Vol 33, Issue 32 Print Issue

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

The controversial chairman of the Travis County Republican Party has given up his post by running for president as a write-in candidate, Texas GOP officials said Thursday.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, speaking Tuesday in Austin, assailed Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as unfit for public office in the wake of new reports about ties to her family foundation while serving as U.S. secretary of state.

While in Austin on Tuesday, Trump also said he is open to a "softening" in laws dealing with people who are in the country illegally, offering a pivot away from the hardline immigration views he espoused throughout the primaries.

Cocks Not Glocks, a UT-Austin group formed in response to legislation allowing concealed handguns on college campuses, passed out thousands of multicolored sex toys Tuesday evening in preparation for a Wednesday protest rally.

The Texas Education Agency is slapping the New Jersey-based company that administers the state's controversial STAAR tests with a $20.7 million fine over widespread technical issues.

Ramping up its fight over the rights of transgender people, Texas filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the federal government over a regulation prohibiting discrimination against transgender individuals in some health programs.

Federal regulators believe “there is a significant possibility” that a recent surge in North Texas earthquakes is linked to oil and gas activity, according to an evaluation done by the EPA.

A federal judge in Fort Worth blocked on Monday Obama administration guidelines directing the nation’s public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and other facilities that align with their gender identity.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin 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 named Dawn Allison of El Campo to serve as the district attorney for the 329th Judicial District in Wharton County. The appointment runs through the November general election.

Abbott named Pam Guenther of Edna to serve as Jackson County Criminal District Attorney through the November general election.

Abbott appointed Brett Graham of Denison to the board of the Department of Motor Vehicles for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2017. He additionally named Kate Hardy of Trophy Club and Gary Painter of Midland to terms to expire Feb. 1, 2021. In separate action, Abbott named Raymond Palacios Jr. of El Paso to be board chairman.

Abbott named Vince E. Puente Sr. of Fort Worth to the Finance Commission of Texas for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2018.

Abbott named Ronald J. "Ron" Hermes of Seguin and reappointed Thomas O. “Tommy” Mathews II of Boerne and Dennis Patillo of Victoria for terms to expire Feb. 1, 2021, to the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority Board of Directors.

Alicia B. Harvey-Smith has been named the next executive vice chancellor at Lone Star College. She is due to start her new job in October. She comes to Texas from River Valley Community College in New Hampshire where she is the college’s president. In addition, she serves on the executive board of the American Association of Community Colleges.

Deaths: Nelda Laney, 73, wife of former Texas House Speaker Pete Laney, died on Wednesday. During her husband’s five-term tenure as Speaker, Nelda Laney became well-known in her own right for her restoration efforts at the Capitol and for the creation of the Capitol Christmas ornament program. A visitation is set for 5 p.m. on Friday at Venue on Broadway in Lubbock with services scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday at First United Methodist Church in Lubbock. She will be buried Tuesday at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.

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