Ted Cruz Celebrates the End of Net Neutrality: Your Texas Roundup
Plus: A top Ken Paxton aide resigns after calling sexual assault survivors ”pathetic” and a controversial social media star is arrested in Laredo.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I’ll just have to make you Secretary of Entertainment for the State of Texas.”
—Governor Greg Abbott to Texas musician Josh Abbott in a tweet on Thursday. The governor’s quip came after Abbott (the musician) commented on a tweet from a student, who said that most of her history class mistakenly thought he was actually the governor of Texas.
The Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to repeal net neutrality, a set of federal regulations that protect consumers from internet service providers, and Senator Ted Cruz is among the conservatives celebrating its demise. The move was extremely controversial. Supporters of net neutrality argued that the regulations are necessary to preserve a free and open internet, warning that repealing the regulations would allow corporations “to dictate what you can see, and how fast you can see it,” according to Wired. More than 23 million people weighed in on the FCC’s website during a public comment period prior to the vote (although some of those comments appear to be fake: an individual named “the Internet” submitted 17,000 comments). Those who wanted to repeal net neutrality, including a bloc of conservative lawmakers, ISPs, and the Trump administration, argue that the regulations are too strict and that consumers will be fine under a more free-market approach. “The government shouldn’t be in the business of picking winners and losers in the internet economy,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said Thursday, according to Politico. “We should have a level playing field and let consumers decide who prevails.” Cruz has been one of the Senate’s most ardent supporters of repealing the regulations, and he celebrated the end of net neutrality on Thursday. “The Obama administration’s so-called net neutrality regulations have threatened the very freedom that has allowed the internet to flourish,” Cruz wrote on Facebook. “Small businesses in Texas and across the country shouldn’t have to seek ‘Mother May I’ permission from unelected bureaucrats to be able to engage in commerce. It’s un-American and has the power to severely limit the creative destruction that has allowed the internet to flourish. I commend Chairman Ajit Pai and the FCC for repealing these oppressive Obama-era regulations and restoring freedom to the internet.” Cruz and Senator John Cornyn have both long called for the repeal of the regulations, and were co-sponsors of a bill proposed in May that would permanently gut net neutrality. Both men also have accepted more than $100,000 each from internet service providers since 2012.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Associate Deputy Attorney General Andrew D. Leonie, a top aide to Attorney General Ken Paxton, resigned on Thursday amid reports that he called victims of sexual assault “pathetic,” according to the Dallas Morning News. “Aren’t you also tired of all the pathetic ‘me too’ victim claims?” Leonie wrote Wednesday on Facebook. “If every woman is a ‘victim’, so is every man. If everyone is a victim, no one is. Victim means nothing anymore.” The Morning News first reported Leonie’s disturbing Facebook comments on Thursday morning. He resigned by the end of the day. “The views he expressed on social media do not reflect our values,” Paxton’s Director of Communications Marc Rylander wrote in a statement. “The OAG is committed to promoting and maintaining a workplace that is free from discrimination and harassment.”
Nightcrawler of Laredo
Priscilla Trevino-Villarreal, a controversial figure in Laredo known for her guerilla-style reporting from crime scenes throughout the border city, was charged with two felony counts of misuse of official information for “allegedly disseminating official information for her personal gain,” local police told the Laredo Morning-Times on Thursday. Trevino-Villarreal, better known as her online persona “Lagordiloca,” live-streams unedited and uncensored footage from local crime scenes to over 80,000 loyal Facebook followers. She was released on bond after turning herself in, and the police department hasn’t released any more details about the circumstances of the allegations against her.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
The salacious trial of state Senator Carlos Uresti continues San Antonio Express-News
An off-duty Dallas cop allegedly shot and killed a teenager seconds after running the kid’s car off the road Dallas Morning News
Texas landowners threatened by border wall construction want government compensation ProPublica and Texas Tribune
A University of Houston fraternity was indicted on hazing charges Houston Chronicle
A TCU fraternity has been suspended by its national office for hazing Fort Worth Star-Telegram