Texas Reps Vote Mostly Along Party Lines as Health Care Overhaul Passes House: Your Texas Roundup
Plus: More details emerge in the fatal police shooting of a Dallas-area teen, Texas officially calls for a convention of states, and big-name acts headline a popular Texas music festival.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We just miss him.”
—Charmaine Edwards to Pastor Irie Lyn Session, according to the Dallas Morning News. Edwards’s fifteen-year-old son, Jordan, was shot and killed by a Balch Springs Police Officer on Saturday night. A crowd of about 300 showed up to a vigil for Jordan on Thursday night.
The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed the American Health Care Act on Thursday, a bill that would essentially repeal and replace Obamacare. House Republicans pushed the bill through, with Texas Representatives voting along party lines for the most part. The only exception was U.S. Representative Will Hurd, a Republican who represents an area of the state stretching from San Antonio to El Paso. Hurd voted “no” on the bill, one of just twenty GOPers to do so. His vote was no sure thing—he held out for just about as long as he could, and the New York Times‘s real-time vote tracker even had him marked down as a “yes” vote for a good chunk of time before he announced which way he was truly going. In a statement, Hurd said he that the bill simply did not address the concerns of many of his constituents. “While the goal of Obamacare was to make healthcare more accessible and more affordable, it has done just the opposite,” Hurd said in the statement. “Likewise, while the goal of the American Health Care Act was to combat the skyrocketing premiums and outrageous deductibles millions of Americans face, it too, falls short.” But the bill was enough to appease other Texas Republicans, particularly members of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, which basically killed the GOP’s original Obamacare overhaul attempt back in March. All three Texans in the caucus—Louie Gohmert, Joe Barton, and Randy Weber—voted in favor of the healthcare bill this time around. “It’s something we can live with,” Gohmert told Fox News, according to the Houston Chronicle. “We all seem to agree in our party here that this is a better bill today than it was when they rammed it through committee without allowing any amendments.” Now the bill heads to the Senate, where it is expected to face a far tougher road.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
The Dallas Morning News has the most detailed account yet of what happened when fifteen-year-old Jordan Edwards was fatally shot by former Balch Springs Police officer Roy Oliver (Oliver was fired earlier this week). An attorney for Edwards’s step-brother, Vidal Allen, relayed what Allen told Dallas County Sheriff’s Department investigators. Edwards, Allen, and three other teens drove to a party, and when the police arrived, responding to calls reporting possible underage drinking, the group decided to leave the party. Then, what sounded like three gunshots rang out into the night, possibly coming from a nearby intersection. The officers ran toward the gunfire. Edwards and Allen heard the shots just as they were leaving—Edwards hopped into the front passenger seat and the car took off. But Allen couldn’t move forward without hitting the police, so he put the car in reverse. He said he heard an officer cursing and yelling at them to stop, and when he tried to shift gears into park the cop started shooting. Allen drove off, and when he got to the next street he noticed Edwards “slumped over in his seat, smoke coming out his head.”
On Thursday, Texas officially called for an Article V Convention of States, a small step toward a highly improbable attempt to change the Constitution. Texas became the eleventh state to call for such a convention, but that number needs to reach 34 in order for the convention to actually happen. Nonetheless, the resolution was a priority for Governor Greg Abbott this legislative session, and after the Texas House joined the Senate and voted in favor of calling for a convention, Abbott was pretty excited. OK, so he was really excited. “BOOM,” Abbott wrote on Twitter. “Texas has now passed a Convention of States Resolution. Thank you Texas House for today’s vote.” According to the Austin American-Statesman, Senate Joint Resolution 2 calls for a convention “for the limited purpose of proposing one or more amendments to the Constitution to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government and to limit the terms of office of federal officials and members of Congress.” Sounds like a really fun party, if it ever happens.
The Austin City Limits Music Festival lineup dropped Thursday, and there are some huge names headlining the October event: Beyoncé’s husband and sister, Solange, will both be performing. Jay Z is headlining the festival, joining fellow rappers Chance the Rapper and Ice Cube, plus arena rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Killers. According to the Austin American-Statesman, ACL held out on letting us know that Jay Z was going to be performing, and when they finally added his name to the lineup, people understandably freaked out. No word on whether Beyoncé will be attending, but it’ll be interesting to see Jay Z and Solange at the same festival. The two have a weird history, stemming from Solange beating the crap out of Jay in an elevator in 2014. But they seem to have made peace, so don’t expect to see any fights break out among the two performers in Austin (as long as there are no elevators on the premises). Here’s the full lineup.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
Is Will Hurd “the Future of the GOP”? Politico Magazine
A lawsuit over SB 4 seems inevitable at this point Texas Tribune
How a Dallas whistleblower became an office shooter Dallas Morning News
A Mexican journalist’s harrowing first-person account of his quest for asylum El Paso Times
Cinco De Mayo in the age of Trump: for Mexican-Americans, not just tacos, tequila and fun anymore Associated Press