QUOTE OF THE DAY
“How will the Potty Police know I’m transgender if the Governor doesn’t?”
—Ashley Smith, a San Antonio LGBT advocate and trans woman, on Facebook on Saturday, according to the San Antonio Express-News. After snagging Governor Greg Abbott for a photo op, Smith posted the image of the Governor beaming next to her and captioned the photo “bathroom buddy.” The image quickly went viral. Smith said she wanted to make a point about the “bathroom bill” supported by Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.
Overtime—The special session of the Texas Legislature starts today. So, what exactly does that mean for y’all? For one, you’ll be hearing more potty talk. We were all granted a brief respite from the “bathroom bill” discussion in between the regulation and overtime periods of the lege, but now the big brouhaha over who can use which bathrooms is about to start up again. Definitely expect some sparks to fly—both Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick rallied their troops at a public appearance on Monday, issuing clear warnings for those who stand in the way of the things they want accomplished during the special session. “I’m going to be establishing a list,” Abbott told the conservative think tank the Texas Public Policy Foundation on Monday, according to the Texas Tribune. “We all need to establish lists that we publish on a daily basis to call people out—who is for this, who is against this, who has not taken a position yet. No one gets to hide.” Patrick, meanwhile, levied a more specific threat against his mortal political enemy, House Speaker Joe Straus, who opposes Patrick’s bathroom bill, which is one of twenty items the lege will consider during the special session. “The speaker’s a nice guy, good guy, but he’s opposite on the issues than Gov. Abbott and I,” Patrick told the TPP crowd, according to the Austin American-Statesman. “He is a Republican the last time I checked, and so I don’t want this to be a battle among us. But I don’t want to let anyone take on Greg Abbott when he’s trying to do the will of the people and say it’s a bunch of horse manure. Greg Abbott’s priorities are my priorities, are the Senate’s priorities, are the people’s priorities.”
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Officer Involved—The Balch Springs police officer who fatally shot 15-year old Jordan Edwards in April was indicted on a murder charge by a Dallas County grand jury on Monday, according to the Dallas Morning News. Roy Oliver, 37, was also indicted on four counts of aggravated assault by a public servant for shooting his rifle at a car full of teenagers leaving a party on April 29, striking Edwards in the head. Oliver was fired and arrested on the murder charge in May, after body camera footage disproved the Balch Springs Police Department’s original account that Edwards’s car had aggressively driven at Oliver. Instead, the car was driving away when Oliver shot at it. It’s extremely rare for a police officer to be indicted for murder, especially in Texas. “Far too often we see cases where there’s been a lack of comparable effort in cases that are equally deserving,” Edwards family attorney Lee Merritt said after the announcement of Oliver’s indictment, according to the Morning News. “We are satisfied with this step.” No date has been set for Oliver’s trial. He faces life in prison.
Fire Sale—The Houston Rockets are for sale. Rockets owner Leslie Alexander has decided to sell the organization, team president Tad Brown announced Monday, according to the Houston Chronicle. The announcement came as a shock to pretty much everyone. Alexander is one of the longest-tenured owners in North American professional sports, but apparently he just got tired of owning the team. “It’s something he’s been thinking about a little bit,” Brown said, according to the Chronicle. “It can wear on you after so many decades. There are passions in his life now that are becoming more and more clear, his family and his philanthropic efforts.” As a storied franchise in one of the biggest, hottest markets in the country, the Rockets should have no trouble finding a new suitor. In February, Forbes valued the franchise at $1.65 billion, which is probably far less than what the team will go for—as the Chronicle notes, the Los Angeles Clippers sold for a record $2 billion in 2014.
Pay Day—President Donald Trump doled out $2.3 million to Texas on Monday to go toward border security, according to the Texas Tribune. The federal cash infusion is for the Texas Military Department, which has been on the border since 2014. “The taxpayers of Texas have funded border security, a federal responsibility, for far too long,” Governor Greg Abbott said in a press release. “I am grateful that the federal government and Congressional appropriators are stepping up and dedicating additional resources to provide for the safety and security of all Texans. The State of Texas also extends it gratitude to the men and women of the Texas National Guard and Department of Public Safety for their continued commitment to securing our border.” With the new funding, the Texas Military Department will remain at the border for at least the rest of the current fiscal year.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
The New Yorker deep-dives into George Strait New Yorker
Could a bathroom bill end Round Rock’s hopes of hosting a quidditch tournament? Austin American-Statesman
Ezekiel Elliott is in trouble again Dallas Morning News
Surf dogs hit the waves in Galveston Galveston Daily News
A TCEQ investigation found that an Odessa disposal facility was out of compliance before a huge tire fire in April KWES