congratulations Camila on getting your U.S. citizenship today- another fellow and great American. pic.twitter.com/yuA9mOsG7O
— Matthew McConaughey (@McConaughey) August 4, 2015
Bells of Joy — Texans of all ages can rejoice (and breathe a sigh of relief) because it appears Blue Bell is on its way to full recovery. As reported by, like, everyone, the company’s Alabama plant has been cleared for production after “voluntarily sharing test results with the health department,” writes WFAA. Thankfully, “all tests have come back negative for listeria contamination.” The company will now begin restocking its supply, which it pulled from the shelves in April. But don’t head to the store just yet. A Blue Bell spokeswoman said, “At this time, we do not have a date when our products will return to market.” The San Antonio Current pretty much spoke for everyone with this article title, “Stop Playing With our Hearts, Blue Bell.”
Problem ID’d — The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday ruled that Texas’s contentious voter ID law violated the Voting Rights Act. “In an unanimous decision, a three-judge panel ruled that the controversial and Republican-backed measure violated Section 2 of the landmark civil rights law. The law has been part of a complicated legal battle for years,” writes the Dallas Morning News. “But the victory was a narrow win for opponents of the law. The judges also rejected a previous judge’s ruling that the law was passed with the intent to discriminate. The Fifth Circuit sent that portion of the lawsuit back to a U.S. district court.” In other words, there’s no real clear answer. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called the decision a “victory” for voter ID, while Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick “strongly disagree[d]” with the ruling. Even publications reporting on the story can’t really agree on what the decision means. The Morning News noted that “if the lower court finds in its review of the case that the voter ID Law only violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, it should find a solution that can still reduce the risk of in-person voter fraud and satisfy the legislative intent of the voter ID law.” But the New York Times was fairly unequivocal, saying the decision proved that Texas most definitely “discriminated against blacks and Hispanics.” Either way, be sure to always carry around a government-issued ID!
Nowhere to Hide — Here’s another example of state leaders proving they’re actually not so keen on “independent” governance, despite their rhetoric against the federal government. You know, because it’s Thursday. To be fair, the issue at hand—sanctuary cities for migrants of questionable legal status—is a bit more contentious than local fracking bans. Standing with a several older men in suits and silly hats (yes, you, county sheriffs), Lieutenant Governor Patrick “pledged that the Senate next session would pass legislation to address so-called sanctuary cities.” Patrick said at the press conference, “I’m totally confident that one of the first measures we will pass in 2017, when we come back, will be to ban sanctuary cities in Texas.” So migrants and cities, y’all still have a year and change! The proclamation was inspired by the Priority Enforcement Program, which went into effect last month and relaxes previous regulations for detaining and monitoring migrants suspected of being in the country illegally. As Fox News so delicately put it, “based on Patrick’s remarks, 2017 will be a busy Legislature with changes in immigration policy at the forefront.” It did not mention whether Patrick’s to-do list also included toppling Abbott for governor.
Ken’s Sin — It really hasn’t been Ken Paxton’s best month (or two). The attorney general and a “top state health official were ordered to appear before a federal judge in San Antonio next week to determine if they should be held in contempt for violating a court order prohibiting enforcement of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage,” writes the Austin American-Statesman. What’s worse, the issue is actually over a death certificate, as if a gay dead man is any different than a straight dead man. A widower had attempted to have his partner’s death certificate reflect their now-recognized relationship, but “state officials declined repeated requests to make the change—most recently on Monday—saying they were still reviewing whether a June U.S. Supreme Court decision, which overturned all remaining state bans on gay marriage, should retroactively apply to a death certificate issued five months earlier. Hours after the widower filed suit Wednesday morning challenging the decision, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia issued a ruling ordering state officials to amend the death certificate.”