QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Well, I’m graduating. I feel like I’ve sort of grown up a little bit.”
—Carson Huey-You to WFAA. Carson is a senior at Texas Christian University and will soon graduate with a degree in physics. He’s fourteen.
Following Texas’s new sanctuary city ban, the American Civil Liberties Union issued a “travel advisory,” warning “anyone planning to travel to Texas in the near future to anticipate the possible violation of their constitutional rights when stopped by law enforcement,” according to a news release. The ACLU also promised a legal battle over the law, which was signed by Governor Abbott on Sunday. “We plan to fight this racist and wrongheaded law in the courts and in the streets,” Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas, said in a statement. “Until we defeat it, everyone traveling in or to Texas needs to be aware of what’s in store for them. The Lone Star State will become a ‘show me your papers’ state, where every interaction with law enforcement can become a citizenship interrogation and potentially an illegal arrest.” On the same day the ACLU announced its travel warning, the Texas Association of Business also came out against Senate Bill 4, worrying that it could lead to boycotts that would hurt the state’s economy. “I think what this bill brings with it is the perception that Texas’s welcome mat comes with qualifiers,” Cathy Stoebner DeWitt, vice president of governmental affairs for the TAB, told the Texas Tribune. “And businesses looking to come to Texas look at things like that. So it causes us great concern.” We also have our first official lawsuit filed against Texas over SB 4. According to the Tribune, Maverick County and the tiny border town of El Cenizo, in Webb County, are the first to issue a legal challenge to the sanctuary city ban, arguing that SB 4 does not properly define what a sanctuary city actually is. The federal suit claims that Maverick County and El Cenizo—both of which have been sanctuaries since 1999—”are safer when all people, including undocumented immigrants, feel safe when their local law enforcement officers can be trusted for reporting crimes or just speaking with them about issues in the community.” It’s the first of what is expected to be many more lawsuits challenging SB 4.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Dead In The Water
It seems the Texas House’s bathroom bill is a bit backed up. According to the Dallas Morning News, House Bill 2899 is circling the drain after it failed to make it out of committee, and because of deadlines approaching this week, the bill “realistically is dead as of Monday.” But conservative lawmakers remain hopeful that in the remaining three weeks of the 2017 legislative session, they’ll find a way to push it through. The author of the bill, Representative Ron Simmons, a Republican from Carrollton, indicated that while the bill itself may be dead, he may attempt to attach it to another piece of legislation. “The bill… will in all likelihood not move forward,” Simmons told the Houston Chronicle. “There’s always parliamentary strategies that could change that, but in all likelihood, it will not be voted out. So now what we have to do is look for an amendment opportunity.” Even Governor Greg Abbott has stepped in, attempting to unclog HB 2899 by personally pushing religious leaders to pressure the House into passing some form of bathroom legislation, according to the Texas Tribune.
The Los Angeles Times published a lengthy feature on Tuesday about Houston’s diversity, praising H-town as “the most diverse place in America.” The Times is a just a little late to the party here—Houston has been, statistically speaking, the most diverse metro area in the nation since at least 2010. But it was still mostly a very good and nice story, accurately portraying Houston as the beautiful mosaic of peoples and cultures that we’ve known it to be for quite some time. But the California paper apparently couldn’t help itself from taking a cheap shot at us Texans. The online headline originally read, “Houston has become the most diverse city in America. Deal with it, Texas,” before that last part was magically removed. The headline change is preserved in perpetuity here on Twitter by Houston Chronicle reporter Bobby Cervantes. It’s unclear what prompted the Times to make such a stereotypical dig, but the story does devote some space to placing Houston’s diversity against a backdrop of a bigoted, xenophobic Texas, pointing to the state’s recently passed anti-sanctuary city law that would most affect minority-heavy cities like Houston.
River Walk Wars
A Chicago public official fired some unwarranted shots at San Antonio’s River Walk, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Brendan Reilly, alderman of Chicago’s forty-second ward, criticized several proposed plans to fix up Chicago’s own River Walk, saying “what we don’t want to do is see it turned into a San Antonio Riverwalk, which is cheap and crappy-looking,” according to Loop North News. Reilly made those comments in late April, but we’re just getting wind of it now, because that’s apparently how long it takes news in Chicago to emerge from its sauce-swamped deep-dish pizza coma and reach the rest of the regular thin slice-eating world. It’s definitely weird to see Chitown throw shade at San Antonio. San Antonio also caught some heat from former Spurs and Houston Rockets player Vernon Maxwell, who tweeted on Tuesday that he “enjoyed my time there,” but “just enjoyed Houston a lot more.” In a follow-up tweet, Maxwell explained that “It’s ok 4 a day or 2,” But “After visiting the Alamo & that dirty ass riverwalk. Not much else 2 do.”
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
The Lege finally passed a bill aimed at reforming the Railroad Commission, but it’s pretty soft Texas Tribune
Science still hasn’t found an explanation for the Marfa Lights Vice Motherboard
Meet the cats of Houston’s first cat cafe Houston Press
A private prison in Reeves County was placed on lockdown, but the owners won’t say why KWES
It’s been two years since a tornado hit the city of Van, but they’re still waiting for their FEMA check KLTV