QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Yay! Girl power!”
—Arlington High School Principal Shahveer Dhalla, to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Dhalla said that was the reaction he received from the senior class after he announced that each of the top sixteen graduates in the class of 2017 were women.
A Texas appellate court sided with Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawyers on Tuesday, issuing a ruling that the judge presiding over his criminal securities fraud case can no longer continue with the case, according to the Dallas Morning News. The ruling is being called a big victory for Paxton, who had been arguing in court for the past few months that Judge George Gallagher should be removed from the case after he moved it from Paxton-friendly Collin County—where Paxton is from—to the far less Paxton-friendly Harris County. The Fifth Court of Appeals ruled that when Gallagher approved the change of venue requested by the prosecution, he also lost the ability to remain the judge in the case. The appellate court stopped short of explicitly kicking Gallagher off the case, but the ruling did undo every decision he’s made since April 11—when Gallagher ordered the change of venue—all but nudging him out the door. “[Paxton] has unequivocally stated that he did not consent to respondent continuing to preside over the cases,” Justice Robert “Bob” Fillmore wrote in the court’s decision, according to the Morning News. “Accordingly, under the plain language of the statute, respondent is without authority to continue to preside over the cases and is also without authority to issue orders or directives maintaining the case files in Collin County.” Paxton was set to go to trial in September in Harris County, but the appellate decision means that trial date will almost certainly be moved back, as the court must now find a new judge.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
The lawmaker at the center of Monday’s House floor kerfuffle on the final day of the Texas Lege is in the hot seat. State Representative Matt Rinaldi was already on shaky ground in his Irving district before he called ICE on protesters at the Capitol and threatened to shoot a fellow lawmaker, having won last year’s election by just more than a thousand votes (59,000 people cast a ballot). Now, according to the Texas Tribune, Democrats are using Rinaldi’s dust-up to add fuel to their run for his seat in 2018. “When someone like that shows their true colors, I would say he’s a broken person, and I hope his community back home realizes that when he’s back up for re-election in 2018,” state Representative Justin Rodriguez, a Democrat from San Antonio, told reporters after the incident on Monday. Rinaldi’s Democrat challenger, Dorotha Ocker, told the Tribune on Tuesday that she was already planning to run against Rinaldi again, adding that “it’s sad Rinaldi did what he did.” Rinaldi’s House District 115 went for Hillary Clinton by eight points in November’s presidential election, so the 2018 race should be interesting to watch.
Lots To Lose
Between President Donald Trump’s proposed budget plan and the Obamacare overhaul being pushed by House Republicans, the poorest Texans stand to lose billions in Medicaid coverage, according to the Dallas Morning News. Trump’s budget would slash Medicaid spending by more than $600 billion over the next decade, while the healthcare overhaul passed by House Republicans in May would strip more than $830 billion from Medicaid over the same period. The left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities says millions of low-income kids, seniors, and people with disabilities in Texas will get hit the hardest should Trump’s budget and the healthcare overhaul pass as it is now. An analysis by one consulting firm has found that under the proposed healthcare plan’s funding model, Medicaid funding for non-disabled kids alone would drop by $43 billion over the next ten years, with Texas seeing a bigger decrease in Medicaid funding than any other state, potentially losing $5.1 billion between 2020 and 2026. Still, it’s unlikely Trump’s budget will be approved by Congress, and the healthcare bill that passed the House has a tough road ahead in the Senate.
The latest flare-up in the ongoing taco war between major Texas cities continued this week, with Houston and Austin firing shots. Houston Chronicle restaurant reviewer Allison Cook visited the Bayou City’s newly-opened Taco Deli, the first branch of the beloved Austin-based chain to plant its flag in H-town. She was not impressed. “Tacodeli is perfectly OK, and I have spent several weeks now thinking about why that isn’t OK with me,” Cook wrote after her first visit left her “baffled and underwhelmed,” the merely good-enough ingredients hampered by “mediocre” flour tortillas, “disappointing” corn tortillas, and “wholly unmemorable” queso. She gave Taco Deli one star. Ouch. Austin took the slight personally, because, as Texans, we are the tacos of our respective cities. Austin American-Statesman food critic Matthew Odam weighed in on Cook’s review, adding just a touch of salt, pointing out that Cook is a non-Austinite, and that in her review she “saves a good amount of her subtle snark for Austin culture,” “rolling her eyes at the (admittedly ‘exceptional’) fair-trade coffee, Hill Country rainwater, organic ingredients and employees who looked like the belonged at a co-op or bookstore.”
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
Paul Quinn College turned its football field into a community farmer’s market Dallas Morning News
Here’s what happened to all the big bills in the Texas lege this session Texas Tribune
The City of Pasadena doesn’t care about open government Houston Chronicle
Uber is coming back to Corpus Christi Corpus Christi Caller-Times
A look at the movement to defund Planned Parenthood in Texas Los Angeles Times