The State of Texas: March 10, 2015
Image of the Day
Remember when Matthew McConaughey had that terrible beard during award season? As some may have heard, it was not entirely a personal choice and certainly had nothing to do with razors being useless, flat circles. It was actually work hair for the upcoming The Free State of Jones. For the latest stage of the McConaissance, it appears our man has gone time traveling to the Civil War.
We Need Drugs, Again – It’s the same problem, different day with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. “Texas’s prison agency is scrambling to find a supplier to replenish its inventory of execution drugs, which will be used up if the state goes forward with two lethal injections scheduled for this week and next,” according to the Associated Press. Four executions are currently scheduled for April. The TDCJ “declined to say why it has not been able to obtain more pentobarbital from the same compounding pharmacy that provided the current batch of the powerful sedative last March.” It’s a bit of a guessing game at the moment since TDCJ won’t “comment on whether the current supplier has backed out or whether the judge’s order has affected its ability to find a supplier.” A judge had ruled last year that the state must divulge where it gets its supply, although that decision is on hold while the state appeals. “While Texas prison officials administratively could change the lethal drug they use, a method change would require legislative action.”
Lights Outs – Still groggy in the morning from daylight savings time? Well, one legislator is trying to stop the hour-stealing tyranny. “Under HB 150, Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Canton, proposes Texas join Hawaii and Arizona and let the sun forever set on the energy-saving practice,” according to Fox San Antonio. The bill was actually introduced four months ago, and it was mocked because that was back when we had our hour. As the Dallas Morning News writes, the bill might have a chance. “Last month the bill was sent to the House’s Government Transparency & Operation Committee, which has put it at the top of its to-discuss list for Wednesday.” We only have ourselves to blame, as R.G. Ratcliffe notes in Burkablog. It was Lyndon Johnson who signed the law establishing daylight savings time, and “President George W. Bush in 2005 extended DST from the second Sunday of March through the first Sunday of November.”
Car Crock – Officials made a serious effort to inform a confused public about the switch from two inspection and registration stickers to a single sticker. But it seems they should have spent more time worrying about their own actions. Last week “officials scrambled to avoid confusion when some inspections could not be verified electronically, and to resolve issues with inspection stations charging for the state portion of the fee,” according to the Houston Chronicle. And this week? “The latest error … involved incorrect bills sent to 321,927 motorists with April registrations coming due.” Harris County tax assessor Mike Sullivan, who oversees more vehicle registrations than any other official, gave the Texas DMV a failing grade on its effort, saying, “It is having an adverse effect on my ability to do the work of the taxpayers.”
No Trespassing – President Obama’s immigration action is not going so great. After some back and forth with states (led by Texas) attempting to put a stop to the order, “Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court in Brownsville, Texas, announced that rather than granting or even rejecting the administration’s request to move forward with Obama’s 2014 executive actions on immigration, he will make no additional rulings until after March 19,” according to the Huffington Post. It’s not looking all that good for the government’s case, especially since “the lawsuit has been complicated by allegations that the federal government misled the states about whether the 2014 immigration policies had gone into effect,” and there are accusations that some of the policies actually went into effect before the February start date. While 26 states are fighting the order tooth and nail, the Huffington Post notes that “a dozen states plan to file a request this week for the appeals court to lift the injunction and allow the immigration policies to go into effect.”