Quote of the Day
“Because it was fun.”
-Douglas Richard to Lufkin Police officers, who asked the 18-year-old why he led them on a 27 mile, three-county high-speed chase that at times topped 120 mph. According to the Lufkin Daily News, police responded to a report of a driver (Richard) “flying around a neighborhood” in Lufkin. When officers found Richard and turned on sirens, he fled. Richard later told police that his registration was out of date and he didn’t have insurance, so the option to run seemed more appealing than getting his car towed. Now, he faces five misdemeanor traffic charges and one felony, which doesn’t sound fun.
Potty Mouth—Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick indicated on Tuesday that he’d back any state law focused on making it illegal for transgender people to use public restrooms unless they use the bathroom specific to the gender on their birth certificate, the Houston Chronicle reported. Patrick was an ardent supporter of the campaign against Houston’s non-discrimination ordinance, which was voted down in November, so this sentiment isn’t particularly new or shocking. But in the past week Patrick has been unusually chatty when it comes to toilets. His outspokenness was likely prompted by the controversial legislation recently passed in North Carolina, which prevents transgender people from using public bathrooms that don’t correspond to their gender assigned at birth. The national outcry against that law seems to have Patrick feeling uncomfortably backed up. For example, after Target announced a transgender 12friendly bathroom policy, Patrick let loose a rant on Facebook and called for a “Target boycott,” according to the Houston Press. Should a law restricting LGBTQ rights be introduced to the legislature here and actually pass, it could damage the state’s business climate. States that have passed discriminatory ordinances have already experienced swift backlash from big corporations, and according to KUT, Texas businesses are already beginning to organize in solidarity with LGBTQ rights.
Officially Indicted—Johnny Manziel’s indictment was officially handed down by a Dallas County grand jury on Tuesday. Reports started circulating late last week that the grand jury had decided to charge Manziel for allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley, so pretty much everyone knew this was coming. But what happens next? According to the Dallas Morning News, a warrant has been issued for Manziel’s arrest, and his attorney said that sometime after the judge sets bond, which is expected to happen on Wednesday, Manziel would turn himself in, but he doesn’t know whether that will happen this week. The Morning News says Manziel plans to plead not guilty. He faces a maximum punishment of one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. At this point, Manziel’s football career is simply a subplot to the much more serious allegations of domestic abuse and a possible prison sentence, but the indictment does seem to be the final nail in the coffin for Johnny Football’s career, at least for the near future.
Higher-Priced Education—According to the Houston Chronicle, the average tuition at Texas’s public colleges has more than doubled since 2003, jumping from $3,361 to $8,256. Whose fault is it? Meh, don’t know. Writes the Chronicle: “Some state lawmakers blame university leaders who they think spend too much on administration and too little in the classroom. College leaders are quick to point out that state funding hasn’t kept pace with inflation and isn’t enough to make Texas universities more competitive nationally.” Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick made it clear on Tuesday who he’s pointing his finger at. “What we are asking is for our universities to be as fiscally responsible as we ask ourselves to be and for our agencies to be,” he said at a press conference before a meeting of the Senate Higher Education Committee, according to the Texas Tribune. “They are not an exception. They need to scrub their budgets like we scrub ours.” Patrick says a quick fix could come from eliminating a state law that requires colleges to preserve 20 percent of tuition for scholarships, work study programs and other financial aid. But if Patrick’s goal is making college more affordable, that sounds more than a little counterproductive.