QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I’m glad that Spencer and the white supremacists are not coming to A&M. I think Texas doesn’t need to listen to their garbage.”
—Senator Ted Cruz during an appearance on North Texas radio’s “The Mark Davis Show” on Tuesday, according to the Houston Chronicle. Cruz is apparently happy that Texas A&M cancelled a white supremacist rally that was planned to be held on campus in September.
The overtime period of the Eighty-fifth Texas Legislature came to a close Tuesday night, but the ballgame essentially ended in yet another tie. Several of the top priorities the special session was originally called upon to pass remain unresolved, including the controversial bathroom bill, which would limit bathroom use of transgender people. The bathroom bill was Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s baby, while Governor Greg Abbott’s main goal for the Lege this special session—a bill to limit how much local property taxes can increase—also died. The author of the failed bathroom bill, Senator Lois Kolhorst, a Republican from Brenham, said Tuesday evening that she was disappointed her legislation was unsuccessful. “There has not been a more contentious issue this session,” Kolkhorst said, according to the Dallas Morning News, admitting that she’s ready to “take a few breaths and go home.” Although the Lege didn’t accomplish all of the things on Abbott’s agenda, he’s apparently pretty happy with the way things turned out. “Our office believes this special session has produced a far better Texas than before,” Abbott spokesman John Wittman said in a statement, according to the Texas Tribune. There’s no sign that Abbott will call another special session, so we might actually be done here.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Two of Texas’s congressional districts were invalidated by a federal court on Tuesday, forcing the state to redraw its voting map ahead of the 2018 election, according to the New York Times. In a 107-page ruling, a three-judge panel in San Antonio ruled unanimously that Congressional Districts 27 and 35 are in violation of the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act because they were intentionally drawn to dilute minority voting power. Congressional District 27 includes Corpus Christi, and is currently represented by U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold; the panel said Hispanic voters there were “intentionally deprived of their opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice.” In Congressional District 35, which stretches from San Antonio to Austin, and is represented by Democrat Lloyd Doggett, the judges said the narrow strip of a district is “an impermissible racial gerrymander” because lawmakers were primarily motivated by race when they drew it. The maps were originally drawn as part of a court-ordered fix in 2013, but apparently they still aren’t up to snuff. “The discriminatory taint was not removed by the Legislature’s enactment of the Court’s interim plans, because the Legislature engaged in no deliberative process to remove any such taint,” the ruling read, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Governor Greg Abbott signed into law on Tuesday a bill that bans most insurance coverage for women seeking abortions, according to the Texas Tribune. House Bill 214 requires women to pay an additional insurance premium if they want their health plan to cover abortions for any reason other than a medical emergency, with no exceptions for instances of fetal abnormalities, rape, or incest. Critics of the bill have said it essentially requires women to get additional “rape insurance,” and the legislation’s proponents say it protects people who are anti-abortion from having to subsidize the procedure through their insurance plans. “As a firm believer in Texas values I am proud to sign legislation that ensures no Texan is ever required to pay for a procedure that ends the life of an unborn child,” Abbott said in a news release. “I am grateful to the Texas Legislature for getting this bill to my desk, and working to protect innocent life this special session.”
The first woman who sued Baylor alleging the university mishandled her rape case has settled her Title IX lawsuit against the university, according to ESPN. Former Baylor student Jasmin Hernandez filed a lawsuit against the school, former head football coach Art Briles, and ex-athletic director Ian McCaw last year. Her attorney said on Tuesday that she has agreed to end the legal battle after reaching an undisclosed financial settlement during a day-long mediation session on Saturday. Hernandez was raped by former Baylor football player Tevin Elliott in 2012. Elliott was convicted in 2014 and is serving a twenty-year sentence. “We’re moving on,” Hernandez’s attorney, Irwin Zalkin, told the Waco Tribune-Herald. “Jasmin is very happy with that and pleased to be moving on with her life.” Meanwhile, Briles is apparently still angling to return to the sidelines after he was fired last year. His attorney, Mark Lanier, told the Tribune that schools have contacted Briles about coaching again, and that he expects Briles to be coaching in 2018.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
Dashcam footage shows Harris County sheriff’s deputies vaginally probing a woman alongside a road; the deputies went unpunished Texas Observer
A visual look at the abortion landscape across Texas New York Times
The last American baseball glove makers are still going strong in Dallas Bloomberg
McAllen city commissioners voted to oppose the anti-sanctuary city law McAllen Monitor
The Fort Worth city council voted not to join the lawsuit against the anti-sanctuary city law Fort Worth Star-Telegram