Quote of the Day
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
—Sen. John Cornyn to reporters on Wednesday, regarding whether he will attend the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, according to the Dallas Morning News. When a reporter asked Cornyn if he thought the convention would go “smoothly,” Cornyn just laughed. “Self-government is a messy thing.”
Johnny Grand Jury—A Dallas County grand jury will hear evidence from the investigation into Johnny Manziel’s alleged domestic violence incident on Thursday, according to the Dallas Morning News. Manziel’s ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley told police that the former Texas A&M quarterback assaulted her in Dallas and Fort Worth in January. Police investigated the accusations but did not press charges, instead referring it to a grand jury. “If he isn’t indicted, a decision could be made this week,” writes the Morning News. “Any indictment would likely happen Monday.” Manziel was released by the Cleveland Browns last month and has yet to find another NFL suitor, but according to USA Today, he released a statement saying that he still hopes to play this upcoming season. He also acknowledged that he has “to take care of the issues in front of” him first. While the domestic abuse allegation is by far his most serious issue, Manziel took a few other big lumps this week when he was dropped by high-profile agent Drew Rosenhaus and when Nike cut him loose as a sponsor, according to ESPN. It’s a bit surprising the company stuck it out this long.
Teacher Trouble—According to the Texas Tribune, the state wants to implement a new teacher evaluation system that “ties assessments of educators to student performance on standardized tests,” and teachers really aren’t happy about it. A statewide teacher’s association has filed a lawsuit against Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath, alleging the new evaluations rely too much on score-based results rather than observation, which they claim violates state law. “Teachers are not robots, and their performance should be evaluated by an easily understood, transparent system that helps them perfect their job performance,” the president of the Texas State Teachers Association told the Tribune. As the Dallas Morning News notes, “Texas’s reliance on high-stakes, standardized tests have become less and less popular in Texas in recent years, as teachers and parents complain it forces them to focus on test prep over truly educating kids.” The new evaluations reinforce the state’s commitment to these tests, even as thousands of students across the state experienced devastating glitches while taking their standardized tests a few weeks ago.
Ticketing Justice—After a BuzzFeed News investigation in October uncovered that the City of El Paso basically ran a debtors’ prison by jailing citizens who can’t afford to pay their traffic tickets, the city proposed some reforms in January. Among the proposals: make sure that defendants, you know, actually have the ability to pay the traffic fine before throwing them behind bars. But according to the Texas Civil Rights Project, the city hasn’t gone far enough to fix the problem, so it has filed a federal lawsuit against El Paso, alleging the city is still violating the constitutional rights of its citizens and has “exhibited deliberate indifference to correcting these known constitutional failings by refusing to make any effort at real reform,” according to the complaint. Writes BuzzFeed: “The lawsuit centers on a city policy, adopted in 2006, that requires people with outstanding fines to make a 25 percent down payment before they can get on a payment plan. The court’s website now says that if a defendant cannot afford the down payment, the court is authorized to accept less. But televisions in the courtroom and the payment plan application still say 25 percent payment is required, a lawyer for the plaintiffs said.” That downpayment can be a huge financial hit—sometimes hundreds of dollars—for people with multiple traffic tickets.