Vol 33, Issue 17 Print Issue

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

An Austin judge temporarily blocked the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services from issuing a child-care license to an immigration detention center in Karnes City on Wednesday.

For the first time since his own presidency, George H.W. Bush is planning to stay silent in the race for the Oval Office — and the younger former president Bush plans to stay silent as well.

A new poll shows most Texans believe state leaders should draw up a plan to shift from coal-fired power to natural gas and renewables — even if the state defeats the Obama administration in a high-profile court battle.

For the past year, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has used taxpayer-funded security teams and drivers to travel at least twice and as many as four times a month to North Texas where he has a home and businesses, according to records obtained by The Texas Tribune.

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz ended his campaign for the presidency after suffering a devastating loss to frontrunner Donald Trump in the Indiana primary.

A New Orleans-based appeals court says the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's restrictions on beard lengths and religious head garments for inmates violate federal law.

Charles Smith, a longtime ally of Gov. Greg Abbott, will be the next executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the governor announced Tuesday.

Both this Saturday and then two weeks later, voters in San Antonio and Houston will weigh in on the future of their representation in the Texas House. The convoluted scrambles happening in District 120 in east San Antonio and District 139 in northwest Houston began after two longtime Democratic representatives stepped down before their terms were over.

A Sikh advocacy group wants criminal charges to be filed against three people who restrained two fellow Greyhound bus passengers in Amarillo and called 911 to report them as terrorists.

The Texas A&M University System on Monday announced plans to renovate an old satellite campus to develop new research opportunities and teach as many as 10,000 new students who were "not admitted" into the university. A system spokesman said details are still being conceived, but the students would likely enroll in another university — like one of the 10 others in the A&M System — and take their courses near the flagship.

The Obama administration has agreed to temporarily keep some federal money flowing into Texas to help hospitals treat uninsured patients, despite the state's refusal to offer health coverage to low-income adults.

Energy Future Holdings, Texas’ largest power company, is going back to the drawing board in its efforts to emerge from one of the largest corporate bankruptcies in American history. The filing comes as the initial plan’s controversial centerpiece — a roughly $18 billion sale of its subsidiary Oncor to an investor group led by the Dallas-based Ray L. Hunt family — faces major stumbling blocks.

Disclosure: Texas A&M University, the Texas A&M University System, Oncor and Energy Future Holdings have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Political People and their Moves

Gov. Greg Abbott has appointed James Hicks of Abilene to serve as criminal district attorney for Taylor County until the November general election. Hicks is the GOP nominee for the post, which is open after the James Eidson stepped down after 28 years in order to run for district judge.

Abbott has named Roger Cox of Amarillo to the post of Canadian River Compact Commissioner for a term to expire Dec. 31, 2021, and has named S. David Deanda Jr. of Mission to be presiding officer of the Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2018.

Republican Party of Texas Chairman Tom Mechler has added another lawmaker to his re-election endorsement list: U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bryan.

Rick Figueroa, who is running for the post of Republican National Committeeman, has received an endorsement of his candidacy from the Hispanic Republicans of Texas.

SD-24 runoff candidate Dawn Buckingham collected endorsements this week from Bedford state Rep. Jonathan Stickland and three Brown County Commissioners — Gary Worley, Wayne Shaw and Larry Traweek.

In other SD-24 runoff endorsement news, the political arm of the Texas State Rifle Association noted over the weekend that it has given its endorsement to Susan King in the race.

The political arm of Texans for Lawsuit Reform said on Monday that it has endorsed Ernest Bailes in the GOP House district runoff election to find a successor to John Otto, the outgoing Appropriations chairman, to represent HD-18.

Annie’s List, which has its mission statement electing more progressive women, has endorsed Gina Hinojosa, the Democratic nominee to represent the open HD-49 seat based in Austin. She does not have a Republican challenger in the fall.

Dallas surgeon Don Read was installed as president of the Texas Medical Association at the medical society’s annual conference held last week. TMA also installed as president-elect Edinburg gastroenterologist Carlos Cardenas, who’s perhaps better known in the Capitol as the chairman at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance.

Austin environmental attorney Kinnan Golemon has been included in an oral history project created by the Environmental Law Institute to spotlight 24 pioneers in the field of environmental law.

Eminent domain law firm Barron & Adler LLP announced that it has named Christopher Clough and Christopher Oddo as managing partners. To reflect their new leadership positions, the firm is changing its name to Barron, Adler, Clough & Oddo.

DeathsKen Towery, 93, who, among other things, was a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, an aide to Texas Sen. John Tower, chairman of the board for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Texas campaign manager for Richard Nixon’s 1968 presidential campaign and deputy press secretary for Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign. Funeral services are pending with Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Homes.

Disclosure: The Texas Medical Association, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and Kinnan Golemon have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.