Vol 31, Issue 26 Print Issue

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

Texas Democrats met in Dallas for their state convention where speeches were dominated by attacks on their GOP counterparts and by calls for unity in support of the party's standard bearers in November — Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins made some news at the Democratic convention when he announced his county could house up to 2,000 immigrant children now being held by the Department of Homeland Security on the Texas-Mexico border.

Appearing before a U.S. House field hearing in McAllen on Thursday, Gov. Rick Perry called again for thousands of unaccompanied migrant children to be returned to their respective countries without delay.

A Monday ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding Hobby Lobby's right not to include contraceptive coverage for its employees drew cheers from conservatives as a victory for religious freedom. Critics of the decision called it anti-woman and said it could open the door to more exemptions from requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

State Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, introduced proposed legislation in an interim hearing that would introduce new regulations for the storage of ammonium nitrate, the substance that caused the devastating explosion in West a year ago. The proposed bill drew quick criticism from Republican lawmakers who viewed it as intrusive on businesses and a "power grab."

State and local water planning agencies in Texas were handed a narrow victory by federal judges on Monday, vindicating decisions to supply more water to cities and industries at potential expense of wildlife. At issue was who would be held responsible for the deaths of 23 whooping cranes near San Antonio Bay.

Sen. Robert Duncan officially resigned his seat representing SD-28 on Thursday. He takes over as chancellor of the Texas Tech Unversity System on Monday.

Political People and their Moves

Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison on Tuesday was named president of the Texas Exes, the alumni association of the University of Texas at Austin.

Gov. Rick Perry appointed eight members to the Crime Victims' Institute Advisory Council for terms to expire Jan. 31, 2016. They are Blanca Burciaga of Fort Worth, Victoria Camp of Austin, Dottie Carmichael of College Station, Rodman Goode of Cedar Hill, Henry “Stephen” Porretto of Galveston, Richard Reynolds of Austin, Debbie Unruh of Austin and Mary Anne Wiley of Austin.

Nine members were named by the Supreme Court of Texas to the newly created Judicial Branch Certification Commission. They are Chairman Lee Hamilton of Abilene, Garland (Ben) Woodward of San Angelo, Migdalia Lopez of Brownsville, Sid L. Harle of San Antonio, Polly Spencer of San Antonio, Velma Arellano of Corpus Christi, Don D. Ford of Houston, Mark Blenden of Bedford and Ann Murray Moore of Edinburg.

Steve Head on Tuesday was confirmed as chancellor of the Lone Star College System. He had been chosen as lone finalist for the position on June 10. He succeeds Richard Carpenter, who had previously announced his retirement this summer.

Pam Boehm has been selected as the new president of Hill College. The only internal candidate to be named a finalist, Boehm replaces Sheryl Kappus, who retired earlier this year.

Steve Scheibal is leaving state Sen. Kirk Watson's shop to become associate director of communications at the Dell Medical School at UT-Austin.

Deaths: Angel Z. Fraga, who was a founding member of the Mexican American Bar Association of Houston and the first judge of Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 13.

Disclosure: The University of Texas and Lone Star College are corporate sponsors of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Texas Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.