Vol 33, Issue 13 Print Issue

Republican presidential candidate Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker visits with supporters at the Highland Park Soda Fountain in Dallas, Texas on September 2, 2015. (Cooper Neill for the Texas Tribune)
Republican presidential candidate Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker visits with supporters at the Highland Park Soda Fountain in Dallas, Texas on September 2, 2015. (Cooper Neill for the Texas Tribune)

Ahead of Wisconsin Primary, Gov. Scott Walker Cuts Ad for Cruz

Also, Ted Cruz says charge against Trump campaign manager clarifies "what the Trump campaign is all about," and the Supreme Court is asked to stop Texas from enforcing voter ID law.

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

Former Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Ted Cruz's opponent in the bitter GOP primary fight in 2012 for the U.S. Senate, chose to endorse Cruz for president last Friday.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday endorsed Cruz for president, lending his support to a former Republican presidential rival a week before his state's primary.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry may have stumped for Cruz for president, but there's no record he voted in this year's Republican primary in Texas. Perry's former campaign manager insisted that Perry filled out the ballot and mailed it in. His failure to vote in this year's Texas primary could lead to more speculation that he is interested in running as an independent candidate for president.

State lawmakers are considering whether to tighten eminent domain laws to help landowners battling pipeline companies, electric utilities, public agencies or other entities seeking to condemn land their land for public use. The discussion comes as property rights skirmishes persist across Texas, including Big Bend-area landowners’ long-shot effort to thwart the Trans-Pecos natural gas pipeline through the largely untouched region.

Texas lags most other states in preparing high schoolers for college and needs to update its readiness standards, Higher Education Coordinating Board Commissioner Raymund Paredes told state senators at a hearing on Tuesday.

Texas Tech University plans to ban guns in its recreation center, chapel and some dorms but won't prevent students with concealed handgun licenses from carrying in classrooms, according to an operating policy issued Tuesday.

A federal appeals court on Wednesday stayed the execution of a Dallas accountant who shot and killed his two daughters in 2001. John Battaglia's lawyers argue he is not mentally competent enough to be put to death.

Records related to the mental health of state Rep. Susan King, R-Abilene, will remain sealed at least until Nov. 21, punting a potentially thorny issue for the Texas Senate candidate until after the election. King is facing Austin ophthalmologist Dawn Buckingham in a May 24 runoff for the GOP nomination to succeed Horseshoe Bay Republican Troy Fraser.

Texas women will be able to obtain medical abortions later into their pregnancies under newly approved changes by the federal Food and Drug Administration. New rules will increase the number of days women can take medication to induce abortions from 49 days of gestation to 70 days. Doctors in many states already followed common, evidence-based protocols that strayed from the FDA’s previous label for the drug, but Texas doctors were prohibited from doing so by state law.

The national union that represents more than 16,000 agents of the United States Border Patrol issued its first-ever endorsement of a presidential candidate on Wednesday by throwing its support behind Republican Donald Trump.

State insurance regulators would need a big infusion of cash to handle injured worker fraud investigations if the Texas Legislature puts an end to the controversial funding deal between Travis County and the largest provider of workers’ compensation insurance, officials said Wednesday. Testifying before the committee at the Capitol Wednesday, state regulators said a fix would also require financial help from state lawmakers.

If Texas decided to pay off construction debt on nearly all of its toll roads tomorrow, the price tag would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 billion, according to a preliminary report. While the department is required to produce a plan for completely removing tolls, House Transportation Chairman Joe Pickett said his emphasis was on explaining what eliminating these tolls would actually look like for Texas.

Bernie Tiede — who in 1996 killed his elderly companion, Marjorie Nugent, and inspired a Richard Linklater dark comedy — could learn in just a few weeks whether he'll remain free, return to a life sentence or land somewhere in between.

State Rep. John Zerwas, the chairman of the Texas House of Representatives' Higher Education Committee said Thursday that he "would not have any concern" if the Top 10 Percent Rule governing college admissions in the state were eliminated. He stopped short of calling for a full repeal of the law but said the Legislature should at least consider tweaking it in the near future.

Disclosure: Texas Tech University is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. Richard Linklater is a major donor to The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Texas Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Political People and their Moves

Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday named six to the State Board of Dental Examiners. Diane Garza of Brownsville was named to a term to expire Feb. 1, 2017; Bryan Henderson II of Dallas, Jorge Quirch of Missouri City and Rich Villa of Austin were named to terms to expire Feb. 1, 2021. He reappointed Renee Cornett of Austin and David Tillman of Aledo to terms to expire Feb. 1, 2021. He also named Steve Austin of Amarillo the new chairman of the board.

Abbott made seven appointments this week to the Statewide Health Coordinating Council (SHCC): Larry Safir of McAllen for a term to expire Aug. 1, 2017; Salil Deshpande of Houston for a term to expire Aug. 1, 2019; and Carol Boswell of Andrews, Melinda Rodriguez of San Antonio, Courtney Sherman of Fort Worth, Shaukat Zakaria of Houston, and Yasser Zeid of Longview for terms to expire Aug. 1, 2021. In addition, Ayeez Lalji of Sugar Land was appointed as the council’s presiding officer.

Abbott named 15 women this week to the Governor’s Commission for Women: Estela AveryTina Yturria BufordJennifer ChiangStarr CorbinAlejandra De la Vega-FosterDebbie GustafsonKaren HarrisAmy HendersonNancy Ann HuntKaren ManningImelda NavarroRienke Radler, Jinous Rouhani, Catherine Susser, and Laura Koenig Young. Susser and De la Vega-Foster were named commission chairwoman and vice chairwoman, respectively.

Arun Agarwal of Dallas was named to the Product Development and Small Business Incubator Board by Abbott for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2019.

The Texas Oil and Gas Association’s PAC announced its support Monday for former state Rep. Wayne Christian in his runoff for a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission. The PAC also endorsed the following Republicans in their respective runoff contests: Bryan Hughes (SD-1), Ernest Bailes (HD-18), Justin Holland (HD-33), state Rep. Doug Miller (HD-73) and state Rep. Wayne Smith (HD-128).

GOP SD-24 runoff candidate Susan King announced Monday an endorsement from the political arm of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians.

Republican Party of Texas Chairman Tom Mechler announced Monday that he’s been endorsed for re-election by the Williamson County Republican Leaders club.

Jared Woodfill, who is challenging Mechler for the chairmanship of the RPT, announced endorsements from JoAnn Fleming, executive director of the Tyler-based conservative group Grassroots America; state Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano; and Jeff Judson, the former State Republican Executive Committee member who challenged Speaker Joe Straus in this year’s primaries.

The Constitutional Restoration of State Sovereignty PAC, the organization founded last summer by state Rep. Cecil Bell Jr., now has an official spokesman. The new face of the organization is Bell’s House colleague, Mark Keough, a freshman GOP lawmaker from The Woodlands.

Gray Mayes, currently director of public affairs for Texas Instruments, is joining the board of directors of the Texas Institute for Education Reform. Other notable names on the board of the education advocacy group include former Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams, former state Comptroller Susan Combs, and former U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige.

Si Cook has been selected to succeed Vernie Glasson III as executive director of the Texas Farm Bureau. He assumes his new role May 26.

The Ridesharing Works for Austin PAC announced on Thursday the hire of several activists with ties to the local Democratic community, bringing on former Texas Democratic Party staffer Joe Bowen as outreach director and Huey Rey Fischer, who ran this year for the open HD-49 seat, as deputy outreach director. The PAC also hired three local political operatives — Patrick McDonald, Jovita Pardo and Pedro Villalobos — to handle other facets of the campaign’s community outreach efforts.

Attorney Gregory M. Bopp has been elected managing partner for Houston law firm Bracewell LLP. Bopp takes over July 1 for Mark Evans, who is taking over as co-chairman for the firm along with Patrick Oxford.

Deaths: Joe D. Gunn, 85, president of the Texas AFL-CIO from 1989-2003 and labor representative to the Texas Employment Commission under Gov. Dolph Briscoe.

Disclosure: Texas Farm Bureau is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. Texas Instruments was a corporate sponsor in 2012 and 2014 of The Texas Tribune. Bracewell & Giuliani LLP was a corporate sponsor in 2012 of The Texas Tribune. Patrick Oxford is a major donor to The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Texas Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.