Capital Highlights

Week of July 11-17, 2016

Governor reacts to downtown Dallas ambush
AUSTIN — A “Black Lives Matter” protest turned tragic when a sniper fired into a crowd estimated at 1,000 people in downtown Dallas at about 9 p.m. on July 7. 
Dozens of shots were fired, reportedly from an assault rifle, leaving five police officers dead and seven police officers and two civilians wounded. Police pursued a suspect identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, a former U.S. Army reservist, and killed him in a parking garage using a robot-propelled explosive device early on July 8.

Week of July 4-10, 2016

Supreme Court strikes down major changes to abortion law
AUSTIN — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 27 struck down parts of the state abortion law that Texas lawmakers revised and passed in 2013.
The law’s provision that physicians providing abortions must have admitting privileges to a nearby hospital and the provision that abortion facilities must meet minimum standards for ambulatory surgical centers are in violation of the Constitution, the court said in a 5-3 ruling.

Week of June 27-July 3, 2016

Supreme Court affirms 5th Circuit in immigration case
AUSTIN — The deadlocked U.S. Supreme Court on June 23 in effect affirmed a judgment that the Obama administration’s use of deferred action in implementing immigration policy violates the United States Constitution.
The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier ruled it was a presidential overreach to implement an immigration policy not approved by Congress. The Supreme Court’s 4-4 tie vote leaves that ruling in effect.

Week of June 20-26, 2016

DPS asks citizens to report suspicious behavior
AUSTIN — In the wake of the widely reported June 12 mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, the Texas Department of Public Safety called on Texans to pay close attention to what’s happening in their own communities.
DPS Director Steven McCraw on June 17 said, “Amid today’s ever-present threat of terrorism and crime, we are reminded that members of the public can be law enforcement’s greatest resource.”

Week of June 13-19, 2016

Governors confer about containing spread of Zika
AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on June 9 participated in a White House-hosted conference call for governors to discuss the Zika virus threat and what to do about it.
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden led the call.
Frieden said no vaccine exists to prevent the Zika virus disease, and the way for individuals to prevent contracting the disease is to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.

Week of June 6-12, 2016

Governor declares state of disaster in long list of counties
AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on June 1 declared a state of disaster in 31 counties that have been hit repeatedly with severe weather and flooding in recent days.
The counties named in the declaration include: Austin, Bandera, Bastrop, Brazoria, Brazos, Burleson, Coleman, Colorado, Erath, Fayette, Fort Bend, Grimes, Hidalgo, Hood, Jasper, Kleberg, Lee, Leon, Liberty, Lubbock, Montgomery, Palo Pinto, Parker, Polk, Robertson, San Jacinto, Tyler, Walker, Waller, Washington and Wharton.

(early delivery) Week of May 30 - June 5, 2016

10 states join Texas AG in lawsuit over school bathrooms
AUSTIN — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on May 25 filed a lawsuit against the heads of the federal Department of Education, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Equal Opportunity Commission and other entities for issuing directives that would require public schools to open up restrooms and locker rooms to both sexes. 

Week of May 23-29, 2016

3 states seek clarity on federal transgender guidelines
AUSTIN — Attorneys General Ken Paxton of Texas, Patrick Morrissey of West Virginia and Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma are seeking clarification of the federal government’s guidelines regarding bathroom access and other issues involving transgender students.

Week of May 16-22, 2016

High court rules school finance method is constitutional
AUSTIN — The current method devised by the Texas Legislature in 2011 to fund public education does not violate the state constitution, the Texas Supreme Court unanimously ruled May 13.

Week of May 9-15, 2016

Cruz ends campaign, Perry endorses Trump for president
AUSTIN — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, suspended his presidential campaign May 3 after losing Indiana’s GOP presidential primary to frontrunner Donald Trump of New York. 
The Indiana loss mathematically eliminated Cruz from achieving the necessary delegate count to gain the nomination at the Republican Party National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 18-21.