The State of Texas: Ken Paxton Sues Over A Local Gun Ban (Again)
Plus: CPS leaders get the boot, Baylor suspends a football player for abusing his dog, and a long-standing Aggie football tradition abruptly ends.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“My daughter’s getting married in October, and I figured if I did the show, I’d at least not embarrass her when we did the father-daughter dance.”
—Rick Perry to the Texas Tribune. His other reason for taking the reality TV stage is pretty solid: Perry told the Tribune that he hopes to use his role on the show to raise awareness for veterans’ issues.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against Waller County on Tuesday, following through once again on his threat to sue local governments who kept gun bans in place within government buildings. According to the Houston Chronicle, Waller County has posted signs in its multipurpose county courthouse that ban weapons throughout the entire building. In July, the leader of a Texas open carry advocacy group filed a complaint with the attorney general, alleging Waller County’s non-compliance with the state’s open carry law, and Paxton sent a warning to the county. But Waller County didn’t budge, and the signs remained up. “The courthouse is one of the last places that you want to allow firearms to be brought in,” County Judge Trey Duhon told the Chronicle. “We’re all Second Amendment supporters. We’re even open carry supporters. It’s just not a smart idea.” In various opinions issued on gun bans in local government buildings, Paxton has repeatedly interpreted an exemption in Texas’s open carry law that allows courthouses to ban guns as applying to a very specific definition of “courthouse.” Since a lot of local governments have one building with multiple government offices, including courts, Paxton says that gun bans can only extend to court-related offices and can’t blanket the rest of the building. Less than a month ago, Paxton sued Austin over its city hall gun ban. As Duhon noted to the Chronicle, the Waller County building in question only has one set of stairs and one elevator, so space is cramped. In addition to the lawsuit, Paxton is also threatening to fine Waller County $1,500 per day starting this week.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Four high-ranking Texas Child Protective Services officials were fired this week and a fifth retired, leaving the embattled agency with half the amount of regional directors it had before, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Regional directors in Harris County, Austin, Corpus Christi, and Northwest Texas were canned, while the official who retired was working in El Paso. The agency has been in disarray in recent years, with a number of high-profile child deaths and internal problems, like high turnover rates and low morale among workers. Recent efforts aimed at reform apparently haven’t had much of an impact yet. An agency spokesman told the Statesman that the shakeup is part of the agency’s focus on “top-to-bottom accountability,” adding that “revamping” the agency’s leadership is “critically important and very necessary.” After taking over in May, CPS Commissioner Hank Whitman forced all ten regional directors to reapply for their positions. The firings come on the heels of a committee meeting on Monday, in which state lawmakers accused the agency of basically not doing what it needs to do to repair itself, according to the Dallas Morning News. Several lawmakers suggested firing high-ranking officials.
Baylor has suspended a football player for three games after he was caught on video beating his dog, according to KXXV. The disturbing video was taken in July and surfaced a few weeks ago, showing sophomore wide receiver Ishmael Zamora repeatedly kicking and beating the dog with a belt as the animal whimpers while slumped in the corner. Zamora was charged with a Class C misdemeanor and fined. The dog is now being taken care of by a family member of Zamora’s in Houston. According to the Waco Tribune, Baylor officials said the school is requiring Zamora to complete forty hours of community service “in a manner that will teach him respect toward animals,” and he also has to undergo counseling. Despite the suspension, Zamora will still practice with the team. Baylor’s had a rocky preseason. In addition to Zamora’s incident, a lineman was arrested on stalking charges earlier this month, and it later came out that the player had also been accused of sexual assault. Baylor is still trying to put the pieces back together after a sexual assault scandal rocked the university last year, resulting in the loss of university president Ken Starr, head football coach Art Briles, and athletic director Ian McCaw in May.
Standing Room Only
One of Texas A&M’s many football traditions is apparently coming to an end at the request of the athletics department. According to SB Nation, students who bought tickets for A&M’s home-opener against UCLA found a disconcerting message typed across the top of their ticket: “Step ‘off the wood’ Stand on the Concrete,” meaning the 12th Man will no longer be allowed to stand on top of the bleachers, which was an, uh, long-standing Aggieland tradition. Instead, student fans will now have to stand in the concrete aisle in front of their assigned seats. A spokesman for A&M’s athletics department told SB Nation that the new rule is being implemented due to safety concerns and because the students were apparently obstructing views of the field. Students sounded pretty upset. “It’s kind of disappointing,” one Aggie told Texas A&M’s student newspaper, the Battalion. “I know [Kyle Field] is a new stadium and all, but it’s a pretty big tradition to stand on [the wood] and then step off when somebody gets injured and in different yells.” It remains to be seen how A&M plans to enforce this new rule. How would you like to be the unfortunate usher who has to tell thousands of spirited college students to take a step down?
WHAT WE’RE READING
A judge dismissed a $1 million lawsuit filed by an angry Plano business owner against the author of a negative Yelp review Dallas Morning News
Nineteen cows were killed by a lightning strike in Hallsville KLTV
Lou’s bar, “a friendly place, kinda like Cheers,” where everyone knows your name, is up for sale Corpus Christi Caller-Times
In the eyes of Texas, this girl doesn’t exist Radiolab
Donald Trump is traveling to Mexico to meet with Enrique Peña Nieto. Think they’ll talk about who’s gonna pay for that wall? CNN