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As a deadline nears, struggle between George P. Bush and State Board of Education isn’t letting up Read more: The Gilmer Mirror – As a deadline nears struggle between George P Bush and State Board of Education isn’t letting up

By Shannon Najmabadi

A simmering school-finance battle bubbled back to life Wednesday in separate hearings that brought up Texas’ educational endowment, the largest in the country.

While lawmakers in the Capitol recommended making significant changes to the fund, members of the State Board of Education lamented in their own meeting that the School Land Board has so far stood by a funding decision they announced in Augustand that immediately garnered controversy.

“They need to reconsider now,” state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, said Wednesday night.

At the center of the clash is an unconventional disbursement proposed by the land board, a three-person body headed by Republican Land Commissioner George P. Bush that manages the state’s public school endowment.

In past years, the land board sent money from that endowment to the education board, which earmarks some of the dollars for textbooks, and to the Available School Fund, a stream legislators tap to pay for classroom expenses.

This year, the board opted to pump $600 million directly into the Available School Fund, bypassing the State Board of Education for funding for the first time.

The maneuver, which Bush said would more efficiently help school children, caused immediate upset among education board members. By skirting their board, “instructional materials will be cut by $300 million and property-poor districts, which make up the overwhelming majority of school districts in the state, are going to see a reduction,” said State Board of Education member David Bradley, in an interview.

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National Guard Soldier Charged With Smuggling Mexican Nationals Over Border

By 

Thousands of National Guardsman are deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border to support U.S. Customs and Border Patrol in keeping people out of the United States, but at least one of them is allegedly working overtime to smuggle people in.

  • California National Guard Pfc. Edward Jair Acosta-Avila has been charged with human trafficking as part of a scheme to smuggle several Mexican nationals into the United States, USA Today reported on Thursday.
  • Acosta-Avila was reportedly arrested Saturday with three Mexican nationals in the back of his car who told law enforcement they “made smuggling arrangements and agreed to pay between $6,000 and $7,000 each to [be] smuggled into the United States,” per USA Today.

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Shifting electorate in North Texas led to close call for U.S. Rep. Kenny Marchant of Coppell

WASHINGTON — Last week’s midterm elections showed that the Texas electorate is changing dramatically, and even Republicans who survived found themselves with surprisingly close calls after coasting to reelection for years.

One U.S. representative who saw the ground shift was Kenny Marchant. The Coppell Republican won his eighth term by 3.2 percentage points — about 8,400 votes out of 262,000 cast.

That’s a far cry from his landslide victories in the last three elections: a 61-36 margin in 2012, and 65-32 two years later. Against the same opponent in 2016, Democrat Jan McDowell, Marchant coasted to a 56-39 win.

For this year’s rematch, McDowell raised just $100,000 against the incumbent’s $1.1 million.

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Representative Four Price had announced that he would be running for Texas House Speaker. Rep. Price has since then dropped out.

KAMR Local 4 News’ Angelina Perez spoke with Rep. Price about his decision.

“If I didn’t want to go all the way to a caucus vote which may lead to a lot of uncertainty,” Rep. Price stated, “Would I be willing to position myself behind a candidate who’d put himself in a position to not only unite the party but our entire body?”

In January, Rep. Price will head back to Austin for the 86th legislative session.

Don Huffines gave $150K to ‘dark money’ group, which then attacked his brother’s GOP primary opponent, Angela Paxton

Lauren McGaughy, Texas Government Reporter

DALLAS — Sen. Don Huffines made a six-figure donation to a shadowy nonprofit weeks before it trashed fellow Republican and Senate hopeful Angela Paxton.

Huffines, R-Dallas, gave the American Liberty Network$150,000 in January, the only donation from a politician it received all year, according to ethics filings. Soon after, the group’s Texas chapter sent mailers and made robocalls attacking Paxton and her husband, Attorney General Ken Paxton.

At the time, Angela Paxton was locked in a brutal Republican primary race for the Senate District 8 seat with Huffines’ twin brother, Phillip. Despite these attacks and the $8.4 million that Phillip Huffines spent, Angela Paxton won the party’s nomination with 54.4 percent of the vote.

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Pharmacists ask state for ‘flexibility’ on pain pill program deadline

By: Wes Rapaport

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Pharmacists are asking Texas lawmakers for an extension on the deadline to implement the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program. The program helps medication prescribers and pharmacists track patients’ controlled substance history.

Those pharmacists and prescribers will be required to integrate into the Prescription Monitoring Program by Sept. 1, 2019. But industry representatives told lawmakers they do not think they will be ready.

“Build in some flexibility into the timeline to allow for more system integration, I think there would be benefit in that,” Walgreens senior manager of professional affairs Thompson George requested to the legislators in a hearing of the Interim Joint Committee on Prescribing & Dispensing Controlled Substances.

The program’s deadline has received some pushback, according to state Board of Pharmacy executive director, Allison Benz.

“People do not think that the systems will be ready to handle that,” she said after the hearing. “We are asking for the legislature to fund some enhancements to the program that would allow for integration into the system which would allow it to automatically collect the data.”

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The Governor of Texas Suggested the Anti-Trans ‘Bathroom Bill’ Is Dead. It’s Very Much Alive

BY: NICO LANG

Rumors of the Texas bathroom bill’s death are greatly exaggerated.

During a Saturday gubernatorial debate against Democrat Lupe Valdez, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott appeared to satiate a nation starved for good news when he declared the legislation is “not on [his] agenda” for the upcoming 2019 legislative session. Instead the incumbent outlined a plan to provide relief to Hurricane Harvey victims, cut taxes, tackle America’s school shooting epidemic, and create jobs.

“That is going to be my agenda this coming session,” Abbott said. “Period.”

The governor’s soundbite made for a good headline in Monday morning takes published by NBC News and the San Francisco Chronicle, but the insinuation that the bathroom bill sleeps with the fishes isn’t accurate. It also doesn’t reflect what the governor actually said.

When debate moderator Steve Spriester prodded Abbott on the bathroom bill question, he dodged answering it.

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Texas man’s shooting by police overshadowed despite momentum

By RYAN TARINELLI

DALLAS (AP) — It was the kind of shooting that had spurred national interest before: A police officer had opened fire into a vehicle, leaving a black man dead.

For residents in the Dallas area, the Sept. 1 killing of 24-year-old O’Shae Terry in Arlington brought to mind the shooting of Jordan Edwards in another Texas city last year. The 15-year-old Edwards and four other black teenagers were in a car and leaving a house party in Balch Springs when a white officer shot into the moving vehicle, killing the high school freshman who was in the front passenger seat.

The officer was fired and, in a rare move, convicted of murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison. The shooting, like Terry’s, highlighted a use-of-force tactic that law enforcement experts say is dangerous: firing into a moving vehicle.

Five days after Terry’s shooting, police released footage and the case was starting to gain momentum. But hours after the video images of Terry’s fatal traffic stop made headlines, attention was already turning to the Sept. 6 shooting of another black man, 26-year-old Botham Jean, a St. Lucia native killed by a white off-duty officer who lived in the same Dallas apartment complex as him.

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Houston City Council approves raise for police officers

By Jasper Scherer

Houston City Council on Wednesday approved a 7 percent pay raise for police officers over two years, a deal that includes an option for a 2 percent “cost of living increase” for a third year if the two sides do not reach a new agreement.

The approval comes less than three weeks before Houston residents begin voting on a ballot item that proposes to grant firefighters pay “parity” with police officers of corresponding rank and seniority.

The measure, which will appear on the ballot as Proposition B, has proven contentious as Mayor Sylvester Turner seeks to convince voters the city cannot afford it, a claim hotly disputed by the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, the union that negotiates contracts on behalf of the rank and file of the Houston Fire Department.

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Texas governor calls Beto O’Rourke ‘cult-like’ figure [video]

Bethany Blankley

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott described Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke as “cult-like” in the way that he’s receiving attention in his attempt to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz.

“He’s been a cult-like, very popular figure the way that he’s run the campaign, but you don’t vote on cult, you don’t vote on personality when you get to the U.S. Senate. You vote on the issues,” Abbott said on “Fox & Friends.”

Abbott was critical of O’Rourke’s liberal policy views, saying Texas voters won’t approve of “George Soros policies,” including higher taxes and open borders.

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