The State of Texas: Ag Commissioner Sid Miller Won’t Face Charges For “Jesus Shot” Trip
Plus: Rick Perry will dance another day, Buc-ee’s is named the top rest stop in the nation, and Texas is suing the federal government again.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“He had a passion for old cars, scotch, his construction company, scotch, travel, and oh yeah scotch. Did we mention scotch?”
—The obituary for Howard Wayne Neal as it appeared in the Victoria Advocate. Neal passed away last week at 74 years old, but his obituary was an excellent send-off. Rest in peace, Howard, and may you enjoy a scotch or two up there.
Ag Commissioner Sid Miller won’t face criminal charges for two taxpayer-funded road trips in February 2015: one trek to Mississippi to compete in a rodeo, and another flight to Oklahoma City to receive a pseudoscientific “Jesus Shot” that can supposedly cure pain for life. According to the Houston Chronicle, which broke both the “Jesus Shot” and rodeo stories this spring, prosecutors with the Travis County District Attorney’s office decided not to file charges against Miller for abuse of power, writing in a memo obtained by the Chronicle that “criminal intent would be difficult to prove in this case,” and “the total amount spent on the trips was relatively small, the state has been refunded all the money it expended on these trips, and the facts have been made known publicly so that Commissioner Miller is likely to be more careful in the future. Taking these factors into consideration, we have decided to close our file.” After news broke about Miller’s odd expenditures, he refunded around $2,000 of the cost of the trips and forked over an additional $498 during an investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Miller reportedly admitted to DPS that he received the “Jesus Shot,” and he told investigators that he just didn’t understand how expenditures were supposed to be managed. After the DA’s decision not to file charges, DPS also dropped its investigation. But as the Chronicle notes, it’s definitely still against the law to use state money or campaign funds on personal travel.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Rick Rolls On
Rick Perry’s tenure on Dancing With the Stars is only two weeks old, but our former governor has already lasted way longer than anyone expected. His performance on Monday night’s show was good enough to keep his head above water, but it wasn’t quite good. Still, he survived Tuesday’s elimination, according to the Austin American-Statesman, which noted that Perry “received more votes in ‘Dancing With the Stars’ than he did in his latest presidential bid.” The Statesman clearly takes no prisoners. Perry, meanwhile, literally beat the odds. Vegas had him and partner Emma Slater as the favorites to get booted first, and after the duo scored 42 out of a total of 80 points in their first two dances—both awkward renditions of country songs, “God Blessed Texas” and the Green Acres theme—it looked like that prediction would hold true. But the voters came to Perry’s aid and sent home actor Jake T. Austin instead. What Perry has in store for next week is anyone’s guess.
National food and lifestyle magazine Bon Appetit recently confirmed something most Texans already know: Buc-ee’s is the best rest stop in the country. The mag heaped praise on the beaver-themed travel stop, writing that it is “an icon” that has “set a new bar for the kind of service and offerings that an off-the-highway joint can provide.” A big factor in Buc-ee’s number one ranking was its superior food—Bon Appetit drooled over the rest stop’s selection of snacks, everything from “beaver nuggets” to brisket tacos. Buc-ee’s famously clean bathrooms also received a shout-out. With the national attention, Buc-ee’s is definitely no longer our little Lone Star secret. Plus, according to Bon Appetit, the chain is opening its first store outside of Texas next year, in Louisiana. But as writer Priya Krishna notes, “Buc-ee’s is special for all the ways in which it fully embodies the Lone Star State culture—insanely big, wildly accommodating, and unabashedly friendly.” You can take the Buc-ee’s out of Texas, but you can never take the Texas out of Buc-ee’s.
Another day, another lawsuit filed by Texas against the federal government. According to the Dallas Morning News, Texas is leading a legal challenge to the Obama administration’s efforts to implement new regulations that would make millions of workers eligible for overtime pay. Attorney General Ken Paxton and Texas headline a lawsuit filed against the U.S. Department of Labor on Tuesday that includes 21 other states, with Texas repeating its typical allegation that the federal government is overstepping its boundaries. According to the Morning News, Paxton called the overtime regulations part of a “radical leftist agenda” that “may lead to disastrous consequences for our economy.” The Texas Association of Business and other business groups also filed a separate lawsuit along the same lines on Tuesday. The new regulations are set to go into effect in December, and will raise the overtime eligibility cutoff from $23,660 a year to $47,476 a year.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Here’s what it’s like to get robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight in Houston Houston Press
Saudi Arabia has its eye on purchasing a Texas refinery NPR
Someone got stuck in quicksand and drowned in the San Antonio river last year San Antonio Express-News
Singer Ray LaMontagne canceled two days before his show at UT-Austin because of campus carry KXAN
Beaumont ISD’s athletic director said he won’t let students kneel for the national anthem Beaumont Enterprise