Vol 33, Issue 37 Print Issue

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

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State Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, is resigning in January, a decision she said is a result of health issues related to a 2013 car accident and concerns over caring for her 9-year-old daughter. Her name will still be on the November ballot, and if she wins, Gov. Greg Abbott could call a special election to fill her vacant seat.

Walnut Springs Elementary School's decision to allow a transgender student, born a boy, to use girls' bathrooms sparked contentious debate during a Monday night meeting of the Dripping Springs ISD school board.

After more than two decades of effort by lawmakers to install a monument at the Capitol celebrating African-Americans, the main components of a bronze and granite memorial were quietly lowered onto the south lawn on Tuesday.

Former Gov. Rick Perry was eliminated from the ABC program “Dancing with the Stars” on Tuesday night. The loss came at the hand of another Texan, Vanilla Ice. On Monday night, the two were pitted against each other ahead of Tuesday's elimination round with Ice winning immunity in a tiebreaker.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw told state lawmakers Wednesday that the $800 million border surge has made two counties safer. But he conceded that the rest of the border is more vulnerable.

Texas House budget and public education leaders said Wednesday that the best way to overhaul the state’s school finance system is to increase the base amount of money it gives to each district per student.

University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall has filed an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court to get access to confidential student records that UT System Chancellor Bill McRaven has denied him.

Disclosure: The University of Texas System 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 on Wednesday endorsed Wayne Christian, the Republican nominee for railroad commissioner. Christian, a former House member, is also being backed for the position by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick and Comptroller Glenn Hegar.

Republican HD-126 candidate Kevin Roberts announced Tuesday that he’s received the endorsement of the political arm of the Associated Builders & Contractors of Greater Houston. Roberts is running to succeed state Rep. Patricia Harless, R-Spring, who opted against a run for re-election to the Harris County House seat.

The political arm of Texans for Lawsuit Reform announced on Wednesday that it has endorsed Republican candidate Dawn Buckingham for SD-24. She is facing off against Democratic candidate Jennie Lou Leeder for the right to represent the Senate seat being vacated by Horseshoe Bay Republican Troy Fraser.

Republican Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson announced an endorsement Friday of her re-election bid by the Association of Women Attorneys. And she racked up another endorsement this week from state Rep. Sarah Davis, R-West University Place. Anderson is being challenged in the fall general election by Democratic candidate Kim Ogg.

The Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) announced on Wednesday its slate of officers for the 2016-17 term. They are: President, Charles Stafford (Denton ISD); President-elect, Teresa Flores (Ingleside ISD); First vice president, James “Jim” de Garavilla (Silsbee ISD); Second vice president, Lee Lentz-Edwards (Kermit ISD); and Secretary-treasurer, Jim Rice (Fort Bend ISD). Officers were elected at TASB’s recent annual convention in Houston.

The State Agency Council to the Governor’s Commission for Women honored four women earlier this month with its 2016 Outstanding Women in Texas Government Awards. The honorees were: Outstanding Professional Development, Sandra Woodruff, Comptroller’s Office; Outstanding Management, Shannon Blalock, Texas Parks and Wildlife; Outstanding Leadership, Christine Maldonado, Health & Human Services Commission – Office of Inspector General; and Outstanding Community Involvement, Susan Dorsey, General Land Office.

Disclosure: The Texas Association of School Boards, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, the Texas Parks And Wildlife Department, the Texas General Land Office and Patricia and Sam Harless have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.