC5). “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying that if someone is not able to do the job, they should resign.” Last week Hawk, a Republican, announced via written statement that she was taking time off from her duties as Dallas County district attorney to battle depression. She had been off work for nearly a month before The Dallas Morning News raised questions about her whereabouts. After the stories in The News, Hawk announced she would take four weeks of unpaid leave to deal with her illness.

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Austin American Statesman - August 29, 2015

Austin first city outside California to test Google’s fully self-driving cars

Austin will be the first city outside of Google’s hometown of Mountain View, Calif., to test the company’s first fully self-driving cars, the company announced Saturday. Google, which has already made a big push in Austin through the launch of Google Fiber, has been testing self-driving Lexus RX450h SUVs in the city for nearly two months, but the company will now test its first fully self-driving prototypes in Austin. The pod-like cars are expected to arrive next week and will be seen on roads in a small area north and northeast of downtown sometime in the next few weeks, the company said.

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Texas Observer - August 28, 2015

Back from the Brink -- How one Austin high school rallied to save itself

For activists working to keep neighborhood schools open, and push back against plans to defund, take over, or close them, this week was a great reminder of how acute the fight has become. In Chicago today, parents and activists are entering the 12th day of a hunger strike over the future of Walter H. Dyett High School, a 43-year-old school in the mostly black Washington Park neighborhood, which the city has considered closing or converting to a charter school. The 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina has been a time to consider the transformation of the New Orleans school system, where most neighborhood schools were replaced after the flood by an atomized portfolio of charter schools that draws students from across the city.

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City Stories

San Antonio Express News - August 29, 2015

Rural Texas town marred by anti-Muslim attitudes

Farmersville lies about 35 miles northeast of Dallas, a few hours from my home in Houston. So when I read that its City Council had scheduled a special town hall meeting to address opposition to a Muslim cemetery, I took a road trip. I arrived late at Farmersville High School and found a jam-packed parking lot. There were dozens of people in the hallways, overflowing from the cafeteria. The sound of makeshift paper fans waving back and forth filled the room. A line of people stood behind the microphone waiting to speak. In the hallway a smiling woman manned a table with pamphlets extolling the town’s virtues. “Farmersville: Discover a Texas Treasure.”

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San Antonio Express News - August 29, 2015

Taylor announces economic agreement with Mexico City

Mayor Ivy Taylor on Friday used a summit on Mexican energy reform to announce plans to sign an economic agreement with Mexico City officials during a visit there in November. Taylor, appearing at the event hosted by the Association of Mexican Entrepreneurs, or AEM, said the agreement would allow for regional collaboration across a number of industries, but in particular in Mexico’s recently deregulated energy sector. “The city of San Antonio will soon execute an economic development agreement with Mexico City. We have been working on the memorandum of understanding for nearly year now and we look forward to signing it in November, when I will join a trade mission to Mexico City sponsored by the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce,” Taylor said.

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National Stories

San Antonio Express News - August 29, 2015

Pimentel: Losing birthright citizenship — more than theoretical

There’s this vintage George Carlin joke. The Vatican had just rescinded the ban on eating meat on Fridays. And two guys, sweating it out in a very hot place after they’ve passed away, look to the heavens and shout up in plaintive, pleading voices, “Is it retroactive?” I’ve got much the same question for the guy commanding the GOP heights at the moment. Mr. Trump, will your elimination of birthright citizenship be retroactive? And, if it is, will I be one of the “good” ones allowed to return after I’m deported?

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Texas Tribune - August 29, 2015

Cruz, Perry Make Anti-Establishment Pitches to the Faithful

The two White House hopefuls from Texas sought to lay their claim Saturday to religious voters in South Carolina, rallying thousands outside the state Capitol with fiery references to biblical scripture and a country that has lost its way in the eyes of God. It was one of the few opportunities so far in the 2016 election cycle to see U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and former Gov. Rick Perry appeal to an early-voting state audience without having to share the stage with the rest of the massive GOP field. The pair of Texans headlined the event, named the Pro-Family Rally, and in separate speeches linked their Christian credentials with promises to be a disruptive force in the White House.

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Associated Press - August 30, 2015

Trump's deportation idea similar to 1930s mass removals

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's call for mass deportation of millions of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, as well as their American-born children, bears similarities to a large-scale removal that many Mexican-American families faced 85 years ago. During the Great Depression, counties and cities in the American Southwest and Midwest forced Mexican immigrants and their families to leave the U.S. over concerns they were taking jobs away from whites despite their legal right to stay. The result: Around 500,000 to 1 million Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans were pushed out of the country during the 1930s repatriation, as the removal is sometimes called.

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This article appeared in the San Antonio Express News


New York Times - August 29, 2015

Chris Christie Proposes Tracking Immigrants the Way FedEx Tracks Packages

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said on Saturday that if he were elected president he would combat illegal immigration by creating a system to track foreign visitors the way FedEx tracks packages. Mr. Christie, who is far back in the pack of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, said at a campaign event in New Hampshire that he would ask the chief executive of FedEx, Frederick W. Smith, to devise the tracking system. Immigration has become a top issue in the Republican campaign, with the front-runner, Donald J. Trump, having vowed to deport the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country and to build a wall along the United States’ southern border.

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Houston Chronicle - August 29, 2015

The echoes of Perot in Trump's improbable rise

The political world has seen this script before: A brash, outspoken billionaire bursts onto the presidential scene, monopolizing the media spotlight with colorful appeals to everyman sensibilities. This time, it's Donald Trump, a flamboyant New York real estate tycoon with the golden head of hair. A generation ago it was H. Ross Perot, a quirky, no-nonsense tech mogul from Texarkana with his trademark flip charts, East Texas drawl and prominent ears. The comparisons have been unavoidable, and not just because their rivals were Bushes and Clintons. Both made their marks as get-it-done business entrepreneurs who could use their own money to play an outsider game in the world of politics.

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Austin American Statesman - August 29, 2015

Matsumoto: Everything you wanted to know about sanctuary cities

So-called sanctuary cities are facing scrutiny in Washington after an unauthorized immigrant and five-time deportee was charged this summer in the fatal shooting of a San Francisco woman. Despite his immigration status, the suspect was released from jail prior to the incident. As a matter of policy, San Francisco officials do not notify federal immigration authorities when such suspects are to be released. The push among conservative lawmakers to ban sanctuary cities raises questions about how to define a sanctuary city and whether any exist in Texas.

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Washington Post - August 30, 2015

How Americans actually feel about stronger gun laws

Two journalists in Virginia gunned down on live television by a man who also injured a third person. Two women shot and killed, along with nine other people who were injured and survived, inside a Louisiana movie theater. Nine parishioners massacred inside a South Carolina church. Each horrifying burst of violence captured widespread attention in ways the daily cavalcade of people shot and killed across the United States rarely does, breaking through what has become a fog of pain and misery so ubiquitous as to sometimes seem like background noise. Each shooting prompted calls for stronger gun control laws, which were in turn followed by the usual reminders that such laws were unlikely to follow.

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Washington Post - August 29, 2015

A summer of Clinton stumbles gives way to an uncertain fall for Democrats

The Democratic Party, whose presidential race has been mostly overshadowed by Donald Trump and the Republicans, heads into the fall with its nomination contest far less certain than it once appeared and braced for a series of events that will have a significant effect on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign. Clinton’s standing has been eroded both by her own shaky handling of the e-mail controversy and by the populist energy fueling the challenge of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Her weakened position in the polls has stoked talk about a possible late entry from Vice President Biden, which could dramatically change the dynamic of the race. As the Democratic National Committee wrapped up its summer meeting here Saturday, members were left with a series of questions not just about Clinton, but also Biden, Sanders and the party as a whole.

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Politico - August 30, 2015

Iowa poll: Trump, Carson lead GOP race

The outsider, non-politician duo of Donald Trump and Ben Carson continue to lead the Republican field in Iowa and are the only candidates in double digits among the 17-person field, according to a poll released Saturday night. Trump, the billionaire businessman and entertainer, leads the pack with 23 percent of the vote in the Iowa Poll, conducted by Ann Selzer for the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg. Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, has 18 percent. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz each polled at 8 percent. Former Gov. Jeb Bush, the presumptive national frontrunner whose campaign and affiliated PACs have raised more than $100 million, is at just 6 percent, tied with a fellow Floridian, Sen. Marco Rubio.

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Washington Post - August 28, 2015

Trump says he’ll decide ‘very soon’ on whether to rule out independent bid

Donald Trump promised Saturday to make an announcement “very soon” on whether he will rule out running as an independent candidate, saying that “a lot of people are going to be very happy.” In order to appear on the South Carolina GOP primary ballot, the Republican presidential candidate must pledge by Sept. 30 that he will not launch an independent or third-party bid if he fails to win the nomination. State parties have been trying to put the squeeze on the billionaire businessman, who has yet to rule out a potential spoiler role. Trump has refused to firmly close the door on such a move, most notably during the Fox News debate earlier this month.

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Politico - August 30, 2015

Donald Trump Is...

Is Donald Trump truly one of a kind—a sui generis sensation in U.S. politics? As Americans try to make sense of the businessman-turned-Republican presidential frontrunner and how he’s come to dominate the polls and the airwaves in the 2016 cycle, Politico Magazine decided to consult the archives: Is there a historical figure the Donald resembles—a model who can help explain his rise? We asked some of the smartest historians we know to name the closest antecedent to Trump from the annals of American history. Some maintained that he is a unique product of the era of reality TV, social media and the 1 percent. But others saw similarities to politicians, personalities and tycoons past, from Italy’s former bunga-bunga prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to the last billionaire to disrupt presidential politics, Ross Perot, to segregationist populists like George Wallace. If history repeats itself, consider this a preview of where Trump’s candidacy could go from here

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Copyright August 30, 2015, Harvey Kronberg, www.quorumreport.com, All rights are reserved