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The State of Texas: Supreme Court to Issue Decision on HB2

Plus: Texit talk heats up, Johnny Manziel’s downward spiral continues, and a Texan faces billions of dollars in fines over a pile of wood.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY


“Texas will never do that because Texas loves me.”

—Donald Trump to reporters in Scotland when asked if Texas could possibly secede from the U.S., according to the Texas Tribune. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee sounded pretty confident coming off his Texas tour, which drew supporters and protesters alike. More on  a potential Texit later…


BIG NEWS


WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 2: at the Supreme Court, March 2, 2016 in Washington, DC. On Wednesday morning, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt case, where the justices will consider a Texas law requiring that clinic doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals and that clinics upgrade their facilities to standards similar to hospitals.
The Supreme Court, March 2, 2016 in Washington, DC., shortly before the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt case, where the justices considered a Texas law requiring that clinic doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals and that clinics upgrade their facilities to standards similar to hospitals.

Drew Angerer/Getty

 

Decision Time
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand down a ruling today on the long legal battle between a group of abortion clinics and Texas over the state’s omnibus abortion law, House Bill 2. And it’s a pretty big one: abortion access for women in Texas and twelve other states could change dramatically. If the court upholds Texas’s strict regulations on abortion clinics, then more than half of the state’s clinics will stay closed, according to the Austin American-Statesman, while the Dallas Morning News says that should HB2 be allowed to go into full effect, then Texas would be left with just nine clinics total, down from 40. A tie would have the same effect. But if the court strikes down HB2, then the clinics can reopen. At the heart of the legal argument is whether HB2 creates an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion. There are already horror stories about the bill’s negative impact, with some women facing 230 mile treks if their nearest abortion clinic closes. According to the Morning News, 100 Texas counties are currently more than 100 miles away from the closest abortion clinic, and 21 counties are more than 250 miles away. The state, meanwhile, claims that HB2’s restrictions make it safer for women seeking abortions. Although the bill was passed in 2013, we still don’t have official data that shows its effect on women in Texas yet. An anonymous state employee “with knowledge of the annual data Texas collects on abortion” said that officials in the Department of State Health Services have been “intentionally blocking the information and instructing staff members to mislead people who ask for it,” according to an NBC News report on Sunday (the Texas Tribune reported a similar story earlier last week). The department has maintained that the data hasn’t been released yet simply because it isn’t finalized, but the employee provided emails and screenshots to NBC showing that the state’s data report had been in the final stages months ago, which just adds fuel to the fire in what is an already extremely contentious debate over the bill.


MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS


Texit Talk
The Texas secession movement is gaining steam. Okay, it’s no closer to becoming a reality, but it’s also never been featured more prominently in the public spotlight. Thanks to last week’s Brexit, or the UK’s stunning vote to leave the European Union, #Texit became a popular thing on Twitter, according to the Dallas Morning News, and the movement’s leader quickly called on Governor Greg Abbott to hold a Texit vote. “The win for Brexit opens the door for Texit by establishing, concretely, that it is possible to have an adult conversation on independence and letting the people have the final say,” Daniel Miller, president of the Texas Nationalist Movement, said in a press release. Perhaps the only ones more excited about Texit than the Texiters themselves are members of the national media. Vox, for example, wrote this borderline fan fiction piece to “explain” Brexit in terms Americans could understand by basically just substituting words like “U.S” and “Greg Abbott” and “Texit” in place of “E.U.,” “David Cameron” and “Brexit,” complete with fake quotes from a “tearful” Abbott. Of course, Brexit is literally nothing at all like Texit, most notably in that Texit will never, ever, ever happen.

Johnny Tailspin
Somehow, things keep getting worse for former Texas A&M quarterback Jonny Manziel. He’s currently facing a few daunting legal issues, including criminal charges for allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley and a lawsuit seeking damages after he trashed a $4.5 million Los Angeles mansion. His own lawyers apparently don’t have much faith in him. According to a text one of Manziel’s attorneys accidentally sent to the Associated Press (yes, really) on Friday, Manziel’s legal team is currently trying to reach a plea deal in his domestic violence case, but the attorney is not exactly confident that Manziel can stay clean enough to make that happen. “Heaven help us if one of the conditions is to pee in a bottle,” the attorney wrote in the text. Worse yet, Manziel’s father told ESPN on Friday that Manziel is a “druggie” who “needs help,” and that he hopes, for Manziel’s own good, that he ends up in jail. Even so, the senior Manziel didn’t sound very hopeful that his son will eventually end up on back on his feet. “Hopefully he doesn’t die before he comes to his senses,” Paul Manziel told the network.

Wood Burning
A North Texas man faces billions of dollars in fines from Hunt County over wood. According to the Dallas Morning News, Kirk Grady owned property in Hunt County and had a woodpile there until he sold the land in 2002. Although the property changed hands, the woodpile remained, and the county is trying to collect up to $2 billion in fines from Grady for “unlawful dumping.” But the guy isn’t going down without a fight, and has filed a federal law suit challenging a law that allows private law firms to take a cut out of hefty civil penalties sought by local governments for violations of Texas’s environmental regulations. Grady’s attorney argues the law is unconstitutional. An attorney for the county, meanwhile, told the Morning News that “it took more than 60 truckloads” to remove the pile of wood from the property. Whether that’s worth a billion dollars is up for debate.


WHAT WE’RE READING


The Texas Supreme Court sided with a family accused of not educating their kids because they were waiting for the rapture KFOR

The clock kid is coming back to Texas Dallas Morning News

Add this Goliad County judge to the list of Texans making news for saying horrible things about the Orlando shooting KAVU

American Idol, Texas Prison Edition Amarillo Globe-News

Here are Texas cities personified as Game of Thrones characters Dallas Morning News

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  • José

    Well how about that! Government overreach struck down by SCOTUS 5-3. Texans who truly appreciate freedom and small government should be pleased. Those who want to impose a sort of Christian Sharia law have been rejected.
    And Scalia’s vote would not have made a difference, though it would be amusing to read his apoplectic and sharp-tongued dissent.

  • SheDevil2016

    Girls rule!

  • BB53

    So, Texas Supreme Court rules that home-schooled kids don’t have to receive an education. Well, if you go by who they end up voting for as adults, I’d say public schooled kids don’t get one either.

  • Texas Voter

    “The win for Brexit opens the door for Texit by establishing,
    concretely, that it is possible to have an adult conversation on
    independence and letting the people have the final say,” So If Texas exists the USA, is President Trump going make us pay for the Trump Wall along our border with the USA?.

    And what are the residents of Texarkana going to think a the Trump Wall running down the middle of State Line Avenue?