Vol 33, Issue 21 Print Issue

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has lost his latest bid for dismissal of state securities fraud charges he faces for business dealings before he took office.

Gov. Greg Abbott and Comptroller Glenn Hegar on Wednesday ordered state agencies to stop paying departing employees by placing them on "emergency leave." Representatives from the attorney general's office and the General Land Office said they will heed the order.

A Travis County judge ruled Wednesday that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services cannot license an immigration detention center as a childcare facility, giving immigrant rights groups a victory in a months-long battle with the state. The case will proceed to a full trial in September. 

Days after he was stripped of his job as Baylor University president over a scandal over how the school handled accusations of sexual assault, Ken Starr said he will also resign as chancellor of the private Baptist school. 

Declaring that "this fight is just beginning," Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Tuesday escalated his battle against guidelines in Texas and across the country that allow students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. He told school districts not to obey the federal directive and said the Legislature would likely take up the issue next year.

Disclosure: The Texas General Land Office has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Political People and their Moves

Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Ronald “Ronnie” Anderson of Mont Belvieu and Gary Renola of Seabrook to the San Jacinto River Authority Board of Directors and reappointed Fred Koetting of The Woodlands. Renola’s term on the board expired Oct. 16, 2017, while the terms for Anderson and Koetting expire Oct. 16, 2021.

Nikki Cobb is leaving the office of state Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, for a spot on the staff of House Speaker Joe Straus where she will serve as senior business and regulatory affairs adviser. Otto, the House’s chief budget writer, announced last year that he would not run for re-election.

Mark Loeffler has been hired as the new communications director for the Texas Department of Agriculture, replacing Lucy Nashed. He previously served as communications director for former General Land Office commissioner Jerry Patterson.

Texas A&M University System regents announced last week the appointment of three interim presidents for a trio of system campuses: Ray M. Keck (Texas A&M University-Commerce), Pablo Arenas (Texas A&M International University) and James Hallmark (West Texas A&M University).

Texas A&M system regents also approved last week a promotion for Laylan Copelin to vice chancellor for marketing and communications. He previously served as the system’s executive director of media relations.

Disclosure: The Texas General Land Office, the Texas A&M University System and Jerry Patterson have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.