State Senate Leaders Urge Federal Action on Zika Virus

The Aedes albopictus mosquito.
The Aedes albopictus mosquito.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and state Sens. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, and Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, on Monday upped the urgency on federal policymakers to do something about the Zika virus.

The top Senate Republicans penned a letter asking Texas congressmen and the Obama administration to reach a compromise on a spending bill that would fund Zika prevention efforts, saying the funding was urgent after recent floods. Without federal funding, they said, Texas could face "potentially devastating effects."

Congress is expected to take up a funding bill for Zika prevention this week. The Obama administration in February asked lawmakers to set aside $1.9 billion to combat the mosquito-borne disease, but that's been ensnared in a three-month stalemate as Republicans in the House and Senate have debated spending less.

"We urge you to help ensure a coordinated and robust response by the federal government to combat the spread of Zika," the state lawmakers wrote.


State Sen. Rodney Ellis’ bid to win the seat on the Harris County Commissioners Court that had been held by the late El Franco Lee received a boost this week in the form of a public endorsement from Lee’s widow, Kaye Lee.

Ellis made his plans known that he would like to run for the seat in the fall elections soon after Lee’s death in early January. A caretaker for the seat, Gene Locke, was named soon afterward.

Locke, though, upset those plans for an orderly succession when he announced in April that he had changed his mind and planned to seek the spot on the ballot himself.

Because El Franco Lee died after his name was placed on the March 1 party primary ballot, party precinct chairs will choose later this month someone to replace Lee on the general election ballot.

Noting that the seat now held by Locke is the only Democratic seat left on the Commissioners Court, Kaye Lee tells county precinct chairs in a Tuesday letter that Ellis is “the only candidate who has the durability to win the open election in 2020. Your vote is much more than electing a replacement for an unopposed term … you will determine if we as a party will continue to have a voice and presence on Commissioners Court for years to come.”


Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty, whom the State Bar of Texas recently placed on probation for professional misconduct, is facing pressure from local critics to resign her post.

A group of local officials and business leaders, including state Sen. Charles Schwertner and Judge Bill Gravell, held a press conference on the steps of the Williamson County Courthouse in Georgetown on Wednesday morning and called for Duty's resignation, according to Tom Holloway, Schwertner's chief of staff.

Among other points, critics said she has not been coming to work.

Under the terms of Duty's 18-month probation, she may still practice law. Duty, who recently lost a re-election bid, was not present at the conference, according to Holloway. She could not immediately be reached for comment.


Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton on Friday weighed in on the Sunset Advisory Commission’s recommendations to overhaul his 125-year-old agency — agreeing with some, and disagreeing with others.

In a breakfast hour interview last week with the Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith, Sitton said he backed the legislative body’s call to rename the commission, which has nothing to do with railroads (The Sunset Commission, which periodically reviews state agencies, recommends a change to Texas Energy Resources Commission).

That’s consistent with Sitton’s past calls for such a change, a transparency effort intended to bolster public awareness of the agency’s duties.

Below are Sitton’s responses to some of the sunset commission’s other recommendations (in bold).

Do more to crackdown on rule-breaking operators: Sitton said he believes the agency already has and uses tools — such as the ability to bar companies from further operating in Texas — to discourage bad behavior. But he said he’d welcome any legislative changes that gave the commission more flexibility in assessing penalties. He suggested that industry officials themselves want strict enforcement, so as not to damage the commission’s image in the public eye (“They’re the first people that come to say, Ryan, if they’re bad performers, it’s your job to take them out.)

Change bonding requirements to give the commission more money to attack its growing backlog of abandoned wells: “Yes,” he said. The commission needs more resources.

Transfer the commission’s duties to regulate natural gas utilities to the Public Utility Commission: Sitton disagreed, saying that the agency has more expertise in natural gas pipelines — and more ability to know when a utility should ask for money for upgrades.

Sitton also said that the sunset commission should have called for outmoded agency rules to be updated, such as requirements for flaring natural gas at well sites.

In non-agency-related comments, Sitton, who was a staunch supporter of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz during his presidential run, will vote for presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, who he believes is a better option than the Democrat, Hillary Clinton.

“There’s no question it’s been a struggle,” he said of that decision to throw his support to Trump.

Cruz Pulls Out of Major Speech to Faith and Freedom Group

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz sits by himself in a hotel suite as he prepares for his keynote speech to Republican delegates in Dallas May 14, 2016.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz sits by himself in a hotel suite as he prepares for his keynote speech to Republican delegates in Dallas May 14, 2016.

Ted Cruz has pulled out of what would have been one of his first major speeches since leaving the presidential race.

The U.S. senator from Texas was originally scheduled to address the Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority conference, which is being held over the next few days in Washington, D.C. But a spokesman for the group said Wednesday night Cruz "will not be appearing" at the confab anymore.

The spokesman, Lance Lemmonds, said the group was not provided with a reason for why Cruz is no longer coming to the conference. "Just said he couldn't make it," Lemmonds wrote in an email.

Cruz has kept a relatively low profile since ending his campaign more than a month ago. The only major speech he has delivered since then was on May 14 at the Texas GOP convention in Dallas.


At his press conference this morning at the U.S. Supreme Court, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was asked if he had any regrets about how Gov. Greg Abbott handled the Trump U. investigation in 2010 while he was attorney general.

“That was up to him," Paxton said. "You’d have to ask him. Obviously I wasn't here when that all occurred. He did a great job as attorney general."

Paxton did not elaborate on the issue during the conference, where he was announcing a lawsuit against the state of Delaware for millions of dollars he claims the state owed Texas and 20 other states.


U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land, successfully passed a bill through the House Wednesday to delay the Obama administration's new ozone pollution standards.

In a mostly party line vote, the bill passed 234-177. U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, crossed party lines to back the bill.

The aim of Olson and his allies is to reduce pollution while giving local governments flexibility amid murky guidance from the Environmental Protection Agency. Opponents — mostly Democrats and environmentalists — argue the legislation is an attack on the Clean Air Act and the overall goal of reducing pollution.

“Our nation has worked hard to reduce ozone levels and improve air quality,” Olson said in a statement. “As we continue this progress, we need to give states better tools to meet air quality goals efficiently.”

“As we work to keep this trend moving in the right direction, my bill provides needed flexibility so that states and localities can adequately achieve new, lower standards with time for compliance,” he added. “I’m proud that this common sense bill received bipartisan support in the House and I urge the Senate to act quickly as well.”

The bill still needs Senate passage and would need President Obama’s signature to become law. That trajectory remains unclear at this point.


The Texas Association of Business's board of directors now supports expanding full-day public pre-K programs to all children who qualify for public pre-K already.

In a press release announcing the vote, the TAB said it "wants to ensure that these full-day programs meet the highest quality standards" and suggested that the state education commissioner "be given the authority to set rules to measure the effectiveness of curriculum and professional development."


Gov. Greg Abbott is asking President Obama to declare a "major disaster" in Texas and offer federal assistance to counties affected by flooding that started in late May.

Specifically, Abbott requested that the Obama administration make individual and public assistance and hazard mitigation available to Austin, Brazoria, Brazos, Fort Bend, Grimes, Hidalgo, Hood, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Travis, Waller and Washington counties.

"The last year has taken a terrible toll on the people and the property of this state. Texans are resilient, but few can recover without assistance when disaster after disaster hits in the middle of recovery," Abbott wrote. "Texans will overcome these challenges, but assistance is needed from the federal government."

U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn sent Obama a letter on Thursday endorsing Abbott's request.


Spotted outside the U.S. Capitol Thursday afternoon: Vicente Gonzalez, the Democratic nominee in the open-seat race to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa. Gonzalez is, presumptively, the next Congressman from South Texas, as the Texas 15th Congressional district is strong Democratic territory.

U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, was with him and introduced him to members leaving the Capitol after a vote series. 
As reported in the Blast on Wednesday, Democratic leaders are hosting a fundraiser for Gonzalez. Gonzalez mostly self-funded his campaign amid a competitive primary.

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

Dan Patrick Welcomes GOP Lieutenant Governors to Texas

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick assures the audience at the Freedom, Faith and Fellowship event May 12, 2016 that he will uphold conservative principles as leader of the Texas Senate in 2017.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick assures the audience at the Freedom, Faith and Fellowship event May 12, 2016 that he will uphold conservative principles as leader of the Texas Senate in 2017.

The Republican Lieutenant Governors Association annual conference started Monday in Austin — the first time the event has ever been hosted in Texas.

“I am pleased to welcome the RLGA and Lt. Governors from all across the country," said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in a statement. "It is indeed a special occasion to welcome them to Austin, Texas."

Over two days, the conference attendees were scheduled to hear speeches from U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, former Gov. Rick Perry and Col. Steve McCraw from the Texas Department of Public Safety. The conference will also feature a presentation on the Texas Prison Seminary Programs.


In other Cruz news, the former GOP presidential hopeful is putting some distance between himself and Donald Trump's criticism of a judge over his Mexican heritage.

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has been on a tear against U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, saying he cannot rule fairly in a case against Trump because the judge is Mexican American. Trump's attacks on Curiel have been rebuked by many Republicans, including those who are supporting him for president.

Cruz, who has so far declined to back Trump for the White House, told NBC on Monday afternoon that it is wrong to criticize a judge due to race or ethnicity — but stopped short of directly denouncing Trump for the episode.

"Of course it's inappropriate to be attacking a federal judge's race or ethnicity," Cruz said. "You're going to have ask Donald to explain the reason he says the things he does. I'm not going to try to do so."


National Republicans are ponying up to protect U.S. Rep. Will Hurd this fall. The freshman congressman has a tough re-election rematch against former U.S Rep. Pete Gallego for the sprawling Texas 23rd District.

The House Republican campaign arm reserved $1.4 million in television advertising in the San Antonio media market, along with $100,000 in Odessa

This comes after a Democratic super PAC reserved $850,000 in San Antonio earlier this spring. This is one of the most competitive seats in the country, and more outside spending is expected to come to southwest Texas.


The Texas Railroad Commission is asking Attorney General Ken Paxton to sue the federal Environmental Protection Agency — again.

In a unanimous vote Tuesday, the three-member commission asked the Republican statewide officeholder to challenge the federal agency’s effort to slash methane emissions on oilfields.

“These rules are just another assault from the Obama Administration in its war against fossil fuels and a blatant attempt to forcibly take over the regulation of Texas' oil and gas industry, a job the Railroad Commission has excelled at for almost a century,” Chairman David Porter said in a statement.

His colleagues shared similar statements.

The standards would slash emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas that often leaks from well pads, compressor stations, processing plants and other equipment used in petroleum production. They would have an outsized impact on Texas, the nation’s oil king.

So far, most U.S. efforts to fight climate change have focused on carbon dioxide, which accounts for the vast majority of greenhouse gases emitted in the country.

But methane, the primary component of natural gas, is much better at trapping heat. One pound of methane has more than 20 times the impact on global warming of one pound of carbon dioxide over a 100-year period, scientists estimate.

The EPA and environmental groups contend that the rules, while helping to address climate change, could also save the industry in the long run — allowing operators to keep gas that would otherwise be wasted.

If Paxton grants the oil and gas regulator’s request, it would hardly be a surprise.

Texas has filed 40 lawsuits since President Barack Obama took office in 2009 — nine of them under Paxton.


With Hillary Clinton wrapping up the nomination of her party for president, the head of Texas’ Republican Party is rolling out the welcome mat for Bernie Sanders supporters disaffected by the nomination process.

After dinging Clinton over the ongoing controversy over her use of a private email server while secretary of state, Chairman Tom Mechler offered his critique of how Democrats chose their nominee.

“If anything is for certain, it’s that the primary process of the Democrats is rigged and completely disenfranchises their own voters,” Mechler wrote. “We welcome any and all Democrats to the Republican Party of Texas who feel the same way.”


A group of leading Congressional Democrats is hosting a fundraiser Thursday evening for Vicente Gonzalez, the Democratic nominee to succeed outgoing U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Edinburg.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Whip Steny Hoyer headline the list of hosts for the reception, set to happen a few blocks away from the Capitol. Other names include Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra and DCCC Chair Ben Ray Luján.

Gonzalez won a runoff last month over Juan “Sonny” Palacios Jr. to clinch the nomination. He will face Republican nominee Tim Westley in the general election.

Inside Intelligence: About Those Mounting Attacks on Trump

For this week’s nonscientific survey of insiders in government and politics, we asked about those mounting attacks on presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

The candidate has  been on the receiving end of attacks from his rivals for the nomination but it seemed that in the past few days, the volume of criticism has increased with the reaction to Trump's attacks on the judge hearing the Trump U lawsuits and Hillary Clinton's takedown of Trump's foreign policy bona fides.

So we decided to ask the insiders about the cumulative effects of this latest round of criticism.

A small majority agreed that the new attacks are sticking more than previous attacks with 43 percent disagreeing that the new criticisms have additional sticking power.

Shifting to a specific example — U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela's vulgar instruction to Trump on where he can shove his border wall — nearly half the insiders evaluated the attack as aimed just at riling up the Democratic base. Another 16 percent thought the attack hurts Trump with independent voters. Fully 30 percent said it was too early to tell.

Meanwhile, 70 percent of the insiders thought Trump's comments on the Trump U judge suggesting his Mexican heritage makes it impossible to be impartial while hearing the case makes it more difficult for Republicans who haven't endorsed Trump to do so now. Another 22 percent disagreed.

Finally, we asked the possibility of Republican leaders holding an intervention with Trump to get him to tone down his rhetoric. On that one, 80 percent said the leaders would try to intervene but the attempt would not be successful. Just 12 percent thought GOP leaders would have success in persuading Trump to cool it.

We collected comments along the way, and a full set of those is attached. Here’s a sampling:


Are attacks on Donald Trump like those recently from Hillary Clinton or Filemon Vela sticking more than attacks from Trump's rivals a year ago?

• "Yes, fewer attackers means there's a greater chance today's attacking voice will actually be heard. Before, the airwaves were cluttered so to speak, whereas today that's not the case."

• "The full weight of the Democratic party and Latino leaders will be different from the GOP fights. And Republicans will be caught in the crossfire trying to support the party nominee vs. leading the party to 2017 and beyond."

• "The Trump supporters don't care or actually like it, and the Trump opponents already oppose him."

• "No. Trump is self-destructing. The attacks are barely relevant, especially crude comments such as those of Vela."

• "The larger general election audience might not be as charmed by racist xenophobic authoritarian rants as the 40 percent of Republican primary voters who supported Mr. Trump were."


Does Vela's open letter to Trump serve just to make Democrats happy or is there a larger effect here?

• "Not only does it rile up Democrats, but it amps up the Trumpkins, too. They love it when someone attacks their beloved."

• "It adds zero to the debate other than lowering our side to Trump's level."

• "One thing we should have all learned over the past few months is that with Trump, everything is different. There is simply no way to predict at this point just how he will ultimately deal with this matter. Certainly, at first blush, his recent shenanigans would give the appearance of adding another arrow to the quiver of those who want to paint him as, at best, unpresidential, and at worst, a raving lunatic. Time will tell."

• "It does neither. It perhaps raises Vela's profile when he goes dialing for campaign donations. Right now, practically nobody in this country knows who Vela is and of those who do know him, a large majority don't care what he has to say, since they're busy trying to manage their own lives."

• "I did not even know who Vela was until he said this. Now I know him as the TMF of the Texas congressional delegation. Just another blowhard trying to impress his donut shop buddies."


Do the attacks on the judge in the Trump U case and subsequent criticism of Trump make it more difficult for GOP holdouts like Ted Cruz to endorse Trump?

• "Here's the deal: it's not the only thing. It's one of many, many things that make it more difficult for holdouts like Cruz to endorse Trump."

• "Who knows if Trump really intended to destroy the two-party system. Ironically, those who withhold endorsement of Trump are proving that for some, principle and decency is more important than 'party unity.'"

• "Especially for Cruz and Rubio due to their ethnicity — what is more interesting is Paul Ryan and his obvious reservations."

• "I don't know about GOP holdouts 'like Ted Cruz.' However, it makes it more difficult for some GOP holdouts to endorse Trump — just not sure about Ted Cruz."

• "The only thing affecting Ted Cruz's decision to endorse Trump is Ted Cruz's personal ambition. Oh, and that Trump accused Sen. Cruz's dad of murdering JFK."


Will Republicans leaders end up intervening with Trump in an attempt to persuade him to tone down his rhetoric?

• "His boisterous comments and braggadocio make Muhammad Ali look like a church mouse. You can't shut The Donald up!"

• "Trump does what Trump wants; it's the sound bite the media wants and Trump knows how to bite down hard and not let go. People are enjoying the sideshow of presidential politics, Trump's demeanor against those that don't toe the Trump line, and his attitude about anyone and everyone in politics is what drives viewers to news cycles and media clips."

• "GOP leaders are already intervening, publicly and privately. But it's a long campaign, and it seems unlikely that Trump can control himself into November."

• "The internal polls are what drives Trump to say what he does. He's reaching those who've never had a dog in the fight before."

• "Definitely 'yes.' I think partially successfully, which was not a choice so I chose 'successfully.' He won't need much intervention if his rhetoric begins to hurt him with the general population. He's a psychopath, not stupid."

Our thanks to this week's participants: Gene Acuna, Clyde Alexander, Jay Arnold, Charles Bailey, Dave Beckwith, Allen Blakemore, Tom Blanton, Chris Britton, Raif Calvert, Lydia Camarillo, Kerry Cammack, Marc Campos, Snapper Carr, Elna Christopher, Harold Cook, Kevin Cooper, Randy Cubriel, Beth Cubriel, Curtis Culwell, Denise Davis, June Deadrick, Nora Del Bosque, Glenn Deshields, Tom Duffy, David Dunn, Richard Dyer, Jon Fisher, Dominic Giarratani, Bruce Gibson, Stephanie Gibson, Eric Glenn, Kinnan Golemon, Daniel Gonzalez, Clint Hackney, Wayne Hamilton, Bill Hammond, Steve Holzheauser, Kathy Hutto, Deborah Ingersoll, Jason Johnson, Mark Jones, Robert Kepple, Richard Khouri, Tom Kleinworth, Sandy Kress, Dale Laine, Pete Laney, Dick Lavine, James LeBas, Luke Legate, Myra Leo, Ruben Longoria, Vilma Luna, Matt Mackowiak, Steve Minick, Mike Moses, Todd Olsen, Gardner Pate, Robert Peeler, Jerry Philips, Tom Phillips, Wayne Pierce, Allen Place, Gary Polland, Ted Melina Raab, Karen Reagan, Patrick Reinhart, David Reynolds, Carl Richie, A.J. Rodriguez, Grant Ruckel, Tyler Ruud, Jason Sabo, Andy Sansom, Barbara Schlief, Stan Schlueter, Robert Scott, Ben Sebree, Christopher Shields, Jason Skaggs, Ed Small, Larry Soward, Leonard Spearman, Dennis Speight, Colin Strother, Sherry Sylvester, Jay Thompson, Trey Trainor, Vicki Truitt, Corbin Van Arsdale, Ware Wendell, David White, Darren Whitehurst, Seth Winick, Angelo Zottarelli.

The Calendar

Saturday, June 11

  • ¡Adelante Dallas! A Celebration of Progress, honoring Latino Center for Leadership Development Academy Fellows who pursued elected office — Claudia Sandoval, Jaime Resendez, Monica Lira Bravo and Victoria Neave; Taboo Lounge Dallas, 1418 N. Riverfront Blvd., Dallas (8 p.m.-12 a.m.)

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

U.S. Rep. Ted Poe took to the House floor on Thursday to denounce the “pathetic” sentencing of Stanford sexual assailant Brock Turner and to demand the removal of the judge who oversaw the case.

Standing on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Thursday morning that his office launched a lawsuit against Delaware over millions of dollars he argued are owed to Texas and 20 other states.

Representatives from Uber and Lyft urged lawmakers to adopt statewide regulations for the ride-hailing industry during a Texas Capitol hearing on Wednesday.

U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, a Bryan Republican, said Wednesday he won't formally endorse his party's nominee, real estate magnate Donald Trump, but he does plan to vote for him.

Donald Trump on Wednesday ruled out picking former rival Rick Perry as his running mate but said there could still be a role for the former Texas governor in a Trump administration.

U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela's colleagues see him as a quiet, hardworking congressman, not a bomb-throwing firebrand. So they're still marveling that the Brownsville Democrat wrote the infamous letter that chapped Donald Trump's ass. Known on Capitol Hill by his nickname “Fil,” he is an enigma and a head scratcher. And with this fiery burst of a letter, the question for many this week was, “What does Fil want?”

The Travis County GOP has voted to limit the power of incoming chairman Robert Morrow, a controversial figure whose surprise election earlier this year shook up local politics in Texas' fifth-largest county.

The Texas-based judge that earlier this year put a hold on President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration decided on Tuesday to also suspend a controversial punishment he had recently issued to the administration’s attorneys.

Slowly but surely, Republican donors in Texas are beginning to come around to the man who bested many of their favorite presidential candidates, including the state's junior senator. Uncertainty still reigns in some corners of the Texas GOP, though — not necessarily whether to back Trump, but how to do it.

Disclosure: Uber and Lyft 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

A top aide to U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, is joining Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Carlos Sanchez, Castro's chief of staff, will serve as Clinton's deputy political director. Sanchez will work under national political director Amanda Renteria to manage the campaign's regional political directors.

Also, a speechwriter for U.S. Housing Secretary Julián Castro is joining Clinton's presidential campaign. Greg Bell, Castro's director of speechwriting, will start working for the Clinton campaign later this month, according to a Clinton aide. Bell will serve as a speechwriter under Clinton's director of speechwriting, Dan Schwerin.

State Rep. César Blanco, D-El Paso, is getting a promotion of sorts. The lawmaker, now the interim director of the Latino Victory Project, is stepping up as the group’s president, Cristobel J. Alex, leaves to join the Clinton presidential campaign.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has hired as a senior adviser Sherry Sylvester, who was for 10 years the public face of tort reform advocacy group Texans for Lawsuit Reform.

Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick has been appointed to the National Petroleum Council for 2016-17. Per an announcement from the oil and gas regulating agency, Craddick will advocate for the states during the making of public policy at the federal level.

Leo Lopez has been named the Texas Education Agency’s new chief school finance officer, a post that will put him in charge of the agency’s state funding division. In a previous stint at TEA, he administered for six years the state’s Foundation School Program. He begins his new duties on June 27. The TEA is also promoting Al McKenzie to director of state funding from manager of the Foundation School Support unit.

Dale Laine, the president and chief operating officer of the Texas Cable Association, is stepping down, effective June 30. After leaving the TCA, Laine said, he plans to continue to work with his clients at Laine Strategy Group and practice government affairs consulting.

Deaths: Karen R. Johnson, 72, who in a long career in public service was, among other things, president and CEO of United Ways of Texas for nearly 13 years, president of Entergy Texas, executive director of the State Bar of Texas and, more recently, a board member of the Texas State History Museum Foundation. A memorial service is scheduled for Monday at 1 p.m. at St. David's Episcopal Church in Austin. A reception will be held afterward at the Austin Club.

Disclosure: The Texas Cable Association, United Ways of Texas, the State Bar of Texas, Sherry Sylvester and Karen Johnson have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Quotes of the Week

Mr. Trump, you’re a racist and you can take your border wall and shove it up your ass.

U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, in an open letter to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee

Donald Trump will peel her skin off in a debate setting.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry during an interview on Fox News about a future debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton

Because I think he’s very good. I think he’s very very good. He’s also very good on the border.

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, saying he'd like former Gov. Rick Perry in his administration "at a high level."

Story is bogus. A few journalists peddling their agenda rather than getting all the facts tank the profession.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in a tweet referring to allegations from others that he gave Donald Trump special treatment when investigating Trump University

Before each term, have the Supreme Court collectively name five potential appointees, and if deadlock arises, draw a name randomly from a 10-gallon Stetson.

Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, floating an alternate way for Texas to fill vacancies on the high court

Those changes are fine with me ... However, I will continue to hold the bully pulpit and continue to hold political criminals of both parties accountable.

Controversial incoming Travis County GOP Chair Robert Morrow on the steps taken by the party this week to limit his power