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Texas Monthly names Lubbock’s Perry among worst legislators, Senator fires back


State Sen. Charles Perry was named one of the ten worst legislators in 2017 in the Texas Monthly’s “Best and Worst Legislators” list released Tuesday.

In response, the Lubbock Republican posted a message on Facebook, saying making the list simply reaffirms that he is in touch with his district’s conservative values and not the values of a “liberal Austin publication.”

Perry said his record this session reflected his continued fight for common-sense government, family, faith and the life of the unborn.

“I passed legislation banning sanctuary cities, increased access to health care and ensured affordable basic telephone services in rural areas,” he said. “Additionally, I protected landowner water rights, religious freedom, improved our foster care system, increased penalties for synthetic drug dealers, paved the way for Texas Tech to open a veteran’s health clinic, and protected our agricultural community.”


The Best and Worst Legislators 2017 (Texas Monthly’s Leftist Picks)


Around the Texas Capitol this year, it wasn’t unusual to hear the 85th Legislature described as the worst anyone could remember. While we wouldn’t go that far, this session had more than its fair share of dispiriting moments. Quite a few of those came courtesy of the bathroom bill and the misleading public-safety rhetoric its supporters used to justify restrictions on where transgender Texans could relieve themselves. The bill died in the House, but the issue hasn’t gone away. Lawmakers also took a simple bill to ensure that Texas cities comply with federal immigration requests and amended it to allow police to inquire about immigration status when they merely detain someone. Democrats argued that the “show me your papers” provision could lead to racial profiling of Latinos, and police chiefs said it would result in an increase in crime. On the other hand, the Legislature did provide a major funding increase—$509 million—to the Child Protective Services department, which desperately needed it.

But otherwise, not much got done. This Legislature passed the fewest bills in years, and while some might argue that’s a good thing, the biggest issue facing Texas—the crumbling school-finance system—went unaddressed. Instead of action, we got grandstanding over school vouchers, property taxes, and, as ever, abortion.

Most bills fell victim to a standoff between the House and Senate. The differences between the chambers have never seemed greater, mostly because the two men leading those chambers represent opposing sides of a divided Republican party. Speaker Joe Straus led a moderate, business-friendly coalition in the House; Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick steered the more right-wing Senate.


Two Tarrant lawmakers rated among ‘worst’ of session by Texas Monthly


The 85th Legislature may not have been the best session for Tarrant County members.

None of the 15 local lawmakers rose to the top, according to Texas Monthly’s list of the best and worst lawmakers from the legislative session that wrapped up May 29.

But two — state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, and state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford — made the list of the worst lawmakers.

“Around the Texas Capitol this year, it wasn’t unusual to hear the 85th Legislature described as the worst anyone could remember,” according to the article. “While we wouldn’t go that far, this session had more than its fair share of dispiriting moments.

“In the end, this session featured too much noise and too little done to improve the lives of Texans,” the article stated. “Politics is not just about conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats. It’s about working cooperatively to make Texas a better place. That has been the standard for the Best and Worst list since its inception in 1973 and remains so four decades later.”

The magazine publishes the list every other year, after the end of the regular legislative session.

Gov. Greg Abbott has called Texas lawmakers back to the state Capitol July 18 for a special session.


Mayor Sylvester Turner, Annise Parker, ‘Drag Race’ stars strike a pose for Houston’s Pride Portraits

Pride in action is participating in marches. It’s riding in a parade. Or it’s as simple as saying, “Cheese!”

The Houston-based Pride Portraits campaign has captured some of the city’s leading voices behind a rainbow backdrop. It’s a message meant to fully represent the LGBTQI community and its allies.

Founder Eric Edward Schell has photographed everyone from politicians, including Mayor Sylvester Turner, Annise Parker and Sheila Jackson Lee; to “RuPaul‘s Drag Race” favorites, transgender activists and even a former NSYNC member.

According to Schell, Pride, as part of his project, stands for Photographs Representing Individuals Deserving Equality.

“Visibility for our community is key to promote the humanization of a community that is dehumanized every single day,” Schell says. “(It’s also important) for people within our community to continually be reminded that there are others outside of our respective bubbles.”


Kirbyville PD: Surveillance tape of principal’s suicide skips, missed incident

By Liz Teitz and David Thompson

The whirlwind of controversy around the apparent suicide of late high school principal Dennis Reeves intensified yesterday, with the school district and his alleged mistress accusing Reeves and his wife of harassment and a judge ruling a restraining order should stand, allowing his wife to pursue possible claims against the district.

In its unsuccessful motion to dissolve the restraining order, the district doubled down on accusations that Reeves harassed two district employees, including his alleged mistress.

Under fire Kirbyville ISD Superintendent, Tommy Wallis.

Judge Baylor Wortham, of the 136th District Court, ruled that data, documents and material should be preserved as the Reeves family requested. He expanded the order to cover the Region 5 Education Service Center and its Executive Director Danny Lovett, who attorney Chip Ferguson said was instrumental in the hiring of Superintendent Tommy Wallis in March.

Wallis, who was on vacation fishing in Dallas with his son Tuesday, did not attend Tuesday’s hearing or special board of trustees meeting.

Wortham limited the scope of the order as requested by the school district’s attorney, Sara Leon, who called the requests “broad and overreaching.” The changes included allowing administrators to continue using their cell phones and computers for work.


Christian Soccer Player Jaelene Hinkle Withdraws From Friendlies as US Team Is Set to Wear Gay Pride Jerseys


Two weeks after U.S. Soccer announced that both their men’s and women’s national teams will be wearing rainbow-colored jerseys in support of gay pride in June, Christian soccer player Jaelene Hinkle has withdrawn herself from the U.S. roster for two international friendlies this month, citing “personal reasons.”

A release from U.S. Soccer said Hinkle, 24, who is a defender for the North Carolina Courage, was called into the national camp to play international friendlies against Sweden and Norway this month. She was not replaced on the roster after her withdrawal.

It is unclear if U.S. Soccer’s celebration of gay pride this month is related to Hinkle’s withdrawal but she wears her faith proudly on social media.

She proudly boasts Colossians 3:23 on Twitter which says: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”

“If you live for people’s acceptance, you’ll die from their rejection,” the tagline also notes.


PRESS RELEASE — TNM Statement on Puerto Rico Statehood Vote

Since 1993, the people of Puerto Rico have gone to the polls and been asked to sound off on their relationship within the United States. With a resounding whimper, 23% of the electorate turned out to deliver a result in favor of statehood.

Sensing an opportunity to shift the electoral balance of the Federal union, over the past several weeks, we have been treated to an onslaught of pro-statehood propaganda from the media. This effort has been created with one single goal – soften the people to accept Puerto Rico as the 51st state.

Adding Puerto Rico to the union comes with a hefty $73 billion price tag that hard-working Texans will be forced to pay the lion’s share. This is unacceptable.

In the wake of serious discussions taking place in Washington over bringing Puerto Rico into the union, the TNM believes that it is past time to honor the wishes of the people of Texas and reevaluate our relationship in the union through an independence referendum. If Puerto Rico can determine their future with the blessing of the Federal bureaucracy, then Texas deserves no less.

Therefore, we are calling on Governor Abbott to add the Texas Independence Referendum Act to the current call for a special session or call a separate session on the issue. The people of Texas deserve better than to be saddled with an additional billions of dollars of debt. We deserve the same right exercised by the people of Puerto Rico to reevaluate our relationship within the union and the opportunity to choose independence.

Changing Political Winds In S.A.?

By Bill O’Neil

Are the results of the Saturday runoff elections a sign of a political shift in the Alamo City?

Former Mayor Julian Castro seems to think so.

“Nobody ever would have expected a year ago that an outright Democrat like John Courage could win in District 9” Castro said.

The former Mayor, who threw his support in the Mayor’s Race behind challenger Ron Nirenberg said the results sent a very strong message.

“It showed very clearly that calling someone a liberal in this city is not a bad thing” Castro said, adding “This is not a city of right wing talk radio and the conservative crowd. You see that in the Mayor’s Race, you saw that in District 7, you saw that in District 9.”


City Election Moves San Antonio Politics To The Left

Ron Nirenberg’s campaign headquarters was a one-time car lot on Broadway across from Maverick Park. This is where former mayors Phil Hardberger and Julian Castro also set up shop and forged paths to the mayor’s office – and now it was Nirenberg’s turn.

At 7PM Saturday when the early voting totals were posted online by the Bexar County Election’s Office it was clear that Nirenberg’s victory was almost a certainty. And as Election Day ballot results came in his margin grew, ending the night with 55 percent of the vote against Ivy Taylor’s 45 percent.

The election watch event quickly turned into a party and a celebration.

As Nirenberg took the stage to speak to his frenzied supporters he offered a gracious salute to Taylor.

“Well, I first I want to thank Ivy Taylor our mayor for her years of service. It’s not easy to do the work that we do as any family member can attest. It takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of energy and I want to thank our mayor for the service to our city,” he told the crowd.

Nirenberg’s victory over Taylor was unexpected by almost all outside of his campaign. And Nirenberg told the gathering that the key to winning was old fashioned retail politicking which required sweat, shoe leather and talking to people one on one.


Puerto Rico statehood referendum draws big support — but small turnout (VIDEO)

By Amy Roberts, CNN

Puerto Rico on Sunday overwhelmingly voted for statehood. But Congress, the only body that can approve new states, will ultimately decide whether the status of the US commonwealth changes.

Ninety-seven percent of the votes in the nonbinding referendum favored statehood, an increase over the results of a 2012 referendum, official results from the State Electoral Commission show. It was the fifth such vote on statehood.
“Today, we the people of Puerto Rico are sending a strong and clear message to the US Congress … and to the world … claiming our equal rights as American citizens, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said in a news release.
What do we really know about Puerto Rico?
When outsiders think of Puerto Rico, a couple of things probably come to mind: It’s a small island in the Caribbean. People mostly speak Spanish there. It’s not a US state but has American ties. They were the Sharks in “West Side Story.” (Wait, maybe they were the Jets?) But there’s so much more to know.
Some Puerto Ricans are raring to cozy up with America to jump-start a flagging economy; meanwhile, some residents would just as soon maintain the status quo, and others would prefer to break ties altogether.