The State of Texas: June 26, 2014
Legendary actor Eli Wallach went to that big soundstage in the sky on Tuesday. Before he was the “ugly” in The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (among many other great roles), Wallach was a Texas Longhorn. He came to Texas from New York City in 1932 in part because tuition was so cheap ($30 a year), according to the UT student newspaper The Alcalde. For Wallach, Texas was “another planet. … You could rely on people. If they gave you their word, that was it. In a sense it was another morality that I knew nothing about. It was an education,” he said in a 2000 interview.
Goin’ International — The U.S. Commerce Department yesterday “issued separate private rulings allowing Irving-based Pioneer Natural Resources Co. … and Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners LP .. to export a type of ultralight oil known as condensate, which could begin as soon as August,” according to the Houston Business Journal. The ruling only applies to these two companies but it indicates that the U.S. is working on “industrywide guidelines that could make it even easier for companies to sell U.S. oil abroad,” reports the Wall Street Journal. This could be troubling news for Texas oil refining companies, which saw their stocks tumble after the announcement, according to the Dallas Morning News, (though Pioneer’s stock closed at a $233, “up five percent for the day”).
Convention Competition — Dallas is one step closer to being invaded by a horde of Republicans in 2015. Yesterday, the Republican National Committee announced that Dallas and Cleveland are the two finalists to host the next Republican convention. “If Dallas — home to former President George W. Bush — is chosen, it would be the fourth time a Texas city has hosted a national political convention,” reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. One of the biggest factors in finalizing the decision is timing. The committee wants an early convention so the GOP presidential candidate has several months to campaign. That’s good news for Dallas, whose “bid proposes holding the convention from July 18 to July 21. The Cleveland bid calls for the week of June 27 or July 18.” How long will we have to wait biting our nails? Who knows! “Officials have indicated that a final decision could come in early August, but … it could happen in the next week or two.”
X’ed Out? — Texas has always been a fan of deregulation and it looks like that zeal might make its way to the doctor’s lab. The state is “considering doing away with the licensing of X-ray technicians and 11 other types of health professionals,” according to the Texas Tribune. The reasoning, put forth by the Sunset Advisory Commission, is that technicians already work in highly regulated facilities. So that’s, like, twice the regulation needed. Currently, the state is one of 39 that regulate the technicians. The commission also recommended deregulating dieticians, dyslexia therapists, opticians, and eight other programs unrelated to healthcare (like code enforcement officers). The only downside, apart from unlicensed people shooting radiation like a ray-gun? “It would cost the state about $1.6 million a year to deregulate the 19 programs because licensees pay more in fees than the amount the Legislature provides to run the regulatory programs, the report said.”
Houses of Cards — The Wall Street Journal takes a look at immigrant “stash houses,” like the one that made the news a few months ago for hold more than 100 people were found living in absolutely appalling conditions. “The demand for stash-house space, which smugglers usually rent, has grown so much that authorities recently discovered an outdoor encampment of makeshift huts in the outskirts of McAllen, Texas, near the border,” according to the story. The true number is unknown, but there have been about seventeen related busts in a month’s time, with more than 400 immigrants detained. “It can be a lucrative business. Smuggling fees range from $3,000 to $5,000 a person for Central Americans, and can go above $10,000 for migrants coming from places farther away such as China.”