The State of Texas: Life After HB2
Plus: The DMV makes controversial changes to its registration fees, two Houston law schools scuffle over their similar names, and Fort Hood soldiers finally bare their arms.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Come on, girls. Breakfast time.”
—Steve Moore, also known as “Mosquito Steve,” prompting mosquitos to bite him before WFAA‘s cameras. Every morning, Moore presents himself as a mosquito snack for “research.” He said he might get as many as 90 bites in one sitting, and he refers to the mosquitos as his friends.
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down major components of Texas’s abortion law, House Bill 2, on Monday, saying that the law’s requirements for clinics put an undue burden on abortion access. But what happens now? Although the decision was a momentous victory for the pro-choice crowd and for women’s rights in general, there still likely won’t be a wave of new abortion clinics in Texas, and the ones that closed as a result of HB2 won’t reopen overnight, either. Writes the Associated Press: “Buildings need to be leased. Staffs need to be hired. Clinics must still obtain state licenses and funds for medical equipment must be raised. Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled Legislature is all but certain to remain hostile to abortion providers that try to expand.” According to the Texas Tribune, many of the clinics that closed during the three years since HB2 was passed have sold their properties or abandoned their leases. Shortly after the ruling, Governor Greg Abbott promised the state would “redouble our efforts to protect innocent life and mothers’ health,” and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton made similar statements, according to the Dallas Morning News. One Republican state representative told the Tribune that he expects “an absolute onslaught of pro-life legislation in the next session.” For all the jubilation among the pro-choice crowd, their celebration is tempered a bit by the reality that the fight is far from over for both sides of this contentious issue.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Who’s Down With The DMV?
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles just can’t seem to make anyone happy. On Monday, the DMV’s board approved a new fee structure that increases the cost of every Texan’s annual walk-in registration fee by $1.75, but drops the fee for online registration by 25 cents. Sounds harmless, right? Nope. Although some are upset that the walk-in registration fee hike is adding an extra cost to taxpayers, county officials in particular are peeved that the online fee decrease will result in revenue loss, while another DMV decision to cap the total fees private title services can charge customers could eventually force many of those companies to go belly-up, according to the Texas Tribune. Basically: raise the fees, people are unhappy; lower the fees, people are unhappy. One member of the DMV board at least seems to be aware of the pick-your-poison situation. “It’s not my intention to hurt the people of Texas or to hurt these private businesses, and what a balancing act we’ve been handed,” Robert Barnwell said, according to the Tribune.
Say My Name
After 90 years of calling itself the South Texas College of Law, the Houston-based law school officially changed its name a few weeks ago to Houston’s South Texas College of Law. The University of Houston Law Center, a completely different school, was predictably pretty upset about this blatant invasion of its name space. Now, the name debate is headed for a Lone Star law school showdown in the most appropriate arena: court. According to the Houston Chronicle, UH Law Center filed a federal lawsuit on Monday, claiming Houston’s South Texas College of Law intentionally copycatted the Law Center in an attempt to ride its “substantial reputational coattails.” In short: UH Law Center is saying this name ain’t big enough for the both of us. As Above the Law notes, Houston’s South Texas College of Law even unveiled a new primary color on its website: red. UH’s main color? Also red. May the law school with the best litigators win.
See Me Rollin’
The Wall Street Journal has a pretty interesting tale about the ongoing battle at Fort Hood over rolled-up sleeves. Texas is hot in the summer, and the state’s armed forces population isn’t immune to the scorching heat. When Army officials stopped by Fort Hood earlier in June, one enlisted member requested something unheard of in this branch of the U.S. military: a lighter, cooler summer uniform. All he really wanted was a chance to roll up his sleeves. The request was apparently reasonable, so officials made Fort Hood the Army’s guinea pig for shorter sleeves, beginning a ten-day bare-arms trial that ends on Monday. Most soldiers at Fort Hood are pumped at the chance to bare their arms, but some see them rolling, and they’re hating. According to a poll by Army Times, a little more than ten percent of respondents don’t think sleeve-rolling should be allowed, while 60 percent of sergeants major at Fort Hood said they are against sleeve-rolling. As for the soldier whose request started it all, any sleeve-rolling success “may be harder to savor in his next assignment,” writes the Journal, because he’s “heading to Fort Drum in upstate New York, where soldiers train for arctic warfare.”
WHAT WE’RE READING
This new poll bodes well for Hillary’s chances in Texas San Antonio Express-News
…but less than half of Texas’s Bernie supporters say they’ll vote for Clinton Dallas Morning News
Here’s what it’s like to run abortion clinics in West Texas’s small, conservative Christian oil towns The Atlantic
An 85-year old Huntsville man finally received his high school diploma KBTX
Customs officers seized the skull of an endangered African elephant at the border near Mission McAllen Monitor