Week of July 23-29, 2018

Mental health experts inform school violence & security panel

AUSTIN — Psychological prevention and treatment for students is the best way to head off school violence, mental health professionals told a panel of state lawmakers on July 18.

This was the third in a series of interim hearings for the Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools & School Security, a panel named by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in response to the shooting at Santa Fe High School in May. 

Dr. Andy Keller, president of the Meadows Foundation in Dallas, told panel members:

Week of July 16-22, 2018

Governor welcomes establishment of Futures Command in Austin
AUSTIN — The U.S. Army on July 12 announced its new Futures Command would be headquartered in Austin “to better partner with academia, industry and innovators in the private sector, while providing a good and affordable quality of life for Futures Command personnel.”

Week of July 9-15, 2018

Paxton sends letters to cities that passed bag ban ordinances 
AUSTIN — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on July 2 notified 11 Texas cities that their ordinances against plastic shopping bags had been knocked down by the Texas Supreme Court.
Paxton said he issued letters to the cities of Austin, Sunset Valley, Port Aransas, Laguna Vista, Fort Stockton, Eagle Pass, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, Kermit, Freer and South Padre Island “to ensure awareness of the recent ruling and waste management responsibilities Texas law places on municipalities.”

Pre-Fourth of July holiday EARLY DELIVERY, State Capital Highlights, week of July 2-8, 2018

U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Texas redistricting maps
AUSTIN — The United States Supreme Court voted 5-4 on June 25 to approve 10 of 11 disputed Texas House and congressional redistricting maps used in the state’s 2014 and 2016 elections.
The court ruled that only Texas House District 90 in Fort Worth was gerrymandered along racial lines and therefore must be redrawn.

Week of June 25-July 1, 2018

Parents, children separated at border gain widespread attention

AUSTIN — Although border-crossing issues are largely federal matters, the Lone Star State has been a center of news reports about authorities separating children from their parents at detention centers along the Rio Grande.

President Trump on June 20 ordered a cease in the forced separation of family members who are in detention, but the fate of more than 2,000 minors who were taken away from their parents remained unresolved.

Week of June 18-24, 2018

Senate panel conducts hearings on school violence, safety
AUSTIN — A panel of Texas Senate members on June 11 and 12 received input about ways to improve security on public school campuses.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, formed the legislative body’s Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Safety following the May shooting at Santa Fe High School in which a student shot and killed 10 people and injured 10 others.

Week of June 11-17, 2018

Top officials join in briefing about hurricane preparedness
AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on June 6 joined President Donald Trump, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, FEMA Administrator Brock Long, White House cabinet members and governors from across the country for a video teleconference briefing on hurricane preparedness. 

Week of June 4-10, 2018

Governor offers safety plan designed to prevent shootings at schools
AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on May 30 joined state and local leaders in Dallas and San Marcos to unveil his School and Firearm Safety Action Plan. 
The governor’s plan came 12 days after the Santa Fe High School shooting in which 10 people were killed and 10 people were injured. It contains 40 recommendations, including proposals that call for:
— Increasing law enforcement presence at schools;
— Strengthening existing campus security programs;
— Enhancing firearm safety; 

EARLY DELIVERY, week of May 28 - June, 2018

Valdez wins race to face Abbott in November gubernatorial election
AUSTIN — Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez defeated Houston businessman Andrew White, the son of the late former governor, Mark White, in the May 22 Texas Democratic Party primary runoff. 
Valdez, the first Latina to win a gubernatorial primary in Texas, will run against incumbent Republican Governor Greg Abbott, who is seeking a second four-year term, in the November 6 general election.

Week of May 21-27, 2018

Governor speaks about issues related to shooting at high school
AUSTIN — Local, state and federal law enforcement on May 18 responded to a shooting that left 10 people dead and 10 others injured at Santa Fe High School near Galveston.
One of the school’s 1,400 students was taken into custody, authorities said. 
Gov. Greg Abbott ordered flags to half-staff until May 22 in memory of those who lost their lives in what he called “probably the worst disaster to strike this community.”