QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Violent crime is on rise across our Nation & some would rather men & women in blue go after cooks & nannies, instead of hardened criminals.”
—Houston Chief of Police Art Acevedo in a tweet Wednesday night. Acevedo was responding to the Texas House debate on legislation that would punish sanctuary cities.
After a testy sixteen-hour debate that ended at three in the morning on Thursday, the Texas House tentatively passed an even harsher piece of legislation targeting sanctuary cities than the Senate bill that had been originally put before the floor. According to the Houston Chronicle, the version passed by the House included an amendment proposed by Matt Schaefer, a Republican from Tyler, that would allow police to inquire about someone’s immigration status during detainments, rather than only being able to do so after making an arrest. The contentious proposal drew sharp backlash from House Democrats, who battled against the amendment for hours, arguing the measure could be unconstitutional and would amount to racial profiling. Clint Democrat Mary Gonzalez broke into tears, concerned that the amendment might make members of the immigrant community too fearful of deportation to report crimes to the police (Gonzalez is a survivor of sexual assault). According to the Dallas Morning News, many protesting House Democrats wore black to the hearing, as though attending a funeral. The Democrats suffered a number of smaller defeats throughout the debate, with amendments that sought to grant special exemptions to people at domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, pre-kindergarten schools, and public school events such as football games, all failing along party-line votes, according to the Texas Tribune. The bill is set for final approval later Thursday morning.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Texas isn’t going down easy after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently told the state it could not use 1,000 vials of an execution drug that it imported in 2015. On Wednesday, Texas asked a federal court to overturn the FDA’s ruling, which required the state to get rid of 1,000 vials of sodium thiopental because it was unapproved and misbranded, according to the Texas Tribune. The complaint filed by Texas claims the FDA’s ruling is unlawful, arguing that it might make the Texas Department of Criminal Justice look bad. “The refusal order has caused, and is substantially likely to continue to cause, adverse publicity that has and will injure TDCJ’s reputation by asserting that TDCJ has attempted to import drugs in violation of federal law,” the complaint says, according to the Tribune. Sodium thiopental hasn’t been used to execute anyone since 2011, after the only U.S. manufacturer took it off the market because it was being used in lethal injections.
Houston’s affordable housing agency won’t be able to offer housing vouchers to more than 28,000 low-income families who are currently on a waiting list for the rest of the year thanks to federal funding freeze, according to the Houston Chronicle. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development halted funding to the local voucher program last Friday in an effort to help close the program’s projected $9 million hole, meaning tens of thousands of families waiting for vouchers won’t receive any for at least the next nine months. The Houston Housing Authority also plans to take vouchers from another 900 families who have chosen homes that have yet to pass inspection. This agency that has long struggled to effectively provide housing for low-income Houstonians. This will also likely halt the city’s promise to house 500 chronically homeless people by September. Instead, that total is now projected at 200.
Today is the one day every NFL fan can look forward to, even those who root for the hapless Cleveland Browns. The Browns have the top overall pick in Thursday night’s NFL draft, and if all goes as planned (never a guarantee), then Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett should be the first player off the board. Garrett dominated as a defensive end for the Aggies, and the Arlington native is a perfect fit for the Browns’ defensive scheme, according to the Houston Chronicle. He’s long been rated as the best player, regardless of position, in the draft pool, and he’s widely regarded as a can’t-miss prospect. The Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys are set to select from the 25 and 28 slots, respectively. The Texans plan to announce later round picks from outer space (yes, really), but they’ll stay rooted on Earth for the first round. It’s unclear who they may pick, but they definitely need a quarterback, and Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes seems to be a popular candidate if he’s available. The Cowboys, meanwhile, are overwhelmingly expected to add to their pass rush or secondary.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
A look at Beto O’Rourke’s past life as a punk rocker San Antonio Current
The FBI raided the offices of a politically-connected Texas engineering company Houston Chronicle
…and the IRS raided the Grapevine headquarters of televangelist Benny Hinn WFAA
Goose-nappers are on prowl at White Rock Lake in Dallas Dallas Morning News
Some jerks went mudding all over this Rio Grande Valley farmer’s crops KRGV