QUOTE OF THE DAY
“With all due respect, with regard to any media story, I could care less. My focus is on the people of Texas, and I could care less what any story writes.”
—Governor Greg Abbott to the New York Times. The Times published a lengthy profile on Abbott, focusing on his “struggles to lead” as Texas Republicans broke into factions. The Times asked Abbott whether Texas Monthly‘s recent cover proclaiming Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick as “the most influential person in Texas politics” bugged him at all. Tell us how you really feel, Governor.
Governor Greg Abbott will announce today whether we’ll have a special session of the Texas, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Many suspect that Abbott will indeed call for an overtime legislative period, but the bigger question is what this bonus lawmaking bonanza will be focused on. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has been the most vocal proponent for a special session, advocating strongly for the Lege to use an extra thirty days to revive legislation that would prohibit transgender people from using the gender bathrooms they associate with in schools and government buildings. Abbott will make his announcement at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, but he’s already hinted that a special session is coming. During a speech in Belton on Monday night, Abbott lamented the Lege’s failure to pass legislation on property taxes. “Our goal is to solve your challenges, to solve your problems,” Abbott said at a Bell County GOP dinner, according to the Texas Tribune. “I think there is one challenge, one problem, that many Texans face that went unsolved. It’s complex, but it needs to be addressed, and that is the incredible rise in property taxes in this state.” Anyway, it looks like school’s not quite out for summer for our Texas lawmakers.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
There are still hundreds of vacancies across the federal government under President Donald Trump’s administration so far, but he’s added quite a few Texans, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and now there will be another representative of the Lone Star State serving Trump. Dallas investor and restaurateur Ray Washburne was named president of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation on Monday, an important role helming an agency tasked with lending money to developing countries to spur development, according to the Dallas Morning News. Washburne hopped on board the Trump train last year as vice chairman of the Trump Victory Committee, a fundraising effort created by GOP Chairman Reince Priebus. He was considered for a few larger cabinet roles, as Secretary of Commerce, Energy, and Interior, but was picked over for all of them. According to the Morning News, Washburne the CEO of private real estate company Charter Holdings, and he co-owns M Crowd Restaurant Group, which owns and operates Mi Cocina, Taco Diner and The Mercury restaurants. He’s also president and managing director of the wealthy Highland Park Village development in Dallas.
Austin’s NPR station, KUT, dropped in on Texas coal country to gauge residents’ thoughts on President Donald Trump taking the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord. Most of the eight folks KUT spoke with in the little Central Texas town of Blue had no opinion on the Paris climate accord itself, but all of them agreed that the climate was, in fact, changing. One resident echoed a familiar concern tugging at people in coal country. “Everybody wants the environment to do good,” said David Sherrill, a watermelon farmer who used to work at the coal plant in Blue. “But then, nobody wants to lose their job over it, either.” One of Trump’s stated reasons for backing out of the international coalition aimed at curbing global warming was because he felt the deal was bad for the coal industry. “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Trump said when he announced the exit last week.
The concert lineup for this year’s State Fair of Texas was announced on Monday, and some big-name acts will be headlining the festival of all things fried. Headlining the lineup is country star Maren Morris, a native of Arlington who was named New Artist of the Year in the 2016 CMA Awards and recently took home a Grammy for Best Country Solo Performance. Also set to perform is rapper Flo Rida, who is obviously not from Texas. Morris will take the stage on the fair’s opening night on September 29, followed the next evening by Flo Rida, with famous Houston Tejano group La Mafia closing out the first weekend on October 1. The rest of the lineup includes Ro James, Wilson Phillips, Charlie Daniels Band, For King & Country, and Los Traileros del Norte. The Dallas Morning News says this lineup is “one of the better announcements we’ve seen at the State Fair in years.”
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
A journalist from McAllen faces 70 years in prison on charges related to his arrest during a presidential inauguration protest in D.C. McAllen Monitor
Six McLennan Community College baseball players allegedly vandalized the Colorado National Monument Waco Tribune-Herald
A border patrol agent was bitten by an alleged human smuggler in Welasco KRGV
Midland College softball players are suing the school over Title IX, alleging the baseball facilities are better than theirs Midland Reporter-Telegram
Live in a “contraceptive desert” in Texas? Now there’s a delivery app for that TechCrunch