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Abbott’s Artful Dodges

At a media roundtable, the governor says his office is studying issues like border security and transgender access to bathrooms.

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Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

Texas Governor Greg Abbott held a roundtable with print reporters today, and the nickel tour for most topics was: We’re studying that.

When asked about whether the state should approve the Department of Public Safety’s request for $1 billion in border security funding, Abbott said that will depend on whether the incoming Donald Trump presidential administration will “step up” to secure the border as promised. Abbott said he could see Trump fulfilling part of his promise to build a border wall, but noted that in some areas, like Big Bend, it would be too difficult.

On Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s demand for a bill to prohibit transgender men from using a women’s restroom, Abbott ducked and weaved. Before the 2015 voter on Houston’s non-discrimination ordinance, Abbott had said he wanted to keep men out of women’s rooms. But that was before Texas businesses said a statewide bill could cost up to $8.5 billion in lost revenue from sporting events moved elsewhere, corporations deciding not to relocate into Texas, and declining national employee recruitment. Today Abbott said his office is studying the issue to see what current laws say and if there are problems that need to be addressed. He said his top priority is the safety of all Texans, but declined to say whether a transgender person who undergoes a sex change is a man or a woman.

Other topics included the potential impact of a Trump presidency on Texas, the possibility of Medicaid bloc grants reducing state spending, and his definitions of sanctuary cities and sanctuary college campuses for undocumented students.

Reporters pressed Abbott on  whether the state law giving in-state college tuition to undocumented students who graduate from a state high school conflicts with his policy of wanting colleges to report undocumented students to federal authorities. The governor said the state law has a requirement that the student seek a path to citizenship and noted that at present the federal government has no such path available to them. “If the [in-state tuition] law is not achieving its goals, then it should be repealed,” Abbott said.

You can listen to the entire roundtable below.

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    Defenders of the First Amendment’s separation of Church and State are in for a rough session when you have a governor, lt. governor and attorney general who all dispute the SCOTUS’s rulings. All three have made it clear–as Abbott did in this session—that they do not believe in the separation but only in the watered-down idea that the State and Religion may be intertwined as long as the state support is open to all religions and religious sects. In effect, they believe that “freedom of religion does not mean freedom from religion”.

    • BCinBCS

      …that the State and Religion may be intertwined as long as the state support is open to all religions and religious sects.

      Then Abbott had better be prepared for the Satanists who seem to delight in getting equal time and opportunity with the Christianists.

      • WUSRPH

        I still doubt that the Texas House will pass a major “choice” bill…..but Patrick is going to get it through he Senate (again). The question is how far he tries to go. Will it be the “scholarships” paid for by tax rebates or will it be a full-fledged assault on public schools with the money coming from state funds to the local districts? How broad it will be is also unclear. Will it only cover students in failing schools or will be it be open to all who want to attend private, church or homeschooling? In any case, I think he can get an Attorney General’s Opinion upholding his plan…..even if it is not worth the paper it is written on.

        • John Johnson

          As you might have picked up in a post several weeks ago, I am doing some self reflection on what my entire idea of being a bonified Christian means.

          Christ handled verbal and physical persecution in a non-violent and unconfrontation manner. The entire New Testament is a documentation of how Christians should live their lives in a Christ like manner. He never called for insurrection or taking up arms; he simply said to try and live in peaceful coexistence, spread His message, and suffer the persecution willfully…all in preparation for the Kingdom of Heaven.

          For the vast majority of Christians, we have, for tens of decades, been living as Old Testament warriors who just say that we believe that Christ is our savior. We worship Him, but in few ways do we emulate him.

          I don’t want to turn the other cheek; I don’t want to think about simply allowing those who would do us harm to have their way with us…but if I read the New Testament properly, that’s what we are called to do.

          I think I am a phoney; I don’t take pride in this…but it is who I am. It is who I think most professed Christians are, including our heralded leaders.

          It is troubling, and would bring lots of angry retorts if I stood up in my church and shared it with the congregation, but someone needs to be saying it.

          I look forward to some Christian guru to tell me what I am seeing wrong.

          • WUSRPH

            I am far from being able to answer your need…but I do think that you are judging yourself too harshly. You are after all human….and human’s err and have tempers and do wrong. We are told that even Jesus drove the money changers from the Temple.

            As I understand the teachings attributed to Jesus, he understood that humans can weak and fail to live up to the guidelines he provided. That is why his message is one of forgiveness. As I see it, His mercy extends to those who know they have failed, but wish they had not and who try not to do so. His judgement will fall on the self-righteous who claim they are saved and judge the rest of us.

            As to the weaknesses of his supposed messengers….as an old theologian once told me don’t confuse the message with the messenger….as they too are human with all the frailties
            that involves.

          • John Johnson

            As a young man, he did run the money changers out of the temple, and he questioned his plight when faced with the reality of what he knew was coming…and I know we are all sinners, and always will be…but the fact remains that if our leaders from the pulpit are preaching Old Testament actions, instead of using it to simply tie OT prognostications to the NT as proof that Jesus is the son of God, what message is that conveying? Is it any wonder that people like Patrick, using Christianity as his shield, pound on red meat issues which hurt many, instead of concentrating on those which help all.

          • John Johnson

            I will add that the “captain on the life boat” deciding if the raft will hold one more” analogy that I have used before is worthy of consideration, as is Truman’s use of the bombs. How would you call those shots as “Captain”? I certainly have no idea, having never been placed in that position. I appreciate that people are willing to put themselves in that spot, but who, in their right mind thinks that either candidate for President this last round is the best we have to offer when it comes to these types of decisions? There are those amoug us who are exactly what we need. Without massive wealth or subservitude to donators, they do not stand a chance…and the true and untrue allegations about prior life “mistakes” that the plethora of in-your-face “news” outlets unleash is something that a person, like most of us, is not willing to endure. Therefore, we find ourselves with flawed leaders. Imbumancey and wealthy reign. We are a stupid lot.

  • Charlie Primero

    Borrowing money from the Federal Reserve bankers and using it to poz America will stop in 2017.

    People who want to live under Marxist Critical Theory can move out of Texas to a place better for them.

    • BCinBCS


  • Rules of Blazon

    Jade Helm Greg is impossible to take seriously. He’s not even good at being a hack.

  • John Johnson

    Since when is “I don’t know yet” a “dodge”?

    $8.5B is a lot of money. Hospitals have bathrooms designated as available to both genders with a lock on the door. Would a couple of these in schools and public places solve the problem?

    • dave in texas

      Nobody’s going to be checking on the stalls, that’s who. Whatever stupid bathroom bill the legislature comes up with will be for the sole purpose of keeping the GOP social conservative base in a froth.

      • John Johnson

        And while they are spending months of time trying to formulate bills on this issue and guns and abortions, the important stuff gets ignored. They just want to keep the ignorant voters fired up and on their side. Will they ever wake up?

        • dave in texas

          Magic 8-Ball says: Prospects Look Dim

        • BCinBCS

          JJ, I really like the new you.

        • St. Anger

          They might wake up sooner if you and your fellow stupid would stop voting for them.

    • BCinBCS

      Great answer, JJ, common sense prevails.

  • St. Anger

    You voted for democrats instead?

    • John Johnson

      Yes….and for the Dem running for the Treasurer’s office, too.

  • Jay Trainor

    Abbott is the weakest Texas since Dolph Briscoe.

    Without the ability to sue Obama, Governor Abbott seems lost, incapable of clearly communicating his vision for Texas. At least Rick Perry made clear things he wanted passed by the legislature. Abbott seems to be governing by shifting winds and what polling data say – this week.

    If he’s pro-lift, why isn’t he showing backbone and preventing the cuts in critical therapy to severely disabled young kids on Medicaid? Why wasn’t he standing up for cuts to special education the last two years? Unfortunate, we have a governor who prefers to go along to get along and stay one step ahead of political rival Dan Patrick.

    I want a Texas governor with some backbone.