Abbott Signs Sanctuary Bill Into Law on Facebook Live: Your Texas Roundup
Plus: A Texas cop is charged with murder, election day results roll in across the state, and hopefully this week is less violent than last week was.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“When I had the chance to sign, my grandfather said, ‘You need to play for those who can remember when and for those who dream.’ For every minor leaguer who spends one day playing to dream about playing in the big leagues, that’s what this is about. We see this story over and over again, and it never gets old. It’s real, it’s raw, and it’s emotional. There are so many people that you carry with you along the way, you just can’t put enough superlatives on the feeling that you have.”
—Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister to the Dallas Morning News. Banister’s reflection on his own four-day major league career was prompted by the Rangers calling up minor leaguer Austin Bibens-Dirkx on Saturday. Bibens-Dirkx spent twelve seasons toiling in the minors and in independent leagues before the Rangers brought him in to help their struggling bullpen.
Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill banning sanctuary cities in real-time video on Sunday. As the Washington Post notes, Abbott’s Facebook Live appearance was unannounced, and many critics of the bill (and there are a lot of them, ranging from local law enforcement leaders to the ACLU) didn’t have the opportunity to plan a protest around his signing. “We anticipated it to be more public especially since this was one of his top priorities,” State Representative Victoria Neave, who fasted for four days in protest of the bill, told the Post. “They expected him to be there and to be more public so people could raise their voices.” State Representative César Blanco, a Democrat representing El Paso, offered an even harsher criticism. “Quite frankly I think it was a cowardly way to do it,” Blanco told the Post. “I think he wanted to get it done quickly with less friction.” Abbott’s camp, however, claimed the they did the signing on Facebook Live not to avoid protests, but simply because Facebook is a big thing here in the year 2017 and they figured it would reach a bigger audience. “We’re going to where most people are getting their news nowadays and talking directly to them instead of speaking through a filter,” Abbott spokesman John Wittman told the Austin American-Statesman. Even with the surprise signing, about 100 protesters still managed to show up outside the governor’s mansion on Sunday night, according to the Statesman. And as the Texas Tribune notes, the sanctuary bill is likely to face a stiff legal battle, with several civil liberties organizations chomping at the bit. Expect a lawsuit very soon.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Former Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver was arrested and charged with murder on Friday after he shot and killed fifteen-year-old Jordan Edwards last weekend, according to the Dallas Morning News. This happened shockingly fast—in most cases when a law enforcement officer is involved in a shooting, there’s a lengthy investigation and a grand jury is often involved in a months-long process. Even then it rarely results in murder charges for the officer. But in Oliver’s case, he was fired days after the shooting and was charged with murder within a week. Edwards, a high school freshman, is the youngest of 339 people nationwide who have been fatally shot by police so far in 2017, according to a Washington Post database. He was leaving a party with his friends when Oliver allegedly fired several shots into his car, striking Edwards in the head. He was laid to rest in Mesquite on Saturday.
Democracy In Action
Saturday was election day across Texas, with several notable local races. The mayoral races in both San Antonio and El Paso are headed for runoffs, according to the Texas Tribune. Incumbent San Antonio mayor Ivy Taylor earned 42 percent of the vote and will face City Councilman Ron Nirenberg, who got 37 percent of the vote. In El Paso, former state Representative Dee Margo won 45 percent of the vote. Her runoff challenger will be David Saucedo, who tallied 24 percent of the vote. An eighteen-year-old high school student was elected to the school board in Pearland. Corpus Christi City Councilman Joe McComb won 52 percent of the vote and will become the city’s new mayor, according to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Hopefully McComb works out better than his predecessor, Dan McQueen, who lasted just 37 days in office before resigning amid questions about his resume. And Pasadena seems primed to elect local leaders in runoff elections who actually represent the city’s Latino population, under the supervision of the U.S. Department of Justice after a federal court ruled in January that the city violated the Voting Rights Act and intentionally discriminated against minorities.
Last week was pretty dark in the Lone Star State. Tornadoes left five people dead in East Texas, a fifteen-year-old boy was allegedly murdered by a cop outside Dallas, a student was fatally stabbed on campus at the University of Texas at Austin, a man fatally shot his own godfather and wounded a neighbor before shooting and seriously injuring a Dallas firefighter-paramedic, a gunman shot and killed a woman before turning the gun on himself at North Lake College in Irving, a high school student slashed the throat of a classmate in Fort Worth, and a crazed customer opened fire in an Arlington sports bar, killing the venue’s manager before he was shot and killed by another patron with a gun. Again, all of that happened in one week. That’s an average of one high-profile incident of disturbing violence per day. Let’s hope that this week we can focus on remembering the victims we lost and not add any new ones.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
Two fires in two weeks exposes Texas’s lax oversight on boarding houses Houston Chronicle
TCU baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle won his six-hundredth career game Fort Worth Star-Telegram
A controversy is broiling over Texas’s cattle fever tick regulations Valley Morning Star
3,100 pounds of sausage was cooked up during the Gruenau Sausage Feast in Yorktown on Sunday Victoria Advocate
A father and son graduated from Huston-Tillotson University at the same time KXAN