QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Can’t everyone just chill out?”
—Senator Ted Cruz at an American Legion conference in Nevada on Wednesday, according to the Texas Tribune.
Texas’s Voter ID law has once again been tossed out by a federal court. On Wednesday in Corpus Christi, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos blocked a weakened version of the state’s ID law, rejecting the changes made this summer, saying that the changes could be potentially chilling to voters because of new criminal penalties that were added, according to the Associated Press. The new version also didn’t expand on the list of acceptable photo identifications, so while gun licenses were still enough proof for someone to vote with, college student IDs remained unacceptable. The state tweaked the law so that people without a required ID would be allowed to vote if they signed an affidavit and had paperwork, like a bank statement or utility bill, that showed their name and address. President Donald Trump’s Justice Department gave those changes the green light, while under President Barack Obama the DOJ had joined forces with Democratic leaders and minority civil rights groups in a lawsuit challenging the ID requirements. Trump’s DOJ would later drop the argument that Texas passed the voter ID rules with the intent to discriminate. Despite the backing of the federal government, Judge Ramos apparently still wasn’t impressed by Senate Bill 5, Texas’s attempt to overhaul the original voter ID law. “SB 5 does not meaningfully expand the types of photo IDs that can qualify, even though the Court was clearly critical of Texas having the most restrictive list in the country,” she wrote in her opinion, according to the Texas Tribune. “Not one of the discriminatory features of [the old law] is fully ameliorated by the terms of SB 5.” But the ruling is hardly the end of Texas’s long legal battle over the voter ID law, which began back in 2011. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement that the state will appeal Ramos’s ruling. “Today’s ruling is outrageous,” Paxton said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “Senate Bill 5 was passed by the people’s representatives and includes all the changes to the Texas voter ID law requested by the Fifth Circuit. The U.S. Department of Justice is satisfied that the amended voter ID law has no discriminatory purpose or effect. Safeguarding the integrity of elections in Texas is essential to preserving our democracy. The Fifth Circuit should reverse the entirety of the district court’s ruling.”
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
The Texas coast is bracing for a potential hurricane as Tropical Storm Harvey makes its way to the Lone Star State. According to the Weather Channel, Harvey is expected to strengthen to a hurricane and could bring an “extremely dangerous combination of rainfall and storm-surge flooding” to the Texas coast into the weekend or early next week. Governor Greg Abbott has already declared a state of disaster for thirty Texas counties, according to the Houston Chronicle. Harvey could be the first hurricane to smash into the Texas coast since 2008. It’s expected to make landfall near Matagorda Island late Friday, with Corpus Christi, Galveston, and Houston among the cities in Harvey’s predicted path. Harvey could drop 10 to 15 inches of rain in parts of Texas, and isolated areas could see more than 20 inches. The Coastal Bend could see a storm surge of four to six feet, according to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. If you live in Harvey’s path, it’s probably best to stock up on water and other supplies, just in case.
Amazon is a few steps closer to completing its purchase of Austin-based Whole Foods. The Federal Trade Commission cleared the sale of the mega-grocer to the online giant on Wednesday, hours after Whole Foods shareholders voted to approve the deal, according to the Washington Post. The developments mean the deal basically has everything in place to be finalized by the end of this year. Although some have criticized the sale as a blow to antitrust regulations, the FTC apparently didn’t think the acquisition overstepped any federal boundaries. Following the approval of the deal,the agency said in a statement that it won’t further investigate the sale. So now it seems Amazon will soon have more than 460 physical locations of Whole Foods at its disposal. That’s a big deal for Amazon, which has been vying to break into the U.S. grocery business for years. The deal would give Amazon a 2 percent share of the $600 billion-a-year American grocery market, behind Walmart (more than 20 percent market share) and Kroger (7 percent).
Ted Cruz will visit El Paso on Thursday and Friday, marking the Senator’s third visit to the city this year and his latest stop on his “Ted Works for Texas” tour of the state. Cruz will visit El Paso businesses, meet with Border Patrol agents, and talk about military issues during his visit, according to the El Paso Times. An announcement sent out by his office said Cruz will discuss job creation, economic growth, tax reform, regulatory reform, the efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, NAFTA renegotiations and improving trade relations, agriculture, border security, and infrastructure during his meetings in the border city. On Thursday evening, Cruz is scheduled for a town hall meeting with the National Border Patrol Council Local 129, and national union president Brandon Judd is expected to attend. Cruz will likely be met with protesters, as a group from El Paso is preparing to gather outside the Border Patrol union town hall meeting, according to the Times.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
The nation’s top bug identifier lives in Los Indios and drives a punch bug San Antonio Express-News
No, it’s not legal in Texas to use deadly force to protect a statue Snopes
“Pistol-popping street racers” are a big problem in Dallas’s Pleasant Grove neighborhood Dallas Morning News
There’s a shortage of officers in Texas’s two largest metro police departments Texas Tribune
A&M had a “factual basis” to expect violence at the cancelled white supremacist rally Houston Chronicle