QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Here’s a little economics lesson: supply and demand. You put the supply out there and the demand will follow.”
—Secretary of Energy and former governor of Texas Rick Perry speaking at a coal plant in West Virginia on Thursday, according to the Dallas Morning News. It’s clearly been a while since Perry took economics.
The U.S. Justice Department said that Texas’s revised voter ID law is good to go, which means the long legal battle over the 2011 version could come to an end. “Texas’s voter ID law both guarantees to Texas voters the opportunity to cast an in-person ballot and protects the integrity of Texas’s elections,” a Wednesday court filing said, according to the Texas Tribune. The move follows the DOJ’s complete flip from its position during the Barack Obama administration, when the department argued Texas enacted the law with the intent to discriminate against minorities—a conclusion that courts have also reached. But the department dropped that argument in February when Attorney General Jeff Sessions withdrew the claim from court. Now the DOJ seems ready to be done with it. The department said in the court filing that Texas’s softened legislation, Senate Bill 5—which Governor Greg Abbott signed into law last month—”eradicates any discriminatory effect or intent” of the old version. The new voter ID law allows people without photo ID to vote as long as they present some other form of ID, like utility bills, bank statements, or paychecks, and sign affidavits swearing a “reasonable impediment” kept them from getting their ID. The DOJ also argued in the filing that the federal court should “decline any further remedies” and essentially end the case against the law.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Today marks one year since five officers were fatally shot in Dallas. The Dallas Morning News has complete coverage, offering a bunch of different perspectives on the chaotic night that a sniper opened fire after a downtown protest, injuring nine other officers and two civilians. There’s an editorial from the newspaper examining what we’ve learned about the shooting and ourselves in the past year. There’s an emotional profile of the subjects of the night’s most powerful photographs—including the iconic image showing a Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer hugging hospital workers—and photojournalists share what it was like to cover the shooting and its aftermath. The Morning News also checks in with the families of the fallen officers, who are still struggling to cope. Meanwhile, Dallas police officers will hold a “Weekend of Honor” for the officers who died in the shooting, and on Thursday the police department held a private ceremony for the families of the officers and unveiled a new memorial dedicated to their memory.
Heated Over Health Care
About fifty protesters gathered outside Senator John Cornyn’s office in Austin on Thursday to urge him to vote against the GOP’s proposed health care overhaul, and things apparently turned pretty rowdy. Seven protesters were arrested for blocking the sidewalk, including District 21 congressional candidate Derrick Crowe, who is a Democrat, according to the Austin American-Statesman. About a dozen different organizations took part in the protest, chanting “Vote ‘no’, have a spine! Your job is on the line,” as they marched on the sidewalk, according to KVUE. Cornyn has been one of the more active supporters of the GOP’s new health care plan, which would basically scrap the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act. Last month, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the GOP’s proposed plan would leave 22 million people without health insurance by 2026. Cornyn’s Senate colleague, Ted Cruz, has said he opposed the bill as-is, preferring a plan that would more completely eradicate Obamacare. During his trip to McAllen on July 4, Cruz also caught flack from protesters.
Warren Buffett announced on Thursday that his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has a deal to purchase Dallas-based energy giant Oncor, the Wall Street Journal first reported. Oncor is one of the biggest power transmission companies in the country and the biggest in Texas, serving more than ten million people across the state. According to the Dallas Morning News, the deal has to be okayed by a bankruptcy judge and must go through a lengthy process to be approved by the Texas Public Utility Commission. Although Texas regulators nixed two previous attempts to purchase the company, it looks like both sides in this deal have enough support to get it done. Oncor’s been in rough shape since its parent company, Energy Future Holdings, filed for bankruptcy in 2014. But the energy company is still relatively stable and has retained its unofficial title as the “crown jewel of Texas utilities,” according to the Morning News.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
More trouble at the embattled Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Texas Tribune
Officials say it’s no big deal that rape kits at an Austin Police storage unit are covered in mold Austin American-Statesman
An FBI bribery sting snared two West Texas politicians Big Bend Sentinel
Baylor settled one of the Title IX lawsuits filed against it by a sexual assault victim Waco Tribune
Some local leaders are too scared of the state to join the lawsuit against SB 4 El Paso Times