Vol 33, Issue 28 Print Issue

The University of Texas System’s Houston Advisory Task Force, Carin Barth, left, and Paul Hobby, right, during a press conference in Houston Monday, June 13, 2016 reguarding plans for the 300 acres it has purchased in southwest Houston.
The University of Texas System’s Houston Advisory Task Force, Carin Barth, left, and Paul Hobby, right, during a press conference in Houston Monday, June 13, 2016 reguarding plans for the 300 acres it has purchased in southwest Houston.

Paul Hobby Wants Off Ethics Commission

Also, former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller has left the company behind the Texas Clean Energy Project, the "clean coal" power plant projected to be built in West Texas.

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

Lots of news came out of Cleveland this week with the Republican National Convention underway. In Texas delegation news, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s failure to endorse Donald Trump in his Wednesday speech was met with thundering boos; the junior senator then faced a livid — and yet admiring — Texas delegation on Thursday morning. Earlier in the week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton officially endorsed Trump.

Bill Voss said he is prepared to sue the Texas Department of Transportation over the agency's handling of proposed routes for a toll road that would cut across his land in Grimes County. Several frustrated neighbors may join him.

The Fort Worth Independent School District issued new guidelines on Wednesday for accommodating transgender students, pleasing Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The strained relationship between the state’s higher and public education leaders were on full display Wednesday as Texas Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes told the State Board of Education it isn't doing enough to prepare students for college.

Texas’ voter identification law violates the U.S. law prohibiting racial discrimination in elections, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

Donald Trump Jr. is coming to Texas next week to raise money for his dad fresh off the GOP national convention.

U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro looks to be off the hook with the White House after the U.S. Office of Special Counsel found that Castro violated a law prohibiting federal employees from engaging in partisan politics on the job.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Tuesday he supports having the U.S. attorney general investigate the Black Lives Matter movement, which seeks to bring attention to police shootings of African Americans.

Political People and their Moves

The Health and Human Services Commission announced a handful of changes in its leadership team last Friday. Enrique Marquez, HHSC's current director of communications, will serve as director of external relations; Karin Hill as director of internal audit; Chris Adams as deputy executive commissioner for system support services; David Kostroun as deputy executive commissioner for policy and performance; and Bryan Black as director of communications.

State Rep. Helen Giddings, a Dallas Democrat, has been elected to serve as chair of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus during the 85th Legislative session. The remaining officers chosen to lead the caucus next session are: Nicole Collier (1st vice chair), Eric Johnson (2nd vice chair), Toni Rose (secretary), Alma Allen (treasurer), Joe Deshotel (parliamentarian) and Harold Dutton (general counsel).

The Houston law firm of Beirne, Maynard & Parsons is shutting its doors with many of its attorneys migrating to Akerman, a Florida-based firm that is launching a major expansion of operations in Texas. Among those moving to Akerman are former state Rep. Joe Nixon and Trey Trainor, who have represented several prominent conservative politicians and activists in some high-profile election and redistricting cases.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been announced as a keynote speaker at next week’s American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Annual Meeting alongside newly minted vice presidential selection Mike Pence. ALEC is an annual gathering of state legislators and business leaders aimed at sharing model legislation that pushes free market and limited government positions. Many Texas legislators attend the gathering, which is being held this year in Indianapolis, Indiana, on July 27-29.

Deaths: Jim Nugent, 94, Democratic lawmaker who served Kerrville in the Texas House from 1961 to 1979. He resigned his seat after being elected to the Railroad Commission, a position he held until 1995 after he was narrowly defeated for re-election by the Republican Charles R. Matthews. A graveside service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.